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Yoga classes are offered 1-on-1 for a tailor fitted program or developed for a group class. Classes can be traditional yoga offerings or classes focused on optimum digestion, healthy eyes, power/strength, weightloss, breathing, therapy and/or meditation. Classes come with explanations on what we are doing and why we are doing them. It's important for any student to know the underlying principles of yoga. One session usually lasts 90 minutes and will always consist of the following:

  1. yoga talk - theories and concepts in yoga
  2. asanas - can be a combination of yoga postures, HIIT, point-of-failure holds, calisthenics, dynamic tension
  3. pranayama - regulated breathing
  4. kumbhaka - breath-hold
  5. bandha - energy locks
  6. mudra - energy seals
  7. meditation - can be anapana, vipassana, trataka, chakra focus, emptiness, etc.

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Country (of Krishnamacharya) > India
Date reviewed > 2022 > Apr
Sections > Book Review | Yoga | Peoplescape

Book Review Yoga Peoplescape



Krishnamacharya: his Life and Teachings Apr 7, 2022

Krishnamacharya: his Life and Teachings

November 18, 1888 - February 28, 1989 (age 101)

Author: A.G. Mohan
A.G. Mohan's Website: www.svastha.net
ISBN-10: 159030800X
ISBN-13: 9781590308004
Genre: Yoga
Publisher: Shambhala Publications
Publication date: July 13, 2010
Rating: star star star star star (5 out of 5 stars)

AG Mohan A.G. Mohan
This book comes from Krishnamacharya's direct lineage - his student of 18 years (1971 to 1989), A.G. Mohan (born 1945). Mohan was 26 years old then while Krishnamacharya was already 83. By profession, Mohan was an engineer. When he met Krishnamacharya for the first time, there was something in him that was triggered - he knew he found his guru.

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. Not much has been written about Krishnamacharya's early life and since the master tried to recollect events decades in the past, there are inconsistencies and different versions. Writing this book was done by A.G. Mohan's son, Ganesh Mohan, as his father was narrating the story.


I. Overview of the Life of Krishnamacharya

As a Child (age 0-12)
Krishnamacharya was born in Karnataka in 1888 and grew up in the Vaishnavite tradition (devotees of the god, Vishnu, aka Narayana). As a child, Krishnamacharya was already learned in the Vedas (ancient body of knowledge that forms the basis of what is now known as Hinduism), as taught by his father. By age 12, he was already versed in sanskrit, vedanta (an important system of Vedic philosophy), asana (physical postures in yoga) and pranayama (regulated breathing).

Varanasi (1906, age 18)
Krishnamacharya traveled to Varanasi to further his studies, where he earned a scholarship which helped augment his expenses. He also earned a Yoga Degree in the city of Patna. Krishnamacharya's sharp intellect and devotion to his pursuits earned him the trust and assistance of a few higher-ups who entrusted him with the tutoring of their immediate family members - either in yoga or academics.

Off to the Himalayas
In Varanasi, Krishnamacharya met the school principal at that time, Ganganath Jha, who advised him to seek Ramamohana Brahmachari, a yoga master who lived in a cave in the Himalayas, if he wanted to deepen his yoga practice. Jha made arrangements for Krishnamacharya to be assisted by the viceroy of Simla on his journey to the 'Land of Snows'. The viceroy requested Krishnamacharya to come back to Simla 3 months a year to teach him yoga. This was after Krishnamacharya cured him of diabetes through yoga. Krishnamacharya walked 200 miles in the Himalayas at altitudes over 15,000 feet, in 3 weeks, until he reached the hermitage of Ramamohana Brahmachari near Lake Manasarovar.

At the Hermitage of Ramamohana Brahmachari in Tibet (1910-1918, age 22-30)
Krishnamacharya was warmly received by the guru, his wife and 3 children. In the 7 1/2 years he stayed there, he learned the Yoga Sutras, Samkhya philosophy, asana and pranayama. Towards the later end, he began learning practical applications of yoga therapy. Upon leaving, Krishnamacharya's guru dakshina (payment to the teacher for all the teachings) was to continue teaching yoga and have his students spread the practice. (note: from another source, I read that aside from teaching yoga, the other guru dakshina was to look for the Yoga Korunta book [which Krishnamacharya found at the University of Calcutta, but later on devoured by ants], and to marry and have a family [so he has to be a householder and cannot be a monk]. An unseen ramification of teaching yoga means that Krishnamacharya can only go so deep in his practice because part of his time has to be devoted to teaching. This is the reason why some yoga adepts do not teach - they would rather use all their time to deepen their practice.)

Back to Varanasi (1918, age 30)
After Tibet, Krishnamacharya returned to Varanasi to further his studies. He earned accolades for his treatise that brought clarity on how a Vedic ritual was to be performed. He continued to travel, participating in debates and discussions, and earning such degrees as Veda Kesari and Nyaya Ratna from centers in North India. He was also honored for his prowess in debate and his knowledge as a scholar by the maharajas of Baroda and Kasi.

Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wadiyar (1926-1946, age 38-58)
The Maharaja of Mysore met Krishnamacharya in Varanasi and was so impressed by his knowledge and dedication that the maharaja invited him to teach yoga in Mysore. A yoga school was founded there by the maharaja for Krishnamacharya. When India became independent from the British, the maharaja lost power and the school was closed.

Krishnamacharya: his Life and Teachings
Krishnamacharya overseeing a yoga class in his school in Mysore

Yoga Makaranda (1934, age 46)
Krishnamacharya authored his first book, Yoga Makaranda, which was published by Mysore University.

Chennai (~1946, age 58)
Krishnamacharya settled in Chennai after the closure of the yoga school in Mysore. Here, he continued to teach yoga. He was already 58 with wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters. He would stay here until his passing.

II. Meeting the Master and Early Studies (1971–1973)

A.G. Mohan and Krishnamacharya Meeting (1971, age 82)
This was the first time Mohan met Krishnamacharya - in a lecture. At first glance, Mohan was spellbound. Krishnamacharya's subtle radiance and authority left an indelible mark on his mind. He knew he found his guru - the one who can deepen his spiritual and philosophical aspirations. To ease his way into Krishnamacharya, Mohan first attended yoga classes from Krishnamacharya's son, Desikachar. He would also concurrently attend the group lectures conducted by Krishnamacharya. It wasn't until 1973 when Mohan was formally accepted by Krishnamacharya as a student, studying Prasnopanishad (the last Vedic chapter, dealing with prana) and yoga as well (when Desikachar had to leave). More than just a yoga instructor, Krishnamacharya was a spiritual teacher and was accorded such deference.

Krishnamacharya was a no-nonsense, prompt, disciplined teacher, keenly observant and sensitive to nuances. Payment was left at the foot of the altar...never given directly to Krishnamacharya. The amount of payment depended on the student - his means and what the teaching is worth to him - but this was unspoken.

In the 18 years that Mohan was a student, he had accumulated 5000 pages of notes from the classes. Even if unclear during that time, Mohan would refrain from asking questions, knowing that in time, he will develop an understanding to all of them.

III. Asana

The Mind
The mind darts out uncontrollably in any direction. It has no form, no shape and ungraspable. The goal of yoga is to control this mind and turn it into a sharply focused mechanism - according to the Sutra of Patanjali.

Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga, aka Raja Yoga, according to Patanjali (Yoga Sutras) and Yogi Svatmarama (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) makes the body strong but also the mind. With hatha yoga, the body is strong and resilient from disease.

Breathing
Krishnamacharya emphasizes slow ujjayi breathing, constricting the vocal cords so you feel the passage of air...as a smooth rubbing on the throat. Awareness is not confined to the mechanical breath, but the internal sensation of the flow of breath...the flow of prana.

32 Variations to a Headstand
When Krishnamacharya talked about 32 variations to a headstand, Mohan expressed a doubtful look which didn't go unnoticed to Krishnamacharya's eyes. Standing up to the occasion, at 85 years old, Krishnamacharya performed all 32 variations of the headstand to the astonishment of Mohan.

Practice at Home or Class is Ended
The weekly classes with Krishnamacharya were supposed to be supplemented by home practice. When Krishnamacharya noticed that there was no improvement in Mohan's practice compared to the past week, he questioned if Mohan failed to do his home practice. That being established, Krishnamacharya ended the class right there and then. This served 2 purposes: 1) to underscore that home practice is important and 2) to not proceed with a challenging practice if the student is not ready (which in this case was a shoulder stand). This also displayed Krishnamacharya's sharp sense of observation.

Asymmetric Asanas
Krishnamacharya is keen on using asymmetrical asanas to correct an imbalance. When Mohan's right leg was swaying on a headstand, Krishnamacharya realized it was because Mohan was using his right leg to shift gears on his motorcycle while his left leg was free. To correct this imbalance, he made Mohan do an ardha-salabhasana - a locust where only one leg is lifted up. This compensates for the overworked leg and thus restores balance.

Headstand
Krishnamacharya was particular about the headstand. Yes, it is an asana but it performs a special function as well that elevates it to a mudra. The breathing has to be extra slow, extra deep with extra focused awareness. When done correctly, progression can include a bandha that prepares the body for a particular kind of meditation. Ideally, the headstand should be done at 2 full breaths/minute for the next 12 minutes.

Improper headstand can result in numbing fingers, hand tremors or speech impediment. The student needs to be strong in the practice and ready for a headstand. It's equally important for the teacher to know what he is doing.

How Many Asanas?
While Patanjali only mentioned padmasana as an asana in his yoga sutras, Krishnamacharya claims that his teacher knew 7,000 asanas, from which he learned 700. He added that there were 84,000 at the time of Sankara, 64,000 at the time of Ramanuja and 24,000 at the time of Madhva. (This puts asana in perspective as I was once accused by a yoga teacher that my yoga wasn't yoga because my asanas were 'not' traditional yoga asanas.)

A Comprehensive Asana Class
Krishnamacharya's asana classes are not limited to adjustment and proper form. He included such information as the benefits of an asana, recommendations for linking the breath to the asana, the vinyasa krama, contraindications, classical references and derivations from ancient sources (both well known and obscure), common variations, useful modifications and therapeutic applications, mental focus during the practice, suggestions for the practice of bandhas, etc.

Vinyasa Sequences
Krishnamacharya is the first of the yoga masters to implement the vinyasa - weaving the asanas together with the breath so it becomes a flowing movement. One movement, one breath, synchronized into a flow. Still, there are asanas best held for a few breaths to maximize their benefits.

Mental Focus and Attitude
Krishnamacharya would often say, "no mental control, no yoga". Awareness has to be present at all times, otherwise the asana is reduced to a mere physical exercise. Moreover, generating the right feeling or attitude is essential. Example - in Warrior Pose, generate the feeling that when you look down, you are above worldly concerns. Or feel that you are neither in the past nor future....you are present.

Bhagiratasana / Tree Pose / Vrkshasana
Perhaps it is only Krishnamacharya who calls the Tree Pose, Bhagiratasana. The legend speaks for itself. To revive his forefathers from their ashen existence back to human form, Bhagirata had to cause the Ganges River to flow to earth and wash away the ashes. For this, he had to plead to Brahma, ask permission from Ganges, implore Shiva and plead with the sage Agastya. Altogether, it took Bhagirata a few thousand years of focused meditation on one leg. So by calling the Tree Pose the Bhagiratasana, you internalize the unshakable mental resolve of Bhagirata in his meditation.

Anjali Mudra
Anjali is different from the Namaste gesture although both look almost identical. The Anjali resembles a flower bud, about to open, likening the opening of the heart for spiritual awakening. This also reminds us to live with humility instead of boosting our ego.

Classical Yoga Texts: Pros and Cons
There are classical yoga texts used as reference in today's practice of yoga that presents contrasting focus. Some focus more on and mind, while some only on physical postures.

  1. Yoga Sutras - codified by Patanjali. It has 195 sutras with only one line referring to asana - a seated position that is comfortable and steady. Most of it focuses on the mind
  2. Yoga Yajnavalkya - this text predates Hatha Yoga Pradipika (HYP) and is given more weight by Krishnamacharya. In fact, HYP borrowed some texts verbatim from Yoga Yajnakalkya. It does not mention any kriya (cleansing) but talks a lot about pranayama
  3. Hatha Yoga Pradipika - by Yogi Svatmarama, focuses more on asanas and by far the default reference for yoga practice today
  4. Gheranda Samhita - a 'how to' yoga manual consisting of 7 Limbs (not 8). It contains 32 asanas, details for building body strength, 25 mudras to perfect body steadiness, 5 means to pratyahara, lessons on proper nutrition and lifestyle, 10 types of breathing exercises, 3 stages of meditation and 6 types of samadhi
  5. Shiva Samhita - author is unknown. This is yoga manual depicts an interaction between Shiva and his consort, Parvati. It talks about yoga, having a guru, asana, mudra, and siddhis
  6. Yoga Upanishads - Out of the 108 Upanishads, 20 are Yoga Upanishads. These are considered minor in ranking compared to the 13 major Upanishads. Yoga Upanishads discuss different aspects and kinds of Yoga, ranging from postures, breathing exercises, meditation (dhyana), sound (nada), tantra (kundalini anatomy). Some of these topics are not covered in the Bhagavad Gita or Patanjali's Yogasutras.
  7. Yoga Korunta (Kuranta) - only Krishnamacharya saw this before it was forever lost when it was devoured by ants. It was one of his guru dakshina - to find the Yoga Korunta, which he finally sourced at the University of Calcutta, as authored by the Yogi Korantaka
  8. Yoga Taravali - discusses yogic practices such as bandhas and advanced spiritual experiences like Samadhi

Personalized Yoga
A teacher must always ask himself if what he is teaching is appropriate to the student. Ideally, the one-on-one class should be tailor-fitted to the student - his flexibility, strength, balance, intention, level, age, fitness, etc. Is she fat? lean? pregnant? Krishnamacharya says yoga should be adjusted according to a person's stage in life:

  1. srishti krama - for the brahmachari (young and strong, teen-ager) to push the limits and generate strength
  2. sthiti krama - for the householder, middle-aged, around 45. Energy is diminished, cell repair is not optimized, and stamina is shortened. Yoga at this point should be in maintenance mode - not going all-out for strength
  3. anta or samhara krama - for the sannyasi (monk or renunciate, people in their 70s), strength, stamina, and repair are all on the decline. The person has seen life and has maturity and equanimity. Yoga should be more meditative with breathwork - more spiritual

Bottom line is to know the body's limit and never traverse it - always stay on the edge. A good guide is to be able to hold an asana for a good length of time while breathing properly. If there is strain, it could be too much or too advanced.

