The 18 Wat Pho Rue-Si Datton Ascetic Self-Stretching Exercises (Thai Hermit’s Yoga) are part of a larger set of 80 exercises and compiled into a exercise set by the Wat Pho Medical Massage School.
The 18 exercises (actually, sequences with each usually consisting of more than one exercise) are all standing exercises, but the complete series of 80 also contains exercises done in sitting and lying positions. In fact, the set of 18 is designed for young and old with exercises which are considered safe, and consists of bodywork with and for the whole body. The idea is to supply the general public with an easy to do, short series of exercises promoting fitness, flexibility, and health.
The complete series of 80 exercises is based on the 80 Rue-Si Dat Ton statues placed in the Wat Pho temple garden in the year 1836, which are similar to the illustrations found in the Samut Thai Kao, an ancient manuscript that also depicts the same Reusi Dat Ton poses.
The statues were ordered to be made and placed there by the Thai King Rama III. The set of statues consisted of Rishis (Reusis or Yogis) doing a range of exercises in various poses and positions: 57 seated /kneeling, 20 standing, two couples (Partner Thai Yoga or Thai Massage), and one in lying position. They were made of a mixture of zinc and tin.
The Wat Pho temple and the medical massage school actively promote Rue-Si Datton, and every morning, starting at 08:00, you can take a free workshop doing the 18 sequences in the Wat Pho Temple garden in Bangkok. The session takes about 45 minutes.
Additionally, the Wat Pho Medical Massage School also offers a 5 hour training course to learn these exercises more in-depth.
An important observation is that the 18 exercises were originally carried out with a certain breathing technique and with strength and power. The official Wat Pho Ascetic Self-Stretching course book still reflects this practice. Nevertheless, today, for safety reasons, the Wat Pho organization has omitted those aspects in their trainings (from both the free classes and in the course).
Below we’ve listed an overview of the sequences/exercises as offered in Wat Pho’s 18:
- Sequence No. 1: Relief Of Tension Headache And Giddiness
- Sequence No. 2: Relief Of Physical Discomforts
- Sequence No. 3: Relief Of Shoulder And Neck Discomfort
- Sequence No. 4: Relief Of Shoulder And Leg Stiffness
- Sequence No. 5: Relief Of Knee And Leg Discomfort
- Sequence No. 6: Relief Of Chest And Waist Discomfort
- Sequence No. 7: Relief Of Chest Compression Caused By Wind Or “Wata”
- Sequence No. 8: Relief Of Convulsion Caused By Wind Or “Wata”
- Sequence No. 9: Relief Of Chest Pain At The Cardiac Region Caused By Abdominal Distension
- Sequence No. 10: Relief Of Knee Sprain
- Sequence No. 11: Relief Of Heel Stiffness Caused By Wind Or “Wata”
- Sequence No. 12: Relief Of Back Pain Causing Leg Discomfort
- Sequence No. 13: Relief Of Foot Numbness
- Sequence No. 14: Relief Of Hip And Lower Back Discomfort
- Sequence No. 15: Relief Of Muscle Cramps In The Hands And Feet
- Sequence No. 16: For Longevity
- Sequence No. 17: Relief Of Chest Trouble, Cough, And Asthma
- Sequence No. 18: Treatment Of Wrist Trouble Caused By Wind Or “Wata”
To learn more about the theoretical and practical know-how of doing the official 18 Wat Pho Ascetic Self-Stretching Exercises, you can check out our Video Workshop with lots of info, a video that demonstrates the sequences, and more than 150 clear, detailed photos of each pose.