Sunday, December 21, 2014
This was my last Mysore class for this year in Munich. When I arrived I saw already so many shoes in the shelf. I was late. As I have a rather long practice I knew I had to hurry. It's so good to be out of the routine from time to time. It gives energy. Routines help to manage the daily tasks, yet they can also become a corset. A too tight structure can feel like being in prison.
I started fast with my practice and kept the rhythm. I had so much energy. It was amazing.
Tomorrow is a moon day. That is we have a day off.
Friday, December 19, 2014
The poses of the Ashtanga yoga series are demanding.
Not every day is the same. There are 'good' days and 'bad' days. Sometimes the body is flexible and the other day it feels stiff and even poisoned. Especially if a pose is new or difficult it's often also volatile. This shatters me no more, I'm familiar with this. Nevertheless we all have to keep ourselves motivated, even though not every day progress can be seen.
What motivates a single person has a lot to do with the personality. Get to know yourself. Observe yourself. What gets you going?
Seeing progress motivates me. That is looking at my pictures gives me a lot of energy. I start believing (again and again) that poses are possible. My pictures convince me. They strengthen the perseverance and perhaps even stubbornness.
On Friday we practice primary around the globe. Despite the dinner party yesterday night (another one) I got up this morning. I heard the alarm clock. The practice was surprisingly good.
On Sunday is my last Mysore class. Eight home practices shall follow!!!!!! Then 2015 offers us new opportunities.
Sometimes I'm told: Yeah, you are flexible. I think the pictures show that I'm not flexible. I really have to work on every tiny inch further.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Traveling, partying - I overslept this morning. And I'm not amused at all. I curse. I'm out of rhythm. I fell off the wagon. Was there an alarm clock this morning? I went to bed at 9pm, but I couldn't fall asleep. Till after midnight I tossed and turned. In the morning then, voilà, the wished sleep came. Automatically my hand turned off the sound of the alarm clock and I kept sleeping. After felt 5 min I thought: there was something? Yet it was too late already. The felt 5 min were more than an hour.
I'm sipping my second cup of coffee.
My neighbour is up, too. When I look out of the window I can look into their flat. It's still dark outside. I still feel like in trance. I stare holes in the air.
Whisper, whisper in the ear of my E: I overslept.
He: Then this is so.
I cannot turn back the time. Missed is missed. I'll practice at home in solitude.
Tomorrow is a brand new day. Might the Gods shoo me out of bed tomorrow morning.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
2014 was dominated by 3 major events and changes:
1. We moved. Fate meant it good with me. I could give all the stuff that I discarded to a friend who could sell it in a shop. The returns went to Africa, Ghana. It allows children to go to school. It would have been so hard to throw so many belongings in the garbage can. Knowing that the earnings would serve a good purpose made it so much easier to let go. So many things had to go. It was always a relief when things were out of the house. Even now when I think of all the things that are gone now, relief comes up. Old clothes, dishes, books, I had too much from everything. We inhale and exhale. We buy and we must give away in order to have a healthy flow.
2. Teeth issues. I'm still not convinced that everything that was done was necessary. I feel like a victim of an over-ambitious dentist. I wanted a conservative treatment. I wasn't able to make smart decisions. I trusted. not always this is the best approach. It's too late and I hope that I'm soon in peace with this past as I cannot change it anymore.
3. Ashtanga yoga: It's such a gift for Munich and our growing Ashtanga yoga community that MSch moved to Munich at the end of 2013. He offers Mysore classes 6 times a week at 6:30 at Amiraplatz 3, Munich. This is perfect. It cannot be better. It's luxury.
Instead of doing more and more asanas I got advised to work on those that I'm not able to do. That's how it's supposed to be. I work on back bending, kapotasana, standing up from urdhva dhanurasana. My last asana is bakasana B. I guess back bending and the vinyasas will be my focus in 2015, too. I don't expect a quick fix here. Hahaha......Quality over quantity in life and in my yoga practice.
15 days are left in 2014 and a lot must still be done. I feel ready.
The trip is over. I managed it to practice yoga on Monday and Tuesday. I was stiff, The 2 living room practices were short.
Yesterday was the Christmas party, I accompanied E. The party was in an industrial area. It was a dinner. Quickly I checked the menu. Action was required. I asked for a veg main course and I got it. Instead of the animal I got a mushroom with vegetables. It looked better and it tasted better. The evening was so entertaining with all the people that we know that we stayed till after midnight.
It was clear. I won't get up at 5am.
Here I sit now and wonder what comes next. I guess I need a second cup of coffee today before planning the day.....
Thursday, December 11, 2014
What changed is how I practice. My understanding of the back bending poses deepened. I use no strap around my legs anymore. The legs have to be engaged. This is important. The stronger they are the better. I try to move the legs together. This is not to make them move apart.
I move upwards. I try to create space. And then hope comes into play: Might my fingers find my toes. Haha......
