TheLoneRider
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COUNTRY > Thailand > Chiang Mai
DATE > 2022 > Sep
SECTION > Yoga

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

yoga in Chiang Mai, Thailand Book Review

Hatha Yoga Pradipika Sep 8 - ?, 2022

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Author: Svatmarama Yogendra
Commentary: Swami Muktibodhananda
Guidance: Swami Satyananda Saraswati
ISBN-10: 81-85787-38-7
ISBN-13: 9788185787381
Genre: Yoga
Pages: 645
Country: Munger, Bihar, India
Publisher: Bihar School of Yoga / Yoga Publications Trust
Publication date: First edition 1985, Second edition 1993 Third edition 1998
MY Rating: star star star star star (5 out of 5 stars)

Foreword

Extended Book Summary
To ensure I understand what I'm reading, I summrized this book, chapter by chapter, in my own words PLUS my own insight, perspective and comment. Not surprisingly, this summary is about half the size of the book. It usually takes me months to finish a book, especially if I have to codify the information into a 'Call to Action' (sequences) that I can integrate into my practice.

Introduction
Hatha Yoga Pradipika was written by Svatmarama Yogendra. It is one of the widely referenced classical texts for hatha yoga even though it was written in the 15th century (1500 years after Patanjali's Yoga Sutras).

While nearly every yogi I meet talks about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as his/her basis for their practice (which is mostly asana), Patanjali's Sutras actually only mentions one asana - a seated pose that can be held long and comfortably. Taking a back seat from the modern dissertation of yoga is the one book that actually focuses more about the asanas - Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Hatha Yoga Pradipika is often cited together with other yoga texts, Gheranda Samhita and Yoga Upanushads.

Caveat
Because this book is essentially a commentary/translation/interpretation of Swami Muktibodhananda under the guidance of Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga, it comes with their bias (against Buddhism mostly).

Buddha's teachings are described as, "...merely psychological experiences... (thus) it became necessary to reintroduce a proper system of meditation" that prepared the body and its elements for the more challenging task of taming the mind (meditation). I agree that having prepared the body, breath and spirit are all essential for a deeper meditation practice, but I will not say Buddha's teachings were 'merely psychological experiences'.

In fairness though, these commentaries also provide background context on the genesis of hatha yoga...which puts yoga in its historical perspective.



Swamiji on Hatha Yoga

The Rise of Hatha Yoga

There are many sources and references to yoga as practiced today. It's not a monopoly of Hatha Yoga Pradipika alone. These text were written between 600 to 1500, as follows:

  1. Goraksha Samhita - by Yogi Gorakhnath
  2. Gheranda Samhita - by the great sage Gherand
  3. Hatha Ratnavali - by Srinivasabhatta Mahayogindra

Note: Other noteworthy sources of yoga are Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Yoga Yajnavalkya, Yoga Korunta, Yoga Upanushads, Yoga Taravali, and Siva Samhita.

The Rise of Hatha Yoga
It is in the backdrop of establishing the mind, body and spirit first before the practice of meditation that hatha yoga came into being. The hatha yogis believed that it takes mental discipline in the first place to successfully exercise self-control - and not the other way around. This period gave rise to 2 prominent figures of hatha yoga - Matsyendranath and his devoted disciple, Gorakhnath. Svatmarama Yogendra, a student adept of Gorakhnath, wrote a comprehensive hatha yoga book expounding on asana, mudra, pranayama and shat kriya - Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Emphasis on Shatkarma
Hatha Yoga completely eliminated the first 2 limbs of Patanjali's Sutras - yama and niyama. Hatha strongly states that the purification of the body must be done first - the 5 elements within the body (fire, air, ether, earth, water), prana, nadi, the nervous system, etc. Only then should purifying the mind or imposing self-controls take place. The body is purified through the six shat karmas:

  1. nauli - stomach churning
  2. dhauti - intestinal cleansing
  3. trataka - eye-gazing without blinking
  4. neti - using a neti pot, to draw water from one opening of the nostril and out the other opening
  5. basti - colonic enema
  6. kapalbhati - repetitive forceful exhalation through abdominal contraction

Note: it is interesting to note that Krishnamacharya in his book Yoga Makaranda, (who has his own yoga lineage separate from the Sivananda Bihar School of Yoga) mentioned that if the practice of asana and pranayama are done right, there is no more need to perform the shat karmas.

Chronology of the Practice
When the body is already purified through the shatkarmas, asana and pranayama can begin. With that, yama and niyama (self-control and discipline) are integrated through the practice. Mudras can follow - sambhavi, khecari, nabho, etc. These are the prerequisites in order to achieve balance between body, mind and energy.

Only then should meditation commence! When this chronology is observed, meditation gives rise to the last 4 limbs - pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.

Ha-Tha
Ha means energy and Tha means mind. Thus, Hatha means the union of energy (prana, shakti, etc.) and mind (consciousness, Shiva, etc.). When they are united, creation begins. When there is creation, 2 things are a given. The creation is alive and the creation is conscious. Therefore, anything and everything around us are both alive and conscious.

Harmony between Prana and Manas Shakti
Hatha aspires to balance the 2 energies in man - prana shakti (physical) and manas shakti (mental). Too much prana shakti and one becomes violent, angry and volatile. Too much manas shakti and you become crazy.

Note: the author is suggesting that these 2 enegies are the Ida and Pingala. I find this confusing. Ida is better known as the female power and the Pingala as the male power. It's not about physical and mental but simply gender. But again, in yoga, depending on who is talking, there will be many inconsistencies.

In Hatha, body, mind and spirit are one - not 3 octarate entities. However, they still need to be balanced with one another.

Note: Personally, I find it easier to use a metaphor - tripod. All three need to be present and balanced. When one is weak, the tripod tips over. This is the reason I push body, mind and spirit simultaneously. The system is only as strong as its weakest link. Not to judge, but I see Buddhists who simply pursue spirituality as a mental/spiritual undertaking. As they get older, sure, they become spiritual adepts, but the body is so weak they are often left bent and twisted. Some of them have to be carried over. That's why I agree in the philosophy of Hatha that the body must be made strong as well. My 2 cents.

Transcendence through Training
The body is simply a gross/physical manifestation of energy, spirit and divinity. The very nature of the body is divine. The body can transmute from solid physical solidity to energy of light - as some enlightened yogis have manifested. Message: the body is sacred. Treat it the way you treat divinity.

Thus, in Hatha, the body is purified by way of the shat karmas, particularly, the cleansing of the nadis and elimination of waste (mucus, gas and acidity).

If meditation is practiced without purification first, the experience can be frightening, annoying or disturbing - not at all the blissful state it is touted to be.

Concentration depends on Purification
Prana/energy and the mind are constantly in motion. They need to be brought into a steady state for unbroken and steady meditation - as the mind is still and the energies are put in 'quiet' mode.

