TheLoneRider
a nomad in search of...
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Feet, Ankles and Energy Lines Feb 11-15, 2019

International Training Massage School (ITM)
LEVEL I: Foundation of Thai Massage

My Boxing Days
When I was fighting my depression back in my university days, I enrolled in Boxing lessons and practised almost daily for 6 months. It was a full hour of intense training, but what added to my motivation was the next one hour of intense boxer-massage administered by my trainer. That massage after the workout was pure bliss.

Yoga Savasana Massage
In yoga, after an hour of asana, during Savasana, the teacher may do a 10-sec head massage and walks away. I felt like a light bulb - being turned on and the lady walks away! That simply doesn't do it for me, specially having experienced the full body massage after a boxing workout. For that reason alone, I wanted to learn the art of massage. Here in Chiang Mai, perhaps ground-zero for the study of world renowned Thai Massage, I get a barter-deal for a Level 1 certification Thai Massage course. How cool is that?

International Training Massage School (ITM)
ITM is perhaps the most prestigious massage school not just in Chiang Mai but all of Thailand. Three consecutive times in a row, they won the Lifetime Award for being the best vocational school by The Royal Award. This is not easy - there are thousands of vocational schools in Thailand and ITM is the only that who made the grade. ITM is a formal learning institution in a 3 storie building. It's clean, organized and professionally run and managed by a family whose members are all hands-on and devoted to the practice. It has produced certified Thai massage teachers from 97 countries.

ITM - International Training Massage School

International Training Massage School (ITM)

Address: 59/9 Chang Puek Road Soi 4, T. Sri Phum, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand
Email: itm@itmthaimassage.com
Phone: Tel (66 53) 218 632, Mobile (66 83) 763 1002, Fax (66 53) 224 197
Hours: 9am - 5pm

LEVEL I: Foundation of Thai Massage
Level 1 is an introduction into the practice. It develops grounding such as performing the Wai Khru before the actual massage (a meditative silence in Namaste mudra honoring the founder, Dr. Shivaga and wishing health and wellness to the receiver). Level 1 consists of massage from the top of the head to the toes on the front of the receiver's body while lying down on the floor. This is covered in 63 sections - one section could consist of about 5 steps. (Level 2 covers the back, side and seated position.).

Kate demonstrating foot massage
Kate demonstrating foot massage

Daily Routine
We arrive shortly before 9am to have ample time to wash our feet and hands before the session starts. At 9am, we gather to recite the Wai Khru, followed by a warm-up exercise which could consist of yoga stretches, Tai Chi and other body movements. In the formal lessons, the instructor initially demonstrates and explains the sequence. This is followed by actual hands-on practice by the students with a partner as the teacher repeats the step-by-step process. After the lunch break, the students practice amongst themselves while the teachers go around giving advice and making corrections. From 3-5pm, the teachers leave the room and the students are free to do freestyle practice on their partners. Classes end at 5pm.

Feet, Ankles and Energy Lines
Thursday's Tai Chi morning exercise was done at Nong Buak Hard Park and led by no other than the school's founder, Mr. Chongkol (John) Setthakorn

Students
I met a good number of students at the center, some have become good acquaintances. Some were continuing Levels 2-5 to be professional massage therapists in their countries, while others like me were simply starting at Level 1. Nearly all of them were already pursuing a wellness practice or on the spiritual path. Everybody was supportive, engaging and friendly. That was the general atmosphere. I would be delighted to cross paths with them again as we all develop proficiency with our practice.

Ending Thoughts
There wasn't really enough time to review properly before the exam because after class, the mind is already exhausted and cannot be productive anymore. The following day brings new lessons to learn. This happens Monday to Thursday. Friday is exam day. The teachers and course managers are well aware of this and are therefore not too strict in their grading. What's important is that they know you already have a sense of what you need to do - because the rest is simply to practise more.

Until I become proficient with my Level 1 and until I get my Level 2 certification, Thai massage will be a wonderful addition to my yoga class. For a one-on-one private yoga class, it can be asana, pranayama, meditation and Thai massage - perhaps a full 2 hours. I can't wait to try this full routine on someone.

But in the meantime, I am simply at the beginning of my practice. The order of the day is simply to practise...practise and more practise until it becomes 2nd nature. And then, Level 2.

I am grateful to have my start at Thailand's most prestigious Thai Massage school - International Training Massage School and all the wonderful people who run the facility. For a deepening lifelong practice, this good start makes all the difference.

--- TheLoneRider

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PICTURES COURTESY OF ITM



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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



USEFUL INFORMATION

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. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  2. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  3. Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Aug 14, 2019
  4. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  5. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  6. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  7. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  8. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  9. Movie Review: Anna (2019) July 15, 2019
  10. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  11. Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019) July 4, 2019
  12. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  13. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  14. Movie Review: Rocketman (2019) June 25, 2019
  15. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  16. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  17. Movie Review: Aladdin (2019) June 13, 2019
  18. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  19. Movie Review: X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) June 6, 2019
  20. Blues Music Scene in Chiang Mai June 6, 2019
  21. Movie Review: John Wick 3 - Parabellum (2019) June 4, 2019
  22. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  23. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  24. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  25. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  26. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras May 30, 2019
  27. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  28. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  29. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  30. Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019) May 14, 2019
  31. Movie Review: Arctic (2018) May 13, 2019
  32. Abs Yoga May 12, 2019
  33. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  34. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  35. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  36. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  37. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  38. Movie Review: Hellboy (2019) Apr 15, 2019
  39. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  40. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  41. Movie Review: Shazam! (2019) Apr 4, 2019
  42. Movie Review: Captive State (2019) Mar 27, 2019
  43. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  44. Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019) Mar 19, 2019
  45. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  46. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  47. Movie Review: Vox Lux (2018) Mar 2, 2019
  48. Movie Review: The Favourite (2018) Feb 25, 2019
  49. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  50. Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel Feb 19, 2019
  51. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  52. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  53. Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018) Feb 3, 2018
  54. Movie Review: Green Book Jan 30, 2019
  55. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  56. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Jan 27, 2019
  57. Movie Review: Aquaman Jan 26, 2019
  58. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  59. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  60. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  61. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  62. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  63. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  64. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  65. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  66. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  67. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  68. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  69. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  70. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  71. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  72. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  73. 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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