I admit to being a little bit sceptical when I first saw the Pranamat. I have had the privilegeand life changing experience of living in India for one and half years and am committed to preserving its ancient knowledge and teachings; so I was also intrigued. Something about the quality and colours of the Pranamat and friendliness of the team drew me in when I first saw and experienced the Pranamat at the London 2009 Yoga show.
The Pranamat is a high quality, attractive, contemporary bed of nails. Wow, how does this work? I asked myself. I had seen the old beds of nails in India and never been tempted to lay on one, for obvious reasons! I certainly would not want to get pierced by nails. I felt no need to test my will power or prove my mystical capabilities. However, I was happy to try the Pranamat and immediately stepped on to it. After standing on it, an amazing sensation filled my body that I knew was triggering the nerve pathways throughout my whole system. My feet and body tingled at first and then gave way to a feeling of peace. I wanted to put the Pranamat to the test. Over the past two weeks, I have used my mat daily I have stood on it, laid down and relaxed on it, and used it at my desk as a foot or back rest. I have really enjoyed it and most of all I have definitely felt an increase in my energy levels and a need for less sleep.
So how does it work?
The Pranamat is actually working on many different levels. It works on the physical, psycho-emotional and metaphysical levels. Physically it is great because it stimulates the nervous, cardiovascular and immune-endocrine systems. It has a balancing effect on the autonomic nervous system as it both stimulates and relaxes. In order to relax on a bed of nails you have to release and let go, it requires you to focus, breathe and return your attention to your physical body. This is very healing in itself as many of us live outside our bodies preferring not to feel the various aches, tensions and stresses we regularly live with. Pranamat helps you release physical and mental blockages, allowing you take up residence again in your body. Pranamat promotes self-regulation which is your body’s ability to self heal given the right circumstances.
This process of release and self-regulation also involves the psycho-emotional aspect of your being. Unlike many activities, lying on the Pranamat asks you to be conscious and present. It requires a special kind of awareness; the lotus petal nails are relatively sharp so you have to be aware as you get on and off the Pranamat. Anything that raises body awareness is a good thing. A level of trust is also developed, although the lotus nails cannot pierce the skin and are not really painful, it is still a challenge initially as the mind negotiates with itself finding the trust and courage to step onto the mat. This strengthens the mind much like walking on fire, only a lot easier. As you gently allow the pressure of your bodyweight to settle onto the mat pressure from inside your body is released. You spontaneously breathe and let go as you initially get on the mat. It reminds me of some of the stress techniques used in somatic therapies where a build up of pressure is created in the peripheral body that eventually gives way to a release in the inner body and corresponding internal orgāns. This offers a sense of deep relaxation. When using the mat for periods of twenty minutes and more I experienced deep relaxation and what is known as Yoga Nidra, Yoga sleep. This is a waking sleep that deeply rebalances the entire body, mind and spirit.
Using the Pranamat daily is a ritual, a meditation, and in this way it raises energy Ievels and uplifts the spirit. It is a wonderful way of getting rest, alone time and deep relaxation. It gives the body an opportunity to switch to parasympathetic dominance; this has a cleansing effect on the body. Chemicals release that clean up after the body has been subject to flight and flight chemicals, which are a common occurrence in modern living. We are often plagued with stress and all its related dis-orders and repercussions. While relaxing on the Pranamat, visions, colours, dreams can be experienced, the body might gently jerk, spontaneous sounds may be heard, these are all signals of the body, mind and spirit self-regulating. Resting on a Pranamat can provide the system with much needed space to heal and revitalise.
After my initial scepticism, the Pranamat gets my vote. I use it personally and with clients. I recommend it as a tool for relaxation and self-regulation that can help the body self-heal. The colours used for the Pranamat are designed to resonate with the chakras and different energetic vibrations in your body. This ancient Indian tool has been preserved by "Pranamat Sales & Marketing" as a high quality, beautiful contemporary way of relaxing and re-balancing for health and wellbeing.