Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My way to the yoga class

On my way to the yoga class I have to walk down this street. I just wanted to give you an imprssion of Munich. Yes it is rainy and cold. Cars, cars whereever you look.

Mysore class - so good

Just great. I was so concentrated. I focused on my breathe. I counted 123 123 123 123 123 exhale- inhale - exhale- inhale 123 123 123. I want to make the exhale equal to the inhale. The consequences: my practice is longer as usual. S., who practiced next to me was faster. Usually I'm a faster. My body knew what to do and my mind counted: 123 123.

I got so many adjustments. I was helped in padangusthasana, prasarita padottanasana, paschimottanasana, trianga mukhaikapada paschimottanasana, marichyasana C, supta kurmasana, baddha konasana. What a luxury.

I was too afraid of getting up and down in dhanurasana from standing position. I said I'd like to do it next time.

I learned that it is helpfull not to jump between the legs, but a feet in front of the legs after the vinyasa which leads to utkatasana. This creates room, which is needed for bhakasana after utkatasana. This are the small details, that make a practice perfect.

I enjoyed every single vinyasa.

We were 5 people (4 women, 1 man), one more ambitious than the other. This group helped me so much to stay concentrated.

But I can smell it already. I got so many good (means powerful) adjustments that I will feel it tomorrow. It will be difficult to practice tomorrow morning. I will be happy with a few surya namaskaras and padmasana, as recommended in a blog.

In the evening I will be able to practice.

Flowers on my balcony

Please, summer come!

So fast, with music

I wanted to practice like every day. Unfortunately I switched on my PC after my morning pages, but I practiced before breakfast.


I rolled out my super mat. I practiced. But how. I went from asana to asana in an incredible speed. One breathe, one asana, next breathe, next asana. I didn't hold the asanas. At the end I felt much better, my body is more flexible now. In the background I had music from the radio. My Ashtanga practice was more like dancing. Why not. Within half an hour I did the entire practice. No, I don't want to get a prize, because I was so fast.

This evening I will go to Mysore class. I know me, I will do too much. The group will help me to concentrate. It will be an experience that I'd like to take home and which I'd like to apply to my home practice.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Addicted to your blogs?

I missed you. I asked myself: What are my Ashtangis doing? I checked what had happened with ashtangi.net from time to time and if it was available again. Much too often I checked it. It's so nice to have you around again. Such a nice group, such a great support.

Finally I practiced

It was almost 6:00 p.m. when I picked me up and practiced with Sharath. The CD helped.

I did the surya namaskaras A and B and the standing positions with the voice of Sharath in the background. I felt too stressed for the full first series.

I thought it was time again for the second series (till eka pada sirsasana). My neck is almost OK. I felt good with the backbendings. My concentration was on the breathe. The teacher in Berlin noticed as well that my inhaling is so much shorter than my exhaling. My breathe must be the focus for the next times. I don't know if I progress. At the moment I think no.

What's interesting: my teacher here in Munich and the teacher in Berlin gave me adjustments in Trikonasana. It must be obvious that this asana needs improvement.

I practiced, that is it what counts, nothing else.

Ashtangi.net

Ashtangi.net is no more available. Does anybody know what happened? Thanks

Munich

Monday was a day in the car. After lunch we drove to Bamberg (4 hours in the rain). We stopped at my parents home, had dinner and then we drove to Munich (3 hours in the rain). Finally at 9:30 p.m. we arrived in Munich. I unpacked my suitcase, checked my Emails, answered some. Soon we went to bed.

In the morning I didn't practice, in the evening I didn't practice.

Now it is already 12:30 p.m. So far no yoga.
Emails, my morning pages, phone call with my mother, again Emails, breakfast, that's what absorbed my time this morning.

The very best thing I can do is: to get up at a decent time, shower, morning pages with a black cup of coffee, then Ashtanga. This is a very good order. As soon as I switch on my PC, my time is absorbed by other activities.

But I still want to practice. The day is not yet over. I guess it will be a good practice. I will find it out.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Berlin

It was great. I managed to go to the first yoga studio in Berlin. I've learned so much. We were about 12 people, very advanced ones and beginners together. Mysore Style was offered. The teacher was young, very nice and good-looking. The yoga fashion is a little bit different than in Munich. 45% of the people were dressed in black. Many had tatoos. I was dressed in red with no tatoo. The room was large and I had room enough to spread my arms to the sides. I could look into a backyard. I got really many adjustments. I have got so many new insights. I sweated.

- navasana is not correct, I do it the easy way, but the legs should be more up and then the belly has definitely more to do.
- dhanurasana: the elbows should be closer together
- I should stretch from the core of the body and not only lengthen my arms and my shoulders.

and so much more.

