Reusi Dat Ton (in Thai script: ฤาษีดัดตน) is the name of the ancient self-training exercises of the Thai forest ascetics.
Meaning and Pronunciation:
- Reusi ฤาษี = hermit, ascetic, seer. Reu rhymes with the nasal French pronunciation bleu; si sounds like the word see.
- Dat ดัด = to train, adapt. Rhymes with bat.
- Ton ตน = oneself. Rhymes with bone. The T is not breathy but is more like a hard D, with the tongue behind the top teeth. (There is no “official” set of romanization rules for writing out Thai words, but the breathy T is often written Th when Thai is romanized, like in the word Thai.)
Say Bleu-see Bat Bone. Reusi Dat Ton.
The Reusis study nature, including the human body, and historically are the ones credited with discovering medicinal uses of herbs and developing therapeutic practices like Reusi Dat Ton and Traditional Massage (Nuat Pæn Bōrān, นวดแผนโบราณ). There are dedicated Reusis today who often live in remote areas to continue the old scientific methods.
“The goal of a Reusi is to understand nature and natural law. This includes learning and practicing the various sciences such as astrology, medicine, meditation, etc. The efforts are in preserving these so that they will be around for future generations.”
Although Reusi Dat Ton is sometimes referred to as Thai Yoga, it’s not called yoga in Thailand.
If you compare it to Indian Yoga such as Ashtanga Yoga and Bikram Yoga, Reusi Dat Ton seems to have a gentler overall approach, though it can get rigorous as well. A wide range of techniques are applied to oneself, often in therapeutic routines that are designed for specific benefits. This makes it similar to Thai Massage and shows how the two practices evolved together in Thailand.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has an approved Reusi Dat Ton routine that is taught as part of the Traditional Thai Massage program at Wat Po in Bangkok. This routine provides only a small sampling of what is practiced by Ruesis.