Traditional Thai Yoga


By Katherine Elizabeth  |  

Traditional Thai Yoga: The Postures and Healing Practices of Ruesri Dat Ton, by Enrico Corsi and Elena Fanfani. Healing Arts Press; innertraditions.com

Scattered about Bangkok’s Wat Pho temple grounds are statues of Jivaka Kumarabhacca, the man credited with founding Thai medicine more than 2,500 years ago. Some sculptures show Jivaka demonstrating Ruesri Dat Ton, poses similar to yoga asana designed to balance the flow of energy and to facilitate well-being.

Each of the 60 poses begins with an inhalation. The breath and the pose are then held for three seconds before they’re released. This breath retention, similar to Pranayama, serves to direct energy. While some of the exercises are reputed to remedy problems such as migraines and heartburn, the most common benefits mirror those of hatha yoga: greater flexibility, improved circulation, proper skeletal alignment, and increased lung capacity.