Apart from the well-known Ruesi Datton exercise sets from Wat Pho — the 18 Self-Stretching exercises — and from ITTM — the 15 Contorted Hermit Exercises — there are various other Reusi Dat Ton sets practiced and taught in Thailand.
We need to bear in mind that the 18 and 15 are in fact a subset of originally 127 positions as recorded, documented and recognized by the Wat Pho temple at the time.
It’s true that these sets are the most commonly practiced and taught in Thailand, notably in Thai Massage schools, but also simply as a fitness program done outdoors in public parks and such, and sometimes also in public schools.
Nevertheless, there are several trainers and schools in Thailand that teach up to 200 different poses and Self-Massage techniques, although one can come to a total of about 300 different exercises and poses when we include certain variations in the Reusi Dat Ton training system.
When we talk about variations we see that similar poses, and also massage techniques, may be done either standing, sitting or kneeling, actually being the same exercise, but with a slightly different result and/or goal. For instance, in sitting positions we use other parts of our body compared to standing positions, and this accounts for much of the differences.
Another way variations are explained is how we position our body or body parts while doing an exercise. For instance, spreading the legs more apart, bending or stretching the knees while doing an exercise, but also the way we breathe or use power during an exercise will make a difference, and so on.
Sometimes instructors also teach warming-up exercises before starting a Reusi Dat Ton training session. These exercises are not necessarily part of Reusi Dat Ton.
And last but not least, some trainers also teach meditation techniques, visualizations, chants, that is, the more spiritual context of Reusi Dat Ton.