Purpose / Implementation of the Practice
Sometimes, the student may not have a clear purpose for the practice. Sometimes, what he wants is not really what he needs.

Aside from purpose, it is essential to know the student. Two people having the same objectives in yoga can be prescribed different practices based on age, fitness level, level of motivation, occupation, time for the practice, beliefs, etc.

Yoga is practiced mainly for 3 reasons:

  1. Fitness - if the student wants to be fit, strong and healthy. Fitness can be focused on strength, flexibility, balance or stamina.

    A child for fitness yoga entails lots of fast movement, jumping and somewhat playful. But an elderly man for yoga fitness will do slower movements, hold the movement for a few breaths and be meditative with synchronicity of breath and movement.
  2. Therapy - yoga can be done to cure an illness or cleanse the system.

    A child for therapeutic yoga for asthma could include training to a shoulder stand in a month. An elderly sedentary woman for the same purpose will have to undergo a longer period before a shoulder stand or risk structural damage.
  3. Spirituality - on a quest to evolve and attain enlightenment mostly through meditation and pranayama.

    A child for transformative yoga may do chanting to plant seeds for a deeper practice. An adult may do more pranayama and meditation and mantra chanting.

Spreading Yoga
Krishnamacharya was interested in a few worldly goals. One of them was to spread the practice of yoga, which he interestingly called propaganda.

IV Convincing Commitment (1973–1978)

Personal Mantra Initiation
Mohan and Krishnamacharya's relationship became close over the years. Krishnamacharya gave Mohan some studio pictures and gradually began to ask Mohan to do trivial things for the master. Krishnamacharya also began to address Mohan informally. After practicing with Krishnamacharya for 5 years, rarely missing a class and prioritizing the class over other endeavours, Mohan finally mustered enough sinew to ask Krishnamacharya to initiate him to a personal mantra. This is serious. When I guru does this, he takes ownership of the student's spiritual growth and acknowledges his role as guru to his student.

A ritual was performed and Mohan was given his chanting beads (japa mala) and his personal mantra whispered to him. He was to chant the mantra 108 times a day for the rest of his life.

V Pranayama, Kriyas, Yoga Therapy

Pranayama
Krishnamacharya, at age 100 can chant OM for a full minute. Pranayama stills the mind, strengthens the body and lengthens the life span. Pranayama can attain samadhi, and Krishnamacharya claims that it's the most important of the 8 limbs. Awareness has to be done with breath (not mechanical breathing), ensuring the breathing is steady and not fragmented. In Pranayama, many things come into play - mental awareness, deep long smooth breathing, and a steady body (movement can be disruptive). Ancient texts link pranayama not only to the mind but also to chakras, kundalini, kriyas, mantras, bandhas, dharana, therapy, doshas, asana, pratyahara, rituals, nadanusandhana, and mudras.

Heartbeat
In 1930, at the behest of the Maharaja of Mysore, with physicians monitoring Krishnamacharya's heartbeat, he stopped it for a full minute. He did it again in 1970. Krishnamacharya claims that it happened naturally after years of pranayama (nadi shodhan) and meditation. By controlling his breath, he could control his heartbeat.

Chakras
Krishnamacharya, in his book, Yoga Makaranda, talks about awakening consciousness of the chakras. At first read of that book, I thought he meant being aware of the chakras - but what he meant was awakening the consciousness within the chakras themselves - through pranayama. Hatha Yoga Pradipika also talks about this in greater detail in the 4th chapter. Krishnamacharya, after some persuasion from Mohan, finally agreed to teach it because, "When I'm gone, no one can teach you this." Krishnamacharya stresses that the key to pranayama especially kumbhaka (breath hold), is to do it gently and gradually build proficiency. When rushed and done with reckless abandon, it can kill.

If kumbhaka (breath retention) is done on the inhale, one can experience chest pain and heart failure (note: I find this conflicting with Krishnamacharya's other texts, where he said overweight people should do antara kumbaka while lean people should do bahya kumbhaka - it implies that breath-hold on the inhalation is part of the practice. Furthermore, he mentioned in some text that when holding the breath after the inhale, we should feel the pressure within the body dissipate as prana finds its way throughout the body all the way to the tips of the fingers, toes and hair. Another instance of antara kumbhaka is the Tibetan Tantra practice of Tummo where vase-breathing consists of holding the breath after the inhale and then visualizing the short a syllable generating heat until it engulfs itself in searing heat.).

According to Krishnamacharya

  1. Pranayama (full breath cycle) depends on your fitness and age. The following applies only to healthy people.

    At 30 years old (and a yoga teacher), pranayama should be half the asana time, so a 1-hour asana should have a 30-min pranayama.

    At 40 years old, one must do pranayama 4X age, so 160 full pranayama breathing per day.

    At 60 years old, Krishnamacharya said pranayama should be twice the asana time - so a 1-hour asana should be followed by 2 hours of pranayama
  2. Kriyas - there are 6 major techniques to cleanse the body. However, Krishnamacharya feels that they are not necessary if you are proficient in asana and pranayama. Kriyas are a preparation for pranayama, not a therapeutic intervention. Only fat people and those with excessive kaphas (weight gain, fluid retention, allergies, excessive sleep, asthma, diabetes, and depression.) need the cleansing kriyas.
  3. Tantric Sex Practices - Krishnamacharya wasn't a big fan of this practice. He saw them as unnecessary and unsound. His guru discouraged it and asked Krishnamacharya not to teach it to his students. Even Mohan wasn't taught this, despite his request. (note: in Tibetan yoga, Tantra practice includes consort practice [sex with a partner] as part of the Short Path [the fastest route to enlightenment])
  4. Accepting Students - Krishnamacharya was particular in accepting students. He had to be sure about the students' commitment and resolve otherwise, his time would be wasted. Worse, if the student will not practice, yoga will not work, and the student will tell others that his teacher's yoga does not work. (note: this is actually a lesson for me. I'm usually over-enthusiastic in 'fixing' someone else's malady that I would go ahead and initiate even if the person showed little or no interest. I was even accused at one time that it was all about my ego. So much for charity. Now, I no longer give free classes. I restraint myself from giving counsel. If they want it, they should pay for it - that seems the only way they'll put value in what I'm doing for them. 'Free' never worked.)
  5. What Not to Teach - Krishnamacharya makes a decision if he will teach the student what the student wants to learn. The question he asks is, "What's the relevance of this to the student? Will this knowledge be useful?" If he decides that only parts of the subject is useful, he will only teach that portion. In short, he is judicious in what he teaches - not always the entire lot, stock and barrel. When Mohan asked Krishnamacharya to teach him non-attachment, Krishnamacharya refused. When asked, Krishnamacharya said that Mohan might think non-attachment meant he can leave his wife and kids to pursue spirituality as a monk. At that point in Mohan's life, he didn't need to waste his time learning such things. (note: this is important for me to understand this. Sometimes, I teach an entire subject matter simply because I know it, even though some parts may not be interesting or relevant to the student.)
  6. No compromise - Krishnamacharya would rather decline a teaching job if management set down rules unacceptable to Krishnamacharya. (note: I've done the same thing. Declining to teach because the studio wanted to play music, declining to teach because what the student wanted was something many yoga teachers could also teach [I would rather teach the yoga that's is unique to me and unique to the student's needs])

Yoga Therapy
Krishnamacharya says that there is no one asana for every disease, but a combination of diet, lifestyle, asana and pranayama. The approach has to be holistic. But the therapy could be esoteric and not intuitive. There was a patient to whom he recommended sitali with left nostril exhalation - I've never read that in any book!