Metamorphosis from Gross to Subtle
Evolution is a universal process. Even rocks go through it, and the human form, spirit and mind are not an exception. We keep evolving whether we like it or not, in however way our actions and thinking cause it.

For proper evolution of the human form, yoga is the answer. Yoga transforms the body is such a subtle and pure form that it can transcend the aging process and be untouched by disease. The 6 shat karmas provide this purification. This purification harmonize energy and mind.

Union of mind and body is Yoga
Hatha Yoga is the convergence of energy on the ida, pingala and sushumna on the Ajna Chakra.

When consciousness expands, the kunkalini shakti (which resides dormant in the Muladhara Chakra) awakens from its slumber and begins its ascencion through the sushumna nadi (along the spine) until it reaches the Ajna Chakra where it converges with the negative/female energy in the Ida nadi and the male/positive energy in the Pingala nadi. The convergence of these energies at the Ajna is the culmination of Hatha Yoga. At this point, Hatha Yoga has been perfected already.

From the Ajna, kundalini continues its ascension until it reaches the top of the head where the sahasrara chakra resides. Here, kundalini shakti unites with Shiva, the supreme consciousness. The unification of kundalini (Shakti, energy, power) with consciousness (Shiva) at the sahasrara is YOGA, no longer Hatha Yoga - Hatha Yoga stopped at the convergence on the Ajna.

Arousing potential Energy
Before kundalini awakens, the chakras must be awakened first. Chakras are the enegy hubs to 72,000 nadis in the system. If the chakras are blocked, energy cannot flow. To unblock the chakras, pranayama is required.

When the nadis are already cleared (unblocked) and the chakras are activated through the practice of asana and pranayama, then sushumna must be cleared as well before kundalini is awakened. If sushumna is blocked, an awakened kundalini cannot go through.

Controlling the mind by controlling the Prana
Fluctuations of the mind is very difficult to control - the mind is somehow autonomous. But a technique in hatha yoga to control the mind is to control prana. The mind and prana are deeply connected and affect each other. By controlling prana through the practice of pranayama, one gets to control the mind. This is especially useful if the mind is agitated and restless and cannot be controlled.

Note: This is why in Vipassana Meditation, when the mind is all over the place, the initiate is encouraged to revert back to anapana or conscious breathing, or even regulate the breath until the mind is at ease - and then resume meditation.

But resorting to pranayama opens up new challenges - it generates heat, it opens up dormant centers in the brain, it alters sperm/testosterone production, etc. Thus it is imperative to practice the 6 shat karmas first. The shat karmas cleanse the nadis, both Ida and Pingala, enabling full unobstructed breathing for balanced nadi shodan pranayama.

If Ida alone is flowing, you will be sleepy and the brainwave is in Delta wave (deep dreamless sleep). If Pingala alone is flowing, the mind will be very busy as it stays on Beta wave (normal waking state). To create balance, do nadi shodan or anuloma viloma pranayama. When there is balance, Sushumna is flowing. That is why cleansing sushumna is required before kundalini awakening.

Note: And here's a tip - if you have trouble sleeping, before going to sleep, meditate while doing chandra bhedan (left nostril breathing only) for about 30 minutes.

Dimensions of prana
While pranayama is widely defined as 'regulation of the breath', it's true meaning actually says, 'expanding the dimension of energy' within you. When prana is activated through pranayama, we gain access to hidden dimensions of consciousness within us. These are planes of existence unbeknownst to our conscious perception and areas of consciousness wrapped in complete darkness. These are more understood as altered states of consciousness.

The practical Aspect
To achieve this altered state of consciousness, we have to do the hard work and abide by the rules. One rule is to abandon intellectualizing. Through pranayama, we can achieve these states without abstract philosophy or thinking. Just do the task and feel and focus. There are established Hatha Yoga asana and pranayama techniques for this.

The therapeutic Aspect
Hatha Yoga was developed for spiritual awakening, but it cannot be denied that by practicing Hatha Yoga, one also gains strength and resilience from disease. True, as a means to therapy, Hatha yoga takes more time and requires work (so it's not a quick fix). But in terms of long term solutions and effective cure, it is certainly worthwhile. For physical and mental therapeutic benefits, three principles apply:

  1. providing perfect health to a system of the body influences the other systems
  2. energies have to be balanced - negative and positive, ida and pingala
  3. purifying the body of its 3 types of wastes (doshas).

In nature, there exists a system of coordination where things seem to move towards being in sync - pendulums of granfather clocks, series of metronomes. when one part of the body is out of sync (sick), the entire system is put out of its synchronicity. Solution is to bring one system in perfect health and the rest of the body follows in sync (just like the metronomes). So, it is not necessary to have one type of yoga cure for every disease. Just putting one system in perfect health pulls all the system to function optimally.

One way to provide a 'cure-all' is to balance the negative and positive energies through asana and pranayama - nadi shodan!. Any disease is simply a symptom of energetic disharmony. Thus balancing the enegies is a cure-all for any disease.

The Real purpose of Hatha yoga
When someone is sick, teach him yoga. Even though it is not for the intended goal, it still works. And why deny someone help if they need it? Yoga has been proven to be an effective cure against a myriad of illnesses and disease. Let the yoga-cure be the stepping stone to enter a spiritual life.



Chapter One: Asana

Salutations to Shiva

(Verse 1) To the Nath sect of yogis, to which the author, Svatmarama belongs to, Shiva is the supreme consciousness. He is called Adinath by the Nath yogis.

Hatha yoga is a preparation for raja yoga, the supreme state of yoga. Hatha yoga balances and harmonized the fluctuating and opposing energies within the body (mind/energy, male/female, yin/yang, etc.) and unifies them into one. When these energies unite, kundalini awakens and ascends through the central nadi, the Sushuman nadi. These energies flow through specific pathways called nadis. Mental energy (female, moon, chitta, para-symphatetic nervous system) travels through the Ida nadi on the left and pranic energy (male, sun, symphatetic nervous system) takes on the Pingala nadi on the right. Hatha yoga primes and prepares the system (body, mind, emotions) to transmit and receive higher, subtle and more powerful energies. Through Hatha, the body is able to regulate its brainwaves, hormones, prana, and secretions. When Ida and Pingala unite at the Ajna Chakra, Hatha yoga has done its job. When kundalini reaches the Sahasrara chakra, then Raja yoga is achieved.



Purpose of Hatha yoga

(Verse 2) The yogi is not the source of knowledge but an instrument of it - this is humility. He prostrates himself to the Adinath. Hatha yoga must only be done with the purpose of achieving samadhi (not siddhis, not therapy, not to beautify) - although Hatha yoga meets these needs. It is said that man uses only 10% of his brain capacity. But through Hatha yoga, the dormant part of the brain is activated and siddhis are manifested. while powerful, siddhis take away the motivation to reach Raja yoga, and thus best to be left ignored. Siddhis, although inevitable in the practice of Hatha yoga, they are not the objective.