And then suddenly, the class was not yet over Salsa music came out of my handbag. It was my mobile phone. It was so embarrassing. And I had to answer it, because I couldn't reach my friends later. I think I blushed.

After class we had dinner with my friends. It was a nice evening.

What else:
we were at my favourite market, met people, were at the new main station, had coffe and cakes, chatted.

At night we drove home. It was raining cats and dogs. I was very concentrated. I had to drive because my boyfriend has had 2 glasses of beer. At 2:00 a.m. after 3,5 hours we arrived at Hannover. I was tired and I was happy that I could finally sleep.

Very motivated I practiced this morning. It was horrible. I was stiff, I couldn't move. After a good practice follows often a not so good practice. It is as if my body is like a rubber. At first you stretch it and then it tightens.

Let's see what's going on with my body tomorrow.

Friday, May 26, 2006

It is so cold

It is so cold here, that I'm not able to practice Ashtanga. I sit here in half lotus in order to warm my feet. I've put on a black blouse, a white woolen jacket and above all I've put on a black jacket. My washed-out jeans are winter jeans. I miss my winter coat. I feel so cold. The heater is out and we didn't manage to get it on, because it is programmed "summer time". So we are sitting here, my boyfriend is covered with a blanket and we are waiting for coffee time. There are so many cakes left from yesterday. We have to do our best to eat as much as possible.

For tomorrow we planned a trip to Berlin. I used to live there for about 13 years. I've still friends there. And perhaps I can do both - seeing friends and going to a yoga studio.

I miss my room where I can practice on my own.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

At my parent's home

Yesterday in the evening we (my boyfriend and me)drove to my parents home by car.It was an almost 3 hours drive. We arrived rather late in B., had dinner, chatted with my parents and watched TV. At about 11 p.m. we went to bed. It had been a long day and we were tired.

This morning I practiced in the living room of my parents. It was after breakfast. My mother had pampered me with home-made strawberry jam, very good German bread and hot black coffee. I chatted with my parents but after some time I practiced. My boyfriend was still in bed as he is used to sleep very long.

I can do more and more asanas. I even did Setu Bandhasana and Dharunasana. To turn the head fully will take some more time. During practice I chatted from time to time with my parents and my boyfriend, who finally had managed to get up. We talked about Ebay and other things. Was it really yoga that I did? I think it was more a form of gym. My concentration was divided. But what I did was good for my body. My boyfriend checked my Sirsasana. In total I was happy that I practiced.

After a very good lunch, that my mother had prepared, we jumped again into the car. We had to drive about 4 hours. Now we are in the north of Germany. It was G.'s birthday today. A lot of neighbours came and it was funny. Of course I ate too much of all what was offered.

I want to practice tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wednesday morning practice

I practiced. And it was good.

Once I heard this little voice saying: "Omit this asana." It was Janu Sirsasana B that I should omit. And I omitted it. But I got an idea how to answer to this little voice. Next time I will say: "Imagine how good you will feel at the end of this practice, when you don't omit an asana and the vinyasas." I did a few more vinyasas than yesterday. I'm sure it is because I ate a huge piece of apple cake yesterday (see comment under "I can live from air and love alone").

I closed my eyes
from time to time and just listened to my breathe. It is a totally different experience as with open eyes. The breathe sounds louder and more intensive. It is worth to do it from time to time in order to concentrate. I imagine that my breathe is the ocean at Hawai. Once I was there and I was lucky to found a yoga teacher at the hotel. We, a little group of about 5 people practiced on the beach. The sound of the waves in front of us was great. Our teacher said: "Imagine you sit down on the ground of the ocean. It is calm there. Above you there are these huge waves, but where you sit it is quite." I liked this picture. Sometimes I visualize that the sound of my breathe represents the sound of the waves at Hawai. But inside I am very calm. This is a very exciting aspect of my practice.

The next six days I will be on the road. We will see my parents and E.'s mother, who has her birthday. Of course I will travel with my yoga mat. I will find time to practice yoga, that's for sure. But it will be a totally different practice, as I will have spectators.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday morning practice

It was good. I omitted most of the vinyasas. Too lazy. But it was a very concentrated practice. I concentrated on my breathe. Once I closed my eyes and the sound of the breathe became even more intensive. I was very attentive because I had to take care of my neck. Not all drishtis are doable. I still cannot turn my head fully to the sides. I held the asanas rather long and it was very intensive. I omitted only Setu Bandhasana and Sirsasana as asanas. I felt great. I am happy that I didn't put the pressure on me that my practice has to be almost perfect. To enjoy the asanas is more important. And that's what I did today.