VI Growing Closer (1978–1984)

Being Fulltime
Mohan, realizing he was in the presence of a great yoga teacher but couldn't squeeze in enough time to learn due to his engineering job, decided to quit his job and be a full-time yoga student of Krishnamacharya and a full-time yoga teacher as well. Yoga was not a well-paying job at that time (and even now), so he struggled to make both ends meet to support his wife and growing daughter.

Long Term Courses
Krishnamacharya would teach one-on-one. when a student requests to learn Hatha Yoga Pradipika, he would schedule an hour/week every week for the next 2 years or so until the course is finished. For both teacher and student, it's a commitment. Krishnamacharya particularly has a solid unwavering steadfastness about his commitments - in his 80s already, he would hardly ever cancel a class.

Failed Attempt to Standardize Yoga
In 1933, many new flavors and opinions about yoga were propagating from different established gurus at the time - Paramahamsa Yogananda, Kuvalayanand, and Yogindra. It was creating inconsistencies and confusion. Krishnamacharya arranged a meeting with all of them to unify yoga into one standard. Nothing came out of it.

A Typical Day for Krishnamacharya
Krishnamacharya was set about his daily routine - starting the day at 2 am to do his asana-pranayama-meditation-puja (worship), Vedic rituals. He would practice again during lunchtime and practice again in the evening. In between, he would be teaching classes the entire day. He was an extraordinary yoga practitioner, a masterful teacher, and a spiritual adept.

Mastery of Mind
It is surprising to note that even though teaching yoga was Krishnamacharya's primary source of income, neither money nor changing his students were his priority. His deepening practice was all about mastery of his mind.

Hip Fracture
In 1984 (age 95), Krishnamacharya broke his hips. The doctor was fascinated to see Krishnamacharya's pulse beat like a hammer...like a man 30 years younger. Krishnamacharya refused the surgery and lived with limited mobility for the next 6 years until he died.

VII The Mind: Yamas, Niyamas, Meditation, and Related Practices

Yoga Yajnavalkya
Yoga Yajnavalkya is an ancient Hindu yoga text similar to Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, with the addition of the kundalini and a deep discussion about pranayama, pratyahara, dharana and dhyana. The format is a male-female dialogue between the sages Yajnavalkya and Gargi.

Below are lessons from the Yoga Yajnavalkya, as taught by Krishnamacharya to Mohan.

Alms Round
A monk has to beg food through several houses in a village and not favor one. He can only eat one meal a day. A more extreme monk will only stay in the forest and wait if anyone will come to bring him food, or go hungry.

Ahimsa (non-harmfulness)
inflicting no harm or suffering by thought, deeds or words - for as long as practical. Purity of intention is the best measure of progress - thus you cannot be clever with your deeds. Everything else in yoga is subordinated to ahimsa - anything that harms is not yogic (granting that it is not entirely possible...you walk the woods and you step on small insects).

Charity and Compassion
Krishnamacharya, a man of austerity who has no money to spend freely, would never bargain the rate of a rickshaw man. According to him, you never deprive a less fortunate to his means of livelihood. (note: I've seen the Thai people take this even a little further. They would buy something a vendor might sell even though they won't have use for it. They would then just give it away to their friends. Their volition is to simply support the vendor. You can gauge the character of a people by what is in their culture, tradition and practices. Thai people are special that way)

Truth
Truth is not only telling what it is or conveying a fact. Truth in yogic tradition should not harm. Gossiping, even if true, harms the victim and thus not yogic. Thus between truth and non-harmfulness, truth is subordinated - everything else in yoga is subordinated to ahimsa.

So, what is truthfulness? Staying truthful frees us from the temptation of saying false things - exaggeration, half-truths, biased truths, and everything else our clever minds conjure to further our egotistical agenda.

Silence is a good practice. You speak less and you tend to be concise and clear about what you say when you speak less. A silent meditation retreat can be helpful and/or designate an hour a day to be silent. But don't let the mind wander away during silence - the purpose is defeated. Make it meditative.

Do Not Covet
Don't take what is not yours. It's simple, but it can carry over to less obvious practices. When you use other people's knowledge, do you give them due credit? Do you take other people's time by unnecessarily using them up?

Celibacy
(note: I do not agree with the yogic tradition of sexual restrain. Why create a dam to stem natural human behavior? Since sex is part of existence, then use sex as a means to leverage into the path - the way tantric yoga does.)

Be Content, Do Not Over Acquire
Krishnamacharya would say, "What is the point of accumulating money beyond a point?". He was never rich and never pursued wealth. It was more important to him not to have enemies, not to be in debt and sleep well at night. Acquiring wealth, maintaining a declining wealth, protecting wealth, all lead to unhappiness. (note: in this blog, I often talk about the 'burden of ownership'. To have nothing, but have enough to survive, gives the most freedom, contrary to instinctive needs and wants. I don't feel the need to protect something, then no need to worry about what you leave behind, and you can turn your life on a dime as you see fit. I may not have money, but my politics are mine, I am free to choose my divinity and I am beholden to no one. My ability to say NO is not compromised. I have refused my inheritance and my possession is only what fits into my backpack. This is freedom.)

Vidya (Knowledge)
An ancient Sanskrit saying goes:

"A fool is respected in his house. A man is respected in his village. A king is respected in his lands. A knowledgeable person is respected everywhere."

Krishnamacharya's devotion to his practice is equaled only by his thirst for knowledge. He would voraciously read volumes of books not just on yoga but on many subjects. He is quoted, "a man in search of knowledge cannot rest or sleep until he is satiated...knowledge must be applied otherwise it's useless information". (note: I feel strongly about the quest for knowledge. When someone is always thirsty for knowledge, he never gets old...life is always fresh and full of wonders. I also see knowledge as the building block of wisdom. When different knowledge is woven together for application, wisdom emerges.)

Tapas (Austerities) / Mitahara (Controlled Diet)
For longevity, one must eat less. This is also stressed by longevity expert David Sinclair when he said the secret to a long life is 'eat less often'. Krishnamacharya calls fat, the 'bad flesh' and encourages the practice of asanas (and to limit eating) to melt the fat. A lean and supple body induces the flow of prana and circulation of blood. Early death is caused by a bloated belly - nothing else. To melt the belly fat, one should practice janu sirsasana.

