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Yoga

Yoga with Amm Prajna Pitchaya and the Sivananda yoga community of Phan May 16-18, 2016

Yoga with Amm Prajna Pitchaya and the Sivananda yoga community of Phan

GPS waypoint: 19°33'04.3"N 99°44'37.8"E
Location: 733 Moo 1, Phan District, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand

Off to Phan District
A Sivananda yoga teacher in Phan District accepted my offer to teach free yoga in her studio. I also asked if I can attend her Sivananda class. She said yes. With that, after 5 days in Chiang Rai, I was off to Phan, 40 kms south to stay a day or two.

Yoga with Amm Prajna Pitchaya and the Sivananda yoga community of Phan
class picture at Prajna Yoga Shala

Difficulty at the Bus Station
It was difficult to get the right bus at the Chiang Rai bus station. The way I say "Phan" was different from how the locals say it. With good intentions, they pointed me out to different bus directions. All the signs were in Thai and no one spoke English. I was confused and felt helpless. The right bus was just near me and would have left without me if not for a good Samaritan who took the pains of knowing where I was heading. I really love the Thai people - time and time again, they have given me their time and hospitality.

Google Map Live
I had been using the Google Maps App lately and it's been such a tremendous help. I would put a marker on my destination and then use the "You are here" marker feature on the map. As I get closer to my destination, the "You are here" marker gets closer to my destination marker. I would know exactly when to say "stop" to the driver - saves me tuk-tuk money or saves me a long walk.

The Old Phanburi Bed and Breakfast
At B150/night for a dorm bed and B50/day for a bicycle, I stayed at The Old Phanburi Bed and Breakfast. It's clean and the hands-on owners are friendly, helpful and pleasant. They gave me a discount on the bike rental and even took me to the songthaew station on my departure. Really nice people.

Amm Prajna Pitchaya
Amm Prajna Pitchaya is a Certified Yoga Instructor from the International Sivananda Vedanta who runs her own studio, at Prajna Yoga Shala, in Phan. She has been practising yoga for 3 years. She's the only yoga studio in town and enjoys a dedicated yoga community who practice daily with her. It's a wholesome, supportive and empowered community of mostly women. She would be my yoga hostess in Phan.

Attending Sivananda Yoga Class
I attended 2 of her Sivananda style classes. The asanas (poses) vary slightly with Ashtanga with focus on the chakras from the head going down. So it was a surprise to do a headstand early on in the sequence. I also noticed that poses are held longer. This suits me well. Even if I do Ashtanga poses alone, I usually hold them longer, allowing myself to sink deeper into the pose. I would hold it for 10 to 15 breaths until I feel that I got the full benefit of the pose. In effect, when I do my own practice, I combine many elements of Ashtanga, Sivananda and Vinyasa yoga.

Conducting the Yoga Class
I taught 2 classes. One was core-focused with lots of Chaturangas transitioning into Upper Dog. Since the students are not used to this sequence, it was a challenge to them. But they were strong and gung ho. The second class I taught was more of a handstand workshop. The asanas were warm-ups to all the muscle groups we would use including core strengthening. Finally, we all went to the wall for our inversions. I guess they loved it. Even after Savasana, they still went for the wall!

Post-Yoga Dinner
After the class, the group took me to dinner where we shared ideas, stories and insights. This happened on two occasions. It was good bonding. It's a community I could very well gel myself into.

Ending Thoughts
Like all good things, it also had to come to a close. With only 14 days on my Thai visa, I had to pack up and use up my remaining days in Pai. It was sweet of them to say I could come anytime. I already miss them. Thank you Amm!

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Pai, Thailand

Prajna Yoga Shala

introducing myself to the Phan yoga community solid yoga community...they do their practice daily Dancers Pose preparing for the Big Hug :)
Eagle Pose extended plank for core development Chaturanga...they are not used to this when transitioning into Upward Dog doing a kriya on Warrior I
full stretch on Warrior I door sign attending Amm's class and being adjusted dinner with Amm and Sita
Pim being strong on the inversion for the handstand workshop handstand with Amm one-hand handstand demo post yoga dinner with Pim, Amm and Nouy
Prajna Yoga Shala

Prajna Yoga Shala

Location: 733 Moo 1, Phan District, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand
Website: https://ammpitchaya.wordpress.com
Tel: 089 177 7149
Hours: Mon. – Thurs. : 17.00 – 18.00 and 18.15 – 19.45
Friday: 17.30 – 19.00
Private Class and Sat/Sun is optional on request
Directions: from anywhere in Phan, ride a tuk-tuk and tell them to take you to the Mae San Bridge. They will not know Prajna Yoga Shala. Refer to the Google Map. You can also walk it from the main street.

Phan District FYI / Tips

  • Phan is not a tourist destination. The few foreigners you see here are expats who chose to live here. The closest big city is Chiang Rai, one hour north.

