Shakti Mat - Portable 'Bed of Nails'
For relaxation, releasing pain and good night sleep aid'
Miss ECO Glam Blog - By Anna Rodgers on June 17th, 2010
I have been using the Shakti Mat over the last few weeks and I am SOOOO in love with it! I love it because it delivers what it promises and also supports fair trade because it is made in a truly ethical way.
You may have seen this mat in your local health food shop and perhaps thought what the heck is that? There are many copies out there now that have made their own version of the Shakti mat but this one is the original.
WHERE DOES THE IDEA COME FROM?
The Shakti Mat is based on the Indian ‘bed of nails' tradition, where men would lie down on a board that had hundreds of nails pointing out of it. To all that looked on, they would be in shock as could not understand how someone could lie down and not have it pierce their skin and cause great discomfort. Perhaps like me, you thought that there was some kind of magic going on with these men that they knew something we didn't. The truth is, the way these nails were individually spaced, meant that the pressure was very even all over the back and body as the weight was evenly distrbuted, hence why they did not injure themselves. They also were able to meditate extremely deeply as well.
Whilst shocking to onlookers, the men who lay down on these bed of nails said that it was actually an incredible way to meditate and made them feel better, with more energy!
The Shakti Mat is a version for people to use at home for an effective way to relax, mediate and release painful areas like a niggly lower back, or an annoying stiff neck.
The Shakti Mat has instead of nails, plastic disks with little spikes that when placed against the body, help to stimulate the pressure points on the body so that endorphins are released which in turns, causes the body to become much more relaxed and pain free.
The Shakti Mat was created by Om Mokshananda, who grew up under the name of Jonathan Hellbom on a bee farm out in the countryside of the Northern part of Sweden. Om was fascinated by the mysteries of the body and wondered why some people seemed to be more flexible than others – mentally, as well as physically. He began his spiritual journey many years ago but it wasn't until he lived in the Himalayan Mountains where the idea for Shakti mat entered into his mind. He wanted to bring something to society that would help people be able to meditate deeper, have more energy and also to be a drug free way to release pain.
WHAT DOES SHAKTI MEAN:
The word “shakti” is Sanskrit for female power, compassion, and the nurturing, warm, creative spark. The first ever Shakti Mat hit the stores in 2008. It has been a massive success in Om's home country, Sweden, where it's almost a household word! One in 10 homes in Sweden have one of these mats. That's pretty impressive!
Shakti Mats are made in the city of Varanasi, India. They say it is the oldest city in the world, where sacred fires have been burning for thousands of years. The factory is a temple which was built according to ‘Vastu Shastra' which is where the origin of Feng Shui comes with. As you can see in photos, the factory rooms are filled with gorgeous bright colours, are spotlessly clean and have a nice vibe.
The workers are not only paid well, but they are not overworked. They have a cook that is employed to make healthy food for the workers throughout the day. If they become sick, they receive sick pay and also medical care. Shakti provide free health care to the employees and their families, and, get this, to other families living in the neighbourhood!!! Now, if knowing this doesn't get you interested in Shakti Mats I don't know what will! :)
I received my Shakti Mat a few weeks ago and have been absolutely loving it!
Even though I understood what Shakti Mats were about, I didn't really know what to expect and was worried I might not be able to use it as I thought perhaps it would be a bit painful. The first time I tried it, I lay back on it the way I was instructed to. I was able to lie down on it for ten minutes as suggested, and even though it did feel a wee bit ouchy to begin with, I soon felt the warm feeling that happens and I was able to deeply relax.
I found that you have to make sure you lie on it the right way, with the mat not too far down your back. You need your lower back to be off it for you to be comfortable. If you squirm around on the mat that will not help you being comfortable. With practice you will get it!
The Shakti Mat is supposed to make you feel a noticeable sensation, it is needed so that the endorphins do their job with relaxing you and making you feel more energy. If you felt nothing, it would be pointless.
For those that are sensitive, you could put a sarong or scarf in between your mat and your back. I didn't do that, I wanted to experience it for what it was right away, but I might not be super sensitive, so if you are, you can use a scarf.
Or, you can actually look at getting a different mat that has more disks. The more disks there are, the less intense the feeling is. The green and orange mats are the original mat and have 6000 accupressure points but the yellow and purple mats have 8000.
The first few times I tried the mat, I found the peeling my back off the mat was where it hurt the most. But, that feeling was easy to handle and disappeared in seconds.
There are many ways and positions of lying on the mat but I would suggest trying it length ways with it underneath your neck, shoulders and back. Get used to this position first, then you will be able to try other ways. There are heaps of ideas on the website to see what you can do and also, if you are into Yoga, you can also use the mat underneath your body whilst doing certain poses.
I have only really tried a few positions, I have not been able to lie on it with my face pressed against it, thats something I am working up to! But I do adore it under the back! I use it at night when I am in bed. I lay the mat down on my bed and relax on the mat for 10-15 minutes whilst getting into sleep mode! I usually have to make myself take it out as I am that relaxed! I must say, that I have been sleeping soooo much better since using this. Also, as I am so used to the mat now, it does not hurt at all when I come off it.
When I lie on it, I actually think and sometimes say outloud to myself, aahhhhhh!!! It's just blissful. It's a sensation your body gets to really enjoy and just feels amazing. I can honestly say that I love it. :)
The Shakti Mat also has a foam insert that you can take out if you prefer. When using it in bed, its best to remove the foam so that its flatter. But, if you want to lie on it on the floor, then leave the foam in.
It's such a great size that you can take it with you as well, to the park or on holidays too.
If you are into mediation, yoga, have back pain or other pain, then getting one of these mats is definitely worth it. If you are a wee bit sensitive but still interested, you could look at getting the yellow or purple mat, but I would suggest getting the tougher version, using a scarf to begin with until you get used to it. The human body is amazing and it does get used to it very quickly. Mine did and I look forward to it each night!