Misconception About Raja yoga

(Verse 3) There are as many ways to achieve Raja yoga as there are individuals, but not every method applies to everyone. One must try many systems (karma yoga, bhakti yoga, kriya yoga, jnana yoga, Zen Buddhism) but ulimately follow just one, "it's better to dig one deep hole than many shallow holes". Hatha yoga is but one system offered by Svatrama in the attainment of Raja yoga (samadhi, sahasrara activation).



Matsyendranath and Gorakhnath

(Verse 4) Hatha yoga was taught by Matsyendranath to his disciple, Gorakhnath. Hatha was passed on along this lineage until it was learned by Svatmarama who codified the practice into this book, Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

They all belong to the Nath sect of yogis commonly known as kanphata or split-eared. The Naths began in the 7th century when yoga was associated with dark energy and black magic. Members of the Nath yogis were held in high regard for their extreme penitence, extreme abstinence and extreme austerities. They are adepts in siddhis. Nath yogis were reknowned in the old world for they traveled far and wide leaving stories about miracles in their wake.

Legend has it that the gods incarnated themselves into Matsyendranath and Gorakhnath to save society from its decline - heinous activities were being done in the name of spirituality.

It is claimed by the Naths that their lineage goes as far back as Lord Shiva himself. Shiva was said to be teaching his consort Parvati, the secrets of yoga as a big fish was eavesdropping and heard all the teachings. Matsyendranath was living inside the fish so everything was transmitted to him as well.

Gorakhnath was said to emerge as a 12-year old, from a pile of cow dung. He became a devotee of Matsyendranath and founded the Nath sect and propagated Hatha yoga.



Lineage of mahasiddhas

(Verses 5-9) Mahasiddhas are great yogis who have attained superhuman powers through the perfection of their practice. They become a jivanmukta (liberated soul). There are 8 major siddhis that need to be mastered before one can be called a siddha:

  1. Anima - the ability to become as small as an atom
  2. Laghima - the ability to become weightless
  3. Mahima - the ability to become as large as the universe
  4. Garima - the ability to become heavy
  5. Prapti - the ability to reach any place
  6. Prakamya - the ability to stay under water and to maintain the body and youth
  7. Vashitva - control over all objects, organic and inorganic
  8. Ishatva -the capacity to create and destroy at will

When these siddhis are perfected, the mind and body are no longer confined to human perception. All of time and space are transcended.



Three types of pain or tapa

(Verse 10) Hatha yoga makes the system strong to withstand the pains of life. There are 3 types of pain:

  1. spiritual - for as long as we live in duality, we experience spiritual pain
  2. environmental - environmental pain is unavoidable and outside our control. What happens externally affect us - market meltdowns, war, typhoons, loss of a loved one, etc.
  3. physical - physical pain is part of life - sickness, trauma, sadness, etc.

Hatha yoga primes the body, mind and emotions to weather these types of pain. When they are fortified, they serve as anchors to reality as conciousness expands. In short, be functional in the real world even as you deepen your spirituality - come on time for appointments, pay your debts and meet deadlines. Don't use spirituality to be negligent on your earthly responsibilities. Consciousness can expand and contract. If it contracts and the body/mind are weak, then conciousness has nothing to fall back into. Grounding to reality must always be strong.



Sadhana should be kept secret for success

(Verse 11) Siddhis should be kept to oneself. Hatha Yoga Prakipika is not a comprehensibe encyclopedia for the practice of Hatha yoga. It only covers the essentials. The real practice, the one that goes deep, is one that is practiced with the guru. This is where siddhis are developed (and must be kept a private personal matter and not for public consumption). When siddhi is showcased, it eventually loses its power - that's right, siddhis are only temporary. This explains why healers who overcharge eventually lose their powers. When you display your siddhis, you become 'better' than your friends - friends only wish for your empowerment if it does not exceed theirs. This is a warning that your friends will turn against you in your moment of need.



Place of practice

(Verse 12) Ideally, back in the days of Svatmarama, a yogi should practice alone as a hermit and be isolated. But in this present day, that is no longer possible. The best compromise is to dwell in a place removed from the hustle and noise of the city, but not too far away. The place must be calm, peaceful and conducive to spiritual practice. It is important to choose a positive place (good view, along a river, back to nature, etc.) - it takes a lot of energy to dispel negativity if one is in a negatively charged space (city, noise, scams and scammers, etc.).

(Verse 13) Ideally, again, Svatmarama suggests that a place of practice should be a small place with a low door with no windows. This is again no longer practical. But the essence is to have a practice space (or dwelling place) that is simple, clean, natural and free from insects coming in. The dwelling place should reflect the austerity of the yogi. It should be able to be made dark for an introspective atmosphere. No pets since they will be a distraction and require attention and care. The yogi must only be preoccupied with his practice - nothing else.



Practice of sadhana devoid of mental tension

(Verse 14 p. 64) In the meditation place, make effort to free the mind of any distraction. Close the door to the outside world and focus within. Stay present in the here-and-now...the past already happened and cannot be undone. The future hasn't happened and will remain in the future. So just stay present. The mind will drift. When you catch it drifting, gently bring it back to the present. Don't be too hard on the mind. Deal with it like a child...teach, discipline but don't be cruel. A guru is highly essential in deepening the practice. Devotion to guru is required.

But in today's world, where do you find that guru? Personally, I read books written by established masters and integrate the teachings into my practice. That's the closest thing I can come to a guru.



Causes of failure in sadhana

(Verse 15, p. 69) There are 6 major causes for a yoga practice to fail:

  1. Over Eating - with too much food, too much energy is spent on digestion. The body becomes sluggish and the mind becomes dull. Eat less often, eat only enough to drive away the feeling of hunger. Food should fill half the stomach - nothing more. A quarter of the stomach is for water and another 4th for air.

    The book did not mention fasting, but I would add it. I fast 1 day/week according to the Wim Hof protocol. I feel light and lively after the fast. No sluggishness.
  2. Over exertion - when there is too much physical workout, too much thinking, the energies are depleted leaving nothing for spiritual undertaking. When the mind is tired, stop thinking and let it rest. Let the body rest too before the next workout. Moderation is the Middle Way.
  3. Talkativeness - too much idle chat and gossiping rob you of time and energy. You can ask yourself, "Is this conversation productive? Or is this as useless as getting sucked into Facebook?"
  4. Adhering to rules - rules should be seen with a critical mind. Are they meant to control and stifle liberties? Or are they designed to promote streamlining and efficiency? Rules are not necessarily bad, so best to be vigilant about rules. Increasingly, governments are tightening controls by making rules that choke expression of freedom. Spiritual practice does not rely on legalities or religious doctrines.

