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Hanthawaddy Yoga

In ancient times, Brahmin priests advised the kings of Burma and conducted various religious and state ceremonies. These Brahmin priests were not what we commonly think of as Monks. They had incredible physical discipline as well as mental concentration. With the Hanthawaddy system and their tremendous focus on developing their life force, they developed “Siddhis” or powers. With these powers and intuition, they advised the kings of Burma for the good of the people, The Brahmin priests also practiced various forms of yoga including martial, spiritual, mystical, and health related systems.
The “Hanthawaddy” yoga system was practiced almost exclusively by these Brahmin Priests because of the difficult physical postures, intense concentration, and breath control needed to perform this system.

This system is based on the unity of mind+ breath+ posture. If these postures are preformed correctly it is easy to stimulate the Third Eye or zone-2 A.K.A. chakra 6. Once the flow of the life force is experienced there then it becomes easier to learn how to stimulate the other chakras.

Hanthawaddy Yoga has a unique pattern of breath combined with the specific motion of the body as it flows from posture to posture. In Hanthawaddy Yoga the goal is a peaceful mind and not achieving the posture itself. The posture is just trying to help you achieve the goal of inner peace. However; correct postures are essential to provide us with the energizing of the chakras. If the posture is done wrong you won’t have synchronization. Inhale to center, set three specific triggers and exhale on the twist or bend away from center. In Hanthawaddy the mind is so occupied setting the triggers or zones and trying to maintain an unstrained breathing pattern, that it naturally relaxes and the energy flows through the whole body creating quite a rush.

Since Hanthawaddy has it’s origin in the ancient Hatha Yoga system, any movement one direction from center is balanced by a movement the other direction.  Simplicity of motion is the goal. Stress and trauma, like debris, need to move through and flow to release or flush from the body. This system can be an answer to the question “How do I solve this trauma so that it will not accumulate”? Trauma, tension, and stress accumulate in the back, muscles, colon, etc. Even emotional turmoil needs to flow away from us or we can become slaves to our emotions. .Hanthawaddy is a form of  “emotional hygiene”. Every morning we should be washing our emotions from a posture of anger to a posture of peace.

We need specific” asana”  or postures to generate energy through certain areas of the body and “prana“ pattern of breath which controls the flow of life force .Out of the 63 Hanthawaddy postures I have included the core 33 postures which covers all major areas of the body.  With the relaxation currents of the breathing and the pathways which open through the movement we are able to release and flush away the traumas and awaken our own healing processes.

 This yoga requires three things


2. Self discipline – regularity
  a) concentration- focus
  b) relaxation
  c) visualization
      1. breath pattern - visualize
      2. pathways of energy
      3. visualize peace

3. Perseverance with Endurance

            This yoga system complements and is part of the Bando Yoga system.
Dhanda, Letha, and Longi prepare and develop the triggers and energy pathways of the body. This yoga system also makes the energy work of Min Zin tangible and will take this form of meditation to a higher level.

Dr. Maung Gyi – Professor Emeritus, Ohio University, brought this Yoga system to America. His father, U BA Than Gyi, physical education director for the Ministry of Education in Burma, restored these nearly extinct Yoga forms. Great gratitude needs to be given to Dr. Maung Gyi for sharing and restoring these systems

Hanthawaddy Yoga
33 Main postures cover the majority of movement. There are 63 altogether.
Each set of postures has a movement in one direction, a returning back to center and a movement to a complementary opposing direction.
 For example: Posture 27 & 28


  1. Exhale pulling on the left foot with the right hand to set zone 7, lifting and bending left elbow up to set zone 8 and bringing opposite ear to knee to set the neck for zone 9
  2. Inhale fully to center pulling on the knee to lengthen the spine. Hold the inhale to stretch the lungs and create a solid axis to rotate around.
  3. Exhaling, left shoulder back, push the left leg across with the right arm to wring the abdominal muscles.

          What you can see are basic Hatha yoga asanas. What you cannot see is the dynamic movement and breath combination which makes this yoga system so powerful. Posture and breath are connected through the movement. The breath creates the posture and the posture creates breath. The deeper the breath, the more the mind relaxes, the more the body relaxes, the deeper the breath, and so they affect each other. Everything is connected with the breath. 1.) You are pumping your heart through your breath in addition to oxygenating blood. 2.)  The postures take the oxygenated blood to the brain and other major organs. 3.) The breath calms the mind which helps recognize and process relaxation currents to the nerve endings. The spine is the root. The fingers and toes are the fruits.        
          It’s challenging balancing and blending these currents through this series of postures and regulating the power of the rush, i.e. Min Zin. This is complete breathing with your body and it takes time for the mind to develop a connection with the body. That, combined with the setting of the three triggers of the Khoghan system, sets Hanthawaddy yoga apart from all others.

Click for Hanthawaddy History


Dave Martin


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