Shouldn't it be possible just to stretch the arms to the feet so that the circle is closed? It's not.
Yet I've found the blocked area. It's in front of the shoulders.
Today I did urdhva dhanurasana against the wall. I tried to move the chest to the wall. The chin touched the wall. Discomfort was felt in front of the shoulders. Here I have to stretch. It's the same blocked area like in kapotasana.
- Strong legs make this pose safe. The knees shall not move apart. If they do pressure is on the lower back and this is to avoid.
- Strong legs are needed to come up. The message sinks in.....
I live in the 5th floor. From now on I'll take the steps. I'll also take the steps in the subway. Shall this help.
Yesterday I was at a concert: Bryan Adams was here. Should I go, should I not go was the inner discussion. Am I glad that I don't have this waste of time when it comes to yoga. I go. Point. I also went to Bryan Adams and I enjoyed it. He stepped on stage and played one song after the other. Many songs I knew, but I didn't know they came from him. No single song was boring. The Olympic hall was full. It was a lovely experience to have common fun with so many fans. With lots of music in my heart I walked home, slept well, and it was sweet to be a bit tired today at 5am. I prolonged the cold shower. This woke me up.
Tomorrow is primary on the schedule, Just this. To have a shorter practice at the end of a yoga week is great.
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Pashasana is the first core asana of the second Ashtanga series. It's a deep twist. In addition one has to balance.
Many face two challenges:
- First challenge is to reach the wrist with the one hand
- Second challenge is to keep the heels on the floor.
I practice this pose now since 2008 with not so much progress. It's overtime to reflect what went wrong.
1. It's important not to hook the finger. When I hook my finger the shoulder moves forward. Exactly the opposite is intended. The shoulder shall move backwards. All twists aim at making the shoulder girdle flexible, too. I got few adjustments in the last year and I was able to do it almost at once. One must only get the right instructions sometimes. I had worked in different directions.
These days I always move the shoulder backwards and so my other hand can reach the wrist.
2. The next mistake that I did was to get on the balls of my feet. When my arms were bound I rolled back and often I rolled out of the pose. This is why I use a blanket. I tried to make the blanket less high with time. Nevertheless the wished success didn't come. Then I found a YouTube video by Maria Villella. She explained that she made the same mistake for years. She recommends to get into the pose while the heels are on the floor. I think this is a good tip.
3. The next tip I got from the book by David Keil. We always think and speak of stretching the back side of the leg. Yet on the front side above the feet is a muscle, that can be engaged to support this pose. Try it, this makes a difference.
All these tiny adjustments add up.
If I had very long arms the pose wouldn't be an issue probably, but my understanding wouldn't go rather deep either.
My issues that I face when I practice are indeed opportunities to learn. The Ashtanga community is generous and shares a lot of knowledge.
I'll check progress in a year again.
PS: I think it's known: all twists are easier with a pound or more less.
Saturday, December 06, 2014
Bakasana is my last pose (given by MSch).
When I still used to practice even half of third series I used to perform Bakasana B against the wall, That is I jumped high with bent legs and then I tried to lower the body so that my knees landed in my armpits. I never managed to do this.
It was not my pose. Quickly I moved to the twists......We all probably tend to love doing what we are able to do.
My new teacher is optimistic (which is contagious) that I'll be able to do this pose and I study it now in greater detail. The reason why I do bakasana even though I'm not (yet) able to do kapotasana is to develop core strength.
Even navasana is a challenge for me. Yet I really feel it, core strength is required for many asanas also for the vinyasas.
Bakasana: The knees are outside of the arms very high at the armpits. The arms are stretched.
We have a very passionate yogini in the world community. Her analysis of the poses and her tips and tricks are so precious. It's Kino MacGregor. So I searched her YouTube channel and found how expected a very helpful exercise.
The exercise (see picture above) looks easy, but I had an aha-moment: One shall bring the legs as high as possible to the outer side of the arms while in a sitting position. Finally the elbows might be close to the armpits. One shall press the knees against the body. The arms are stretched. The Aha-moment: I need core strength. My abdomen must work, too.
The exercise helps to devolop a feeling of what muscles must be used when doing this pose.
Bakasana B: There are 2 methods to jump into the pose.
1. The one method is to jump forward like one jumps in bhuja pidasana. That is the hips remain rather low. The legs remain bent.
2. The second method is to jump high so that the weight is on the hands, legs remain bent. Then one lowers the body slowly. This requires so much more balancing skills. Yet it looks more controlled.
I remember what I read in David Keil's book 'Functional anatomy of yoga': I quote from memory. If you tried something for 4 years or longer with no success, wonder what went wrong. He knew what went wrong in similar poses like this. I know it, too. One must get away from the wall. The wall changes how one jumps. The momentum is totally different. When again in the middle of the room, fear is there.
PS: I linked to 2 books in that blog post. Both are great Christmas presents.