Krishnamacharya's 4-Step approach to conquer obesity:

  1. eat less and eat less often
  2. practice asana and pranayama
  3. fast or skip a meal
  4. strong determination to give up the food entirely

A fat body will cause short and erratic breathing - proper pranayama and bandhas are not possible. Without pranayama, long life is not possible.

A yoga adept should have the following qualities:

  1. slimness of the body
  2. brightness in the face
  3. manifestation of the nada (inner sound)
  4. very clear eyes
  5. freedom from disease
  6. control over the seminal fluid
  7. stimulation of the digestive fire
  8. complete purification of the nadis

Chanting and Mantras
From age 5 to his death (101), Krishnamacharya has been faithfully chanting the Vedas from memory. Mantra meditation has deepened his yoga practice and the other way around as well. Vedic chanting has been an oral tradition committed to memory from teacher to student (it wasn't written down). The chanting is precise - in pronunciation, pitch, speed, etc. Krishnamacharya was an uncompromising teacher - no deviation would go unnoticed. Whenever Mohan made a mistake, Krishnamacharya would stop immediately and make the correction. Mohan was able to record Krishnamacharya in his Vedic chanting and this recording survives to this day (but I couldn't find it on Youtube).

Devotion and Rituals
Devotion is optional in the practice of yoga, but its importance is made clear in the Yoga Sutras. If there is such a thing as a shortcut in the sutras, it is not kundalini arousal or any other esoteric practice. It is devotion to the divine.

Krishnamacharya was again uncompromising about his Vaishnavite devotion with his yoga practice - they are tethered or even 2 sides of one coin (yoga and devotion). However, he is very clear that devotion and yoga are two different things. He even walked away from a paid radio program because he will not agree to remove his devotional chanting before and after the program. He claimed that the studio wasn't providing for his needs - that his god provides for his needs.

When asked how he could get good sleep at an old age, he answered, "I have surrendered my burdens to the Divine, and he will take care of me. Why should I not have peaceful sleep?" As Krishnamacharya tries to fall asleep, he chants a mantra in his mind while thinking his head is cradled at the feet of the divine.

Pratyahara (Control over the Senses)
Controlling what we perceive with our senses enables the mind to remain focused - less distraction that pulls the mind away, the better. Do we need to see porn? Do we need to hear gossip? Do we need to get drunk?

When there is no control over the senses, the mind gets restless and boredom sets in. When you get bored, it is a red flag that we need greater control of our senses. The greatest temptation for losing control is food and sex. This issue is to be managed first for the mind to be steady.

Instead of struggling with the senses to gain control, it is best to do pranayama instead. The focus automatically reverts inward. As often said in yoga, "take refuge in the breath".

Touching other people leaves an imprint in the mind. It is best not to touch anyone unless needed.

Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi (Meditation)
These 3 are progressively deeper stages of meditation. Dharana (a state of mental concentration on an object without wavering) is not possible unless pranayama and pratyahara are already established. When a person is in samadhi, the outside world cannot disturb him (note: A good example of this is Ramana Maharshi. He was in samadhi for 3 years, not knowing that his body was already being devoured by insects).

Consciousness resides in the heart (not in the head). To know this, the mind has to be steady, focused and without movement.

Krishnamacharya laments that in modern times (1980s), so many ancient yoga practices and traditional knowledge have been lost. It's now asana-centric and putting focus on the steadiness of the mind is no longer practiced. (note: I begin to wonder now, in 2022, how much more have been lost? What exactly are the practices in ancient times? And the sacred texts of yoga are still around [Patangali's sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, etc.], so what exactly did Krishnamacharya mean when he says traditional knowledge has been lost?).

It is good validation if the meditation thoughts in the waking times become the dream as well.

VIII Last Years (1984–1989)

A Widower
Krishnamacharya's wife died a year after his accident. He had to move down the ground floor where he stayed until he passed on. He became dependent on other people since the accident. He could no longer walk to the market, no standing asanas, nor perform his puja (worship). A man of weaker constitution would have fallen into depression, but Krishnamacharya remained mentally steady and solid as a rock. Already in his 90s, his recall remained impeccable - still recited sutras from memory and remained sharp.

Non-Attachment
When asked what the litmus test is for an accomplished yogi, Krishnamacharya remarked 'non-attachment' - from relatives, family, loved ones and everyone else.

100 Years Old
Mohan organized the 100th birthday celebration of Krishnamacharya (he acquiesced reluctantly). Yoga pundits and a tv crew were there. 3 yoga graduates were presented their diplomas.

Krishnamacharya was a spiritual adept with rare mastery. Yoga and all the other rituals were his means to master his mind. His quest for knowledge and ability to learn earned him 6 degrees in Vedic philosophy - unmatched during his time. All his life, he pursued learning. He was the perfect embodiment of his teachings. To him, it wasn't about earning the degrees but applying knowledge in his day-to-day life. Krishnamacharya had good teachers with great merit, but none did what he did - climb up the Himalayas to live with a brahmachari guru for 7 years in pursuit of deeper yoga. His devotion to the divine was his cornerstone. All his life, he was devoted to his deities. It is unfortunate that he did not live long enough to see the millions around the world who now practice the yoga he taught.

When asked by Mohan shortly before Krishnamacharya passed away, which was most important in life, Krishnamacharya said, "It's not money. Health, longevity and a tranquil mind."

IX Works of Krishnamacharya

Classification of Works by Krishnamacharya
Over six decades, from the 1930s to the 1980s, Krishnamacharya authored four books on yoga, several essays, and some poetic compositions. The essays and compositions were short, ranging from two to ten pages.

Other works (essays and poetic compositions) are below. First 17 items listed are works on yoga or are closely related to yoga.

  1. Yogaanjalisaaram
  2. Disciplines of Yoga
  3. Effect of Yoga Practice
  4. Importance of Food and Yoga in Maintaining Health
  5. Verses on Methods of Yoga Practice
  6. Essay on Asana and Pranayama
  7. Madhumeha (Diabetes)
  8. Why Yoga as a Therapy Is Not Rising
  9. Bhagavad Gita as a Health Science
  10. Ayurveda and Yoga: An Introduction
  11. Questions and Answers on Yoga (with students in July 1973)
  12. Yoga: The Best Way to Remove Laziness
  13. Dhyana (Meditation) in Verses
  14. What Is a Sutra?
  15. Kundalini: Essay on What Kundalini Is and Kundalini Arousal (sakti calana) Based on Texts Like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, and Yoga Yajnavalkya
  16. Extracts from Raja Yoga Ratnakara
  17. Need for a Teacher
  18. Satvika Marga ("The Sattvic Way"; philosophy/spiritual/yoga)
  19. Reference in Vedas to Support Vedic Chanting for Women
  20. Fourteen Important Dharmas (philosophy)
  21. Cit Acit Tatva Mimamsa (philosophy)
  22. Sandhya-saaram (ritual)
  23. Catushloki (four verses on Sankaracharya)
  24. Kumbhakonam Address (catalog)
  25. Sixteen Samskaras (rituals)
  26. Mantra Padartha Tatva Nirnaya (rituals)
  27. Ahnika Bhaskaram (rituals)
  28. Shastreeya Yajnam (rituals)
  29. Vivaaha (marriage rituals)
  30. Asparsha Pariharam (rituals)
  31. Videsavaasi Upakarma Nirnaya (rituals)
  32. Sudarshana Dundubhi (devotional)
  33. Bhagavat Prasadam (devotional)
  34. Narayana Paratva (devotional)
  35. About Madras (miscellaneous)

Works on Vedic Rituals
Krishnamacharya wrote about Vedic rituals many decades before when it was still widely practiced. It has increasingly lost popularity in modern times due to its impracticality. Even Krishnamacharya himself refrained selectively from teaching them due to its declining relevance.

