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Traditional Thai Yoga

The Postures and Healing Practices of Ruesri Dat Ton

A complete guide to the ancient technique of Ruesri Dat Ton, also known as Thai yoga

• Presents 60 step-by-step, illustrated exercises for self-healing and balanced well-being

• Reveals the practice and evolution of Thai yoga, said to have originated with Buddha’s physician, Jivaka Kumarabhaccha

• Explains how the postures allow individuals to rebalance the flow of energy in the body

Traditional Thai yoga--or Ruesri Dat Ton--is an individual yoga practice rooted in the ancient Ayurvedic tradition. It is comprised of exercises that--like the partnered practice of traditional Thai massage--originated with Buddha’s own physician, Jivaka Kumarabhaccha. Enrico Corsi and Elena Fanfani present, for the first time in English, 60 of these postures fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions designed to stimulate self-healing by rebalancing the flow of energy in the body.

Each of the postures works within the sen energy system that underlies Thai medicine. Fundamental to the practice is retention of the breath once the body has assumed the desired posture. The practitioner concentrates the breath on the place where the body is storing tension or dysfunction. When the breath is exhaled the body also expels the negative energy, allowing restorative energy to take its place.

The simple yet highly effective postures in Traditional Thai Yoga address many common ailments--including physical ailments of the back, knees, shoulders, hips, arms, feet, and neck and more generalized ailments such as nausea and shortness of breath--as well as offering exercises that promote weight loss, longevity, and overall balanced well-being.

From Part 2: The Practice / Chapter Four

Welcome to the practice of Ruesri Dat Ton. In this part of the book you will find fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions for sixty traditional Thai yoga postures. You may be approaching this yoga practice with specific health problems in mind that you would like to address. If so, the titles of the exercises will tell you the primary health benefits of each, and the appendix will give you more information on the specific healing properties of all the exercises. You should also remember that each exercise has multiple benefits. In fact, most of the exercises actually provide at least some benefit to all ten of the sen channels. So you may approach the practice as a general health maintenance program as well. When selecting a number of exercises, it is recommended that you choose those with different starting positions in order to achieve a better balance among the techniques.


We have chosen to list the exercises in a head-to-toe order in this book, following Jivaka’s original titles for the body parts most affected by each posture. You will find postures that benefit the head, neck, and shoulders in chapter 4; postures that benefit the torso in chapter 5; postures that benefit the extremities--arms, legs, hands, and feet--in chapter 6; and postures that address more generalized problems of physical and mental health in chapter 7.
Occasionally Jivaka named widely divergent parts of the body in the same title, for example, Exercise 12, Remedy for Shoulder and Leg Stiffness. These exercises have been listed in the chapter in which the first-named body part is covered. By that guideline, this exercise will appear in chapter 4, which focuses on the head, neck, and shoulders. Because legs are named in the title as well, you will also find a crossreference to the exercise at the beginning of chapter 6, the extremities chapter.


Postures That Benefit the Head, Neck, and Shoulders

1. Remedy for Tension Headache
2. Remedy for Migraine Headache
3. Remedy for Nasal Congestion
4. Remedy for Neck Pain
5. Remedy for Neck and Shoulder Pain
6. Remedy for Neck and Shoulder Stiffness
7. Remedy for Shoulder Pain
8. Remedy for Shoulder Stiffness and Pain
9. Remedy for Shoulder and Shoulder Blade Pain
10. Remedy for Shoulder and Hip Pain I
11. Remedy for Shoulder and Hip Pain II
12. Remedy for Shoulder and Leg Stiffness

See also:
• Exercise 13, Remedy for Chest, Shoulder, and Abdominal Pain
• Exercise 44, Remedy for Leg and Neck Pain

Remedy for Tension Headache

Sit in the half-lotus position or with your legs crossed. Join the palms of your hands in front of you, while keeping your shoulders relaxed.

Breathe in and stretch your arms up as straight as you can, keeping the palms of your hands together.

Holding your breath, maintain this position for 3 seconds.

Breathe out and return slowly to the starting position.

Breathe in and twist your body to the left as far as you can, while keeping your head facing forward. Help yourself twist by pushing your right hand against your left hand.

Holding your breath, maintain this position for 3 seconds.

Breathe out and return slowly to the starting position.

Repeat this sequence of exercises 3 to 5 times.

Posture for Enhancing Longevity

Stand with your feet 10 to 12 inches (25-30 cm) apart. Point your toes outward as much as you can while still maintaining your balance. With both hands, hold a stick upright in front of you.

Breathe in and lower your torso as much as possible by bending your knees outward, using the stick to help you keep your balance. At the same time, contract the muscles in your buttocks and anus.

Holding your breath, maintain this position for 3 seconds.

Breathe out and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise 3 to 5 times.

Enrico Corsi received his degree in traditional Thai massage from the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand. He is the founder of the Accademia di Massaggio Tradizionale Thailandese in Milan, Italy, and travels to Thailand at least once a year to pursue advanced studies in traditional Thai healing arts. He lives in Milan, Italy.

Elena Fanfani received her degree in traditional Thai massage from the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand. She visits Thailand frequently to study Thai medicine and Thai herbalism, with a special emphasis on healing for women and children. She lives in Milan, Italy.

" . . . performing some of the postures for several days, I find that there is a heightened sense of comfort during the practice, a contented stillness that arises during practice. Perhaps it's the improvement in blood flow, or the simple, unhurried movement that encourages a sense of peace. Either way, Traditional Thai Yoga is highly recommended for yogis and non-yogis, and as a gift for yourself and others."

– Deboarh Adams, Curled Up With a Good Book, July 2008

"Each posture works the sen energy system of Thai medicine, and the postures here are solutions to many common ailments of the back, knees, hips, and neck. The exercises promote weight loss and circulation improvement too; any New Age collection strong in yoga techniques will want this photo-packed visual introduction."

– The Midwest Book Review, Aug 2008

More books from this author: Enrico Corsi