I found a solution for my breathe. Instead of counting on exhaling, I can count between the inhale and exhale: ie. inhale - exhale 1, inhale - exhale 2, and so on. So I avoid to emphasize exhaling or inhaling and I have an idea how long I'm holding the pose. No yoga without breathe.It is worth to have a closer look at it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I can live from air and love alone

That's true. I need so less food that it is almost frightening: a banana with 5 nuts and a few raisins mixed with sojayofu in the morning, a little salad during lunch time, a small slice of bread with a tomato in the evening, black coffee, water, tea, no sugar as beverages. Every little bit that exceeds these small meals is to be seen on my wages and even worse on my belly in the morning.

When I was younger I didn't like to eat at all. Now I like to eat. But in order to stay slim I have to eat like a little bird. And I fear it is getting even worth. I need less and less food, that I have to enjoy more and more. I think it is an issue of age.

During the last days, I could scarcly open my mouth, because this caused neck pain. I ate almost nothing and I lost 1 kilo (is 2,2 pound for my American yogis/yoginis). I had almost reached my dream weight. Now I can eat again and I gained a kilo so quickly that I cannot look so quickly.

I think yoga was so good today and yesterday, because I had lost 1 kg. It is so much lighter to jump back and to twist (even if you don't jump back).

I know a few tricks, that makes me stop eating immediatly in case I'm no more hungry and I still want to go on eating. I can imagine that worms are coming out of the food. But do I really want to visualize this. I prefer visualizing that I stop eating as soon as I feel satisfied. In restaurants I can hear my voice saying when the waiter picks up the full plates: "Oh thanks, it was very good, but my stomach is so small. I couldn't eat any more."

Yes, I'm slim, and many people would like to be as slim as I am. I'm 160 cm tall and I weight 48 kg (105,6 pounds). My dream weight is 46 kg (101,2 pounds). My jump backs in yoga would become so easy with 2 kilos less on my ribs. But to stay slim means to eat less and less. To compensate this, I think I've to pay more and more attention to the quality of the food and that I enjoy every bite of it. I am already picky regarding food, and I will become even more picky.

This Wednesday and the following days we will see my parents and my friend's mother. Oh, they will show how much they love us by offering food and more food. And I can hear me saying: "I can live from air and love alone." They do not understand. They think: "Child, you must eat." I am so happy, that my boyfriend likes eating. He enjoys food. After breakfast he starts eating lunch. Mothers like him especially for this.

Enough food talk for today. I could go on and on with this issue. To be continued.

I'm going to prepare 2 cups of tea (earl grey) now, one for my boyfriend, one for me. We will enjoy it.

I practiced

It was the second night without a painkiller. I could even hug my boyfriend during the night and this means that I have to turn my head to one of the sides. But the pain is not yet over.

But my mind is already active. As soon as I am able to practice I can here a little voice that tells me to postpone my Ashtanga practice. And I even listen to that voice. So it came that I practiced some time after the breakfast and not before. I think my mind needs much more attention than my body. How to treat my whimsical mind?

But I practiced as you can see from the title. I took care of myself. I listened to my body. When I felt pain I adjusted the pose so that I had no pain. I omitted the postures with pressure on the neck like Setu Bandhasana, Mayurasana, Dhanurasana. And I omitted too many vinyasas. As soon as I had started I was very concentrated. I had no music, no CD or DVD in the background. Only me, the breathe and my pink mat existed for me for a while. To make the inhalation equally long as the exhalation is a real challenge. But I had highlights as well. I could slightly touch my fingers in Supta Kurmasana. I feel better and better in every single asana. I have the feeling that my head gets closer and closer to the floor in Upavishta Konasana. What else can I want?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yoga studies - how much yoga is enough

A few days ago I read again in the book "The Heart of Yoga - Developing a personal practice" by Desikachar. It is a book full of wisdom.

Sometimes I ask myself the question: how much time shall I give to my yoga practice? Sometimes I think I don't have time for other activities, because when I start other activities as well, I won't have time enough for yoga practice any more. And yoga became a real passion for me.

I found some answers in Chapter 2: "Yoga is not passive. We have to participate in life." (page 14)

"Practicing pranayama and asanas, keeping oneself healthy, and reflecting on oneself do not constitute all our actions. We also have to pursue our career, gain knowledge, and do everything else that is part of normal life. All these things should be done as well as possible. Yet we can never be sure of the fruit of our actions. That is why it is better to become slightly detached from our expectations and to pay more attention to the actions themselves. .......If we are healthy, know more about ourselves, and improve the quality of our actions, it is likely that we will make fewer mistakes." (page 13 ff).

I think it is best to let this quotation speak by itself. I have nothing to add anymore.

Sunday morning practice

It was my first night without a painkiller. I went rather late to bed. It was already 1:00 a.m. At first I tossed and turned around. I wished that my tiredness would help me to fall asleep. After a while I think I must have fallen asleep. At 8:30 I woke up. Pain was again there. But it is all better.