Devotional Works and Compositions
Krishnamacharya was deeply rooted in his devotional tradition, Vaishnavism, with its deity, Narayana (an emanation of Vishnu).

When Krishnamacharya's wife died, he was heard by Mohan to be chanting, "Narayana...Narayana...Narayana...Narayana..."

Philosophical Works
Krishnamacharya's work on Vaishnavism literature and philosophy is technical and assumes a background in the discipline. He didn't write anything new from tradition, but simply expounded to deepen a reader's understanding and appreciation.

Short works on Yoga
Krishnamacharya's short essays on yoga are vastly overshadowed by his teachings in classes, lectures and presentations. In short, his essays are not as comprehensive to convey his knowledge and experience. He didn't write them with the intention of getting published.

Books on Yoga

  1. Yoga Makaranda - Krishnamacharya wrote this book in only 3 days, back in 1934, at the behest of the Maharaja of Mysore. He lists 27 references in writing this book, including standard yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Upanishads, Gheranda Samhita, etc. This book expounds and embellishes the benefits of yoga. (note: This is the master's major book, but it has not become the bible of yoga. Perhaps it's because it is a hard read. It could have benefitted from further refinements by a professional editor). Aside from the 42 asanas, it talks about nadis, chakras, prana, mudras, and bandhas.
  2. Yogavalli - this book is Krishnamacharya’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which was dictated from memory for over 4 years when he was in his 90s. Yogavalli's philosophical interpretation however, has a heavy lean on Vaishnavism, Krishnamacharya's devotional tradition, with Vishnu as its divine deity. But the fundamental principles of the sutras (8 limbs) remain unchanged - just the philosophical interpretations.
  3. Yoga Rahasya - this book is credited to the Vaishnavite saint, Nathamuni, who comes from Krishnamacharya's lineage. The story goes that at 16 years old, Krishnamacharya visited the birthplace of Vaishnavism's earliest saints and then fell into a meditative trance. When he came out of it, he claims that the lost work of that saint was transmitted to him by Nathamuni. At any rate, this book is unorganized and could have been refined to make it coherent and continuous.
  4. Yogasanagalu - a practice manual for a variety of asanas. However, Krishnamacharya's student of 33 years, Srivatsa Ramaswami, wrote extensively about these asanas in his book, The Complete Book Of Vinyasa Yoga
Appendix I: Book Excerpts and Summary

YOGA MAKARANDA

8 Limbs of Yoga
The essence of yoga is to withdraw the mind from all external activities, draw it inward, and keep it contained within. Yoga yields great benefit only after some time when practiced systematically [krama]. The benefits are not instantaneous.

The benefit of yoga comes from what you practice from the 8 limbs:

  1. Yama & Niyama - compassion towards all living beings arises. One will have universal compassion towards all living beings and develop internal purity. Personal peace and order in society will arise.
  2. Asana - gives us strength
  3. Pranayama - gives us health and longevity, strength of prana, mind, intellect, and speech. The unsteady nature of the mind is arrested. It purifies the blood, and the blood flow leads to proper functioning of the nadis and chakras. Pranayama should be done with mastery over the yamas, niyamas and asana - otherwise it will not deliver the wanted benefits.
  4. Pratyahara - to control the senses and not to allow them to wander as they wish
  5. Dharana - to hold the mind at an appropriate object (also called samata). This is the way to ekagra-citta [one-pointed state of mind]. Control over the mind will lead to control of all the senses. Anything that one wishes will come true, like the blessings and curses of ancient sages. Of the 64 vidyas (right knowledge or clarity), only yoga gives directly observable [pratyaksha] results.

Yoga Nidra
The steadiness of mind brought about by yoga is a thousand times more beneficial than that brought about by regular sleep. This is yoga nidra. In fact, all of our time is wasted until we attain such steadiness of mind through yoga. (note: I have read on numerous texts that adept yogis no longer sleep - they just do yoga nidra).

Practice, Intellectualizing and Detachment
In yoga, jnana [knowledge, enlightenment] is not enough. Without the actual practice, it is nothing more than intellectual adventurism. And about practice, yoga yields more benefits with the practice of yama and niyama (right conduct for self and others) rather than tapas (austerities). Yoga can be practiced by everyone except the lazy and those who do not want changes in their lives. Detachment has to be practiced with yoga, especially when siddhis arise. One who succumbs to the power of their siddhis becomes a slave to it and loses their practice (the applause feeds on the ego)

Body, Mind and Self
The body is gross the mind is subtle. The mind is constantly changing by nature, making it difficult to appreciate the nature of our mind. The Self (Atma, consciousness) is the nature of consciousness and the source of all knowing. (note: at the end of the day, the only thing that has an objective existence is the self [atma, consciousness] - everything else is an illusion and perception). All 3 are connected. When the body is healthy and calm, the mind becomes steady and calm as well. When the mind is steady, the Self is revealed. When the body is nourished by healthy food, the body becomes strong and the mind remains optimized and functional and the Self remains in the body. Without food, the body dies and the mind dies with it, and the Self moves to another body. This is an example of their interconnectedness. The Self is unchanging. It doesn't die and it doesn't get reborn. It moves from life to life, body to body as life leaves the body. It is what reincarnates. Desire causes the Self to be reborn. Without desire, the rebirth no longer serves a purpose.

Prana
Without prana, we die - that is how important it is. The important role it plays begs that prana must be purified and put under our control. We can control prana through breath regulation known as pranayama.

Asana
There are many claims to how many asanas there are - from 8.4 million (the number of varieties of living things) to 84 (a popular number in some centers). Krishnamacharya knows 700 while his guru, Ramamohana Brahmachari knows of 7,000. Regardless of the number, the following should be adhered to in the practice of asana:

  1. Drshti - the eye gaze should be on the Ajna Chakra if not specified (note: personally, I'd rather close my eyes and internalize the body sensation and the flow of breath)
  2. Jalandhara bandha - whenever possible, when the asana position is established, chin to the chest to lock the energy
  3. Symmetry - practice on both sides, first to the right and then to the left, otherwise the benefit of yoga will not spread to all parts of the body

YOGA RAHASYA

This is a difficult book to follow because it doesn't flow and not the most coherent. It talks about the same topics already covered, but it paid attention to yoga for women and the essential role they play in society. It presented yoga for pregnant women - asanas that are appropriate and not.

It also touched on appropriate yoga for the monk, the householder and the celibate.

Ending Thoughts
After Veer, I've always been in search of a teacher...that was 8 years ago, and I am still searching. I've met many competent yoga teachers whose classes I've thoroughly enjoyed. But not someone I can consider my mentor and teacher.