    A yogi must have full liberties to explore his mind and expand his consciousness.
  5. Being in the company of common people - talking to low-evolution people (or hanging out with them), pulls you to their level. These are people who see complacency as normal, they blame others for the choices they themselves made, they procrastinate, lie, cheat, etc. Best to avoid them. If you love them, love them from a distance.
  6. Wavering mind - sure, a mind has a mind of its own, and by nature, they behave like monkeys. But when you learn to quiet the mind, it's easier to go deep into the practice. Develop a steady routine (don't sleep at 9pm one night and then sleep at 5am the following day).

With the foregoing 6 blockages to yoga, spiritual energies are spent on eliminating the toxins instead of deepening the practice. Spiritual evolution does not take place in a dirty environment.

Yoga balances the pranic energy (ida, female, right hemisphere, left body, artistic, creative, spacey, subconcious activities) and mental energy (pingala, male, left hemisphere, right body, logical, regimented, organized, concious activities). Ida and Pingala alternate in the nostril in 90-min intervals (left nostril is blocked then after 90 mins, the right nostril is blocked - same thing with the left and right hemipheres of the brain). When these 2 are balanced, the nostril is completely cleared, the body and the mind are harmonized. Usually, Ida or Pingala dominates the other. Too much pranic energy and

In my Neti Pot practice, my nostrils are completely free of blockage and I feel the clear passages of the nostrils - this means my Ida and Pingal are balanced, the body and mind are harmonized. Now, I begin to understand why the shat kriyas are essential.



Causes of success in sadhana

(Verse 16i, p. 71) For success to happen, the following virtues are to be followed:

  1. Enthusiasm - easier said than done, but practice and the practitioner should always be in a honeymoon state - where excitement to deepen the practice abounds
  2. Perseverance - regardless of external factors, or rate of (or lack of) progress, the practice must always go on regularly. Feeling lazy is unacceptable
  3. Discernment - be selective about the energies you allow in your circle. Ensure they compliment the practice. No alcohol, drugs, negative thinking, negative people, etc.
  4. Unshakeable faith - this talks about devotion and faith to the guru. But not everyone has a guru. In my case, I will simply hold an unwavering faith that the mind is everything and that everything is perception created by the mind to give us a human experience to learn what we need to learn. If we pass the test, another test is presented. Failing the test means rebirth and have the whole thing happen all over again. When all the tests are passed, then one can be a non-returner or arahant.
  5. Courage - as you deepen your practice, there will be transformation and new realizations. It takes courage to leave your comfort zone and embrace this new change. You may have to leave your friends, leave your place of dwelling, leave your job and shift your paradigm. Changes will take place across the board
  6. Avoiding the company of common people - not to be condescending, but people of lower aspirations essentially hinder your spiritual growth. It is best to avoid them, or love them from a distance. Be with people you aspire to. Read their books, watch their podcasts, listen to their interviews. Emulate their qualities.


Yama and niyama

(Verse 16 ii/iii, p. 73) Yama (moral conduct to society) and Niyama (right conduct to self), although part of Raja Yoga, is given little emphasis in Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga suggests that the mind has to be disciplined first (through yama and niyama) before the practice of yoga begins. Hatha Yoga is saying on the contrary that it's more confusing to an ordinary person to start with his mind - the body needs to be purified first through shatkarmas, before asana and pranayama, and then focus on the mind. When the mind becomes strong, that it the time yama and niyama should be practiced. This approach is in compliance to kali yuga (a time frame characterized by strife and discord, lasting 432,000 years. Kali Yuga began 5,123 years ago, when Krshna died, marking the end of Dvapara Yuga. So yes, we are in Kali Yuga and will remain so in the next 423,000 years). Yama and Niyama are simply guidelines. Success in the practice can be attained without them.

(note: In certain circles, it is deemed that acquiring powers without yama and niyama as a moral foundation is nothing more than the occult - it's not necessarily spiritual. But yes, it can be done).

YAMA

  1. Ahimsa - non-violence to anyone, to anything either by thought, deed or desire. This applies to the planet - are we harming the planet by not reducing our plastic use, knowing that these plastics invariably end up in the ocean and kill fishlife? Are we harming someone because we gossip about them? Harm is manifested in many subtle ways we are not even aware of. Be vigilant.

    (note: In the paradigm of everything and everyone being you, any harm to done outside is harm done to yourself. Anyone you want to harm is a lesson for you to learn from. Why do you want to harm this person or thing? Contemplate and learn the lesson. I believe that when the lesson is learned, the challenge will no longer present itself, because the purpose has been met. In this human existence, once all lessons are learned, then no more defilements arise and the individual can be a non-returner...someone who doesn't need to be reborn because there is no more need.)
  2. Honesty - we know if we are being dishonest to others if we speak of outright lies. But there are subtle forms of dishonesty we are not aware of - exaggeration? half-truths? biased truth? Moreover, we are also dishonest to ourselves by rationalizing wrong action with clever logic. Worse, we begin to believe our own lies. It may be difficult to be honest because it might put you in bad light, but after the honesty, you have nothing more to hide...no more baggage to carry, no more fear of being found out. You begin to live life freely.
  3. Non-stealing - sounds straightforward enough. Don't take what is not yours. That's easy. But let's consider the subtle forms of stealing we are not aware of. Are we grabbing credit from someone else's work? Are we using clever language to take what is not ours? Business people are good in being cleverly dishonest. They think they're just smart. But the reality is, they're just being dishonest.

    (note: a good example of stealth stealing using clever arguments happened to me recently. I conducted an event to which I was supposed to be paid for. The payment was delayed - this is dishonest. The payment wasn't in full because the owner said he wasn't making money with the event and that he extened discounts to his preferred clients. Again, by passing on the burden of profitability and discounts to me, instead of him shouldering it, I consider his actions dishonest - it's stealing. I refused to do business with him again.)
  4. Continence or Brahmacharya - this is not really about sexual abstinence as is popularly known. It means pure consciousness and complete awareness to God - at least according to the commentary. Once this state is achieved, sex can even be used for spiritual awakening. Abstinence alone is not necessarily being a brahmacharya especially if there are repressed sexual thoughts or ejaculation involved. Semen or bindu should be preserved.

