Thursday, November 24, 2016

Any movement is motivating

Wow, yesterday I did 12.787 steps. That is about 4,7 km. The app says that I used 269,6 kcal. I doubt that these data are so precise. The app doesn't know the size of my steps i.e. I walked 1 hour minimum. This is the time that is need for so many steps. I still sit long enough.

However. To walk around gave me energy. One could think that it exhausted me, but no, I was so motivated to practice. It was the afternoon when I stepped on the mat I know it's better to practice in the morning, but it's better to practice in the afternoon than not to practice at all.

It felt so good. A metaphor came up. It was as if a home was neglected and when returning everywhere were clouds of dust. The performance of the asanas cleaned and cleared the home, my body. It refreshed my inner organs. I could feel the blood running and cleaning the tiniest corner in my body. I felt 10 years younger after the practice.

This morning (10 am) I was ready for another home practice (despite feeling my back). It was a short practice of one hour. I took rest when necessary, I held the poses much longer than 5 breaths. And again, I feel excellent now. I won't give up!!!!

It has advantages not to get up at 5am. Yesterday night I saw the movie 'Florence Foster Jenkins' with a wonderful Meryl Streep. I wouldn't have loved the movie if everybody would have laughed about this singer Florence, who existed in real life. Of course it was funny, but Meryl Streep created a person that was not only ridiculous, one had to love and admire this person. By now the most clicks of the stored concerts of Carnegie Hall receives Florence Foster Jenkins. Art is entertaining. It needn't to cause awe. Hang your pictures lower, I read once. I understand what was meant by it. Everybody can have fun to sing, to paint, to create. The process of creating is so rewarding. Not every end product need to be a master piece.
I was in a cinema that got renovated lately. The voucher was from friends. One could lie the legs on a comfortable stand in front of the armchair. A man explained the chairs before the show: "You can raise the armrest, if you like, so that you can snuggle with your partner." Of course, there was a tiny table on the right side of every armchair. It was possible to order food and drinks. I had olives with bread and wasabi nuts. I also had a fruit cocktail. Others had ordered a bottle of wine and huge snacks that decorated plates that had three floors. Blankets were offered to stay warm. What pleased me most was that it was a premiere before the premiere. So this morning when I went through my stream on Facebook, I saw a review of the movie by CNN. Ah, I thought and I've seen the movie already.

Yoga was great already. Will I manage to take these 10.000 steps today again? It's my plan.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 000 steps

By now  I made 8.729 steps. Probably it's a bit more as I don't carry around my smart phone with the step counter all the time. I wanted to move today, no matter what. The surprise is that even though I walked rather slowly, I feel slightly exhausted now. I did something is the feeling.

Why 10 000 steps we wondered lately, why is it recommended to walk exactly 10 000 steps? The American heart society has found out that moving less can be considered as inactive. This convinced me.

I think I'll accomplish the 10 000 steps today. And tomorrow?

Since I know that yoga is not really a work out, I consider to add some other activities, too. I'm still in the phase to create routines here, too. Strength training, walking, all this shall keep me fit till 100+.

I sleep well these days. And long. The first month that I paid for yoga classes is soon over. I went  3 times. This is not much. Tonight I'll watch Florence Foster Jenkins. It's very unlikely that I'll get up at 5 when I'll be in bed at about 11 pm. I could plan a home practice. Wow, isn't this something I could look forward to? Yes, it is.

Yesterday I friend told me that she showed my blog to a friend. The friend was surprised: 'She is not missionary.' No, I'm not. I don't want to convince anybody to do what I do. Likes and dislikes are so personal.
I rather write about my struggles. This back injury really pushed me into a deep deep valley called: inactivity. I want to move out of this valley and this is not easy. Quickly other activities but practicing yoga dominate the day. Suddenly there is no time anymore for this spiritual practice. This happens so fast. There was something, I think sometimes......but I won't give up. Inactivity never helps.
Tomorrow I have no appointment. Tomorrow is the day for a home practice. It can be a short one. Whatever happens is great and deserves to be considered as great. A fresh passionate start is needed. No discussions anymore. I love yoga.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The circle

The circle: I practice, back pain returns, I wait and stop practicing, back pain disappears, I practice again and so on.

