Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I overslept and balancing poses

It's not understandable, but I overslept. I went to bed after 8pm, this is so early. I had almost 9 hours of sleep. Yet this morning I switched off the alarm clock and kept sleeping. Just so. Perhaps the above picture should be created. I practiced this morning at home and I took some pictures. At least this.

The back bending adjustments are simply too good. I don't want to miss a single one. For today it's too late.

The standing asanas of Ashtanga yoga are underestimated. The above pose is a challenging balancing pose of the standing asanas.  It's utthita hasta padangusthasana.
- As soon as I start thinking, I start wobbling. Even the thought 'ah, today it's good' is not supporting. - Simply focusing on the breath is it that keeps me in that pose.
- I engage the bandhas.
- The toe is pointed, also this helps to stay in that pose.
- Sometimes I have the image of myself as a statue in mind.
- My eyes gaze at a point. This calms the pose.

To understand what helps to balance is helpful for asanas to come.

Balanced as I am now, I can begin the day.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I was not in the mood

I was so not in the mood to leave my home that morning. Feeling so heavy and paralyzed like this morning happens in a decade once. Sip your coffee and then decide if you go, I thought. Then I thought, still not in the mood to move: Shower and then decide. I'm glad that I didn't ask E. He would have said: stay. Even after the shower I was not a tiny bit motivated. I can practice at home, I thought. I knew I would have stopped rather soon. A few sun salutation counts as a practice, I'd convinced myself. I don't know how I managed it to leave the home, but I did it and consciously I locked the door as if this could prevent me to return to a cosy bed. In the elevator I looked into the mirror and realized that the mascara of the night before was still under my eyes. When I return I won't go anymore, I knew this. Who will look at my eyes at 6am in the morning. I closed my eyes. I was on my way....It was cold outside. I had put on my winter coat to have it warm. Soon I'll add a hat to my outfit. I had removed everything from my handbag which would make it heavy. I didn't like to make it more difficult as it was today.

In the shala I loved to see all the yoginis.

Easy-going today was my attitude re my practice. More was possible than I expected. I knew that I would feel good after this sweaty exercise. And I do feel good.

Insight: A mushroom bhaji with a red wine is a totally different meal than a salad with water.

The twist on the picture: I think my twists got better. I did this marichyasana C without any warm-up. I not only turn the spine, also the shoulder moves backwards. This is in my opinion a good preparation for back bending. When moving the shoulder backwards it's so much easier for the other hand to reach the wrist.

What next? I don't know. It's not the day of planning and overachieving. It's a 'I let it flow' day.

Ursula Preiss Photography

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I like selfies

Sometimes I read that people are very critical towards selfies. They suspect narcisissm. They find them boring, annoying or are not interested.

I love selfies, because I remember a time where only pictures of politicians and actors/actresses were published. The variety of pictures enlarged since we all can publish also our selfies.

This reminds me of  a poem of Bertold Brecht which was critical about all the history books who only spoke about the kings/leaders and so on. At the end of this poem came the question: And who was the chef? Today you can look up the chef. Perhaps he has even published some recipes.

My selfies helped me a lot to improve the asanas. The asanas feel different as they look. Sometimes it feels as if the feet are parallel, yet they are not. Or it feels as if the back is straight, yet it is rounded.
My selfies motivate me to keep going. I enjoy the beauty of the asanas.
It's motivating to see progress on the pictures over the years if one documents the journey.

Picture: Marichyasana B, one of my fav asanas.

Another picture of mine landed on Explore on Flickr. This is a huge compliment as only about 300 or chosen out of million pictures on a daily basis:

You can find me also on Facebook:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Goal: kapotasana

When I think my goal is to learn kapotasana it implies much more than this. 

It implies to stay patient and optimistic i.e.. I exercise this asana now since more than 4 years. It's easy to give up or to think that this pose won't be possibl. I learned to keep the fire burning and to believe in progress.
It implies a deeper understanding of the poses.

I also learn to detach myself from the goal and to fall in love with the process.

It keeps me modest.

I also trust in the teaching method. To focus on the breath is important, especially when the limits are reached. Trust deepens  when practicing  correctly day in day out, results will show, inevitably.

There is no hurry.

And today is Saturday. It's a day off from asana practice. I use the time to get organized. Next Tuesday we'll get another shelf and then hopefully all books will found a home.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not everything can be explained

Not everything can be explained. Neither in science, nor in Ashtanga yoga.

Today is a moon day. When I put on my shoes yesterday after practice I had a quick conversation with a yogi. It was about the moon days.

If the moon has an influence on our practice or not cannot be proved. I used to practice on moon days almost always during the last 10 years and was never injured on such a day. This is often an explanation why we shouldn't practice on moon days. The moon was an excuse if I was not in the mood to practice. Ah,the moon, I thought. Since 1 year I respect this rule. I have very intensive practices every day in a shala. On moon days no Mysore classes are offered, I appreciate to have a day off.

I think it's Western culture to question everything. This might be good in many areas. Yet it can also be a barricade. Instead of doing something, the mind is questioning and questioning and that way weakening the action. Focus is lost. Why shall I do this? Why shall I do that? What's the reason for this, for that? Why to put the foot here, why to turn the head, why to make a sound when breathing and so on.........Questions can never stop. One question provokes the next one.

Question and answer will never give the security we might be searching for. Life cannot be controlled. Life will remain a surprise. It cannot even be explained.

Trust comes into play. Sometimes a good alternative as attitude to questioning everything is to trust.

The moon, what ever influence it might have on me, it makes me smile. I'm enjoying a day off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

And? How was the practice today?

From the beginning on I felt stiff. Usually the stretching discomfort has a sweetness. I can stand and enjoy a lot of such boundary feelings. Today I had no tolerance for discomfort. It felt awful to stretch. I cannot find out a reason. It's not important to explain everything. Every day is different.

And despite this sensitivity today my back bending was good. Perhaps because I don't feel the shoulders anymore when I move my weight to my hands when in urdhva dhanurasana. My back opened. My shoulders are more stretched.

My tips for others are also good for myself. I did it. Just doing it, is it sometimes. The quality of the performance varies, the joy to practice, too. When I was through I was glad. And tomorrow is a moon day. Yepeeeee.

After the practice it rained. It's cold now here. I'll crawl back under the duvet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

60 years young and 3 students

I learned from a YouTube video with David Swenson, that P. Jois was 60 years old when he had 3 students. And he kept teaching and teaching not gazing at any result. A world movement developed.

For me this is encouraging. Too often we use age as an excuse not to do anything. It's too late, we think. There is a limit to everything and this is the death. Till then let us keep doing what we love to do.