    (note: Sexual abstinence has no place in modern society and thus must be modified to be relevant and doable. To put it simply, don't abuse your sexual liberties. Conserve your sperm...bindu, because it is such a powerful thing to be wasted if not used for reproduction. Bindu has enough power in it to create life.)
  5. Forgiveness or Kshama - forgiveness in practical terms means letting go of the wrongs done upon you, letting go of the pain, and letting go of the desire for revenge. This is not easy especially if the wrong-doer shows no remorse or even gloats. Forgiveness means being able to stay present, moving on and not carrying the burden of pain. This is not for the benefit of the wrong-doer but for your benefit.
  6. Endurance or Perseverance - life is full of suffering. Friends betray you, girlfriends cheat on you, and your toast falls down butter-side down. That's life. It's easy to give up and lose faith and hope. But enduring the trauma, keeping awarness that it happens for a purpose, helps in remaining calm, committed and mentally steadfast. The point is that bad things happen because you need to learn something from it - that is the reason for being of anything and everything bad.
  7. Compassion and Kindness - to everyone, especially to those we often ignore...the small guy, the weak, the not-so important ones, etc. There is no justification for cruelty...even to ants who scatter on our kitchen table.
  8. Humility and Modesty - there is humility when the ego is surrendered to divinity. Without ego, there is oneness - when consciousness, divinity and universe converge into one. In more pragmatic terms, humility is living a simple life where you only take what is needed.

    (note: while ego is universally villified, I maintain that ego is a tool - neither good nor bad. It's how it's used that define its virtue. Ego allows you to be the catalyst for all the positive changes you want to see on the planet, but from a position of strength. Ego enhances our survival and gives us an added push to get things done. But ego is wrong when used to establish rank - that you are better than others. I believe that there comes a point in the spiritual journey when ego needs to be abandoned for a deeper practice. I'm not there yet.)
  9. Moderaton in Diet, p. 77 - eat just enough to sustain the body...not too much. Too much food means the mind is weak. A sound body means a sound mind. A strong mind must be supported by a strong body - mind and body are synced that way.
  10. Cleanliness - inside the body, cleanliness is achieved by doing the 6 shat kriyas. These unblock the nadis allowing energy to flow, keeping the body's functionality optimum.

NIYAMA

  1. Tapas - doing things that take you out of your comfort zone is tapas. Back in the day, this meant standing on Tree Pose on a very cold running river. In more pragmatic lines in modern times, it could mean waking up at 4am to do your practice. Or taking cold showers.

    (note: even though such acts of austerity are considered passé, I still practise tapas. It fortifies the mind and help sustain the body's strength and resilience...like using the stairs instead of elevator)
  2. Contentment or Santosha - desires are never satisfied so it's best to simply fill contented with what you have, contented with any situation, and feel grateful for what you have instead of feeling short-changed. If you have no craving, you are free and liberated.
  3. Belief in the Supreme - it doesn't have to be God as long as you acknowledge a power higher than you. To be humble and grateful to that higher power. Trust the process (pleasant or unpleasant) even with no comprehension. Maybe you find out later why things needed to happen...maybe not.
  4. Charity or Daanam - it doesn't only mean money/food to the poor, but being there for someone in need. Give with no strings and no expectations. When something is already given, the story ends there. Period. Experience the joy in giving.
  5. Worship of the Supreme - this is not religion or performing rituals - which could be pitfalls. This is about emulating the qualities of the Supreme - not a mindless rite.
  6. Defaulting to Spiritual Scriptures or Siddhanta - why wing it blind when the wisdom of the scriptures and experience of the wise sages are already available? There are many books written by established yogis, mahasiddhas, rishis and sages. Avail of them.

    (note: when I couldn't find the teacher I was looking for, one who could help me level-up my practice, I had to default into sacred yoga books to deepen my practice - Yoga Makaranda by T. Krishnamacharya, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama, etc. By doing this, I realized I found my teachers. By following their practice, I eventually became the teacher I was looking for.)
  7. Modesty or Hree - already discussed above.
  8. Discerning Intellect - things that happen at the superficial level can be confusing and misleading. Having the intelligence to discern cause and effect, root causes instead of symptoms, help in going deeper into the many layers of reality - not just on the surface.
  9. Japa - Japa means chanting the mantras. Mantras are not just sounds. They are powerful vibrational frequencies that penetrate into the mind and consciousness. There are mantras for the subtle body, mantras for transcendence and mantras for pranic vibrations. With regular practice, the mantra can carry on within oneself without any conscious effort.

    The greatest mantra of them all is OM, pronounced A-U-M. A resonates with the conscious world, U resonates with the intermediate realms, and M activates the unconscious and the unmanifest. Together, they span a broad spectrum from the gross to the divine.
  10. Sacrifice or hutam - this is not just the ritualistic puja, but sacrifice of the mundane pleasures and comfort to deepen a spiritual practice.

All the branches of Yama and Niyama are designed to discipline the mind and restrain the senses for develop pranic and psychic energies. It is best to keep awareness what they are and develop them naturally. If force is used, the benefit is not gained. The practice has to make sense to the initiate. Again, in Hatha Yoga, they don't adhere too much to these. To them, the purification of the body through shat kriyas is more important.



Asana: Hatha Yoga

(Verse 17, p. 84) In Raja Yoga, asana is simply a seated position (as described by Patanjali's sutras). But in Hatha Yoga, asana is the beginning of yoga where exercises are done to develop steadfastness of the mind and firmness of the body. By developing the body through asana, the mind is also controlled. Asana moves prana. When prana is moving, there is no disease - sickness cannot happen. Likewise, when prana is moving, the body becomes supple and asana feel more natural. Body and mind, mind and body = they both influence each other.



Asana: Vashishtha / Matsyendranath

(Verse 18, p. 85) Although widely debated, yogic texts talk about 33 asanas. Svatmarama talks about the essentials as practiced in the hatha tradition. It should be noted that asanas are not just practiced by hatha yogis but also by practitioners of other types of yoga. Vashishtha, a renowned saint in the Jnana Yoga tradition, practices asanas together with meditation.



Asana (19): Swastikasana (Auspicious Pose)

(Verse 19, p. 86)
Position: seated, back straight, feet placed on the opposite inner thigh of the other leg, hands on Gyana Mudra.

Benefits: while seen as a steady seated pose, prana is activated and primes the body for meditation. When the back is straight, nerve impulses are passed freely to the brain and pranic impulses freely pass through the sushumna.

Asana: Swastikasana (Auspicious Pose)

Asana (20): Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face)

(Verse 20, p. 88)
Position: seated, right heel to the left buttock and left leg above the right leg with heel on to the right buttock. Make the legs symmetrical.

Bring the left arm up and bend from the elbow to bring the left hand behind the back. Bring the right arm down and bend from the elbow to bring the right hand up to clasp the left hand. Find a comfortable pulling balance between the 2 arms. The back is forced to straighten up.

Breath to sink into the pose. Do the other side.

Benefits: because the hands are connected, energy loops and is not leeched. With the leg position, prana is pooled into the Muladhara Chakra.

