Thursday, August 28, 2014
It's possible to practice here in that hotel room. And I'm more than glad that I practiced. I omitted almost all the vinyasas. When I look at my mat I know why. The mat creates waves when I sit or stand on it as the carped is too soft. Then it is no joy to jump forward or backwards.
I could look under the bed. Oh my, the mattress hangs almost till the floor. I sleep well in that bed. I wish I hadn't looked under the bed.
It feels so good to move the body in forms called asanas. So finally the place might not be perfect, yet to practice is always good.
A little story from here:
I was out for lunch/dinner after yoga. That is lunch was over and and dinner has not yet come. The kitchen was closed in the restaurant round the corner. The waiter himself prepared a simple salad for me. Lettuce with tomatoes. Exactly how I love it. Afterwards I ordered a dessert, a fruit cake.
When it came I said: Oh, it looks delicious.
He (proudly): I made it myself.
He laughing: I'm kidding.
Then we both laughed. A lot.
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On that chair I sat yesterday. My destination yesterday was a veg restaurant, a recommendation from my friend P.. I was too early there. The Portuguese people eat late, very late, no matter if it's lunch or dinner. I had to wait as the doors were still closed. A few houses further I found this little bakery, where I had a coffee and a nata for 1,35 Euro.
The dessert below was the one from Essencia, a vegan apply sin. One must know where to go, then Porto is a paradise.
The fog has already disappeared. Another sunny day can begin.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
In the meantime my suitcase arrived. It was about midnight the same day we arrived. So I've yoga clothes and my mat here, that is all the essential ingredients are here.
The hotel room is large enough to roll out my mat. The carpet looks clean. Yet my motivation is low. Saturday was a day off. We were still in Munich and I prepared our home for our return. I wanted to have it clean.
On Sunday we were up at 4:30 to catcht the flight and in the afternoon we arrived, hungry like hell. We found a restaurant, yet with a full stomach one cannot practice and it was late, too.
Yesterday was Monday and a moonday, I wanted to see Porto. It's an amazing city.
Today is Tuesday, it's raining. It's grey outside and I'm not at all in the mood to practice. Even though the weather invites to practice. My excuses: it's so dark here. It can be that I'll have a break of 4 days. From tomorrow on I'll be on my own. Then it's very likely that I practice and that I take pictures of my hero deed to practice in a hotel room.
Porto is a most wonderful city. I already love Lisbon. Every city has a differnt flair. Here it's more a big big city flair. The lake, the sea, the old town, the many churches, the little restaurants, it's a city to fall in love with.
For more pictures go to my Facebook page or flickr.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
The above picture is still taken in rainy Munich. Now I'm here in sunny Porto without suitcase. Between Madrid and Porto it must get lost. The airport in Madrid is huge with different buildings far away from each other. The time between the 2 flights was short.
I'm relaxed. To travel is so. It's often inconvenient. One must know this. When it was sure that the last luggage was on the flat conveyer and it was not mine, we went to 'lost and found' to tell an unfriendly person our issue. We had to stand in a line for a while. Many suitcases got lost. I was not the only one. In my opinion this is a matter of organisation. There are states that are organised well, companies can be organised well and single persons, too. The opposite is true, too. Chaos can be seen where ever I look.
So I'm still in hope that my suitcase will arrive tomorrow. For today it's probably too late.
It's warm here. And this is great. Mood is excellent. The hotel room is large enough for yoga practices. I'm looking forward to the next week.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
What I admire when I think of B.K.S. Iyengar is: he walked the talk.
He practiced yoga till the end of his life, till the age of 96. He is the prove that yoga can be done a life time. It's not necessary to stop with advanced asanas when you are above 50 i.e. This gives us 'older' yogis/yoginis huge support. Why limiting oneself? Mr Iyengar shows what is possible at almost 100.
Practicing yoga gives so much. One of the greatest gifts in my opinion is that life needn't to aggravate when we get older. But we have to do something for it: yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar is an example for this. Only 3 weeks before his death this morning, he had serious health issues and finally he agreed to go to hospital where he passed away (as far as I know). Death was surely not a tabu for him at the age of 96. That he could live so long, so healthy, so active was his life style as a yogi.
