TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of...
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.

Pranayama
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. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  2. Yoga In The Park - Chiang Mai July 31, 2018
  3. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  4. 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 Nawa Sheeva Hotel Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big room, high ceiling, salt-water pool
Chiang Mai Nawa Saraan Hotel Nawa Saraan Hotel - upscale container-themed, garden setting, most expensive coffee maker in Chiang Mai

birds nest restaurants in Chiang Mai RESTAURANT
Chiang Mai birds nest restaurant Natural Bird Nest by Burapa - authentic bird's nest soup

Thai massage in Chiang Mai SPA / MASSAGE
Chiang Mai, Royal Thai Lanna Massage Zira Spa - upscale authentic Thai massage and spa treatment

cafes in Chiang Mai BICYCLE RENTAL
Chiang Mai bicycle rental Top Thailand Adventure Tour - bicycle rental

USEFUL INFORMATION

Chiang Mai FYI / Tips
  • 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 cab 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!
  • 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.
How to Get around Chiang Mai
  • red taxi (shared) - B50 standard fare
  • tuk-tuk
  • bicycle - B50 daily rental
Blues/Jazz Bars in Chiang Mai
  1. North Gate Pub - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session
  2. Road House - in front of Porn Ping Hotel
  3. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar
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. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  2. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  3. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  4. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  5. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  6. Yoga In The Park - Chiang Mai July 31, 2018
  7. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  8. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  9. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  10. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  11. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  12. 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 journey...you 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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