Asana: Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face)

Asana: Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face)

Asana (21): Veerasana (Hero's Pose)

(Verse 21, p. 91)
Position: seated, right leg bent with foot beside the left knee. Right elbow resting on the knee and right hand on the right cheek, head slight tilted to the right, supported by the hand. Left leg bent with left heel slightly tucked under the buttocks. Left hand on the left knee. Observe the breath for 2 minutes. Do the other side.

Asana: Veerasana (Hero's Pose)

Variation: Left leg stays the same, right leg is bent with top of right foot resting on the left thigh, knees apart from each other. Hands on Gyana Mudra.

Asana: Veerasana (Hero's Pose)

Benefits: the nadis in the legs are activated and stimulates the sexual organs and brain centers



Ending Thoughts

--- 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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Other Books on Hatha Yoga Pradipika

  1. Hatha Yoga Pradipika : Light on Hatha Yoga - commentaries by Yogi Hari
  2. Hatha Yoga Pradipika - translated by Pancham Sinh
  3. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika - the Original Sanskrit with English translation by Brian Dana Akers
  4. Hatha Yoga Pradipika - translation with notes from Krishnamacharya by A. Ganesh Mohan

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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 -
Chiang Mai to Bangkok Trains source: railway.co.th
  1. Check Train Schedule & Fares
  2. 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