The one yogi who fascinated me more than any other is Krishnamacharya. I've devoured everything I could about him. I am consumed by his life, his teachings, his discipline, and his legacy. Through his books (Yoga Makaranda, Yoga Rahasya), through the writings of his direct students (AG Mohan, B. K. S. Iyengar and Srivatsa Ramaswami), and downline lineage (David Svenson), I get a glimpse of this magnificent life. As I internalize the way he lived his life, and as I codified his teachings into a practice, I realized my search for a teacher is over. I have already found him long before I realized I did.

In humility, I bow down to my great teacher, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. I am grateful for all his teachings, as I am grateful to all his students who have propagated his teachings.

--- 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



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Next Peoplescape/Story:

Tom Maher's Muay Thai Fight people

Tom Maher's Muay Thai Fight

(Apr 8, 2022) Tom left for the US when the lockdown was lifted, but now he's back in Chiang Mai. He attended my ABS Class once and he just disappeared. Weeks later, I got a message from him, 'I’ve been training hard and have my first fight this Friday, come by and watch if you’re free! It will be at the new Decathlon'. Whoa!....more »»

Next Yoga:

Yama (1): Eight Limbs of Yoga yoga

Yama (1): Eight Limbs of Yoga

(May 1, 2022) In Patangali's Yoga Sutras, he codified yoga into 8 branches in priority sequence - the first of which is Yama or one's moral conduct to harmonize oneself with society. This is the foundational cornerstone for the practice of yoga.....more »»

