The Shakti Mat idea came from the ‘bed of nails’ practice that has been popular in Indian culture for more than 2000 years and is more commonly known as an ‘acupressure’ technique. The Indian culture found that the physiological change the body underwent on nail beds aided their meditation practice. By getting through the initial feelings of discomfort it helped to cultivate resilience, and eventually eased the body and mind into a place of stillness.
Swedish yogi Om Mokshananda came across the bed of nails during his time spent practicing meditation in the Himalayas. Having tried and experienced the benefits of acupressure there himself, he revived the benefits of this ancient technology for a modern world by starting work on developing this principle into the Shakti Mat as we know it today.
Om introduced the Shakti Mat to his native Sweden, and at the forefront of wellbeing, Scandinavians enthusiastically embraced a new natural approach to recovery and wellbeing. And Om also found a way to give back to the amazing land that had conjured up the initial concept of the bed of nails – in 2008 he started work on setting up Shakti Mats’ charity workshop in Varanasi, India.
Meanwhile, the Shakti Mat was continuing to grow ever more popular. After a chance encounter with Om, and blown away by the concept and ethics behind the Shakti name, Kiwi students and childhood friends George and Jon, then 21, decided to bring the Shakti Mat to New Zealand in 2014.
Since then the Shakti Mat has grown so popular throughout the world and is being recognised for it’s awesome health and wellbeing benefits.
Why I LOVE the Shakti Mat
So….when I first saw and felt the Shakti mat I thought ‘there is NO WAY I am lying or putting any kind of pressure on this mat’……..the pressure points are genuinely spiky and they hurt at first. I thought I would stick with it…so I started lying on the Shakti mat at night time whilst I was doing my meditation (which I do every night). I found it helped me feel SO relaxed and I also found an improvement in my muscle recovery after using it for a week (I’ve been training every day – so the muscles have been SORE!!).
I did some research on the Shakti Mat and found out that it is great to use pre and post workout.
2-3 minutes pre-workout to stimulate
- Intense nervous system stimulation to support muscle strength
- Circulation boost oxygenates muscles
- Sympathetic nervous system stimulation (fight or flight)…..
20+ minutes post-workout for recovery
- Acupressure relaxes muscle & aids blood flow for muscle repair and recovery
- Acupressure enhances the body’s natural healing ability
- Parasympathetic nervous system activation (rest and digest)
Also the Shakti Mat is great to use during my meditation as I have been doing.
Try this meditation with your Shakti mat:
- Get comfy in a quiet place
- If you can lay down on the floor, place your mat (and optional pillow) down. Otherwise, use a couch or bed where you can comfortably lay down.
- Lay down on the mat by slowly lowering your spine down. Adjust until you find a relatively comfortable position. The weight of your body should be evenly distributed across the mat.
- Close down your eyes. Try to keep your palms relaxed and facing upwards.
- Become Present – notice your surroundings, hear the noises outside, feel the force of gravity pulling you down onto your mat, feel the pressure points from the mat underneath you.
- Bring your awareness to your breath now….follow the air as it flows all the way into your belly, feeling your belly expanding, chest expanding and following as it flows out. Chest contracting, belly contracting. On each out breath let go of a little more tension.
- Practice deep breathing. Breathe in for the count of four and out for the count of six. Continue doing this, counting in your head and notice a difference in how you feel.
- After a few minutes bring your focus back to the present moment and your surroundings.
- Give thanks and gratitude for your breath.
- Relish in the moment
- Namaste x x
I would safely say the Shakti mat has a firm place in my night time routine and it is such a great addition to two of my favourite things – meditation and exercise! If they could find a way to use the Shakti mat with food it would be my perfect all rounder!!
Shakti sell different levels of mats along with footpads, headbands, pillows and more. Head on over to Shakti mats to find out more 🙂