Monday, October 20, 2014

The body is the boss

During the weekend I slept longer. I didn't set the alarm clock. It was about 7am or 8am when I got up.
So good that I practiced Ashtanga yoga on Sunday. It was about 12:30 pm when I started. I focused on second series. I had to check if I was still able to do all the leg behind head poses, yet they are all possible, even improved, even though I don't practice them. The reason: all the asanas of primary improve because I get always one most intensive adjustment after urdhva dhanurasana, when I am in paschimottanasana. The distance between body and leg is gone. My body lies on my legs. So I'm relaxed, I don't want to unlearn so much. I know that primary is the basis, it prepares for second series if one practices correctly.

Kapotasana or what I exercise to get there felt absolutely new today. I have the feeling as if I give up resistance. It feels better and better to bend backwards.

Relaxation after my practice was long and not at all superficial as usual. At home I went straight to bed and slept 2 hours. When this happens, I think I need it. Then the body needs to adjust what is learned.

I'm so happy that I can do this daily Ashtanga yoga practice. When it's over I'm looking forward to the next day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The quality of the effort

Whatever I want to write is true and also not true. It all depends.......There are exceptions.......

I start with cautious statements and perhaps I can also only describe my own experience. I practice only few asanas more than 6 years ago. Yet what has improved is the quality of my practice.
1. That is the time span of concentration got longer.
2. I learned how to tolerate and react to the discomfort when reaching a limit. I keep breathing....
3. It's possible to get closer to the limits and to get a bit further.
4. The letting go of the tension of the body is much easier. Resistance got weaker what also helps to get deeper into a pose.

My focus these days is back bending, back bending and again back bending. I do it, give my best (which varies) and think: this was it for today. BKS Iyengar encourages me. He was much older than me when he showed breath-taking back bending. I still progress, slower, but I progress.

Most people love to do poses they can do easily. The difficult ones they like to avoid. In jobs this might be good. Yet in Ashtanga yoga we also work on our 'weakness'. The result: we have a balanced practice.

I got up early. My plan is to do second series only. It's a good preparation for the coming week when I can go to Mysore classes again.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Surprisingly good

It was a piece of cake to get out of bed this morning at 5am. I was so in anticipation to go to a Mysore class again that I got up as soon as the alarm clock woke me up.

How will it be, was surely a thought that came up. My practice was surprisingly good, even the back bending asanas. My explanation. My muscles got weaker in the last week and this made me more flexible. However. It was great to be back, it was great to practice.

Vinyasas and back bending - these are the asanas that I give special attention. 

Today I dropped back against the wall. I held the pose rather long till gravity pulled me down. Repetition is the secret to success. Yet also the believe that something is possible helps and gives enormous power.

Early to bed, early up. My nights have a frame again.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Seeing progress

Seeing progress: This is surely also something that I experience when I practice Ashtanga yoga: I also appreciate progress and might it be tiny. I appreciate having given attention to my practice. Every practice is a highlight. Having goals is great, it gives direction, motivation, yet it's just a part of the game.

I feel better, much better. I'd say I'm 98% recovered. What an intrusive cold. I blamed other people, who don't isolate themselves when having a cold. Yet this is nonsense. I  remember that I was surrounded with people with a cold and I stayed healthy. It's a thinking pattern that many people have: Bad things come from others, for the good things that happen in our lives we are responsible on our own.
It makes not much sense to judge the happenings. I live. Every situation invites us to take action in a different way. I stayed at home, drank tea (with rum), tried to keep my feet warm and finally I accepted. A cold is nothing.

Ashtanga yoga has few rules, but one is not to omit an asana and exercise them till they are mastered. Then comes the next asana. There are easy asanas, asanas we like, others we don't. There are asanas we have to practice 10 years perhaps, till  they are performed. If we omit those asanas  that we don't like, if we omit those asanas we are not able to do we miss an opportunity to learn. Not every progress comes as a spectacular event. Sometimes it's internal. We can learn i.e. not to give up. We learn to believe in ourselves.

The asanas are like events in life. They are a metaphor.

I've mixed feelings when thinking of Monday. It will be difficult to get up at 5am. Yet this is doable. I'm looking forward to the practice, yet I also fear to be stiff and weak like hell. That's how it is. Nothing can be held.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Good habits make life joyful and easy

In the last 2 weeks I had a cold, no fever (perhaps on one day) but I was coughing. Nevertheless I did basic chores without much convincing myself, without much effort. The reason: they are a habits. After dinner I clean the dishes. I always make the bed when I get up. Every day my washing machine runs and I iron the dry clothes from the last day. This happens automatically. I don't do extra chores when I don't feel 100% on top, I take it easy when ill, yet these tiny habits make my life more joyful even when ill.

There are other areas in life where I still work on strong habits.

The main mistake: 
The main mistake when we don't succeed is that we often want too much at once. I know this too well. When I'm in a good mood, I'm often also not too lazy to take a pen and I write down 10 or more things that I want to do (also as a habit) to improve skills, my life in general. There are special days like New Year, birthday that even invite to do so.
My experience is it is so much better to really work on one activity at a time. Forming one good habit can be difficult enough.
I read that the will power is like a muscle. It gets tired. One good habit even a tiny one can make a difference.

My favorite trick is to attach a new activity to a strong habit. Once a habit is formed it requires less and less energy to do it. I even don't feel good anymore when I go to bed and dirty dishes are in the dishwasher. I have to clean them. The next morning I'm so happy that I did it.

I also 'need' my yoga practice.

Less is more.
Appreciating tiny steps can make a difference.

My yoga blog on Facebook
My photography on Facebook

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Moon day

So no practice today either. This has been a serious cold that has pushed me off the waggon. Life is unpredictable. It remains to jump back on the waggon. This requires energy.

Sometimes people admire me because I practice daily. Yet it is so much easier to practice daily than to practice here and then. A daily practice soon becomes a habit, a routine. Then it's easy to start and easy to practice. There are ups and downs, but no doubts and discussions if one shall practice or not. The body is used to the practice and I rarely become sore or overstretched. A daily practice is safe.

I feel much better already. I even slept well so I'm very optimistic that I can get back to my yoga routine tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Come back of the cold

I'm knocked out and at the same time I appreciate that I can live this. I don't have to take pills that make me feel good so that I can join the work force. I can be ill. I can have a cold also when it lasts a week or longer.

I practiced this morning at home. I sweated, took a shower and slowly I felt worse and worse. Here I sit now. I don't want to be in bed all day long, because I want to sleep at night.

Up and down, up and down, that's how it is. Time to sip my ginger tea.......