I had my black cup of coffe and wrote my morning pages.

Then I rolled out my pink mat and I sat down at first. I just wanted to breathe. Then I started with Surya Namaskara A and B. I did all very slowly. I still cannot turn my neck, but this is fine. I omitted the vinyasas. I think I could have done them, but I'm afraid because it is such a dynamic movement, and I think I cannot control it as I can when my neck is OK.

I was happy and I even plan to go to a led class on Monday. S. will be the teacher and she knows about my neck problems.

B., my teacher draw my attention to it and it is so essential: My exhaling is so much longer than my inhaling. I think I already mentioned this once. It became so obvious during my practice today. I think the reason is because I count the breathes from one through five during exhaling. So there is a focus on exhaling. Inhaling is neglected. Next times I only want to focus on breathing equally long during exhaling and inhaling. I won't care how long I will hold the posture. Either I will count from 1 through 3 while exhaling and inhaling or I will say the word "einatmen", "ausatmen", mentally. The German word suits better as it is longer and it fits better to my breathing rhytm.

My neck still hurts, but I am so much more optimistic now.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I practiced Ashtanga

Yes, it was a joy. I practiced Ashtanga in the morning before breakfast. I was so curious what has happened to my body. I wanted to know if I could still bind in Marychiasana, if I could do Uttanasana and so on.

At first I wanted to find an attitude. I intended not to exaggerate. I wanted to do it as easy as possible. I know that after a break injuries occur very fast. I had nothing to prove, neither to myself, nor to others.

I could do Surya Namaskara, but I stepped back, no jumping. But this was fine. I could do almost all the postures. I could not hold the head in the right direction. I had to hold my neck straight. For instance in Trikonasana I looked at my wall and not to my thumbs. I had the feeling that the asanas were good for my body and my neck, especially Adho Mukha Svanasana and Uttanasana. It was as if my head, ligaments, muscles found their right place again. Sarvangasana was almost impossible. I omitted of course Chakrasana, Sirsasana, Setu Bandhasana, Dhanurasana and the vinyasas.

It was again a start.

Back to asana practice I ask myself what is yoga? I'm so concentrated on asanas, but yoga is also pranayama, meditation. It is also to be friendly to others and to myself. To be happy or at least content is yoga as well.

Yesterday in the evening I took again a painkiller. Perhaps today it will be my first night without it. I hope so.

Thank you for all your encouraging Emails.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A painkiller is better than 3 glasses of read wine

Yesterday at about 6:00 p.m. I put on my washed-out jeans, my black blouse and my black jacket. I left home very soon and headed for the metro. I got in and I saw all these frustrated faces. I thought, what would all the visiters, who will come to the Soccer Champions Leage think, when they see all these frustrated faces. Perhaps twenty percent are already foreigners, but they adopted it really fast and consequently to look so frustrated as we Germans do. Me included. I think I will start smiling..... from tomorrow on.

I got off the metro after 2 stations. I picked up B. at her office about 2 minutes walking distance from the station. It started raining a little bit. B. was dressed in light blue jeans, a bright green Tee-shirt, a green woolen jacket, which was binded in the middle of her belly. She wore a bright green leather jacket on top, also in the same nice color. And her handbag was bright green as well. She looked very beautifully with her long brown hair, which was open and laid on her shoulder.

We left the office. The restaurant was round the corner, B. had made a reservation. When we arrived it was already rather crowded there. We got 2 seats on a table where already 2 women and 1 man were placed. But this is normal here in Germany.

B. ordered a pizza with pepperoni, I ordered penne al'arrabiata with half a bottle of red wine. We talked about my neck, her trip to Berlin, her nephew, collegues, India, weddings, marriages, money, jobs, children, her French cooking class, yoga, ballet, her boyfriend, hairy men, parents, the funeral of my grandma, my brother, her brother and his wife, Peru. We only missed to talk about cars and the Catholic Church. We had another bottle of red wine, ähhh medicine. At the end of the evening she invited me. I thanked her for her generosity and we left the restaurant at about midnight. B. could stay in Munich at a hotel. She lives outside of Munich, but sometimes she can stay. I went to my home.

At home I did my evening routine, that means I checked my Emails, brushed my teeth and so on. Finally I was in bed. My neck hurt awfully. I tried to lay down on the right side, pain, I changed sides, pain, I laid my head down on two cushions, pain, I laid flat on my matress, pain. I tried each position again. I tried to concentrate on my breathe. Pain. Finally I got up. Drunk as I was I found the kitchen, I opened the drawer above the refrigerater. I took the yellow box and opened it. On top was the little box with a tooth painted on it. My painkillers. I filled a glas of water and gulped down one of these huge pills. I carefully put back the yellow box and went to bed. Now I only had to wait. Yes, I slept well.