What to do?
To stop practicing is not an alternative. But for a while I must stop practicing primary. Back bending feels good, too much forward bending weakens my back.

Nothing less but the books by Arnold Schwarzenegger motivate me to keep practicing. To take care of the body is a must. The body needs movement.

I plan already 2017:
The focus is second series. Nothing else. Focus is back bending and strength training.
Perhaps my body stabilizes when I do something differently.

This back bending issues are with me now for a long time. This doesn't amuse me. But the issues shall not become an excuse to stop. To exercise softer and smarter, with more respect for the current limits might be the right way to heal again.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Document it

Ok, I see, the page is not yet updated...... haha

I felt a bit reluctant when I learned that I have to book the yoga class in advance. Can I be so reliable, I wondered? What, if I sleep in? But I am a reliable person and I sleep in perhaps twice every year.
In the early morning I don't block a space with my reservation that someone else could have used, if I don't come. Not so many yoginis are on the mat at 6:30. There is still space.....

Being not such a technical freak I needed half an hour to understand the system. I'm loving it now, because it documents how often I practice. I don't have to create a list of my own.

To document the yoga journey is a very useful tool. It allows fine-tuning. Slowly my yogic life becomes a structure again. 

1. On Sundays I'll practice at home.
2. I want to have one day in the week for taking pictures and filming. This is so useful, I don't want to miss it.
3. Three times I want to go to a yoga class.
4. There is one day left. Either I practice at home, or I go to a yoga class.

What a luxury. These days we have choices.

I have an elevator pitch in the meantime: 
I practice Ashtanga yoga for 12 years, but I got injured one year ago. The sacroiliac joint is blocked. I have back pain from time to time. This is why I practice only second series these days, because it feels better. But I also have to alter my practice if necessary.. Sometimes I have to add asanas or I have to do preparation asanas. Is this OK?
(A bit long.....but it's shorter already. I love to talk.)

If I hear a yes, I know I'm at the right school.
Yes, I've found an atmosphere where I feel responsible for my own practice. The teaching is a service. it's help, it's feed-back. So it shall be.
(Teaching is not to boss yoginis around.)

I also like that I see in advance who is teaching. I don't want to go to a yoga class expecting that teacher x is there and then an assistant y is there. I was more tolerant years ago. My injury changed my willingness to accept teacher who have just learned to spell yoga. This phenomena has a name that I forgot. It can be observed everywhere:  the less a person knows about a topic the more he/she thinks she knows.

My practice this morning was not pain free. Yet the body felt softer. Strength is coming back, too. I used the wheel for the back bending asanas. I altered the  leg behind head asanas to doable forward bending asanas and supta kurmasana.
I am so happy that I found a yoga group again. Within a week I went from 'I have to go' to 'I want to go'.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

At home I would have stopped practicing

To get up at 5 am is the easy part. Also today I felt fresh and awake at that time. To get ready within an hour is possible. I drink a black cup of coffee, I shower and I write my journal within that time frame. At 6 am I leave the home, at 6:30 I can start with the first sun salutation.

It's still dark when I get up. I usually look out of the window to see who of my neighbours is up already. I saw a light in one of the windows in the opposite building. The early hours are great. Whatever one does, there is always another person on that globe who does almost the same. I know I'm not alone to get up that early. The difference might be that I'm loving it, many early-riser might prefer to sleep in.

I feel at home in the 'new' shala. We are a rather small group, under 10 people.
I experience support. My current situation is more important than the strict Ashtanga rules, which shall allow to teach as many yoginis as possible. I'm so glad that it's respected that I'm an individual with her own desires and needs.

I don't feel pushed to do anything that doesn't feel good to me.
I also omit asanas, like bakasana B. I fear dynamic movements. This all is possible. Today I added some relaxing asanas for my back. Such an atmosphere is exactly what I need to heal and to keep practicing. The difference between my home practice and the practice in the shala is tiny. But I have the energy of a group and a teacher. The adjustments I got today showed me that the teacher is experienced.

