Apr 20, 2020
Fitness in Quarantine Times
Location : Mut Mee Garden Guest House, Nong Khai, Thailand
Yoga at the Core of It
Fitness and staying healthy are key during these Covid times when you're holed-up in the house and Netflix becomes an addicting habit. I'm lucky to be hunkering down in the garden setting of Mut Mee Guest House where there is ample space for workout fronting the Mekong River and overlooking Laos on the other bank. My approach is holistic (body, mind and spirit) and always aligned to yogic principles. It doesn't matter if I'm doing calisthenics or asana, breath is always the priority, being mindful of what I'm doing, non-reactive to the increasing difficulty of the workout, putting focus on my intention, and remaining grateful for my health and abundance.
Let me share with you my Daily Practice.
- water therapy - first thing in the morning when I wake up, I drink 1.2 liters of water with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of sea salt (not the grocery iodized salt). This gives me an uncomfortable bloated feeling.
- stomach-churning - while water is inside me, I go into a 4-step stomach-churning kriya to cleanse the digestive system. I had been doing this regularly for years and I've never had any intestinal disorder. If I eat 3 meals/day, I would shit 3x/day.
a) First, I exhale and fully tuck my tummy and hold it there until I need my inhale (uddiyana bandha).
b) Second, after my exhale, I hold my breath and I tuck-release-tuck-release my tummy repeatedly. I only stop when I need to breathe back.
c) Third, after my exhale, I hold my breath and I tuck my tummy. While the tummy is tucked, I protrude my abdominus rectus forward. I do this repeatedly until I make my inhale.
d) Fourth, I do the previous set, C, but I swirl my abdominus rectus like a wave (nauli). I haven't perfected this, but I still attempt to go through the motion.
This kriya cleanses my digestive and optimizes my digestive metabolic rate. It adds fire into my jatara agni for optimum digestive health. I know this works because I go to the toilet as many times as I have meals in one day. Since I cleanse my digestive lining, there is more surface area to absorb nutrients from the food I eat. Since no toxin stays in my gut for long (which eventually oozes out through the skin), I have no skin problem whatsoever. It is said that all diseases start from the gut. By keeping my gut optimized and clean, I hardly ever get sick. I don't even remember the last time I got sick.
- pranayama, kumbhaka, bandha, mudra, shatkriya - I spend 20 minutes combining all these elements into a kriya. In full lotus seating (padmasana) my fingers would be on
gyana mudra. On the inhale, I would simultaneously do 3 things: roll my tongue up sideways to funnel the air in the middle (
kaka mudra), squeeze my butt cheeks (mula bandha), and visualize the top of my head open up (brahmarandhram) allowing prana-rich air to enter my central nadi (sushumna). When the lungs are full, I hold my breath and do the following: I continue to squeeze my butt cheeks, then tuck-in my belly (uddiyana bandha) and take my chin close to my chest (jalandhara bandha). The tip of my tongue would now press against my upper soft palate (nabho mudra) while my fingers remain on gyana mudra. On the exhale, I relax my entire body and chant OM, feeling the dissolution of my body until only vibration remains. When my lungs are empty, I repeat the entire process - 20 minutes.
Even on a cold day, I would generate heat and sweat-out - this is my validation that what I'm doing is right. The pranayama makes me strong as it moves energy within my body, the mudra balances the 5 elements within me, the bandhas seal the energy within. There are many health benefits but I'll stop at the above.pranayama, kumbhaka, bandha, mudra, shatkriya at Mut Mee Garden
garden shot by Pao W.
- vision therapy - At 2pm, I would join Pancho and his yoga group for a 40-minute meditation. Lately though, instead of doing meditation, I combine shatkriya and mudra to fortify my vision. In padmasana, my hands would be on surya pradarshini mudra. My eyes will focus on one single spot on the wall (trataka shatkriya) - and I will not blink. My breathing is ujjayi breath. No bandhas. I focus on the breath, the spot and my hand mudra. My eyes will eventually feel a burn - still, no blinking. At some point, tears would start flowing down my eyes. At that point, I shift my focus from the dot on the wall to my third eye (sambhavi mudra).
