Monday, March 10, 2014
Utthita hasta padangusthasana:
There is so much to say about this pose that I have to organize my thoughts first.
1. In India in Gokulam it's a must to get the chin to the shin bone. Saraswati gave me an adjustment here every day. This is the pose and nothing else.
It's a balancing pose, like most standing asanas. Yet it's also a stretching pose. The goal is to get more flexible in the hips. This understanding is important. I explain now why....
2. To every pose is a vinyasa. I inhale (pic 1) and with an exhaling I go into the pose.
I bend my leg again first. This allows me to get much deeper into the pose. A recommended variation is to lift the leg straight. If you are very advanced you can do it. Yet this strengthens rather the hip muscles. My understanding is that I work on flexibility, not on strength here. Utthitha eka padasana requires strength in the hip muscle, yet this comes later.
So these days I benk my leg and then I go into the pose. This allows me to go much deeper into the pose.
3. It's a balancing pose. How to balance?
- Stretch forward first. Create length in the body.
- Engage the bandhas.
- Respect the dristi. Keep calm eyes. Look towards the foot.
- Don't think, not even that you have a good day today. Thinking makes me wobbling. I focus on the breath. I allow only the imagination that I am a column. Nothing else.
This asana doesn't look spectacular, yet it' a challenging pose. Later in the sequence it's done while lying on the floor. The vinyasa count is the same. Only balancing is missing. Then stretching and working on flexibility is rather the focus. And the abdomen are challenged if done correctly. Oh, oh, the abdomen can burn.....
Yes, yes, yes, I practiced. At home. It motivates me to think of my fellow yoginis and yogis. Thursday in a week I'll be ready again to join groups. I miss the Mysore class.
I practice less asanas these days, yet I see progress in other areas.
- My concentration has improved. I don't take breaks. I keep practicing till the end. The huge advantage. My practice is done rather early of the day. This gives me time for all my other activities, duties, chores.
- Dristhis are so important:
1. Keeping the eyes calm and gazing at a point calms the mind. Yet not only this.
2. The correct dirsti help to align the asanas. I take care of the correct dristies.
I use no props, I don't do extra asanas and exercises anymore. It might make sense to do some, but in extra practices. These extra exercises during the practice spoils the rhythm. Breaks happen. In classes people walk around to get there blocks and straps. The atmosphere changes. It becomes turbulent.
I prefer an atmosphere so intense, so focused that one has the feeling that one can cut the air.
Sharath is an experienced teacher. In one of his last conferences he mentioned that any pose is possible, one only has to practice it long enough. Only yoga students who start at 80 with the practice might experience limits. Hahaha......I'm not 80 and I always moved.
I fight with back bending. Will kapotasana be able one day? Let's be optimistic. I'm not yet 80. Hahaha....
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Sunday, March 09, 2014
This morning I got up and went through my clothes. I dreamed of discarding all clothes. That I could throw out so many things astonished me. Less IS more.
With so many interests like me one must have a simple life. Projects, yoga, chores......if I want to do everything I must focus.
Focus is the key.
Bed time now for yoginis, early risers......
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Not voluntarily. Not to go to the Mysore classes at 6:30 is a huge exercise in detachment.
Last Thursday I had a session at the Dentist: Duration 5 hours.
Now my gums must heal. Till the last session isn't over I don't feel ready to present myself in a Group. It has been a difficult decision. Yet it's the one I feel best.
At 5am my Alarm clock woke me up. At 6:30 I was on the mat. It's 9am now and my practice is done. I had Focus, I was concentrated. I practiced what I usually practice, too. Not getting the adjustments in back bending will slow down the Progression enormously. I consider a short back bending practice in the evening to compensate.
I'm happy with my new PC. It's a new start. No mess on it. Hahaha......
On Saturday the latest Lightroom will get delivered. Then new Pictures will accessorize my blog Posts.
I must teach my PC not to make all These capital letters.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
Last week 4 Mysore classes and 1 led class happened.
I guess this week it will be 4 Mysore classes. I'll tell later in this week why.
I got stronger already. I practice till bakasana these days. It is enough.
I have a balanced practice with forward bending, back bending, inversions, twists and balancing asanas. I'm more than happy that I get help in kapotasana. On Thursday I had a highlight. Supta vajrasana was very good. I could still touch my feet when bending backwards. This asana has been never that good. That is back bending is improving. I practice correctly........
Relaxed start in the week for everybody.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
"Thanks for your comments. The problem is that I don't have a ashtanga teacher in my town. I am commited to practice everyday, but sometimes I find muself practicing a sequence of simple Hatha yoga instead of continuing withe practice of ashtanga. Last year, fro 7 months I practiced with a certified teacher and I saw the progress both in asana and in the rest. But alone and without a teacher sometimes is really difficult to be faithful to the method. Any suggestions?"
It's easier to go to a Mysore class every morning than to practice at home for sure.
Yet there are many many examples of Ashtanga yogis/yoginis who practice in the morning without a shala round the corner. Some yogis/yoginis are also so advanced that they don't find a teacher for themselves anymore.
It might look as a disadvantage, yet it can also be a possibility to grow if one is forced to practice alone. Learn to be disciplined. Find out what motivates you in a way that gets you going.
It can be better to practice alone than to have an inexperienced or indifferent teacher in town.
During the years I've collected methods that make me practicing. Here are a few:
1. Practice with the CD by Sharath. It's the best on the market. You only have to switch it on the the show can go on......
2. Practice always at the same time. Know when you begin, but also when you want to have finished your practice. Limit the challenge.
3. Take pictures to get feed-back from them and enjoy your progress.
4. Write a yoga journal.
5. Plan to go to a workshop every 6 month.
6. Make your own list of triggers that motivate you. Get to know yourself.
7. Find a role model and imitate the behaviour.
At the end of last year MSch came to Munich. He offers Mysore classes at 6:30am. First I thought this is early. Yet when I arrived he was already in Savasana. Once we yogis/yoginis had breakfast together. I had to ask him what motivates him to practice every early morning alone. The voice of Sharath gets him going. The shala in India and to practice there is a huge motivator, I guess for many yogis/yoginis. I understand this.
There are always obstacles on the way. Name them and find a way to practice anyway. Let your mind find solutions. To practice yoga in the morning also alone might be difficult, but it is not out of reach.
I love to finish with one of the famous quotes by P. Jois: The body is not stiff, the mind is stiff.
Oh, and now I remember what a yogi once said in a workshop: If your job doesn't allow you to practice yoga then change the job.
If it's necessary for you to have an Ashtanga teacher move to a location where you find a teacher. You wouldn't be the first who did this.
Let it happen.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
1. Search for the best Ashtanga yoga teacher in town. Take your time. Yet if you found him/her then stick to him/her.
2. Establish a daily practice.
3. Plan a trip to Gokulam, India, travel to the source. If it's not possible to fly this year, then perhaps next year. Have it on your list.
Once you're on your way don't rethink your decisions every other day.