Oh the pokey possibilities!
I just finished a three-week introduction to my new Yantra Mat, one of several acupressure mats available to buy. When it came in the mail I was skeptical because the spiked discs seemed so sharp and uncomfortable. My husband said, “no way am I trying that!” and my kids cheered, “Sweet, can we have it?” I was determined to give it a whirl because I had heard so many fantastic benefits of acupressure.
Acupressure proponents posit that nail beds and other pokey resting places have innumerable pluses ranging from reducing tension to curing headaches. Being that acupressure techniques have been around for over 4000 years I was pretty sure there must be some truth to the claims. So I unrolled my Yantra Mat and gave it a whirl. First I need to share a description of the mat: mine is a thick purple cotton one with white spikes and a very cool Yantra design on the backside. It came in a matching bag so it could be easily stored or carried. The mat itself is much shorter than I imagined, only about half the size of a regular yoga mat. The white acupressure discs are made of a plastic that upon first feel is really sharp, however probably much less so than nails, I would guess.
I followed the instructions and used the mat at 10 min intervals for the first few days and slowly worked up to longer times. The length of the mat made lying down a bit uncomfortable for me and the suggestion to rest my head or cheek on it really was one I could not imagine trying. In order to use it on the ground or bed, I would have to lie down with my head and lower body off the mat and the middle of my body on it. This scenario felt awkward and less relaxing than lying on the wood floor alone. So, instead I tried using the mat when I was sitting at the computer (like right now as I type) and at the couch. Sitting on the Yantra mat was terrific. I could have stayed there all day!
I did find that time using the mat caused relaxation and calm. My children found this result to be true and my husband, who ultimately was convinced to try it, also agreed. Personally I also love the echo of the mat you feel after getting off it: the sensation that you still have the acupressure circles under your body. The only part of the Yantra mat experience that was NOT relaxing was the initial sitting on and getting off the mat. I found it a bit too intense in those occasions.
Overall I love the mat, I use it daily and find that it is very comforting. I’m up to 30+ minutes a day now and I actually sort of crave its prickliness. Is the Yantra Mat a necessity in your life? Hard to say, but it definitely is a spiny luxury.