How could I think that alcohool would help?????

I feel better than the day before now. I can move my head a little bit more. I'm a little bit more optimistic that I will be able to return to a good Ashtanga practice.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hope

At night I took again a painkiller.

But I think I can stand the day without drugs. And this evening I will meet a girlfriend at an Italian restaurant and I will daze my pain with a glas of red wine. We can meet without a reason, but this time we found a reason. In February we had a very difficult test in accounting. We both failed twice. But on the 28th of February we finally did it. At the end of March we got our certificates and that's what we want to enjoy. Now it is black on white what we have achieved.

I know already what we will order. I will order penne al'arrabiata with a glas of red wine, as mentioned already and she will order a pizza with a glas of red wine. As she does not know what happened to me last Wednesday I have something to tell. Now I'm out of everything already one week.

This morning I rolled out my pink mat on the floor and I sat down in Padmasana. I indicated Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasana A. I also managed to do Marychiasana A and I did Vrkasana. But this was it. Listening to my body I know that I have to start very slowly. I'm not yet ready to start my practice.

But it is already so much better. I have no idea what I can do to fasten the healing process. I think to be patient is the secret. To practice yoga is so important for me.

PS: I already started doing the laundry. This is a good sign.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The first day without a painkiller

It was my first day where I didn't take a painkiller and it is almost 7 p.m. now here in Germany.

I could only do basic tasks: to have a shower, washing my hair, to comb my long blond hair was a challenge. I bought food, made my bed, did the dishes. And during the afternoon I took a nap in order to make the time go by. That was it.

But no painkiller today. This means that I could stand the pain today. I've still pain all the time. I think I was seriously injured. I still can't turn my head. To think of practicing yoga makes me laugh. It takes another few days till I will be recovered.

How I wish I could practice.

Sharath's DVD

It is perfect how he jumps back and how he jumps through. His Supta Kurmasana is perfect and how he gets into Bakasana from Kurmasana is a dream.

In total the sequence is not perfect (180 %). For instance he holds the left leg in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana D only for 3 breathes. Sometimes I had the feeling that the movement started very fast and got slowlier very soon. Sometimes I had the feeling that the legs weren't standing in line. But so what?

Exactly this is it what I like most in that DVD. That not everything is perfect, perhaps even cut by the filmmakers. It gives me freedom and happiness. Freedom because there is perhaps no perfect asana. Happiness because I can be happy with my practice as well even if I cannot do everything 100 %. Aren't this the real goals in yoga?

Perfection is a limited conception of life. It is more like a prison than anything else.

Ashtanga Yoga is flow, movement, to be in the now. That's what I can see now.

Sharath shows real greatness with this DVD.

Also his little ticks are sweet. He adjusts his short pair of trousers from time to time. I don't know why.

I'm sure I will watch this DVD more than once. It is a recommendation.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The tree















That's what I see when I look out of my window. It is a chestnut tree. In the night it looks as if there were candles on that tree.

Pain, pain, pain

I was hanging around yesterday. Pain was again unbearable. I took one painkiller during the day another one before bedtime. I think that's why it was possible to go out and buy some food during the day. I had a nice salad and strawberries with cresoy as a dessert.

In the late afternoon, I think I was no more on drugs, I tried to get into child's pose. It took me about five minutes till my head touched the floor. My hands held the head so that the muscles had nothing to do. Then I relaxed. This was possible. But to get out of this posture was painful again. I tried Utanasana and Adho Mukha Svanasana. I was able to indicate these postures. Then I sat down in Padmasana and breathed in and out moving my head a little bit upwards and downwards. I felt as if I were a heroe.

At 10:30 pm I went to bed.
At 11:30 my phone wrang. It was my boyfriend, who is in London at the moment. He wanted me to wake him up tomorrow morning. I promised to do it and I did it. Due to Ashtanga Yoga I used to get up earlier to have time for practice and it became easier for me to get up, if necessary.

At 2:00 am I woke up again. I thought the night was already over. But it wasn't. I tried out some sleeping positions. It is difficult to lay all the time on the back. But to move is a nightmare.
I woke up at 3:30 am, I woke up at 6:00 am.
At 8:00 am I called my boyfriend. Due to the sudden movement from a laying position to a sitting position pain started again to be unbearable. I cried aua aua in the phone.

My boyfriend advised me to see a doctor. Regarding doctors our opinions are totally different. I think he likes to go to doctors (irony), as he consults them often.

