Lying or standing on The Shakti® Mat creates a stimulation experience for the user. The stimulation can be described as anything from slight discomfort, to very comfortable or even to very painful. Everybody experiences The Shakti® Mat differently and the effects can even vary from use to use.
From what I have come to understand about the body's response to The Shakti® Mat, the stimulation from The Shakti® Mat causes a disequilibrium sensation in the body and stimulates the brain to respond in order to restore homeostasis (equilibrium) – which is the brain’s preferred state. In a matter of seconds, the brain determines whether the fight or flight response is necessary or not. Should there be any immediate danger present, the brain initiates the release of adrenaline in response to the stimulation. However without the presence of immediate danger, such as in the case where one is using The Shakti® Mat, the brain then triggers the release of endorphins and oxytocin (instead of adrenaline) in order to restore homeostasis in the body. This effect is the same as to what happens during exercise.
Endorphins are the body’s very own “happiness hormones”. They help to reduce pain and create feelings of enhanced energy and wellbeing, happiness and relaxation. Oxytocin helps the body recuperate and helps create a feeling of calm and satisfaction (yes, it is possible to feel energetic and relaxed at the same time!).
The brain needs time to trigger the release of these “happiness hormones” and then the hormones need time to circulate through the body. As a result, the initial stimulation experience may be intense for the first few minutes. However given some time, the stimulation will gradually become less and less intense, allowing for relaxation to occur.
The resulting sensations can be a number of things including: heat, throbbing, pulsing, or tingling. They may also induce feelings such as: tired, hungry, happy, or alert. Many people also experience feelings of happiness, relaxation, heightened body temperature, increased vitality, and a clearer state of mind. For an explanation on the difference between a sensation and a feeling, read our past blog post.
The key to being able to allow these effects to take place is to continue to breathe and allow your body to relax as best you can. Your state of mind makes a difference here (so notice if you are encouraging stressful and self-defeating thoughts and try to instead foster calm and supportive thoughts), so be sure to check in with your breath. Slow, steady breaths are best!
Most of all, give yourself time to adjust to the sensations. For some, the experience is extreme so start from where you are. Add a thin layer between your skin and the mat and adjust the length of time you spend on the mat appropriately for you. Even the smallest amount of time spent on The Shakti® Mat, if done regularly, will be helpful!