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Dhanda History

Shiva taught Dhanda Yoga to the great warrior Arjuna prior to the battle of Kurukshetra, (where Krishna spoke the “Baghavad Gita” to Arjuna.) This encounter is documented in the Mahabharata chapter 28 “Pasupata”. It was about 3000 years B.C. when Arjuna went to the Himalayas and did penance to obtain the grace of Shiva and received the great Pashupta weapon. Shiva describes the Kundalini energy which flows through the Chakras and through the body to be like lightning in the “Shiva Sutras.”

Dhanda was later observed being practiced in Burma. One of the earliest written records of Chinese emissaries and traders traveling on the ancient trade route road from China to India through northern Burma reported (around 500 B.C.) that:

            “Early in the morning with the rising sun, young and old men of villages and towns practiced elaborate sets of exercises using their bamboo and wooden long staffs They performed their vigorous sequence of exercises, standing, sitting, kneeling, and squatting. These exercises were supervised by elders.”


For description of Dhanda click here

Ancient Pyu Monks of Burma

There were several early tribes from India, Tibet and China. According to Hindu scholars, the most notable one was the Pyu people who migrated into Burma to escape from numerous wars between various kingdoms in eastern India. They were “Brahman” or from the priestly caste. According to Hindu historians, the term “Burma” derives from an Indian word “Brahmin”. The Pyu established a highly peaceful Hindu kingdom in the great Irrawaddy Valley. By the 3rd Century AD, they had built their elegant capital at Sri Ksetra with hundreds of golden stupas, temples and monasteries. Their high cultural ideals embraced spiritual beliefs of Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Tantricism, Mysticism, and Shamanism. They were also known to practice different forms of Yoga such as Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Tantric yoga, Hatha yoga, Dhanda yoga, Letha yoga, Longi yoga and others. Ppu monks were also known to practice different systems of Dhanda yoga.

Various Dhanda yoga systems practiced by the early Brahmin tribes and Pyu monks slowly faded away in the ninth century during the Great Bagan Era when Theravada Buddhism was firmly established in the country.

Revival of Dhanda Yoga

Anant Krishna Vaidya was an internationally renowned Yogi from India. From 1880-1940, he taught the philosophy, principles, and practice of yoga as the foundation for physical health and fitness, physical culture, athletics and sports, and also for emotional and spiritual growth. In 1914, he founded Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal  at the city of Amravati in India. He also restored, revived, and systemized some of the ancient systems using the staff, rope, and stone: along with various yogic asanas to develop strength, stamina, suppleness, and stability for physical, athletic, and martial training.

Around 1935, Ba Than Gyi, who later became the director of Health and Physical Education, and Sports and Athletics in the Ministry of Education in Burma, became one of the many disciples of Anant Krishna Vaidya. Some of Vaidyas’s yoga exercises and training methods for sports and athletics were incorporated into the curriculum for physical education programs.

During World War II Burma was devastated. Many pre-war programs were phased out including the teaching of Anant Krishna Vaidya. Only a handful of people in Burma continued to practice and teach exercises and drills taught by Vaidya.

After World War II, Ba Than Gyi established the Bando Meditation Center in December 1945 in the city of Maymo in northern Burma. Ba Than Gyi also attempted to integrate some of the teachings of Anant Krishna Vaidya and the ancient pyu monk’s system, which were still practiced by a handful of Brahmin clans in remote towns such as Homalin, Halin,Tamu, Kalamyo, and Amarapura. With his dedicated staff members, he succeeded in organizing, classifying, and categorizing various yoga postures, exercises and drills. Ba Than Gyi’s son Dr. Maung Gyi "pictured below" later brought these systems as well as other systems to America the late 1950’s. It is practiced by a small group of dedicated students and teachers here in the U.S. under the auspices of the non-profit American Bando Association. Great gratitude needs to be given to Dr. Maung Gyi for sharing and restoring these systems.

Dr.m. Gyi

Dr. Maung Gyi's Ordination ceremony conducted by his holiness Sayadow

"Notice the Monk Staff"

Nine Dhanda Yoga forms were formulated by the leaders of the National Bando Association from 1948-1950. Forms are defined as a prearranged sequential set of yoga postures which flow from one posture to another. Each posture opens specific pathways which are needed to flow into the next posture like a key which unlocks the next set of postures in the sequence.These postures are designed to stretch, strengthen, condition, and tone the muscles and joints and also to massage and stimulate the internal organs and allow proper circulation of prana and oxygenation of the body.











Shiva with Dhanda














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