My opinion is that 80 % of all deseases disappear from alone and 50 % of all diagnosis are wrong diagnosis. I've read this statistics somewhere. The prospect of a conversation with someone (doctor and people in the waiting room), who are willing to listen to my awful situation made me change my mind. I dressed in order to go to the doctor. Pain dissappeared slightly. Just before leaving home I called the doctor to make sure he has open today. Tuesday closed. Now I will wait till tomorrow. Till now I haven't taken a pill. I want to feel what is going on in my body in case I can bear it.

I plan child's pose again, perhaps Utanasana and some breathing. More is not possible. Now I guess it will take perpaps still 14 days till I will be recovered. But I see already a slight improvement. That's something.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Still injured and suffering

I'm rather happy that I slept well. I took a painkiller before sleeping. Half an hour ago I took another one. I can't stand the pain. As soon as I was awake the pain started again. I could hardly open my mouth while I was eating my breakfast (apple and sojayofu with raisins).

I thought that it would be a good idea to call the yoga teacher to give her a feed-back. I only wanted to tell her that it makes sense to warn Bikram beginners to pay attention and not to give too much effort in the exercises. Very soon the conversation turned into a quarrel. I don't want to repeat the details. If she were a professional teacher she would have listened carefully. That could have helped her in her business. But she only wanted to justify what she was doing and attacked me. I regret calling her.

During the telephone call it came out that another women left the room before the end of that Bikram hour. We were only about 6 women.

S. had consoling words for me also. She felt neck pain only on Friday and not as strong as I. On Sunday she could do Ashtanga Yoga again.

She advised me just to take it as an experience.

I want to add: one thing I've learned. If there is something new, I have to be even more carefully.

Oh, my painkiller starts working. If I only knew how long I will be suffering.

I intend to meditate, as I can sit and I can breathe.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Bikram Yoga aftermath

No, I won't make someone else responsible for my neck pain. It was my fault. I should have known better. I was too ambitious. My neck problems come from the first pranayama exercise of that Bikram series. One has to force the head back with the elbows in order to breath deeply. This exercise was repeated 10 times and then again 10 times. There is always a second set. This was too much. My body was not familiar with this movement either.

Fact is I cannot move anymore. I cry when I make a wrong movement. Every movement is a wrong movement. I cannot lay on my back either. There is no position where I am without pain. This morning I had difficulties to lift my cup of coffee in order to drink. To sip from my cup of coffee was almost impossible as well, because I had to bend my head slightly backwards. I often shout: Aua , Aua. I don't know what to do taday. I can only sit and this hurts, too. What a nightmare. In the heat I didn't feel my limits. I went behind my limits because my body couldn't give me signs that it was too much.

When we went to the Bikram class the owner of the studio was very busy to have us sign a piece of paper, that we are responible for ourselves. I had to cross out that I had been at a doctor before class.

We had to follow exactly what the teacher wanted us to do. Again this was my fault. I should have been much more carefully.

Perhaps I should take a bath this evening. I'm not sure if this will help.

What annoys me most is that I'm not able to practice Ashtanga today.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Godfrey Devereux

I went to a workshop by Godfrey Devereux this morning. It was a workshop more about awareness. We did a few sun salutations. Then we laid down on the back for awareness exercises.

I think I can remember some catchwords.

Grounding - broadening - lengthening. This in mind we did some sun salutations. Lengthening is important, it is not important to go down, because the gravity works anyway.

Inhaling: The order is important. Lengthening and then broadening. The front and the back should remain equal. It is not recommended to broaden the front of the body and to let collapse the back.

We talked about Moola Bandha as well. The muscle around the anus and the ground of the pelvis can be separated. It is even the goal to separate it. To learn it takes about 20 hours.

Minimum effort and maximum achievement. That's another goal. Sounds good.

I think I've forgotten the rest of the workshop. It is also difficult to reproduce these subtle differences.

The room was a little bit cold. We were 14 people. Some took a blanket to cover their bodies, while Godfrey was explaining Moola Bandha, inhaling, consciousness and so on.

For me it was also an English lesson: comprehension.

The workshop still goes on today and tomorrow. But I had enough.

Still one point as I just took his book Dynamic Yoga in my hands. It has a lot of pictures of Devereux in it. You can see how concentrated he is. Now he has a little belly and he has cut his hair. His beard was about 3 days old this morning. I just read "About the author". He began his practice of Hatha Yoga in 1973. He is studying Zen as well. He has a yoga training center in Spain, Ibiza. I like the book because of the pictures. He seems to take yoga rather seriously. The poses are very perfect and it is written when to inhale, when to exhale.

For more information: http://www.windfireyoga.com/

I only hope that my sore neck lets me practice tomorrow - 2nd series Ashtanga.

Here is his book.

Bikram Yoga aftermath

Did I say yesterday that I felt well the night after that Bikram yoga class?

