a nomad in search of life's Easter Eggs
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018

Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot

Location: The Yoga Tree, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Yoga Exploration
When Areeradh accepted my offer to write about a yoga class, she gave me the liberty to choose what class. I was intrigued by Yoga Exploration by Gernot, so that's the one I attended. But what exactly is yoga exploration? I was about to find out.

Gernot conducted the class which was focused on pranayama - yogic breathing exercise. His teaching style is similar to mine - a mix of theoretical backgrounder, vinyasa flow and static holds. It resembled more a mini-workshop. He redefined pranayama, not as a regulation of the breath, but more like freeing the breath. This is done by micro-adjustments in the yogic poses usually by modifying the curvature of the spine in various places - sacrum, lumbar, thoracic and cervical. This is where I got confused or perhaps encountered difficulty - both physically and philosophically.

Micro-Adjusting the Asana
The adjustments were very subtle, bordering on non-discernable movement on my part. Example: Ardha Uttanaasana - halfway looking up after a forward fold. Normally, I would just flatten my back to lengthen my spine. If I want intensity, I would pull my hips back and push my shoulders forward. He asked us to try it with the tail-bone tucked in and the tail-bone out - to experience the full range of that small motion. Then he advised to take the middle road as the optimum level in freeing the breath. Another example: Uttanasana - standing forward bend. He asked us while in that pose to tuck our tail-bone in and then, out. I don't even remember which one he preferred as I could not even move my tail-bone.

Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot
post-yoga class picture with Gernot

Philosophical Challenge
If I understand Gernot right, he was saying compromise the pose to free the breath. If freeing the breath meant not having a 45° angle on the shin vs the floor on a Warrior II, then adjust the angle.

I have a big problem with this approach - philosophically. True, in yoga, breath is more important than the pose. But everytime we do an asana, the body is contracted in a way that would compromise the breath - do a forward bend and you inevitably lose lung capacity. It cannot be helped. My philosophy is: come to a perfect pose first (to the extent you have the flexibility) and then ensure you maximize your breathing. I will go to the full extent of my twist up to my safety edge and then, do my yogic breathing.

Ending Thoughts
I was hoping that I would have good chat with Areeradh after the class, as I didn't get that chance 2 years ago when I attend her Dance Mandala class. But timing wasn't the best - she was out of the country.

To be honest, I don't know what to make out of that class with Gernot. Sure, Gernot is knowledgeable and knows what he is talking about. But it didn't do it for me. I would think that is was a conflict of yogic philosophy. This is not to suggest I'm right and he is wrong - no! Maybe it's a personal preference - some people like apples, some like oranges. But it's always good to have that choice. Different strokes for different folks. My statements here are based on my unique body anatomy (we all have unique body anatomies) and my own experience as a deepen my practice. What I say here may not apply to everyone. This is just me thinking aloud.

Thank you Areeradh and Gernot for having me in that class.

--- TheLoneRider
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Next stop: Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa

Chiang Mai Yoga blogs:

  1. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  2. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  3. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  4. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  5. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  6. Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  7. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  8. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  9. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  10. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  11. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  12. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  13. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras May 30, 2019
  14. Abs Yoga May 12, 2019
  15. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  16. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  17. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  18. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  19. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  20. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016

Google Map

Chiang Mai, Thailand

important places in Chiang Mai IMPORTANT PLACES
Chiang Mai Bus Station Bus Station
Chiang Mai Train Station Train Station
Chiang Mai airport Chiang Mai International Airport
Nong Buak Hard Park Nong Buak Hard Park - free yoga classes daily

hotels in Chiang Mai HOTEL
Chiang Mai Arun Dara Villa Arun Dara Villa - 7 exclusive rooms, 1 swimming pool for every room, grand opening
Chiang Mai Nawa Sheeva Hotel Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big rooms, high ceiling, salt-water pool, restaurant, cafe
Chiang Mai Nawa Saraan Hotel Nawa Saraan Hotel - low density (4 spacious rooms), stone garden setting, Koi fish pond, Old City location
Arun Suite, Chiang Mai Arun Suite - 3 bedrooms in a 3-storie guesthouse within Old City, ideal for families

birds nest restaurants in Chiang Mai RESTAURANT
La Pizza Chiang Mai La Pizza Chiang Mai - Italian pizza, pasta, wine, dessert, coffee
Chiang Mai birds nest restaurant Natural Bird Nest by Burapa - authentic bird's nest soup

Thai massage in Chiang Mai WELLNESS
ITM  International Training Massage School ITM - International Training Massage School - Chiang Mai's most prestigious massage school
Float Chiang Mai Float Chiang Mai - sensory deprivation float pod
Chiang Mai, Royal Thai Lanna Massage Zira Spa - upscale authentic Thai massage and spa treatment

motorcycle rental in Chiang Mai MOTORBIKE RENTAL
Chiang Mai birds nest motorcycle Tawan Bike - motorcycle rental | +66 91 635 2863 | Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200


