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yoga in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama: Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale Jul 17, 2021

Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama

(Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale)

Prerequisites: strong asana practice, ongoing pranayama practice (ujjayi, anuloma viloma, kapalabhati, bhastrika, etc.)
Class Duration: 90 minutes
Location Google Map: Nawa Saraan Healing Space, Chiang Mai, Thailand

WHAT is Kumbhaka?

Kumbhaka is an advanced form of pranayama (yogic regulation of the breath) where the breath is held - either after the inhale or after the exhale.

WHEN do you begin a Kumbhaka Practice?
According to the Sivananda tradition, kumbhaka is the most important part of pranayama - but needs progressive pranayama practice to even get to that level where kumbhaka can be started. Breathing has to be done proficiently first to strengthen the lungs, and to balance the pranic and the nervous systems. Through proper pranayama practices, prana is activated, purified, fortified, absorbed and retained. Pranayama also unblocks the nadis making the flow of prana smooth and continuous. Only at this level of proficiency can the practice of kumbhaka begin.

Tip: kumbhaka will increase the difficulty of breathing. But breathing MUST always remain slow, deep and steady. If the subtlety of the breath cannot be maintained because of kumbhaka, then you are holding the breath too long. Shorten the breath-hold!

What are the Different TYPES of Kumbhaka?

  1. antara/antar/puraka kumbhaka - holding the breath after the inhale. The lungs are full
  2. bahya/bahir/rechaka kumbhaka - holding the breath after the exhale. The lungs are empty
  3. kevala kumbhaka - spontaneous cessation of the breath - the need to breathe no longer exists. This usually happens in a deep state of samadhi (a deep state of meditative absorption)

Tip: Strictly nose-breathing only. No mouth-breathing!

What are the BENEFITS of Kumbhaka?
I offer my own version based on my practice (unless stated otherwise).

  1. all the benefits of pranayama are inherent in kumbhaka but more amplified. e.g. - if pranayama moves prana vayu, then kumbhaka moves prana vayu with more force. I would imagine kumbhaka as pranayama on steroids.
  2. nearly all bandhas are done with kumbhaka. Therefore, before bandhas are practiced, the student has to be proficient in kumbhaka already (as a prerequisite to bandha).
  3. in the Wim Hof method, kumbhaka gives rise to kundalini awakening
  4. it gives you a high without the crash landing (obviously this is not the ideal motivation for learning kumbhaka, but it's there for the taking)
  5. extends life (because the number of breaths determines life span - so by slowing it down or stopping it altogether, it takes a longer time to reach that final number)
  6. kumbhaka controls the flow of prana
  7. kumbhaka calms the mind and controls the thought processes
  8. gives great strength to the mind and body - according to Dr. Varunveer

Kumbhaka is not suitable to pregnant women or people with emphysema, asthma, heart condition, hypertension and high blood pressure

What is Antara Kumbhaka?
Antara Kumbhaka is a breath-hold on the inhale when the lungs are fully inflated. It is an advanced form of pranayama (yogic regulated breath) that should be attempted only when the yogi is already proficient in asana (physical postures) and pranayama. The length of the breath-hold is done according to a timed ratio. It should be held as long as possible without straining. This class is a primer.

What is Nadi Shodan / Anuloma Viloma?
Nadi Shodan or Anuloma Viloma, by its very name, is all about cleansing the nadis (energy pathways of prana). Nadi Shodan is intended to be developed over a long period - from plain pranayama, to the addition of kumbhaka and finally the integration of bandha. It is foolish to rush to the advanced stages without establishing a strong foundation on the basics. By perfecting every stage before moving to the next level, the body, the nervous system and the mind are given ample time to process subtle changes to personality, emotional shifts, and mental clarity.

Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama: Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale
Nadi Shodan (Anuloma Viloma) breath-hold: Arek, Calum, Gordon and Nat

The 90-Minute Class

  1. introduction - what is kumbhaka? what are the benefits?
  2. stretches - neck, all the way down to calves and ankles. Limbering, free-style movement, exploring range of motion, etc.
  3. warm-up - Surya Namaskar A/B
  4. antara kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan / Anuloma Viloma
    Antara kumbhaka on anumoma viloma activates various brain centers and harmonizes the prana. This process gives rise to kundalini awakening, especially the long-hold ratios.

    To prevent energy surges, this class intersperses slow asana between the breath-holds. It can be a simple Surya Namaskar or one-legged poses, as long as it's slow, so the meditative flow is not disrupted.

    Tip 1: before doing the next inhale after a breath-hold, make a quick small exhale from the same nostril. Same thing when doing an exhale. This quick insertion makes the switch from outbreath to inhale (and vise versa), smoother.

    Tip 2: awareness is always on the a shadow. When you catch the mind drifts, gently bring it back to follow the breath.

    First stage (according to tradition): do anuloma viloma with the same length of time for inhale, antara kumbhaka and exhale. Ratio is 1:1:1. No breath-hold after the exhale. Start at 5 slow counts and do 10 rounds. Try to reach 10:10:10 as a goal.

    What we did: a uniform 5:5:5 count for 4 minutes - less mental strain. By timing it, everyone gets to do the breathing/holding within their own count and capacity.