That's no more true. My neck hurts. I cannot turn around my head. And I have leg stiffness. Bad is my neck. S. feels pain at her neck as well.

Friday, May 12, 2006

How to learn a new asana

1. A teacher can show me a new posture and can give adjustments.
2. I can get infos from other yogis of the community (ashtangi.net, ezboard)
3. I can do the new posture more often than the other postures.
4. The positive attitude can help. Patience, the optimism that it is doable.
5. Visualization can help. I can imagine that I'm already in that posture.
6. I can read books and watch videos in order to copy what I see.
7. And again: practice, practice.
8. I can make a new posture to a favourite posture.
9. To blog helps to stay motivated.
10. I can hold the posture longer as usual (10 breathes?) so that the body can relax and can get used to it.

What else can be helpful?

Bikram Yoga

A new Bikram yoga studio has opened the doors here. Of course I wanted to go to see how it is. Yesterday I went with S. to a class.

The studio is very beautiful. And what I liked very much there was a corner where people could sit, relax and talk. Later it turned out that this corner is absolutely necessary. Apples were on the table. Journals to read were under the table. I liked the style of the studio very much.

Bikram yoga is an experience. It is difficult to describe how it is to practice in a room with 100 degrees F. (37 Celsius). The 26 postures are doable, but in that hot room it was so exhausting. I thought I wouldn't survive. The teacher gave rare adjustments. In the room were mirrors everywhere. We should correct ourselves through checking our postures in the mirror. I always saw my totally red face. S. told me afterwards if I had seen how I looked like. I looked as if this was my last hour in my life. Ambitious as I am I continued and I gave my very best as usual. A part of me is narcistic as well, but I'm not convinced if I like to see me all the time in a mirror.

The teacher led us through the class of course. The teacher is a very nice, friendly, beautiful woman. How she led us through the class was a bit of a sports training: 10, 9, 8 hold. and so on. She had to speak loudly because there was noise from the heater as well. I could do the postures very well. My body was very soft due to the heat. Prasarita Padottanasana was so good, I never before could go so far with a totally even back. I sweated as well like I've never done in my life, not even in the sauna.

Between the last asanas one could relax in savasana. The feet should turn to the wall behind us. We had to turn around. Then we had to look to the other wall again to perform the next asanas or the repetition. I experienced it like an interuption. I was out of the flow.

I think Bikram Yoga is lifestyle. Target group: young people who like to sweat. Funny is that I was in the beergarden with collegues of my boyfriend in the evening. One of the guys likes Bikram Yoga very much.

For me it was an experience, I don't want to miss. But for me once is enough. I was curious how I would feel today. I feel great. Really. My body is relaxed. It was good for me. But in total it is soulless yoga.

I prefer to go to a sauna.

For those who like to test it: Bring a towel with you. You need a shower afterwards. And it is good to have a bottle of water with you. You can drink during practice. There are little breaks for that.

I wish the owner of this studio all the best. I'm sure Bikram yoga has it's fans as well. I like the variety in town.

I'm looking forward to Devereux, who will be in town tomorrow. Of course I will go to his workshop.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Epiloge

Headstand: Yesterday I met one of the women in front of the door of our studio. She told me that she would try one more time headstand and then she would give it up. Of course this is a sentence one should not say. I told her that there were two crucial points with headstand.

- the elbows should be rather close together
- it's helpful to be more on the forehead. This helped me so much to be longer in headstand. Yes, for years I was in headstand, but it was so exhausting that I couldn't hold this position very long. To be more on my forehead helped me to stay longer and to relax in that position.

This woman wanted to try headstand the last time. I observed her when it came to headstand. She went into headstand and she remained there. Our teacher came to her, she knew how much this woman was struggeling with this position. She was blowing to her legs, pretending to bring her out of headstand. But this was not possible. The woman still was in headstand. I'm sure that she has changed her mind yesterday. This was not her last headstand in her life.

Sometimes it is only a small hint, a small alteration and you can see the world from a total different perspective, from upside down.

To myself: Never say this is not possible. This is essential for my other activities in life. Success can come very fast from one second to the other.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mysore Style class

I just came home from class. We were 5 women and 1 tall man. The man and one woman were beginners, they did not yet know the surya namaskaras. If there are too many beginners class is more restless. Beginners need more verbal explanations. On the other side it is exciting to meet new people.

But I had insights today as well. I exhale much longer than I inhale. I think this is something very profound. In German the word inhale and exhale has 3 syllables. To say it mentally should help to make the inhale and the exhale the same length. I will concentrate on it.

I was helped in Supta Kurmasana. This posture is a mountain.