Chiang Mai FYI / Tips
  • crop-burning season in Chiang Mai is between late Feb to early April. But laws change everytime. This year, 2019, there is a 61-day ban on burning so the farmers started burning early. When my plane was approaching Chiang Mai on Jan 24, 2019, there was already a thick blanket of smog covering the entire city (and beyond). But within the city itself, you won't feel it (but that doesn't mean the air is healthy). To monitor air conditions in real time, refer to site: Chiang Mai Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)
  • hot season begins March and lasts until June
  • wet season begins July and lasts until September
  • best time to visit Chiang Mai is mid-September to mid-February - after the monsoon and before the burning
  • you have to try Khao Soi, this is north Thailand's culinary staple
  • the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located in the Old City
  • to exchange your dollars to Thai Baht, the Super Rich Money Exchange give the best rates. There are many branches scattered around Chiang Mai
  • get a red cab (songthao) outside the train station for Baht 50 (instead of paying B100 if inside the train station) to Old City - if you haggle nicely enough...I did!
  • shared red taxi (songthao) - B30 standard fare plying all over Old City
  • for only B50/day, best to rent a bike to go around the Old City - it's a 2.5km2 with lots to discover
  • FREE daily yoga classes from 9:00am to 10:15am at Nong Buak Hard Park (southwest corner of Old City). Resident and passing-through teachers take turns conducting yoga classes.
Blues/Jazz Bars in Chiang Mai
  1. North Gate Pub - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays by the 11pm band
  2. Taphae East - 88 Thapae Rd. (just north of Night Bazaar). Fridays at 9:30pm by Chiang Mai Blues Band
  3. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
Chiang Mai Cost Index
  • B60 Chiang beer
  • B250 1 hour drop-in yoga session
  • B200 one hour Thai body massage at WAYA Massage (highly recommended)
  • B50 noodle soup with meat
  • B50 coffee
  • B40 pad thai
  • B30/kilo wash-only laundry
  • B50/kilo wash+iron laundry
  • B100-150 dorm bed/night
  • B250 fan room/night
  • B30 internet cafe/hour
  • B170-190 Movies Sat-Sun and public holidays
  • B130-150 Movies weekdays
  • B100 Movies Wednesdays (movie discount day)
  • B750 1/2 day Thai cooking lessons
  • B900-1000 1 full day Thai cooking lessons
  • B400 Muay Thai boxing ticket
  • B2500 starting room rate at the luxury hotel, Nawa Sheeva (highly recommended)

  • Transportation
  • B450 bus, Chiang Mai to Bangkok
  • B160-180 bus, Chiang Mai to Pai
  • B1250 bus, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B1650 slow boat, Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
  • B210 bus, Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 3-4 hours
  • B360 Green VIP bus, Chiang Mai to Mae Sai (Thai border town for visa run to Tachileik, Myanmar)
  • B50 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  • B200 motorbike rental, 24 hours
  • B273 #51 sleeping train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B638 #7 a/c train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • B50 red taxi fare from point to point
  • B100 red taxi fare from train terminal to city

  • Tours
  • B2000 full day elephant sanctuary
  • B750 Chiang Rai one-day tour
  • B1500 mountain biking scenic ride
How to Get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok by Train from Bang Sue Train Station

For more train info: Bangkok to Chiang Mai trains - departing from Hua Lamphong - MRT (Bangkok)

(I'm using Bang Sue as a starting point because I was closer to it, but you may be closer to the Hua Lamphong station)

  1. take the MRT train to Bang Sue Station. Take the #1 Exit to the north provincial trains
  2. Proceed to Counter 2. You will see an information booth, a train schedule chart and the ticket counter. Choose the train and pay at the ticket counter.
  3. daily train schedule:
    • 8:48am - #7 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:30pm, not sleeper, B638
    • 2:06pm - #109 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 4:05am, sleeper
    • 6:31pm - #9 Premium Train, arrive Chiang Mai 7:15am, sleeper, B938 upper deck, B1038 lower deck
    • 7:56pm - #13 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 8:40am, sleeper, B768 upper deck, B838 lower deck
    • 10:22pm - #51 Train, arrive Chiang Mai 12:10pm, sleeper, 3rd class B270 (non sleeper), 2nd class B438, B728 upper deck, B798 lower deck
Chiangmai Blogs by TheLoneRider
  1. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  2. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  3. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  4. Movie Review: Official Secrets (2019) Oct 15, 2019
  5. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  6. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  7. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  8. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  9. Movie Review: Joker (2019) Oct 8, 2019
  10. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  11. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  12. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  13. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  14. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  15. Movie Review: Hail Satan? (2019) Sep 29, 2019
  16. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  17. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  18. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  19. Movie Review: Ad Astra (2019) Sep 25, 2019
  20. Movie Review: Rambo 5 Sep 22, 2019
  21. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  22. Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  23. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  24. Movie Review: Farewell Song (2019) Sep 16, 2019
  25. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  26. Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) Sep 12, 2019
  27. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  28. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  29. Movie Review: Yesterday (2019) Sep 3, 2019
  30. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  31. Movie Review: Midsommar (2019) Aug 28, 2019
  32. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  33. Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019) Aug 22, 2019
  34. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  35. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  36. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  37. Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Aug 14, 2019
  38. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  39. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  40. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  41. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  42. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  43. Movie Review: Anna (2019) July 15, 2019
  44. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  45. Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) July 4, 2019
  46. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  47. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  48. Movie Review: Rocketman (2019) June 25, 2019
  49. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  50. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  51. Movie Review: Aladdin (2019) June 13, 2019
  52. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  53. Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) June 6, 2019
  54. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  55. Movie Review: John Wick 3 - Parabellum (2019) June 4, 2019
  56. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  57. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  58. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  59. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  60. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras May 30, 2019
  61. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  62. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  63. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  64. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  65. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  66. Abs Yoga May 12, 2019
  67. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  68. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  69. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  70. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  71. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  72. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  73. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  74. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  75. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  76. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  77. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  78. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  79. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  80. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  81. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  82. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  83. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  84. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  85. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  86. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  87. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  88. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  89. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  90. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  91. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  92. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  93. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  94. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  95. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  96. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  97. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  98. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  99. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  100. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  101. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  102. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  103. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  104. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  105. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  106. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  107. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Bangkok (Thailand) to Chiang Mai April 9-10, 2016
General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!

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