How to Get to Phan District from Chiang Rai City

  • Go to Chiang Rai Bus Station 1 (the old one) and catch a van for Phan, B40, one hour. The van will pass through the main road of Phan

How to Get to Chiang Mai from Phan District

This is more complicated even though Phan is closer to Chiang Mai than Chiang Rai. There are 3 ways.
  • Direct - you get on the bus in Phan and you get off in Chiang Mai. But this is the longest route because the bus makes a circular route south passing through Payao, Lampan, Lamphun before it reaches Chiang Mai - B165, 5 hours!
  • via Chiang Rai - you can take many buses going north to Chiang Rai (B40, one hour), and transfer to a bus there for Chiang Mai (3 hours)
  • via Mae Lao - (recommended) at the old market, ride a blue songthaew headed for Mae Lao (30 mins, B25). Ask to be dropped off the main intersection where you walk about 200 meters towards 7-11 to catch the Green Bus for Chiang Mai (2.5 hours, B166). You'll arrive at the Chiang Mai Bus Terminal 3 (aka Arcade). You'll need to ride a red songthaew to get to the city center (10 min, B50)

Things to do, Places to go in Phan District

  1. Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves - 15 kms from town center
  2. Pha Khong Waterfall - this is not too far from the twin caves

Thailand Blogs by TheLoneRider

    Bangkok
  1. Loving Bangkok All Over Again Feb 22-26, 2016
  2. Adventure Hostel Review Feb 22-26, 2016
  3. Hotel Review: Riva Surya Bangkok Oct. 20, 2014
  4. The Shopping Malls of Bangkok Oct 6-20, 2014
  5. Bangkok's Street Food Delight Oct 6-20, 2014
  6. Bangkok Revisited 3 Oct 6-20, 2014
  7. Bangkok Dec 31, 2005


  8. Chiang Khong
  9. Ten Days in Chiang Khong, Thailand Apr 30 - May 9, 2016


  10. Chiang Mai
  11. A First Timer in Chiang Mai Apr 9-23, 2016
  12. Dance Mandala in Chiang Mai at The Yoga Tree Apr 19, 2016
  13. Songkran Waterfight Festival in Chiang Mai Apr 13-15, 2016
  14. Border Crossing from Siem Reap (Cambodia) to Chiangmai (Thailand) April 9-10, 2016


  15. Chiang Rai
  16. Exploring Chiang Rai, Thailand May 11-16, 2016
  17. Visiting the White Temple of Chiang Rai (Wat Rong Khun) May 15, 2016


  18. Chiang Saen
  19. Exploring Chiang Saen, Thailand Apr 28-30, 2016


  20. Mae Sai
  21. 4 Days in Mae Sai, Thailand Apr 25-28, 2016
  22. Border Crossing - Mae Sai (Thailand) to Tachileik (Myanmar) Apr 23, 2016


  23. Pai
  24. Exploring Pai, Thailand May 19-24, 2016
  25. Visiting the Land Split in Pai, Thailand May 23, 2016
  26. Trekking the Ridges of Pai Canyon May 23, 2016
  27. Climbing up the White Buddha (Wat Phra That Mae Yen) May 21, 2016


  28. Pak Chong
  29. Pak Chong (Thailand) En Route to Siem Reap (Cambodia) Mar 20-21, 2016
  30. Goodbye Thai Plum Village Mar 20, 2016
  31. Yoga at Thai Plum Village Mar 19, 2016
  32. Pond Picnic with the Monastics Mar 14, 2016
  33. Sentence Expansion Mar 12, 2016
  34. Alms Round of the Thai Plum Village Monastics Mar 10, 2016
  35. First Day of Teaching English at Thai Plum Village Mar 8, 2016
  36. Cyber Monk Redefined Mar 6, 2016
  37. Thai Plum Village, Day 6: Plum Village and Vipassana Mar 2, 2016
  38. Thai Plum Village, Day 5: Visa Snag Mar 1, 2016
  39. Plum Village, Day 4: Picnic with the Monastics on Lazy Monday Feb 29, 2016
  40. Plum Village, Day 2-3: Getting Settled Feb 27-28, 2016
  41. Plum Village, Day 1: Arrival Feb 26, 2016


  42. Phan District, Chiang Rai Province
  43. Yoga with Amm Prajna Pitchaya and the Sivananda yoga community of Phan May 16-18, 2016
  44. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016

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Facebook Users

Reader Comments:

Amm Prajna PitchayaAmm Prajna Pitchaya
(May 21, 2016) Also thanks for giving us positive energy. Especially the 2nd class the handstand preparation workshop. Your instructions are very clear and exciting at the same time. We enjoyed a lot.

May 16-18, 2016

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Prajna Yoga Shala, Phan hotel






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