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. Goodbye Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019 - Oct 10, 2022
  2. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Oct 10, 2022
  3. Siamaya Chocolates Oct 2, 2022
  4. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  5. September Snapshots Sep 30, 2022
  6. Carrot Cake Sep 12, 2022
  7. Making Coconut Bread Sep 3, 2022
  8. August Snapshots Aug 31, 2022
  9. Yoga Nidra with Chunyah and Tom Aug 18, 2022
  10. Coconut Pancake Aug 11, 2022
  11. July Snapshots Jul 31, 2022
  12. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Jul 31, 2022
  13. Jason, Max and Elizabeth Pizza Nite Jul 28, 2022
  14. Yakiniku Dinner with Max and Jason Jul 25, 2022
  15. Icebath at Nawa Saraan Jul 6 - Oct 5, 2022
  16. June Snapshots Jun 30, 2022
  17. Tom, Chunyah and Simona Pizza Nite Jun 23, 2022
  18. Yoga Class Pizza Nite Jun 15, 2022
  19. Pranayama with Nicha Jun 14, 2022
  20. May Snapshots May 31, 2022
  21. Lover's Quarrel May 26, 2022
  22. Getting Lost on a Hike May 25, 2022
  23. Biohacker Meetup at 'Living with The Spirit' May 22, 2022
  24. Music and Magic at Paapu House May 5, 2022
  25. Breathwork + Icebath @ Alt_Chiangmai II Apr 20, 2022
  26. April 2022 in a Nugget Apr 30, 2022
  27. Tombstone Epitaph Apr 29, 2022
  28. Kayaking along the Ping River with the BioHackers Apr 24, 2022
  29. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
  30. Pizza Nite with Jerry, Paolo and Abby Apr 9, 2022
  31. Tom Maher's Muay Thai Fight Apr 8, 2022
  32. Breathwork + Icebath @ Alt_Chiangmai Apr 6, 2022
  33. Yoga with Leo Apr 5, 2022
  34. Mar 2022 in a Nugget Mar 31, 2022
  35. Street Photo Mar 31, 2022
  36. Peoplescape Mar 31, 2022
  37. Chiang Mai's Recovering Music Scene Mar 31, 2022
  38. Street Photo Mar 31, 2022
  39. Yoga and Fitness Mar 26, 2022
  40. Friday Bitcoin Meetups Mar 18, 2022
  41. Pizza Nite with Aida and Sophie Mar 14, 2022
  42. Pizza Nite with Kevin, Jamie and Kris Mar 10, 2022
  43. In Search of Genetic Immortality Mar 5, 2022
  44. Feb 2022 in a Nugget Feb 28, 2022
  45. Palm-Feeding Wild Birds Feb 26, 2022
  46. Cuckoo Feb 16, 2022
  47. Tell John Feb 16, 2022
  48. Pizza Nite with Kris, Simona and Mary Feb 15, 2022
  49. Pizza Nite with the Chiang Mai Boyz Feb 6, 2022
  50. Welcoming the New Year Jan 31, 2022
  51. January Snapshots Jan 31, 2022
  52. ABS Fitness Challenge Jan 16 - Apr 16, 2022
  53. Pumpkin Tahini Recipe Jan 3, 2022
  54. 2021: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2021
  55. Pizza Nite with Simona and Lisa Dec 28, 2021
  56. Tahini Salad Dressing Dec 27, 2021
  57. Baba Ganoush Recipe Dec 23, 2021
  58. 7 Universal Laws Dec 20, 2021
  59. Sacred Circuitry Dec 18, 2021
  60. Cave-Living in a Boutique Hotel in Chiang Mai Dec 14, 2021
  61. Tummo Yoga + Wim Hof Breathing + Full-Body Muscle Contraction Dec 13, 2021
  62. Monk Chat Dec 10, 2021
  63. Making Tahini and Hummus Dec 8, 2021
  64. Watering the Plants Hands-Free Dec 2, 2021
  65. Vietnamese Phin Coffee Filter Dec 2, 2021
  66. Tummo Yoga Dec 1, 2021
  67. The Bliss of Inner Fire: Book Summary/Review Dec 1, 2021
  68. The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa Dec 1, 2021
  69. 'Must Experience' Cafés of Chiang Mai Nov 30, 2021
  70. British Hobnob Cookies Nov 22, 2021
  71. New York Cheese Cake Nov 22, 2021
  72. Dham's Poetry Nov 14, 2021
  73. Pizza Nite with Simona and Nat Nov 11, 2021
  74. Stepping Forward / Reaching Out Oct 31, 2021
  75. Cancel Culture Attack Oct 31, 2021
  76. Mantra Primer Oct 29, 2021
  77. Spinal Mobility Oct 7, 2021
  78. Swedish Cinnamon Rolls [Kanelbullar] Oct 4, 2021
  79. Just Bring 2 Chinese Oct 3, 2021
  80. Sep Snapshots Sep 31, 2021
  81. One-Leg Yoga Asana Sequences Sep 30, 2021
  82. Pizza Nite with Nut, Monika and Yuki Sep 27, 2021
  83. 23-Minute Ice Bath Sep 27, 2021
  84. Pizza Nite with Nut, Simona and Malee Sep 23, 2021
  85. Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) Sep 23, 2021
  86. Making Cornbread Sep 15, 2021
  87. Kombucha: 2nd Batch Sep 11, 2021
  88. Making German Stollen Bread Sep 9, 2021
  89. Pizza Nite with Jackson, Goi and Paapu Sep 6, 2021
  90. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug 31, 2021
  91. Making Homemade Kombucha Aug 30, 2021
  92. Wrong Question to Ask This Crowd Aug 29, 2021
  93. Pizza Nite with Tom, Chunyah and Goi Aug 20, 2021
  94. Pizza Nite with Moms and Kids Aug 15, 2021
  95. Bahya Kumbhaka (breath-hold on the exhale) Aug 14, 2021
  96. Everybody's Only Friend Aug 13, 2021
  97. Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies) Aug 11, 2021
  98. Fighting Infection through Yoga Aug 3, 2021
  99. Too Close for Friendship Aug 2, 2021
  100. Manifesting: Epicurus' Pursuit Jul 31, 2021
  101. Homemade Rum Raisin Ice Cream Jul 30, 2021
  102. Ice Bath at Nawa Saraan Healing Space Jul 25, 2021
  103. Pizza Nite + Slack Line + Hammock Jul 23, 2021
  104. Yin-Yoga & Hypnosis with Christine Thiel Jul 20, 2021
  105. Pizza Nite with James and Nat Jul 19, 2021
  106. Antara Kumbhaka on Nadi Shodan Pranayama: Yogic Breath-Hold on the Inhale Jul 17, 2021
  107. Moving and Cashing-Out Bitcoin Jun 2 - Jul 11, 2021
  108. 'The Bow' Yoga Jul 7, 2021
  109. Yoga Classes with Calum Mar 27 - Jul 4, 2021
  110. Hike to Wat Pa Thammachat Waterfall Jul 2, 2021
  111. Pizza Brunch with the Yogis July 1, 2021
  112. Continuing Friendships in Chiang Mai Jun 30, 2021
  113. On the Brink of Hunger, the ENABLERS Come to Light Jun 21, 2021
  114. Hatha Vinyasa Yoga with Katharine Day Jun 17, 2021
  115. Pranayama Basics II Jun 16, 2021
  116. 36-Hour Love Life Jun 11, 2021
  117. Pranayama Basics I Jun 9, 2021
  118. Biohackers Meetup in Chiang Mai Jun 6, 2021
  119. Learning How to Breathe Jun 2, 2021
  120. Not the Usual Day-to-Day Life May 31, 2021
  121. Morphing Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 31, 2021
  122. Breathwork & Ice Bath with Jason Ryer of Zen Strength May 23, 2021
  123. It's Raining Bell Peppers May 7, 2021
  124. Yoga Classes with Nana Apr 20, 2021
  125. You Want to be Wonder Woman? Apr 8, 2021
  126. Kunjal Kriya / Vamana Dhauti (induced vomiting) Apr 1, 2021
  127. Coffeemates, Breadmates and Yogamates in Chiang Mai Jan-Mar 2021
  128. Varisara Dhauti (cleansing of the entire digestive tract) Mar 26, 2021
  129. Spiritual Backpacker Interview by Napasorn 'Cherry' Suvarnapradip Mar 23, 2021
  130. Private One-on-One Yoga Classes with Doriana Feb 17 - Mar 14, 2021
  131. Transformational Life Events Mar 13, 2021
  132. Guess Who's Coming to Bread Day? Mar 1, 2021
  133. Mula Shodhana (anal cleansing) Feb 27, 2021
  134. Are You My Queen? Feb 25, 2021
  135. Breaking the 5-Minute Breath-hold Barrier Feb 25, 2021
  136. Kirtan with Chiang Mai's Khun Thai Seekers Feb 7, 2021
  137. Breaking the 4-minute Breath-hold Feb 7, 2021
  138. Pranayama Primer Feb 2, 2021
  139. Heartbreak in every Song Jan 24, 2021
  140. The Silent Killer is Baaack! Jan 12, 2021
  141. Learning the Thai Language Jan 9, 2021
  142. 2020: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2020
  143. Reversing/Slowing Down the Aging Process Dec 30, 2020
  144. Hike to Huay Keaw Waterfall Dec 20, 2020
  145. Yoga Mat Dec 19, 2020
  146. Hiking to Wat Pha Lat along the Monk's Trail Dec 19, 2020
