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Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion July 10-24, 2018

Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion

Location: Adventure Hostel, Bangkok, Thailand

Prana - life force that sustains all of us (aka chi)
Pranayama - a yogic breathing exercise designed to extract more prana from the air we breathe (my personal definition)
Uddiyana Bandha - emptying the lungs and sucking-in the tummy
Khumbaka - a breath-hold, could be in-breath or out-breath
Bahya Khumbaka - breathing-in and holding it
Antara Khumbaka - breathing-out and holding it
Nadi - energy channel, not physical
Sushumna Nadi - the main nadi that connects all the chakras, located in the spinal column (think spinal cord but not physical), blue in color
Ida - major nadi, feminine, on the left side of the Sushumna Nadi, red in color
Pingala - major nadi, masculine, on the right side of the Sushumna Nadi, white in color
Chakra - energy hub lined up from tip of the spine to the top of the head. Depending on school of thought, there could be 5 or up to 11 chakras
Sahasrara Chakra - the main energy hub on top of the head. When prana reaches this level, the mind gets into a state of one-pointedness (meditative bliss? sorry, I'm there yet)

CAUTION: this is not a do-it-yourself sequence. I'm simply narrating how I'm doing my practice. This is advanced, experimental and unproven - not for every yoga practitioner

Fuzion: Hatha and Yantra Yoga
When I was in Dharamshala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, I talked to Dr. Chok Tenzin Monlam Peltsok, a Tibetan Tantra yogi, about Tibetan yoga or Yantra Yoga. It got me started into researching more about Yantra Yoga. I went to Youtube, got some names, followed links, read some more, etc.

Yantra Yoga
What makes Yantra Yoga distinct from Hatha are the pranayama and the movement (from my limited knowledge and experience). Hatha Yoga can be very physical and reserves kumbhaka for the advanced practitioner. In Yantra, pranayama is more about antara kumbhaka while doing the movement. The Yantra movement is not physically challenging - it's designed not to develop muscles or stamina but to move energy around the body.

L-Sit Surprise
One epiphany was the L-Sit. After doing the Yantra Yoga 5-Root subtle breathing, I attepted to do an L-Sit, which is perhaps the most difficult abdominal yoga asana. I could do the L-Sit but can't hold it for long. When I did the L-Sit after the Yantra Yoga, I lifted my body up effortlessly! It's not because I felt strong. It was because I felt so light! At that point, I knew there was something special to Yantra Yoga that needed more exploration. But because I can't find a Yantra Yoga teacher, it only meant biohacking my body.

Hatha and Yantra Yoga Fusion
Sirsasana A: headstand

Here in Bangkok, given ample time in the morning to deepen my practice, I started practising Yantra Yoga more as a curiosity. But I felt its benefit and began to acquire one Aha! Moment after another on how I can intelligently combine the best of Yantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Vipassana Meditation, and freediving techniques. To find out what happens, I executed all of it. To cite an example, take for instance, the Downward Dog.

Downward Dog

  1. empty my lungs and suck my tummy in Uddiyana Bandha and hold my breath - Bahya Kumbhaka (in Hatha Yoga, you breath while holding this pose)
  2. keep holding the breath until the panic-attack kicks-in (when you feel like you're dying because you can't breathe)...and then I still continue holding the breath while calmly observing all body sensations (I'm combining freediving and Vipassana here)
  3. in this position, I also visualize prana converging on a particular chakra, with all its nuances - number of petals, color, etc. I only release the tummy and come up for air when I really cannot hold it anymore.
  4. upon inhalation, I visualize green prana-filled air into my nose that goes up all the way to the skull and curves down into the red ida nadi and the white pingala nadi until the air reaches the base of the spine (there is controlled breathing in Hatha Yoga, but I haven't come across something with this kind of detailed and vivid visualization)
  5. on the exhalation, I would visualize the green air at the base of the spine to go into the blue Sushumna Nadi, going all the way up and exiting the top of the head (Sahasrara Chakra)

By the time I'm done with just this Downward Dog, I already feel light-headed and require a few normal breaths to recover. I keep doing that technique on every asana. When the asana opens up the body, I would do an Antara Kumbhaka instead of a Bahya Kumbhaka. By the time I'm done with the entire sequence, I would then do the Yantra Yoga 5-Root subtle yoga. This is followed by the last step, meditation.

Ending Thoughts
The foregoing is intense and I risk frying my nervous system - in theory. But I haven't felt anything negative so far. The above has been my practice almost on a daily basis here in Bangkok.

Verdict? I'm strong and I feel...not sure how to word it...but I feel power simmering within me. But how do I intensify and nurture this? How can I use it in my daily life? It's a feeling I never had with Hatha Yoga alone. I intend to pursue and deepen this practice, following every Aha Moment that presents itself. Let's see where it takes me.

--- TheLoneRider
Yoga & Fitness Website: YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit

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Adventure Hostel Bangkok - N7 BTS train stop, dorm rooms, great for solo travelers, laundry, roof deck, entertainment center, kitchen, all-day tea-coffee, fridge, clean
1541 Phahonyothin Rd. Payathai

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