Today back pain was back. Now it's gone again. But during the practice it was awful. Next time I'll take my little ball to the class to roll out the muscle. It's called fascia massage. This helps.

The valley is deep and long. But I won't stay there. To stop the practice is not the solution. One has to move. Strength and flexibility are important especially if one gets older. Being inactive aggravates every life.

I'm sad and frustrated and furious, too. I knew it better. But I didn't listen to myself.

I have also energy. I won't give up. There is a lot to do:

1. Strength training
2. Nutrition (more protein)
3. Pranayama and meditation (can be done without pain)

This blog will support my activities. To document the progress or setbacks is supportive.

These days I practice till pincha mayurasana. After this asana I'm mentally done. I cannot convince myself to do another asana.

I marked my calender. I want to see where I'll be next year, the 30. December 2017. Shall my goals give me the necessary motivation for the daily work to get there.
One goal is to practice full 2nd series again. Focus is back bending. To be a bit more precise. I want to come up from urdhva dhanurasana and I want to come up from laghu vajrasana, too. Kapotasana is on the list, too.

Might it happen.

Also tomorrow I want to go to the shala.

Picture is taken 7 years ago. After work I went to the steps in front of a huge official building to enjoy the late afternoon sun. I had to ask people if they took a picture of myself.....I had no tripod and only a tiny camera.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Very content

My strategy to get up every day a bit earlier didn't work.

So yesterday was the day of decision. I enrolled for a yoga class that requires to book it in advance. Now I had to get up. Unbelievable, but today at 5 am I was less tired than yesterday at 8 am.

I had a phone call with the owner of the yoga studio yesterday. It was important to me to make sure that I don't have to start with primary again. It might be necessary to practice variations, I warned and asked if this was possible. It was.

Flexibility has many faces.

To listen to my body and it's possibilities and limits are more important than to follow Ashtanga yoga rules religiously. I found such a yoga group this morning, where this is possible.

The teacher observed me today, without adjusting. He wanted to observe my practice first, I learned later. Afterward I could also inform him about my practice and my injured sacroiliac joint and also what were my goals. This is in my opinion a very professional approach that shows me that the teacher has experience. A bit of conversation to get to know the students is important in my opinion.

It's easier to practice in a group. And if the individual situation is respected it's perfect.
Nevertheless I want to cultivate a home practice, perhaps twice a week.

I don't keep searching now for a group for myself. I found it. This makes me more than happy.

Picture: It's taken 3 years ago. The ups are fun in life, the downs probably are best opportunities to learn.

At 8 am my practice was over, after 90 min. It's perfect timing.
At home I can do pranayama and meditation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Primary on Friday

Last Friday I practiced primary series again, that is  I did what was possible. From time to time I added a vinyasa. Kurmasana was intensive, but enough. I had to omit supta kurmasana. Several times I had to roll out my psoas muscle on the right side of my back. For the time being primary doesn't feel good. I don't want to lose all the asanas of primary and also not the vinyasas, but I see that it makes no sense to practice this first series of Ashtanga yoga. Pain is a good guide. The pain disappears faster than ever. Nevertheless it returns when I do all these forward bending asanas.

On Saturday I rested. Today second series is planned. I feel good again.

I should forget about primary for some time. I cannot find out what causes the pain exactly these days. Nevertheless it's there after primary. My focus must be second series and back bending, when I don't want to lose interest in that yoga activity I have to listen to my body.

Things happen, this back pain will hopefully make me smarter. Anything can always be learned.
The last years on the mat were great, I started appreciating the very early mornings. To get up at 5 am, before sunrise is fantastic. I want to get back to this habit. I thought I wouldn't be able to do it, but I started loving it. It's just a habit that becomes easier every day.

Yesterday I found a quote my Henry Miller in the book 'Henry Miller on writing', page 20: Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of help except by being kind, generous and patient.

My yoga journey goes on with a different gear. A lot is to explore again. Being attentive is more important than achieving goals.