Thursday, August 31, 2006

Now I am full



B. didn't come. She forgot our meeting. So it is. Next subject.

On my way home I bought some food: Dried tomatoes, olives, noodle salad, mushrooms, dried mangos, baguette, red wine (I don't want to mention everything). Now I'm full. I ate too much, food was so delicious. I spent so much money on these sins, that I could have gone to a restaurant. No chance to practice. I have to wait. This is exactly why I prefer to practice in the morning even though the body is stiffer. After three to four hours I can think again of a second series.

It would be good to practice. Tomorrow at 2 p.m. (a good time for me) I will have an interview. The recruiting firm got back to me. I really like to get that offered job. It is an international firm, round the corner. What else do I want? I hope everything goes well. Buuuhhhh. Important is self-confidence. Oh, yeah, I'm great. Oh, yeah.

Not much to report - only a few surya namaskaras this morning


There are writers' blocks and I'm sure there are also practicing blocks. I know this not since this morning, I suspected this for a long time. I feared to practice. Why? Because it might be a bad practice, perhaps it might hurt, because of my injured body parts (lower back and leg). But somehow I made it to the mat - after doing the dishes, after cleaning the bathroom, after doing the laundry. Surprise, surprise. It was not that bad as I thought it would be. The first surya namaskara IS difficult, the second is better and so on. It was not that bad as expected. I did 5 surya namaskaras A and 2 or 3 surya namaskaras B and now I will go downtown. I've an appointment with a friend downtown. But this won't be the last entry on the subject Ashtanga for today. I leave my mat open on the floor. So it will invite me to practice when I will come back.

My boyfriend already arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. It is not that warm there, he is likely wearing a sweater. We had a phone call this morning. I like these long distance calls.

I can accept that I will do a full practice later as it was rather exhausting yesterday. I could feel my belly muscles (I think you call them abs), when I woke up this morning. They were a little bit sore. It is a perfect day today for backbendings, second series, so to speak. The few surya namaskaras this morning couldn't be a damage and they won't stop me to do some more.

On the picture you see a shopping mall from the inside, downtown.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

S., the teacher, led class


I was not sure if I wanted to see somthing new. But then I got curious. I trudged to the new Jivamukti yoga studio here in Munich, the third one. They offer Ashtanga classes as well.

S. offered a led class. She counted so slowly, so slowly, so challenging. She left out parsvotanasana, instead she announced ardha paddha padmotanasana. At first I pondered to make a sign. I folded my hands behind my back, but she didn't see it. I subordinated to her directions. So slowly. I felt compassion for the beginners. Most of the 5 or 6 people were the first time in an Ashtanga class. It was balsam to my ambitious soul to see how difficult it can be just to lift the arms above the head. It gave me some sort of satisfaction. Usually it is more attractive to be with people who are better than myself. Today I enjoyed to see struggeling these novices. I must have gone through the same struggles some years ago. And I struggle every day till now. I know this won't stop. Perhaps I cannot lift my arms above my head, too, but in comparison with the combatants today, I had the feeling I can do this. Enough smugness. I'm done. It was a challenge for me to hold the asanas so long.

Concentration? During rest pose I already thought what I would write in my blog. I can spare more words.

I continued reading my book "Are you experienced" by William Sutcliffe. I stretch my body, I stretch my mind, I don't want to limit myself, I want to grow. So I looked up all the new words in that book in my dictionary. Here they are: to wrestle with, to smirk, prick, wanker, wiggle, sod off, to snog with, to haggle, huff, to tug, murky, gloomy, to flop, knackered, to peck. Next to some words stood fam. Perhaps you got interested in that book. It's really a funny read about 2 youngsters going to India.

On the picture you can see the entrance of the new Jivamukti Yoga Studio in Munich. It is very nice there.

My boyfriend and me in a bar



We already have our beverages: he usually orders a glass of beer, I usually order a glas of white wine or water.

