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There were several early tribes from India, Tibet and China.who migrated into Burma to escape from numerous wars between various kingdoms. . The most notable one was the Pyu, pronounced "pew" from Northern India. They 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” is derived from the Indian word “Brahmin”. Over centuries, the name of the country has taken many forms, such as Bharma, Bhama, Barmar, Bama and then, until recently, was known as Burma. This is the English spelling of the country they ruled for nearly a century from mid 19th Century to the mid 20th Century.

The Pyu, whose tradition was deeply rooted in the lifestyle of the eightfold yoga system from Patanjali and the "Yoga Sutras",  established a highly peaceful Hindu kingdom in the great Irrawaddy valley around 500 BC. They were joined by other tribes determined to live a spiritual lifestyle. One of those tribes was from Southern Tibet whose “Ko Ghan” system of zones influenced their yoga practice. 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. They refined the Hatha yoga system along with the other systems and created the Hanthawaddy yoga system.  By the 3rd Century AD, they had built their elegant capital at Sri Ksetra, known now as Bagan, with hundreds of golden stupas, temples and monasteries. Their high cultural ideals embraced spiritual beliefs of Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Tantricism, Mysticism, and Shamanism.

The Pyu settled in these river delta areas because they were fertile and protected by the mountains. The rivers carry away debris and waste as well as bring in life and fresh nutrients. These river valleys or deltas were known as Waddy. Hantha means peaceful, hence Hanthawaddy (place of peace). This yoga system  developed utilizing the Khoghan system with the nine zones, the alignment of the staff (Dhanda) training, and with the controlled breath and energy meditation of Min Zin became known as Hanthawaddy (peaceful place). Our body is the place or temple. Since other streams and rivers join in the valleys there is reference to “joining” of that peaceful place. This is what we should find or establish within our temple.

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, later brought these systems as well as other systems to Americain 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. (See Links)

Great gratitude needs to be given to Dr. Maung Gyi for sharing and restoring these systems



Khoghan Yoga


Chakras and Zones

Chakras are circles of energy. Chakra can literally be interpreted as “wheel”. When the prana or life force moves through the body it circles in five centers in front of the body, at the top of the head, and the base of the spine. The Zones are not Chakras, yet they do directly relate to them. Zone 4 combines the solar plexus chakra and the heart chakra.
If zone 7, 8, and 9 collapse, then so do the chakras. If zone 7, 8, and 9 are active and aligned, then the life force creating those chakras move with enough force to define those wheels of energy. The integrity of the life force system depends upon posturing, and proper posturing depends on setting those three triggers (zone 7, 8, and 9) for the energy to shoot properly through the body. Then we can learn proper breathing. The seven chakras relate to zones 1-6. Zones are unique to the Khoghan and Min Zin system.

3 Zones necessary for structural integrity -
"Functions and how to set  neutral  position"

Zone 9 – Base of skull. Connection of brain and top of spine. – Lengthen neck by bringing top of head (crown) toward the ceiling. Keep chin in.

Zone 8 – Between shoulder blades. Responsible for alignment through shoulders, arms, and hands. – Open chest by bringing shoulders back and down.

Zone 7 – Lower back. Responsible for alignment through hips, legs, and feet. Maintain proper tilt of the pubic bone to attain proper arch in the lower back to support upper body. 

          At the end of the inhale hold for at least a  few seconds to digest the oxygen, stretch the lungs, and support the spine. On the exhale maintain alignment and finish using the muscles in the abdomen.

How to set triggers in the zones

Each posture has a specific alignment to the three zones 7, 8, and 9. We refer to these three zones as triggers because if they are set properly the energy shoots through these systems. As you can see in Hanthawaddy posture 1, zone 9 is where the brain and consciousness connect with the body. Zone 8 is responsible for the alignment through the shoulders arms and hands. Zone 8 affects and is affected by zone 7 and zone 9. Zone 7 is responsible for the alignment of lower back through hips, legs, and feet. Each zone connects to the other zones. If properly aligned the energy should wring through the spine and limbs. The energy should shoot through the body via specific network of muscles and nerves. Each posture has a specific alignment in these three zones to set these triggers. Any zone not set properly will greatly affect the flow of energy and possibly cause injury. It is essential to make tangible the pathways of energy and to understand how they flow from posture to posture.

In "Hanthawaddy" every posture comes back to center. Only from the center can the new direction of triggers be set. In between each posture returning to center is crucial whether it’s standing, kneeling, sitting, or lying down. A pause after the inhale at center stretches the lungs and allows the oxygen to digest. In the pause we set the triggers and zones for the direction of the next posture. As in Hatha yoga a bend or twist in one direction is followed by a bend or twist in the other direction.

In "Min Zin" there are different breath patterns to store and transmit energy. Breathing in on the circular fashion 6-5-4-3-2-1 pause and exhale 9-8-7-6 is just one pattern. Another pattern of breath is inhale 6-5-4-3-2-1 and exhale 9-8-through shoulders arms and out through hands to generate heat. This is used in the true hot stone massage and in certain "Letha" yoga techniques. In Min Zin there are many patterns and all having their own special effects.

       This next chapter is essential to make tangible the pathways of energy and to understand how they flow from posture to posture. Breath control is the final ingredient.

Setting zone 9 and its connection with zone 8 is one of the most difficult to isolate.

ko ghan yoga

To practice isolation of this area, lock hands together by grabbing one thumb over head, working elbows back as far as possible, head back, chin in. concentrate on folding shoulders back above the shoulder blades, head back, ears align with elbows, chin in. Gently connect the muscles in the neck and upper shoulders.

Hanthawaddy Posture 1

Ko ghan

Be sure elbows are back and connected to the fold in the back by the shoulders, ears even with elbows push the arms straight. As arms straighten, work the muscles through arms into back of neck and upper back. With triggers 8 and 9 set only then can the energy flow properly into zone 7 where it is supported in the arch by the contraction of the abdominal muscles created by the exhale.

Hanthawaddy Posture 8

Ko ghan

Pull the shoulders and elbows back to set arch in zone 8 so it can continue into zone 9 with the chin back which pressures back into the arch of the lower back. (Zone 7)
Activate all muscles and nerves from the base of the skull through the legs.

Props we use to assist us

Ko ghan yoga

Longi Yoga Yoga on a rope’

The longi activates the three triggers by connecting with the trigger between the shoulders and out through the arms and connecting through the lower back and legs .You can use the rope as a pulley system to elongate the nerve, muscles,and joints, as well as the core in between. You can see here how the Longi activates zones 7, 8, and 9 to release the energy through the whole body.


Hanthawaddy posture 26

Ko ghan yoga


Dhanda YogaYoga with a staff”

Hanthawaddy requires the wringing of all the muscles in the spine squeezing all the stale air out and stimulating all the nerves along the spine. Then the inhale slowly springs the body back to center. The Dhanda aids in this body training. In this posture it decompresses the spine in a straight position and then helps torque the twist, as well as strengthens the muscle groups needed for a straight spine.



Dave Martin

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