History of Karlakattai
Karlakattai is an ancient warrior conditioning system dating back to prehistoric times, approximately 60000 years ago. It was named after a Bhuta Gana (elemental warrior) in lord Bhairava’s army called Karalan. Karalan is said to have had the habit of uprooting fully grown trees and using them to train his body for war.
By imitating the movements given by Karalan, the tradition of swinging the Karlakattai has given superhuman strength and grace to countless Tamil warriors and common folk like farmers and women over the centuries. When the British came they were very threatened by the power of the ordinary Tamil citizen. So they systematically found, attacked and persecuted the Gurus who taught Karlakattai. The Gurukulams were closed and so the gurus secretly taught in thinai pallis or “courtyard schools” in their own homes. Pretty soon the British shut that down too.
Asan Jothi Senthil Kannan
It is by the heroic efforts of gurus that the ancient practice of Karlakattai has remained alive to this day. Asan Jothi Senthil Kannan is a 7th Generation Warrior trained by his grandfather, the great warrior general Guru Govindasami. Asan Jothi has had over 100 teachers of martial arts and Siddha yoga. He counts 32 of them as worthy teachers who shaped him into the person he is today. Asan Jothi has practised karlakattai and martial arts for 41 years and cannot remember a day that he did not train. Now aged 45 Asan Jothi looks like he is in his late 20s, with not a single grey hair and a powerful athletic body and the bearing of a warrior general, he is an inspiration for all the young people of India.
Asan Jothi is the founder of the International Karlakattai Sports Federation and the author of the book Karlakattai, which is internationally considered the encyclopedia of karlakattai.
Humble and generous, Asan Jothi is always thinking about how to serve the common people. He realised that people nowadays do not have the strength and fitness to directly start on karlakattai training so he created Karlakattai Yoga which is a combination of Karlakattai practice and Siddha Yoga. For this purpose, he decided to invent a new karlakattai called eratti kai karalai or two hand karlakattai.
This karlakattai is unique because it has a handle at both ends and looks like a large rolling pin. The advantage is that you can do Siddha yoga postures and movements with the added weight of the karlakattai which gently stretches and strengthens the body.
For women’s Karlakattai Yoga he has incorporated Padi karalai which is a karalakattai shaped like a padi vessel designed exclusively for women .
What is Karlakattai Yoga
The biggest skill that we can learn by practising karlakattai yoga is the skill of understanding ourselves through our body. Each of us has a unique body which is meant for some unique destiny unknown to us. But by constant practise, we learn the strengths and capabilities of our body and understand what it is meant for. Slowly our destiny starts to reveal itself, the reason we were born becomes clear.
The first step of karlakattai yoga is to achieve nervous balance and calm. Because stress is the biggest threat to our life and destiny. Within a few days of practising karlakattai yoga we have observed that people become less anxious and calmer and develop more courage to face life. This leads to better productivity.
On prolonged practice karlakattai yoga heals all injuries and restores vitality and youthfulness. It also heals digestion issues by killing pathogens in the body. Back and neck issues and other repetitive strain injuries vanish as the muscles become strong in a holistic manner.
These kinds of results cannot be achieved with any other form of exercise.
The one-hour session is divided into
- 25 minutes of Mei Padam which helps a person to progressively understand their body, release tensions and calm stress
25 minutes of sitting stretches with the karlakattai
- which is based on movements like grinding, cutting the grass and other physical labour which used to keep our ancestors healthy and fit.
- These movements work on the gut bacteria, killing off the pathogenic ones and restoring the balance of the symbiotic ones.
- All diseases are said to originate in the gut and can be removed from the gut.
- There are a total of 64 movement sequences
- The movement sequences include breathing patterns for vitality called kshakthriya pranayama
- It restores the balance of vata, pittha and khapha the three arms of metabolism in Siddha therapy.
- There are 12 different types of body types and you can realise which one you are in the class
- It corrects all structural issues, hip and pelvic issues and pains of the body
- 10 minutes of deep relaxation and restoration
Karlakattai Yoga has 3 main components, Mei-padam, Karlakattai and Siddha Yoga.
Mei-Padam (understanding your body)
This is a set of dynamic movement sequences with many astounding effects. Mei-padam makes you realise the strengths in your body and helps you to develop it. It also creates flexibility and mobility by progressive and repeated movements. There are over 1500 sequences of mei-padam and the right sequence is chosen for the students by the teacher. Everyday the sequence is different and so it is mentally engaging and always fresh. Mei-padam unites body, mind and soul so the person can know who they really are through their body.
Karlakattai practice creates an engine of endurance in the body and bestows extraordinary strength on the practitioner in a short time. It strengthens the joints of the fingers which is essentially for gripping strength while lifting things. It activates the wrist 360° and it cures repetitive stress injuries from typing and using the mouse. It works on all the sites of common modern injuries due to desk work and cures conditions such as elbow pain, frozen shoulder and neck and spine injuries.
Additionally it acts on the lungs and cures diseases of the lungs. It also balances the hormonal activity of the thymus gland which is essential for immunity and it regulates the pituitary gland which is the master gland for all hormones in the body. So it cures the symptoms of many modern chronic illnesses like thyroid dysfunction, diabetes,metabolic syndrome etc. It also improves circulation and regulates the thickness of the blood thereby cleaning blockages in the arteries. This strengthens the heart, reduces and eventually eliminates risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The practitioners of karlakattai reverse age over time and develop a youthful body even when they are old.
Siddha Yoga Therapy
Siddha Yoga therapy was created by warriors so that they could fix their own injuries themselves by movement. The injured muscles heal usually but the circulation in nerves and blood is hampered and so the body part never regains its strength. This is called muscle trauma. In Siddha yoga therapy movement is employed to affect the internal circulation without touching the insides of the muscles surgically and without medicines. This helps the muscle trauma to heal completely.
Karlakattais used for Karlakattai Yoga
Eratai kai Karlakattai (two handle karlakattai)
This is a unique karalakattai designed by Asan Jothi Senthil Kannan it has two handles on either side and is shaped like a rolling pin, the heaviest part of the karlakattai is in the middle. This karlakattai is suitable to build core muscles and improve the health of internal organs. It is very good to manage obesity and also gut disorders.
The design and movements are the copyrighted intellectual property of Asan Jothi Sentil Kannan of Jothi Silambam Kshakthiriya Gurukulam and International Karlakattai Sports Federation and should be used only with proper authorization.
Originally a light pair of karlakattais used by women, this karlakattai is well suited for Karlakattai yoga. Its shape is based on the padi or measuring cup used to measure grains. Because of its light weight it can be used for wrist rotations.
The wrist has many varma points and nerve connections that are connected to the gut and other internal organs. This is why by reading the pulse at the wrist a Siddha physician can tell the health of the whole body.
By incorporating padi karlakattai training into karlakattai yoga we can enjoy good health and well being.
“There is nobody who cannot benefit from the practice of karlakattai yoga I have designed it like this” ~ Asan Jothi Kannan