Thursday, July 24, 2014

I drop back again

Back bending: I drop back again. From standing position I go to urdhva dhanurasana. I didn't miss it. It's not so important to do it. More important is to work on standing up from urdhva dhanurasana. If this is possible to drop back is a piece of cake. The goal is not to fall back, yet to drop back and to be in control of the body.

Yet 2 days ago MSch told me to drop back again. I wondered if I were still able to do it. There was no time to develop fear. I dropped back and this was it. This dynamic movement is repeated 3 times. I try to walk my hands closer to my feet when in the position.
I know that when the moment comes when I cannot hold myself anymore, that I have to stretch the arms towards the floor. Consequently and firmly. They must hold the body. I realized that my feet pointed outwards. I was cautious, I guess. Next time I try to keep them parallel. My head didn't touch the floor. I could hold myself.

This week I had 5 intensive practices. I needed a lot of sleep during this week. I'm glad that we have a led primary tomorrow and that I have a day off on Saturday.

If I weren't asked to stop at kapotasana, I wouldn't work so intensive on back bending. I always get adjustments when I do kapotasana and urdhva dhanurasana. This is a leverage effect. So much moves. On Sunday I'll take again some pictures. I'm curious myself if I can see the felt progress.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kapotasana - strong legs

The secret of all the back bending asanas lies in the legs. They are supposed to be strong, much stronger than one might imagine. Strong legs protect the lower back and make a practice safe.

The picture is taken last Sunday. What I like is that the legs are rather parallel. The elbows don't move apart from each other as they used to do. Important is also that I can hold this pose and I can focus on the breath.

My legs are a bit sore from yesterday. That means I had an intensive practice.

I practice in the morning. When I want to do more yoga, I prepare my own vegan meals, I clean the flat. This is part of a yogic life style. too.

I stare at the picture and I think: I'll nail this pose!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stay longer - 10 breaths

I know that this is an excellent tip by MSch. I fear sometimes I didn't even hold this pose for 5 breaths.

What's the effect when I hold urdhva dhanurasana longer?
1. The pose becomes comfortable. Yes!
2. When it feels good to be in the pose, it's possible to get a bit deeper into it. That is I walk my hands again closer to the feet.
3. When a pose becomes comfortable, it's easier to breathe deeply and the breath will finally help to come up.

In Sharath's book it's even recommended to lift up 5 times. Each time one can move the hands a bit closer to the feet.

I don't know why I'm so optimistic today, but I am.

I always get perfect adjustments when I do this pose. This has a leverage effect. I'm so thankful.

The plan:
1. Lifting up 5 times
2. Staying longer in the pose
3. Focus is on breathing and lengthening the body.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Pashasana is one of the four core asanas of second series of Ashtanga yoga. It's also the first asana of second series. It's a twist with an additional challenge: One has to balance. 

There are 2 main challenges:
1. To reach the wrist while wrapping one arm around the legs.
2. The heels are supposed to be on the floor. 

If one feels any discomfort one is guided in which direction one has to work. Lately I was asked if I felt anything on the side of the feet. Yet I don't feel any discomfort here. I feel the tendon between feet and leg on the upper side. In order to become more flexible here I step my feet backwards in down dog so that my heels don't touch the floor anymore and then I try to push them down. 

In the second picture I don't sit. The body is slightly lifted. The legs are active. Also in pashasana one doesn't sit, legs are active.

All twists are good reminders to eat healthy. Then the extra pounds will disappear by themselves. Twists are easier when in excellent shape.

Don't hook the fingers. It might seem as progress, yet finally it isn't. The twist starts from the hips. One has to stretch the body. Then oneshoulder goes backwards the other one forward. The pectoral muscle is stretched. When the palm of the hand is turned around the shoulder moves forward, but it shall move backwards. So try to reach the wrist or a few fingers.

My heels are too high. When I roll back I fall out of the pose.
I'm convinced now that my approach to this pose must change. The heels must be on the floor while I try to reach my wrist with the one hand.

I know that this pose is possible for me. I've been there with help. To get into the pose is not yet possible.

The weather invited me to practice this morning. It's hot here. I so enjoyed my sweaty practice. And I've pictures for this week. I'm looking forward to an intensive yoga week.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Sometimes one has aha-moments and the practice leaps ahead. My understanding re dhanurasana deepened when I saw a picture of the pectoral muscle. Back bending is (also) about stretching the pectoral muscle.

I check the following points when I do dhanurasana:

1. When I move into the pose the chin remains on the floor first. When My limit is reached, I lift the chin and the upper body. That way I can get deeper into the pose.
2. Thinking of stretching the pectoral muscle helps to open the front of the body even a bit more!!!
3. Feet together.
4. Knees move together, too. (challenging)
5. Deep breathing. The breathing helps, too.
6. Dristi is the nose and not upwards!!!!!

I tend to hold the pose rather short. It will improve this pose when I hold it longer. Yeahhhhh....

On Friday we had the led class. Matt, who taught in Munich in the last week and, who led us through primary yesterday directed a few words to us afterwards. Take your time, was the message. You have your whole life.
It's safer, I also think to develop the practice in a reasonable speed than to hurry.

I know that I'll be stuck at kapotasana for some time. Shall it be so. I'll learn to become even a bit more patient. I'll learn how to learn. My understanding about back bending will deepen. And finally I'll be in that deep deep back bending asana.

Today it's hot here and I'm enjoying my yoga free day. :) Happy weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Urdhva dhanurasana

I didn't like to write about back bending without a back bending picture. It's just taken without any warming up. But I bend backwards. Voilà.

For the time being we are truly pampered by 2 most excellent Ashtanga yoga teacher: Michael and Matt. Both teach Ashtanga yoga comme il faut. Both practiced in the shala in Gokulam with Sharath and they have inhaled the teaching method. What a luxury.
The shala is cramped, which is great. India feeling comes up. One mat lies next to the other one. The air is warm. I sweat and I'm bendy.

All what I've learned by now about urdhva dhanurasana is true. I'd only add the word 'more' to all the critical steps.
- My hands must walk closer to the feet.
- My legs must be much more engaged when I want to come up. This is my insight. Yet it should be doable.

A very helpful adjustment is when hands are pressed against the hips when in urdhva dhanurasana. So I got this adjustment not the first time. Yet this week I got it with so much more power. I had to push against it and got a feeling how much I have to engage my legs. What I did by now was too soft. When suddenly the resistance stopped and my legs were still engaged, I flew upwards. What a feeling. (I hope I could explain the process.)

Again I think these devilish back bending asanas 'urdhva dhanurasana' and 'kapotasana' should be possible for me.

I have to work on them....just a little bit harder......

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oh no!!!

I overslept.
Not amused. Not at all.
How could this be? I didn't even hear the alarm clock. That is I must have heard it as I had switched it off, yet I cannot remember anymore to have done this.

I'm out of rhythm.

On Sunday I watched the soccer match Argentina - Germany. It was so exciting, so very exciting. Finally the relief and we are 'Weltmeister' now. Today is the big party in Berlin. At 9am it starts and I'll watch TV to see again all the joy.

The plan was to be back from yoga already. What a pity. Now I'll have to practice alone again. :(

It is as it is. I'm vertical now and the day can begin.

When things go different then planned it's always a reminder that all is out of control. Life happens.