Taking Over Kevin With Kevin's departure, I was the default guy to take over Jason's Wednesday Zen Strength Breathwork & Ice Bath at Alt_Chiangmai. 5 people showed up. I adhered to the established breathing routine but only in the first round. Subsequently, I shifted gear into modifying the Wim Hof protocol to instill my yogic hacks.
Yoga, Breathwork and Icebath I've done this program before a few times with Jason, so I was already comfortable and knew what to do. I'm well-versed in breathwork and icebath as they have been part of my ongoing yoga practice.
conducting the breathwork followed by icebath
The 90-Minute Session
Introduction - I introduced myself as the new moderator for the program, gave them yogic breathing tips (never jerk the breath, must be easing to intensity, full breathing better than quantity of breaths, energy locks)
Breathing 1st Round - full compliance to the Wim Hof protocol (~ 30 breaths, hold on the exhale, relax, full inhale, hold)
Breathing 2nd Round - same as Wim Hof, but Mandukasana on the last exhale, hold, full inhale, squeeze the butt cheeks, increase and maintain pressure on the head
Breathing 3rd Round - holding on the last inhalation (to produce a high), empty on the exhalation, hold, squeeze the butt cheeks, pull the tummy inside, straight back, chin to chest, maintain head pressure
Ice Bath - one ice tub and everyone took turns on the dip staying as long as they can endure
90-Second Dip When everyone was done, I took a 90-second dip on the ice tub. I wasn't trying to break any record. It was more important for me to find out if I can come out of it without the 'damaged' feeling I had when I pushed my limit to 23 minutes.
There was no negative effect. I guess whatever I went through in the past is now in the past. I have fully recovered. Moreover, I had this light and lively feeling about myself. It was a unique and pleasant feeling that lasted throughout the day.
Saturday ABS Class I wanted to instill a community flavor to the participants so I invited them to make an announcement to the group about any of their projects or events they might be organizing. I also took the opportunity to announce my Saturday ABS Classes. It helped that I had a solid core - it showed that I was an embodiment of my practice. A few said they'll come.
Ending Thoughts As moderator for the first time, it was a pleasant and productive experience. I met some nice people who could potentially be friends, I sustained my practice since I was doing the workout with them, and hopefully, I get new joiners to my ABS Class.
This positive realization about going the 'middle way' on the icebath gives me new motivation to resume my own icebath practice. In hindsight, it seemed foolish to take on a do-or-die prolonged ice immersion. I still have my blue drum and I can freeze a small tub of water for my own dip. Perhaps I can do it every other day for 90 seconds. Let's see.
Breathwork With icebath + breathwork resuming after Songkran, I cranked up the breathwork to be progressive in time and scope - 1 min/Wim Hof protocol, 1.15 min/Mandukasana, 1.30 min/antara kumbhaka/isometric hold.
Icebath 6 bags of ice were used for the inflatable double-sized tub. Following the advice from the previous icebath to empty 2 sacks before the breathwork, the water was optimized-cold by the time the first one came in. Some took 2 'servings', and most of them stayed a good 2-3 minutes.
Participants With 8 people (Alex, Patrick, Tom, Chunyah, Sierra, Phillip, Top, ), it was a good-sized crowd from different persuasions - crypto, digital marketing, yoga, art, traveling, etc. After his battle-won Muay Thai fight, Tom (and Chunyah) dipped his still-recovering body into the rejuvenating cold.
showing the Bahya Kumbhaka(out-breath hold after emptying the lungs) with Navasana(boat pose)
2-Min Dip When everyone was done with the ice, I took a 2-min dip and came out recharged and feeling light-and-lively. Seriously, for me, I think 2 minutes is optimum for health and 23 minutes is simply damaging.
Ending Thoughts Many things can be said about moderating this icebath/breathwork - I get a little Khao Soi money, I meet like-minded people, I fortify existing friendships, I deepen my icebath practice and I invite new and positive energies to come into my life. All good for a 2-hour indulgence.
"Many things can be said about moderating this icebath/breathwork - I get a little Khao Soi money, I meet like-minded people, I fortify existing friendships, I deepen my icebath practice and I invite new and positive energies to come into my life. All good for a 2-hour indulgence. -- TheLoneRider"
(Apr 27, 2022) I have similar thoughts...I would (and have) offered courses for free. I just enjoy doing it. The money is a side benefit. Plus... I have other services to offer with coaching and courses.
So good to hear things are going well and the community is alive and well!
Tom Tom Maher (Apr 20, 2022) Hahah love it! The ice bath was a great experience
(Apr 7, 2022) This book comes from Krishnamacharya's direct lineage - his student of 18 years (1971 to 1989), A.G. Mohan. Here, Mohan clarifies ambiguities and explains the legendary stories surrounding this great master. The book is focused on the master's life and teaching about Asana, Pranayama, Kriyas, Yoga Therapy and the Mind.....more »»
(Apr 20, 2022) With icebath + breathwork resuming after Songkran, I cranked up the breathwork to be progressive in time and scope. With 7 people showing up, 6 bags of ice were used. Tom and Chunyah even showed up. It was all good and fun...more »»
Chiang Mai INFORMATION
Chiang Mai Map
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bus Station Train Station Chiang Mai International Airport Nong Buak Hard Park - free yoga classes daily
Arun Dara Villa - 7 exclusive rooms, 1 swimming pool for every room, grand opening
Nawa Sheeva Hotel - big rooms, high ceiling, salt-water pool, restaurant, cafe
Nawa Saraan Hotel - low density (4 spacious rooms), stone garden setting, Koi fish pond, Old City location
Arun Suite - 3 bedrooms in a 3-storie guesthouse within Old City, ideal for families
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
North Gate Jazz Coop - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays at 11pm by the Chiang Mai Blues band
Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
My Secret Cafe - near Wat Phra Singh. Tuesdays at 7:30pm for the changing front-act and 9:00pm for the Panic Band
Taphae East - 88 Thapae Rd. (just north of Night Bazaar). Fridays at 9:30pm by Chiang Mai Blues Band
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
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)
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
Book Online - direct booking with State Railway of Thailand. Best to register first. If going to BKK from CNX, click "Northern Line".
note -- big difference between booking direct with the State Railway and booking with an online 3rd party agent. 12GO was charging B1330 for the same trip that only cost me B941 with the State Railway.
note -- Oct 2022, I took the #10 Train from CNX to BKK, upper berth, 2nd class, a/c, sleeper, B941. The train was clean, fast, comfortable and modern. If you have heavy luggage that will cost more money in flight checkin, I would suggest this train. Otherwise, the flight now is so much cheaper it doesn't even make sense to take the bus or train.
Bangkok to Chiang Mai by Train from Bang Sue Train Station
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.
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 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.
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
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
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!