    Second stage (according to tradition): Ratio lengthens on the exhale 1:1:2. Start with 5 slow counts, 10 rounds (5 counts on inhale, 5 counts on retention, 10 counts on exhale). Try to reach 10:10:20 as a goal.

    What we did: a uniform 5:5:10 count for 4 minutes - less mental strain. By timing it, everyone gets to do the breathing/holding within their own count and capacity. If there was already a strain on the 10-count, then they have to speed up their counting (instead of retaining the same speed and lowering down the count - so as not to add mental strain). The rule is: NO STRAIN

    Third stage (according to tradition): Ratio lengthens breath-hold and on the exhale 1:2:2. Start with 5 slow counts, 10 rounds (5 counts on inhale, 10 counts on retention, 10 counts on exhale). Try to reach 10:20:20 as a goal.

    What we did: a uniform 5:10:10 count for 4 minutes - less mental strain. By timing it, everyone gets to do the breathing/holding within their own count and capacity. If there was already a strain on the 10-count, then they have to speed up their counting (instead of retaining the same speed and lowering down the count - so as not to add mental strain). The rule is: NO STRAIN

    Fourth stage (according to tradition): Ratio lengthens breath-hold more 1:3:2. Start with 5 slow counts, 10 rounds (5 counts on inhale, 15 counts on retention, 10 counts on exhale). Try to reach 10:30:20 as a goal.

    What we did: a uniform 5:15:10 count for 5 minutes - less mental strain. By timing it, everyone gets to do the breathing/holding within their own count and capacity. If there was already a strain on the 15-count, then they have to speed up their counting (instead of retaining the same speed and lowering down the count - so as not to add mental strain). The rule is: NO STRAIN

    Fifth stage (according to tradition): Ratio lengthens breath-hold more 1:4:2. Start with 5 slow counts, 10 rounds (5 counts on inhale, 20 counts on retention, 10 counts on exhale). Try to reach 10:40:20 as a goal.

    What we did: a uniform 5:20:10 count for 5 minutes - less mental strain. By timing it, everyone gets to do the breathing/holding within their own count and capacity. If there was already a strain on the 20-count, then they have to speed up their counting (instead of retaining the same speed and lowering down the count - so as not to add mental strain). The rule is: NO STRAIN

    Advanced stage: Further advancing the practice of kumbhaka is to add the bandhas. But the practitioner needs to be firmly established on kumbhaka first before bandha is undertaken. Bandha Yoga classes will be offered separately to those already proficient. Bandha at this stage further purifies and balances the pranic forces.
  5. Ending Thoughts
    When I first started my Pranayama/Kumbhaka practice, it was back in 2008 when there wasn't much materials I could gather. With no teacher, I simply had to biohack based on limited information. Knowing now how it is supposed to be done, I would categorically say that my approach then was nothing short of reckless. Fortunately, I already had a strong practice and I was on top of my fitness. My body was able to handle the 2-week energy surge, or what I would call the Superman Effect.

    For this class, I made sure the process was in accordance to tradition - getting proper grounding and getting established stage by stage. The advance breath-holds will have to wait.

    --- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
    YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

    Next Saturday Class (Jul 24, 2021):


    1. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati
    2. Yoga Makaranda 1 by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
    3. Yoga Makaranda II by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

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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


    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
    Chiang Mai Trains by
    1. Chiang Mai trains for Bangkok - 2 day trains, 3 night trains, daily schedule
    2. Train 14 to Bangkok - departs 5pm daily, arrives BKK 6:15am, 1st class and 2nd class sleeping accomodation, Special Express
    3. Chiang Mai trains to other destinations -
    Bangkok to Chiang Mai 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
    Loei to Chiang Mai by Bus
    1. From Loei town center, take a tuk-tuk ride to the bus station, B30. There is only one bus station.
    2. As of June 28, 2020 (still on Covid schedule), there are only 3 night trips: 8:30pm, 9:30pm and 12 midnight. 9 hours, B470.
    3. The bus makes the following stops at the following times from a 9pm Loei departure: Phu Ruea (9:50pm), Phitsanulok (12:40am), Uttradit (2:20am), Lampang (4:35am)
    4. Final bus stop is at the Red Bus Arcade, Chiang Mai, 9 hour-trip, arriving 6am (from 9pm Loei departure).
    5. Take a red songthaew to Old City, B50. They'll try to charge you B100, but they'll take B50 (just assure the driver you won't tell the other passengers).
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    178. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
    179. Abs Yoga by Gigit May 12, 2019
    180. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
    181. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
    182. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
    183. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
    184. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
    185. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
    186. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
    187. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
    188. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
    189. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
    190. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
    191. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
    192. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
    193. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
    194. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
    195. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
    196. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
    197. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
    198. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
    199. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
    200. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
    201. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
    202. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
    203. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
    204. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
    205. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
    206. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
    207. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
    208. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
    209. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Bangkok (Thailand) to Chiang Mai April 9-10, 2016

    Travel Tips for Thailand

    How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

      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.

    1. 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
    2. 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!
    3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

      30-Day Extension

      NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
    4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
    5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes

    Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by

    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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