  147. Am I Psycho? Dec 9, 2020
  148. Muffin Man Dec 8, 2020
  149. Polyamory Dec 4, 2020
  150. The Wim Hof Ice Bath Dec 3, 2020
  151. RSVP Nov 25, 2020
  152. High Intensity Interval Yoga (Yoga + HIIT) Nov 14, 2020
  153. Cleansing the Nadis (Energy Pathway) Nov 13, 2020
  154. Yoga for a 360-degree Core Nov 6, 2020
  155. Edward Witten: 'the smartest living physicist' Nov 4, 2020
  156. Srinivasa Ramanujan: Mathematician of the Divine Oct 27, 2020
  157. Bashar as Channeled by Darryl Anka Oct 26, 2020
  158. Vinyasa Krama and Ashtanga Yoga with Aida Yoga Oct 18, 2020
  159. Deepak Chopra: author, lecturer, healer Oct 12, 2020
  160. Facebook Friends Oct 1, 2020
  161. Chiang Mai Peoplescape Aug-Sep 2020 Sep 30, 2020
  162. Siddhis (yogic super powers) Sep 30, 2020
  163. Learning the Import/Export Trade Sep 4, 2020
  164. Music and Magic at Justin's Birthday Bash Sep 3, 2020
  165. Biggest Stone in his Shoe Sep 1, 2020
  166. Abandoned Aug 25, 2020
  167. Intelligent Romantic Break-up Aug 25, 2020
  168. Dad-Zoned Aug 18, 2020
  169. Public Display of Affection Aug 9, 2020
  170. Gabriella's Birthday Bash at Mothership Resort Aug 8-9, 2020
  171. Shifting Peoplescape of Chiang Mai July 31, 2020
  172. Yoga Class for Strength and Muscle Jul 30, 2020
  173. Yoga Class for Optimum Digestion July 29, 2020
  174. Yoga Class for Healthy Eyes Jul 27, 2020
  175. Hippie Night at Nawa Saraan Healing Space July 24, 2020
  176. The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom Jul 17, 2020
  177. Prana Vayu Adhitthana Yoga Class July 11-12, 2020
  178. Coming Back to Chiang Mai Jun 29, 2020
  179. Goodbye Chiang Mai Jan 23, 2020
  180. Prasnopanishad: Understanding Prana Jan 17, 2020
  181. Hiking the Monk's Trail Jan 15, 2020
  182. Chaturanga Jan 10, 2020
  183. You Spooned Me Jan 3, 2020
  184. 2019: A Year in Review Dec 31, 2019
  185. Friends, Coffeemates and Breadmates (Dec 2019) Dec 31, 2019
  186. Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
  187. Let's Make it About You - an Epiphany Dec 17, 2019
  188. Shut-Up! Dec 7, 2019
  189. Roasted Red Bell Pepper Puree Dec 3, 2019
  190. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Nov 2019) Nov 30, 2019
  191. Bhujangini Mudra Nov 25, 2019
  192. Mathangini Mudra Nov 24, 2019
  193. Kaka Mudra Nov 23, 2019
  194. Pasini Mudra Nov 20, 2019
  195. Aswini Mudra Nov 18, 2019
  196. Sambhavi Mudra Nov 16, 2019
  197. Manduka Mudra Nov 15, 2019
  198. Tataka Mudra Nov 14, 2019
  199. Sakti Calana Mudra Nov 10, 2019
  200. Vajroli Mudra Nov 9, 2019
  201. Coffeemates and Breadmates (Oct 2019) Oct to Nov 5, 2019
  202. Yoni Mudra Nov 1, 2019
  203. Viparita Karani Mudra Oct 31, 2019
  204. Khecari Mudra Oct 30, 2019
  205. Mahadeva Mudra Oct 28, 2019
  206. Sacred Cacao - Chakra Dance Journey Oct 26, 2019
  207. Partner Healing with Natascha Oct 24, 2019
  208. Maha Bandha Mudra Oct 24, 2019
  209. Point-Of-Failure Birthday Workout Oct 22, 2019
  210. Mula Bandha Mudra Oct 21, 2019
  211. Hugfest at Thapae Gate, Chiang Mai Oct 19, 2019
  212. Anushasan Mudra Oct 18, 2019
  213. Ling Mudra Oct 17, 2019
  214. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra Oct 15, 2019
  215. Learning Thai with Cee Oct 13, 2019
  216. Uddiyana Bandha Mudra Oct 10, 2019
  217. Nabho Mudra Oct 9, 2019
  218. Maha Mudra Oct 7, 2019
  219. 20 Essential Mudras by T. Krishnamacharya Oct. 6, 2019
  220. Mindfulness Gong Bath by Vee (Veerayuth Pongsiri) Oct 3, 2019
  221. Cuddle Party by Abundant Love CM Oct 1, 2019
  222. Vayu Mudra Oct 1, 2019
  223. Visa-Run to Tachileik, Myanmar Sep 28, 2019
  224. Sankalpa Mudra Sep 27, 2019
  225. Surya Pradarshini Mudra Sep 26, 2019
  226. Eye-Gazing at Heart Space Sep 20, 2019
  227. Prana Vayu (Pranic Wind) Sep 20, 2019
  228. 2-Week Yoga Challenge by Agnese Erba Sep 17, 2019
  229. The Mudra Project Sep 13, 2019
  230. Sunday Vinyasa Flow with Marina Forster Sep 8, 2019
  231. Shamanic Breathwork by Rachel Constantino Sep 4, 2019
  232. The Conscious Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Aug 31, 2019
  233. Of Winos and Yogis Aug 26, 2019
  234. The 9 Jhanas of Buddha Aug 22, 2019
  235. Full Moon Ceremony at Heart Space Aug 15, 2019
  236. Yin Yoga - Water Element by Martina Barabas Aug 15, 2019
  237. Hatha Mix Yoga with Christin Aug 13, 2019
  238. Boy Blues Bar Rocks Chiang Mai Aug 5, 2019
  239. Back to my Beloved Chiang Mai Aug 1, 2019
  240. Kaleidoscope of Chiang Mai's Peoplescape July 27, 2019
  241. Secret Sunrise: Nelson Mandela International Day July 17, 2019
  242. Farewell Picnic with Alan and Nicola July 15, 2019
  243. Secret Sunrise: Water July 3, 2019
  244. Hotel Review: Arun Suite June 27, 2019
  245. Bruce Lipton: Epigentics to Transcend Genes June 24, 2019
  246. Optimizing Life thru Heart Math May 8, 15 and 22, 2019
  247. Connective Cacao and Sound Journey June 12, 2019
  248. Chiangmai BLUES June 6, 2019
  249. Hatha Slow Flow with Neil Jefferson June 3, 2019
  250. Meditating with One Million Meditators Movement June 1, 2019
  251. Vinyasa Happy Flow Series by Vaida May 31, 2019
  252. Muay Thai at the Chiang Mai Boxing Stadium May 30, 2019
  253. Yoga Flow Through the 7 Chakras by Sabrina Pilz May 30, 2019
  254. The Outsiders (people you need to push out of your sacred circle) May 31, 2019
  255. Fascinating Peoplescape of Chiang Mai May 22, 2019
  256. World Meditation Day at Heart Space May 21, 2019
  257. Abs Yoga by Gigit May 12, 2019
  258. Kundalini and Vinyasa Yoga with Nicola Symons May 10, 2019
  259. Secret Sunrise Interactive Dance May 9, 2019
  260. Tok Sen Massage from Ying May 8, 2019
  261. Bruschetta: Nawa Saraan Style Apr 22, 2019
  262. Thai Cooking at Pra Nang Thai Cookery School Apr 20, 2019
  263. Bonding with the Elephants in Chiang Mai Apr 11, 2019
  264. Ziplining in Chiang Mai with Eagle Track Zipline Apr 10, 2019
  265. Getting Thai Massage from Chiang Mai's Best (Lar Thanakrit Khamtanong) Mar 21, 2019
  266. Being the Soul of Nawa Saraan Hotel Mar 18, 2019
  267. Peoplescape of Chiang Mai Jan 24 - Mar 13, 2019
  268. Curing Cancer with Yoga? Feb 21, 2019
  269. International Training Massage School (ITM): Level 1 Feb 11-15, 2019
  270. Sandesch Album Launch by Christoph Joerg Feb 13, 2019
  271. Meditation in a Sensory Deprivation Tank at Float Chiang Mai Jan 29, 2019
  272. Reiki Share at the Mastermind Brain Spa Jan 26, 2019
  273. Resuming Life in Chiang Mai Jan 24, 2019
  274. 4 Days in Chiang Mai at Nawa Saraan Hotel Jan 2-6, 2019
  275. Mike Chong Aug 8, 2018
  276. An Intimate Conversation with my Universe in Chiang Mai Aug 8, 2018
  277. Kneaded and Pampered at Zira Spa Aug 4, 2018
  278. Savoring a Baht 3,500 Birds Nest Soup at Natural Bird Nest by Burapa Aug 3, 2018
  279. Yoga Exploration at The Yoga Tree with Gernot Aug 1, 2018
  280. Laughter Yoga with Saffiya Arnous July 31, 2018
  281. Yoga with Adam at Hidden House Yoga, Chiang Mai July 29, 2018
  282. 2 Weeks in Chiang Mai July 25 - Aug 7, 2018
  283. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  284. Chiang Mai's Amazing Peoplescape Apr 9-23, 2016
  285. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  286. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  287. 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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