- Vipassana meditation - there is no specific time I do this. Usually, when I am alone with time on my hands - on the garden bench, in my room, etc. On padmasana, I would initially focus on my breath to prime the body. Then, I scan my body, mindful of any sensation I feel - pleasant or unpleasant, while remaining completely non-reactive, understanding that sensations arise and dissipate in full compliance to the natural law of impermanence.
- physical workout - I usually do this around 6pm. This could be rope skipping, calisthenics, asana, high intensity interval training or abs workout. Lots of joggers and walkers pass by the promenade and there is a healthy spirit of fitness amongst the people.
Slow Incline Push-Up
High Plank / Side Plank Hold
Wall-Supported Handstand Hold
Altogether, I could be spending as much as 4 hours daily for my personal practice. This takes priority to ensure I don't succumb to this pandemic. Beyond surviving Covid 19, I remain strong, medication-free, diet restriction-free, disease-free and full of vigor. I'll even be bold to say it delays my ageing process. Compared to the medical bills my friends routinely cough-up - doctors fees, prescripton drugs, maintenance check-ups, surgery, in-patient confinements, tests, etc., I am saving a HUGE amount of money. But more than money, quality of life remains high and full of vigor. Health is wealth. Period.
I've already shared my healthy habits. It worked for me, I'm confident it'll work for you.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
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Biohackers Meetup in Chiang Mai(Jan 25, 2003) I've always been a biohacker before I even knew the word. I think biohacking is a state of thinking. You have this uncanny ability to connect the dots inside your head from diverse disciplines, with an intuitive hunch on the outcome. In more ways than one, the only way to find out if it works is to try it on your body - you become the guinea pig. When Jason organized a biohacker meetup, I just had to show up.....more »»
Nong Khai Travel Information / Tips
Vientiane to Nong Khai by bus
At the Khua Din Bus Terminal, you can board the #14 bus bound for Buddha Park. It will make a stop on the Friendship Bridge border - 15 mins, B8000. Go to Laos Immigration to exit. Board the special bus to cross the Friendship Bridge, Kip 4,000 or Baht 20. It will stop at Thai Immigration. Get processed. From there, board a tuk-tuk for Nong Khai, 5kms.
Nong Khai Attractions
- Nong Khai Aquarium -
- Salakaewkoo (Wat Khaek) -
- Issan Rum Distillery -
- Wat Pho Chai -
- Lan Phaya Nak -
- Tha Sadet Market -
- Nong Khai Muay Thai Gym -
- Phrathat Bang Phuan -
Nong Khai Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Nong Khai - Chiang Khan Roadtrip June 18, 2020
- Life in Nong Khai Mar 13 - June 18, 2020
- Peoplescape of Nong Khai Jun 17, 2020
- Exploring Nong Khai's Cafe Culture Jun 10, 2020
- Nong Khai Street Art June 4, 2020
- Sirsasana A & B May 20, 2020
- Structured Water, Water Therapy and Nauli May 1, 2020
- Visiting the Salakaewkoo (Buddha Park) in Nong Khai, Thailand Apr 23, 2020
- Fitness in Quarantine Times Apr 20, 2020
- Covid 19: Lion - Buffalo Analogy Apr 13, 2020
- Covid 19 and the Conspiracies Mar - Apr, 2020
- Nong Khai with Cheng Mar 18 - Apr ???, 2020
- Covid 19 and Pranayama Mar 20, 2020
- Giant Mekong Catfish at the Nong Khai Aquarium Mar 19, 2020
- Drawn to Nong Khai, Thailand Mar 12, 2020
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
Book Train Tickets in Thailand
Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com
General Travel Tips
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.
- 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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