Chiang Mai INFORMATION

Chiang Mai Map
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 Jazz Coop - at Chang Phueg Gate, great Tuesday jam session, Blues on Sundays at 11pm by the Chiang Mai Blues band
  2. Boy Blues Bar - at the Night Bazaar. Mondays at 9:30pm is open mic
  3. My Secret Cafe - near Wat Phra Singh. Tuesdays at 7:30pm for the changing front-act and 9:00pm for the Panic Band
  4. 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
  • 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 Train36.com
  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).
Chiangmai Blogs by TheLoneRider
  1. Music and Magic at Paapu House May 5, 2022
  2. Breathwork + Icebath @ Alt_Chiangmai II Apr 20, 2022
  3. April 2022 in a Nugget Apr 30, 2022
  4. Tombstone Epitaph Apr 29, 2022
  5. Kayaking along the Ping River with the BioHackers Apr 24, 2022
  6. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  7. Pizza Nite with Jerry, Paolo and Abby Apr 9, 2022
  8. Tom Maher's Muay Thai Fight Apr 8, 2022
  9. Breathwork + Icebath @ Alt_Chiangmai Apr 6, 2022
  10. Mar 2022 in a Nugget Mar 31, 2022
  11. Peoplescape Mar 31, 2022
  12. Chiang Mai's Recovering Music Scene Mar 31, 2022
  13. Street Photo Mar 31, 2022
  14. Yoga and Fitness Mar 26, 2022
  15. Friday Bitcoin Meetups Mar 18, 2022
  16. Pizza Nite with Aida and Sophie Mar 14, 2022
  17. Pizza Nite with Kevin, Jamie and Kris Mar 10, 2022
  18. In Search of Genetic Immortality Mar 5, 2022
  19. Feb 2022 in a Nugget Feb 28, 2022
  20. Palm-Feeding Wild Birds Feb 26, 2022
  21. Cuckoo Feb 16, 2022
  22. Tell John Feb 16, 2022
  23. Pizza Nite with Kris, Simona and Mary Feb 15, 2022
  24. Pizza Nite with the Chiang Mai Boyz Feb 6, 2022
  25. Welcoming the New Year Jan 31, 2022
  26. ABS Fitness Challenge Jan 16 - Apr 16, 2022
  27. Pumpkin Tahini Recipe Jan 3, 2022
  28. 2021: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2021
  29. Pizza Nite with Simona and Lisa Dec 28, 2021
  30. Tahini Salad Dressing Dec 27, 2021
  31. Baba Ganoush Recipe Dec 23, 2021
  32. 7 Universal Laws Dec 20, 2021
  33. Sacred Circuitry Dec 18, 2021
  34. Cave-Living in a Boutique Hotel in Chiang Mai Dec 14, 2021
  35. Tummo Yoga + Wim Hof Breathing + Full-Body Muscle Contraction Dec 13, 2021
  36. Monk Chat Dec 10, 2021
  37. Making Tahini and Hummus Dec 8, 2021
  38. Watering the Plants Hands-Free Dec 2, 2021
  39. Vietnamese Phin Coffee Filter Dec 2, 2021
  40. Tummo Yoga Dec 1, 2021
  41. The Bliss of Inner Fire: Book Summary/Review Dec 1, 2021
  42. The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa Dec 1, 2021
  43. 'Must Experience' Cafés of Chiang Mai Nov 30, 2021
  44. British Hobnob Cookies Nov 22, 2021
  45. New York Cheese Cake Nov 22, 2021
  46. Dham's Poetry Nov 14, 2021
  47. Pizza Nite with Simona and Nat Nov 11, 2021
  48. Stepping Forward / Reaching Out Oct 31, 2021
  49. Cancel Culture Attack Oct 31, 2021
  50. Mantra Primer Oct 29, 2021
  51. Spinal Mobility Oct 7, 2021
  52. Swedish Cinnamon Rolls [Kanelbullar] Oct 4, 2021
  53. Just Bring 2 Chinese Oct 3, 2021
  54. One-Leg Yoga Asana Sequences Sep 30, 2021
  55. Pizza Nite with Nut, Monika and Yuki Sep 27, 2021
  56. 23-Minute Ice Bath Sep 27, 2021
  57. Pizza Nite with Nut, Simona and Malee Sep 23, 2021
  58. Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) Sep 23, 2021
  59. Making Cornbread Sep 15, 2021
  60. Kombucha: 2nd Batch Sep 11, 2021
  61. Making German Stollen Bread Sep 9, 2021
  62. Pizza Nite with Jackson, Goi and Paapu Sep 6, 2021
  63. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug 31, 2021
  64. Making Homemade Kombucha Aug 30, 2021
  65. Wrong Question to Ask This Crowd Aug 29, 2021
  66. Pizza Nite with Tom, Chunyah and Goi Aug 20, 2021
  67. Pizza Nite with Moms and Kids Aug 15, 2021
  68. Bahya Kumbhaka (breath-hold on the exhale) Aug 14, 2021
  69. Everybody's Only Friend Aug 13, 2021
  70. Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) Aug 11, 2021
  71. Fighting Infection through Yoga Aug 3, 2021
  72. Too Close for Friendship Aug 2, 2021
  73. Manifesting: Epicurus' Pursuit Jul 31, 2021
  74. Homemade Rum Raisin Ice Cream Jul 30, 2021
  75. Ice Bath at Nawa Saraan Healing Space Jul 25, 2021
  76. Pizza Nite + Slack Line + Hammock Jul 23, 2021
  77. Yin-Yoga & Hypnosis with Christine Thiel Jul 20, 2021
  78. Pizza Nite with James and Nat Jul 19, 2021
  79. Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama: Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale Jul 17, 2021
  80. Moving and Cashing-Out Bitcoin Jun 2 - Jul 11, 2021
  81. 'The Bow' Yoga Jul 7, 2021
  82. Yoga Classes with Calum Mar 27 - Jul 4, 2021
  83. Hike to Wat Pa Thammachat Waterfall Jul 2, 2021
  84. Pizza Brunch with the Yogis July 1, 2021
  85. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  86. On the Brink of Hunger, the ENABLERS Come to Light Jun 21, 2021
  87. Hatha Vinyasa Yoga with Katharine Day Jun 17, 2021
  88. Pranayama Basics II Jun 16, 2021
  89. 36-Hour Love Life Jun 11, 2021
  90. Pranayama Basics I Jun 9, 2021
  91. Biohackers Meetup in Chiang Mai Jun 6, 2021
  92. Learning How to Breathe Jun 2, 2021
  93. Not the Usual Day-to-Day Life May 31, 2021
  94. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  95. Breathwork & Ice Bath with Jason Ryer of Zen Strength May 23, 2021
  96. It's Raining Bell Peppers May 7, 2021
  97. Yoga Classes with Nana Apr 20, 2021
  98. You Want to be Wonder Woman? Apr 8, 2021
  99. Kunjal Kriya / Vamana Dhauti (induced vomiting) Apr 1, 2021
  100. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  101. Varisara Dhauti (cleansing of the entire digestive tract) Mar 26, 2021
  102. Spiritual Backpacker Interview by Napasorn 'Cherry' Suvarnapradip Mar 23, 2021
  103. Private One-on-One Yoga Classes with Doriana Feb 17 - Mar 14, 2021
  104. Transformational Life Events Mar 13, 2021
  105. Guess Who's Coming to Bread Day? Mar 1, 2021
  106. Mula Shodhana (anal cleansing) Feb 27, 2021
  107. Are You My Queen? Feb 25, 2021
  108. Breaking the 5-Minute Breath-hold Barrier Feb 25, 2021
  109. Kirtan with Chiang Mai's Khun Thai Seekers Feb 7, 2021
  110. Breaking the 4-minute Breath-hold Feb 7, 2021
  111. Pranayama Primer Feb 2, 2021
  112. Heartbreak in every Song Jan 24, 2021
  113. The Silent Killer is Baaack! Jan 12, 2021
  114. Learning the Thai Language Jan 9, 2021
  115. 2020: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2020
  116. Reversing/Slowing Down the Aging Process Dec 30, 2020
  117. Hike to Huay Keaw Waterfall Dec 20, 2020
  118. Yoga Mat Dec 19, 2020
  119. Hiking to Wat Pha Lat along the Monk's Trail Dec 19, 2020
  120. Am I Psycho? Dec 9, 2020
  121. Muffin Man Dec 8, 2020
  122. Polyamory Dec 4, 2020
  123. The Wim Hof Ice Bath Dec 3, 2020
  124. RSVP Nov 25, 2020
  125. High Intensity Interval Yoga (Yoga + HIIT) Nov 14, 2020
  126. Cleansing the Nadis (Energy Pathway) Nov 13, 2020
  127. Yoga for a 360-degree Core Nov 6, 2020
  128. Edward Witten: 'the smartest living physicist' Nov 4, 2020
  129. Srinivasa Ramanujan: Mathematician of the Divine Oct 27, 2020
  130. Bashar as Channeled by Darryl Anka Oct 26, 2020
  131. Vinyasa Krama and Ashtanga Yoga with Aida Yoga Oct 18, 2020
  132. Deepak Chopra: author, lecturer, healer Oct 12, 2020
  133. Facebook Friends Oct 1, 2020
  134. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug-Sep 2020 Sep 30, 2020
  135. Siddhis (yogic super powers) Sep 30, 2020
  136. Learning the Import/Export Trade Sep 4, 2020
  137. Music and Magic at Justin's Birthday Bash Sep 3, 2020
  138. Biggest Stone in his Shoe Sep 1, 2020
  139. Abandoned Aug 25, 2020
  140. Intelligent Romantic Break-up Aug 25, 2020
  141. Dad-Zoned Aug 18, 2020
  142. Public Display of Affection Aug 9, 2020
  143. Gabriella's Birthday Bash at Mothership Resort Aug 8-9, 2020
  144. Shifting Peoplescape of Chiang Mai July 31, 2020
  145. Yoga Class for Strength and Muscle Jul 30, 2020
  146. Yoga Class for Optimum Digestion July 29, 2020
  147. Yoga Class for Healthy Eyes Jul 27, 2020
  148. Hippie Night at Nawa Saraan Healing Space July 24, 2020
  149. The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom Jul 17, 2020
  150. Prana Vayu Adhitthana Yoga Class July 11-12, 2020
  151. Coming Back to Chiang Mai Jun 29, 2020
  152. Goodbye Chiang Mai Jan 23, 2020
  153. Prasnopanishad: Understanding Prana Jan 17, 2020
  154. Hiking the Monk's Trail Jan 15, 2020
  155. Chaturanga Jan 10, 2020
  156. You Spooned Me Jan 3, 2020
  157. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  158. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  159. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
  160. Let's Make it About You - an Epiphany Dec 17, 2019
  161. Shut-Up! Dec 7, 2019
  162. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Puree Dec 3, 2019
  163. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Nov 2019) Nov 30, 2019
  164. Bhujangini Mudra Nov 25, 2019
  165. Mathangini Mudra Nov 24, 2019
  166. Kaka Mudra Nov 23, 2019
  167. Pasini Mudra Nov 20, 2019
  168. Aswini Mudra Nov 18, 2019
  169. Sambhavi Mudra Nov 16, 2019
  170. Manduka Mudra Nov 15, 2019
  171. Tataka Mudra Nov 14, 2019
  172. Sakti Calana Mudra Nov 10, 2019
  173. Vajroli Mudra Nov 9, 2019
  174. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Oct 2019) Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  175. Yoni Mudra Nov 1, 2019
  176. Viparita Karani Mudra Oct 31, 2019
  177. Khecari Mudra Oct 30, 2019
  178. Mahadeva Mudra Oct 28, 2019
  179. Sacred Cacao - Chakra Dance Journey Oct 26, 2019
  180. Partner Healing with Natascha Oct 24, 2019
  181. Maha Bandha Mudra Oct 24, 2019
  182. Point-Of-Failure Birthday Workout Oct 22, 2019
  183. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
  184. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  185. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  186. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  187. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  188. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  189. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  190. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  191. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  192. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  193. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  194. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  195. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  196. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  197. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  198. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  199. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  200. Prana Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  201. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  202. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  203. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  204. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  205. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  206. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  207. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  208. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  209. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  210. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  211. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  212. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  213. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  214. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  215. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  216. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  217. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  218. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  219. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  220. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  221. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  222. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  223. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  224. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  225. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  226. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras by Sabrina Pilz May 30, 2019
  227. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  228. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  229. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  230. Abs Yoga by Gigit May 12, 2019
  231. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  232. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  233. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  234. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  235. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  236. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  237. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  238. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  239. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  240. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  241. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  242. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  243. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  244. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  245. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  246. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  247. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  248. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  249. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  250. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  251. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  252. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  253. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  254. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  255. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  256. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  257. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  258. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  259. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  260. 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

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.

  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

Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com

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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