My teacher told me that she wants to help me with Dhanurasana next time. I fear the worst. This might mean that I shall get up from dhanurasana into standing position and to get down from samastithi. This is a challenge.

I don't know when and why it happened, but I'm sure that I'm again a little bit overstretched. I will see what I can do tomorrow morning.

I am drinking a hot cup of tea now. I'm happy that I practiced.

Now I know when to practice which series

Thanks to Julies book recommendation "Ashtanga Yoga as it is" by Matthew Sweeney in one of her posts, I know now that there is each Ashtanga sequence attached to a specific day.

In my case (as I'm only doing primary and intermediate series) this means:

Monday: 1st series
Tuesday: 2nd series
Wednesday: 1st series
Thursday: 2nd series
Friday: 1st series
Saturday: break
Sunday: 2nd series

The goal is on Mo Advanced A, Tue Advanced B, Wed Advanced C, Thu Advanced D, Friday primary series, Saturday break, Sunday intermediate series.

And now it is also clear what is the best time for sex. It is on Friday evening, because there is a break on Saturday. This ensures that your sexual activities won't influence your practice in a bad way. Oh, I like this book very much.

It is something for hardcore Ashtanga practitioners.

It is my favourite Ashtanga book now. In addition Matthew is a very good-looking man.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Led class - Mysore style classes - practice alone

1. At first one has to go to classes with a teacher who tells you what to do. Of course. In the biginning one knows nothing. Some yoga styles stop here. In Ashtanga this form of teaching is known as led class. But Ashtanga has more to offer.

2. In Ashtanga there is Mysore Style class the next level. A group practice together, each yogi practices one of the Ashtanga series according to the individual speed. The teacher is there for the adjustments.

3. Third level: practice alone. Much more self-discipline is needed, more enthusiasm, more self-control, more energy.

I'm struggeling with the third level most. Yeah, I am struggeling with the other levels, too, but most challenging is the third level. That's why I need CDs/DVDs, while I practice at home. It is so difficult to be alone and to stay motivated. But now I know that it is also another challenge to practice alone. To develop self-discipline is like learning a demanding asana.

And how is it in the real life?

1. At first you go to school. In companies you are told what to do.
2. With experience you work also on your own, in a team, but with your own tasks that you perpaps even define and perform on your own.
3. Is it the third level to work independantly? I want to be independant here too. It is a level which gives me a lot to think about. But I will give it a try. I want to create more and more my own lifestyle.

Difficult asanas?

I don't want to divide asanas in difficult asanas and easy asanas any more. When I started primary series this led to omitting the difficult asanas. I practiced them less and as a result they became even more difficult.

Now I work on the second series as well. Supta Vajrasana is such an asana, that I do not like especially. I abserved myself already to omit it. But I did it today. I used my elbows to get back. I couldn't bind but this doesn't matter. Important is I did it. And I intend not to label it as difficult. It is another task in my life, no more. And a task that I gave myself.

My practice was very good. It was not a morning practice, it was around lunch time and I've already had breakfast. I started with the CD by Sharath. I sweated so much. I did the main part on my own. For the finishing sequence I started the CD again.

Baddha Padmasana was good. This was also such an asana where I thought that it won't be possible for me to do it. My excuse: My arms are not long enough. Now I'm able to hold my big toes on both sides. There is always room for an improvement. But that's not the point. There is progress.

I was in headstand for 15 breathes and I held it for another 8 breathes with half-bended legs.

Chakrasana was very good as well. I could hold my leg straight.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday morning practice

It was rather lunch time when I practiced. I was so afraid that my body was not willing to move. 3 days I've had no practice at all. But despite of this break I had a very good practice today. I can never predict how it will be. My body was relaxed. There were no overstretched harmstrings. I have lost weight as well, which might have influenced the practice as well. I did it without a CD. I didn't omit a posture, except the vinyasas. It felt so good. I am very motivated to go on tomorrow. On my plan for tomorrow is second series. When I write this I notice that I like the first series more, because I became already more familiar with it. But I don't want to neglect the backbendings as well.

I fell so good, that I plan another yoga session this evening. Free style. A session with favourite asanas like utanasana and asanas I want to improve like Supta Kurmasana.

Now my boyfriend is ill. He suffers a lot, like I did. Now I'm sure that I didn't exaggerate. It was a very painful caugh with fever. I'm not yet fully recovered, but I feel already very well.

I made a salad with cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper, carrot today. I made a sauce with olive oil (from my trip to Italy), estragon vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard. There is nothing left now. I hope that this raw food will help us to recover quickly.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My yoga place
















This is the place where I practice whenever I can, whenever I want. And you can also see my new mat that I got from my parents as a birthday present.

I was 2 days without practice due to the funeral and due to my illness. Tomorrow is Monday and again a new start.