What he gave the world is immeassurable.
1. There are always muscles to strengthen. This is important. Often the leg muscles need to be engaged.
2. It's stretching. No matter if you twist or if you bend forward or backward, stretching comes first.
3. The last step is to move in the wished direction. It's important to imagine to bend at every possible joint and cell.
I work very intensely on back bending these days. I apply the above steps: Strong legs, stretching upwards and then I bend backwards. I must come up soon. I feel it. Each time I get help. To be pushed is so supporting. There is the tendency to pamper oneself. Yet when I work with an excellent teacher I'm able to reach my limits which are always further than I imagine. To get optimum help a very experienced teacher is needed. It's an art to adjust urdhva dhanurasana!!!!!
"Grab your ankles," MSch sometimes says to me when I move backwards and down into urdhva dhanurasana.
First I thought: What? Which ankles? Till I realized he meant my feet ankles. Haha. To reach the ankles might not be possible. Yet the wish and the striving to reach them has surely the power to bring my hands closer to my feet than ever.
The situation is too serious, otherwise I'd had laughed about the thought to reach my ankles.
I'm more than happy for the time being. Mysore classes are my highlights of the day. During the day I often sleep. Hahaha.....I think sometimes that my body needs to digest the intensive bending.
How I intensify my back bending exercise?
'Stay longer,' MSch told me. This is it what I do. I bend backwards, my hands in prayer position at the front and then I bend and bend and wait. Body gives up more and more resistance. I take my time. And I stay. And finally I stretch my arms and my hands are closer to the floor than ever. To use the momentum to come up again is something I attempt.
Might these tips help.
Picture is a variation of shalabasana.
Monday, August 18, 2014
It could be a bit more straight. It looks as if I fall in the next second.
There are 3 variations of headstand to practice in Ashtanga yoga during the closing sequence:
1. See picture
2. The legs are parallel to the floor
3. The head doesn't touch the floor anymore. This is the most challenging variation, yet probably the best one as there is no weight on the head at all.
By now I've not yet added the last variation to the closing sequence.
It's so good to take pictures from time to time. The poses feel so differently than they look like.
Oh my, the weekends........
My practice almost killed me today. I'm amazed that I was able to do all the asanas, not as deep as on good days, but all asanas were possible. I even dropped back into urdhva dhanurasana. Yet my practice felt 'difficult'. In the morning already an inner discussion started: Shall I go? Shall I not go? I know that these discussions lead to nothing and I took a shower and a long cold shower at the end, too. This woke me up. Go, I told myself. I knew I'd regret later if I skipped a Monday morning Mysore class.
Not to be pushed too much I warned MSch before he adjusted my back bending asanas: "I'm stiff today." Such sentences are usually redundant as he realizes this without a word from myself. This is the huge advantage if one practices with the same teacher on a daily basis. Yet today I felt to add a comment not to get challenged at all.
I survived the practice. I feel good now. No restaurant meals this week and at the end of the week I'll be in top form again. Hahaha......
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I could unpack another box and I found a gem, one of my first yoga books by André van Lysbeth 'Yoga'.
Dhanurasana is one of the 9 asanas that I practiced about 30 years ago. It's part of the Rishikesh series.
1. The toes shall always touch. It has a reason. If they don't touch the legs are usually at different high as most spines are not 100% symmetric. In Ashtanga classes I'm told that also the heels have to touch. Now I know why.
2. The legs do the work and pull upwards. The upper body is relaxed. The arms are straight.
3. Finally the knees shall be higher than the skin.
4. A dynamic phase exists in the Rishikesh series. Up to 14 times one shall swing forward and backward. This gives indeed a good massage for the inner organs. There is also a static phase where the pose is held for half a minute, that equals in my case 7 breaths (inhaling and exhaling).
Next time I'll take care that my legs do the work and that my upper body is passive.
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