Marek Gabor, lovingly known as Jungle Man, is an intuitive and experienced practitioner of the healing art of Thai Yoga Massage. One of the few authorised teachers of The Sunshine Network in the UK, Marek has trained extensively in Lahu Village in Chiang Mai, Thailand with numerous international Thai masters over the years.
Marek offers deeply healing treatments and trains therapists in accredited courses internationally, as well as offering bespoke courses specialising in particular practices. Marek is renowned for his adaptive and responsive style, his absolute passion and his authenticity.
Why Thai Yoga Massage?
‘I had been doing classic oil, Swedish, deep tissue and sports massage massages for couple of years and always felt that there was a much deeper way to connect and to heal the body. There were times when I did not work too much physically during massage (it can be draining), yet the feedback I received was fantastic. So what had happened? What did I do? Did I press something? I had a deep desire to understand more.
Nobody told me go to Thailand, but I instinctively knew it would be the place where magic happens. Recommendations and research led me to Sunshine Network, based in Lahu hill tribe village in the mountains not far from the jungle, founded by Asokananda. Students were warned that facilities are very basic and simple; this made my heart sing and I was sure I was going in the right direction. I had never had Thai massage before so my first touch was during my first residential 12-day training.
Since then I went to Thailand every year, sometimes staying for six months and training or assisting teachers. The Buddhist way of living seeped into my pores, too; I meditated and attended Vipassana Meditation retreats. I loved spending time in the monasteries or forest retreats; so inspiring to touch silence and realise that this is the way of living fully, I felt purpose in every inhalation and exhalation.’
My journey with Thai Yoga Massage, Yoga and Buddhism
‘My first love was Thai Yoga massage but I wanted to have a regular yoga practice so I also travelled to India to study and learn about myself. I started with Ashtanga Vinyasa (where my ego almost let Indian yoga teachers break my bones!) but eventually I did the Sivananda teacher training in Kerala, spending months in the Ashram.
I noticed many westerners came and went to see a lot and to do and do more and more. For me it is important to stay longer in one place, one practise, to comprehend its essence. Each time I left the UK I wasn’t sure I would be back.
Thai Yoga Massage gives me the space and opportunity to touch in the deepest way, getting me back on track to my meditative way – the only way. Through my own transformation I am able to reach others, to connect. We are all so conditioned from birth, so the journey is continuous.
Thai Yoga Massage has given me so many other branches to explore; Buddhism, yoga, meditation, fasting, being a father.
For me, TYM is like returning where I am safe; everything is perfect, I am happy. I don’t really know what TYM is but I am at home with it.
I don’t know who I am but I am not looking for answers with TYM,
I have arrived.
I am nobody, I am doing nothing and I am at home
Maybe that the simplest way I can describe what I am experiencing when giving TYM or sharing as a teacher with my Sangha.
What inspires me to teach
‘In 2011, I was offered a teaching position on the Thai massage ITEC course. It had never crossed my mind to teach. There was only one student enrolled but what a beautiful experience to share my passion. Yet the syllabus was limiting and restricted, so I have created my own accredited training and have been authorised as a Sunshine Network teacher.
‘I trained with many respected Sunshine Network senior teachers and Thai master teachers around the world and there are few I haven’t met yet. Nature, my grandad – who took me out mushroom picking even when I had over 39 celsius temperature – and my baby daughter are my best teachers. Then there was an old sweaty man at a Thai market wearing dirty vest with hole in it, giving cheap massages on a broken plastic chair for almost nothing; that was the best massage I ever had.’
What makes Jungle Healing courses unique?
‘I don’t teach anything… I simply share what I experience when giving TYM. I have manuals but the structure changes; I love to be creative and to adapt according to the needs of the group. I encourage students not to copy me but to be intuitive and find their own way; that’s the only way… to be your authentic self, all the answers are inside. Thai massage is just a way to go inward to know the true, to live mindfully and to be happy.
What past students have said:
‘I had been teaching yoga for over a decade when I was drawn to Jungle Healing. I had had TYM before and knew it would complement my personal practise and teaching beautifully. Jungle Healing courses have both the rigour and structure that is essential but this is delivered in a fluid and responsive way, shifting pace and rhythm to perfectly meet the needs of all students. The depth of each course is inspiring and challenging and Marek’s wealth of expertise and practise are incredible. Each course has been much more than a learning experience; deep journies of self discovery and connection, to myself and a wonderful sangha of fellow practitioners.’
Leonie Taylor, Senior Yoga Teacher, Vajrasati Yoga
‘You can touch hundreds of times and you can and you can apply as many techniques as you like, but one with mindfulness will heal’