He: You are so beautiful.
Me: Oh, thank you.....Today I went to the library to flip through some South Africa books and I found one very interesting.......and so on and so on.
He: You are so beautiful, sweety.
Me: Oh darling, thank you.......And do you know that I've already done.......... and so on and so on.
He: You became even more beautifully in the last 10 minutes.
Me: Oh, darling, don't exxagerate. ...blah, blah, blah
I can see a big grin on his face: And during the last 10 minutes you became even more beautifully.

I look at his glas of beer. It is almost empty.

Me: You are beautiful, too. And you, too, you became even more beautifully during the last 10 minutes.

And you, my dear readers, you are so beautiful, too.

The picture is taken at the Feldherrenhall, Odeonsplatz, Munich.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm proud, I practiced


My self talk: "Sit down on your mat and breathe till you get bored. Then you like to practice." I switched on my CD player. I wanted to do the first part with Sharath. Then I practiced alone the secondary series. I did the closing series with Sharath again.

Trikonasana on the left side is almost not possible due to my injuries on my right lower back and my left leg. I will be so much careful in the future. These injuries occured, because I was too ambitious, because I forced me into positions that I scarcly do. I have the same problems in utthita hasta padangusthasana on the left side. The body simply hurts.

I hold sirsasana for counted 15 breaths, but then the strength faded and I had to go down.

It was a practice with no highlights. Due to my injuries I feel fear. The injuries hurt. But to practice carefully around the injuries is good. Things will get worse if I did nothing, that's for sure.

My breath was good and that is the most crucial point.

It's much fresher now in Munich, but still beergarten weather. On the picture you see one in the center of the city.

Monday, August 28, 2006

It is good to be led


...at least sometimes (and if it is through such a nice voice like the one from Sharron). I switched on the CD by Sharron Gannon - strength and flexibility. I don't know now why I feared to practice. It was rather good and I've the feeling that I got strength. I could hold the asanas as long as it is supposed to. Only while in sarvangasana I added some variations . But the position is held about 5 min and this is not too short. Not to move is a concentration issue, and this is difficult. Dhanurasana gets better and better. I'm not sure if my arms were totally straight, but they were straight. I could even lift a little bit one hand after the other. I adjusted my legs so that they pointed inwards and not outwards. Oh yes, I sweated.

I noticed that I concentrate more and more on my breath and this helps enormously. When it gets difficult to hold the asanas my breath goes deeper and deeper and then I use the bandhas. That's really a secret. It is as if you are at the dentist and you concentrate on your big toe. Teeth pain disappears. To concentrate on the breath helps to stand the pain in the legs when they get tired. The breath, yes, the breath, so important. Oh, and the bandhas.

I'd like to mention the most difficult asanas of this CD: hanumanasana and pincha mayurasana. They get better as well. My left leg and my right back are my crying body parts. They tell me to be cautious. This is not always easy. Perfection is part of me, I think. One of my goals of earlier months was that I wanted to do hanumanasana by the end of this year. I'm not sure if I can accomplish this, because of my left leg. But I progress.

As expected after a good practice: motivation soars, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Picture is taken at the Hofgarten downtown Munich.

Always the same blues



My Monday morning blues: I got up too late, I had too much food during the week-end. I jumped on the scales, but this was not the best idea. My boyfriend reset the alarm clock 3 times. At almost 8:30 a.m. we managed to go out of bed. 7 a.m. was the goal. But aren't these problems that can be solved?

This evening I will go to a lecture "confident appearance". B. invited me. It's in a near hotel and we will have fun. I think that we both make a good first impression and we have good manners, but why not refresh all that stuff. Perhaps we will hear something new. If not, it was good to meet again.

Still time to practice yoga, before leaving my home.

On the picture you can see the Sunday afternoon sin - selfmade apricot streusel cake - vegan. It is a proof that eating vegan is not equivalent to eating healthy. I had 3 pieces, G., E.'s mother had 2 pieces and E. had 1 piece. E. didn't like the streusel, even though they were with Grand Marnier.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday: I picked me up and I practiced


My intention was to practice carefully. I said to myself that I would get every break I would need. Important is to be attentive and not sloppy.

And I took breaks. The first break I took after the surya namaskaras A, then after the surya namaskaras B, then after the standing sequence and then I practiced rather slowly. I was stiff. Life was too sinful in the last couple of days. I noticed every gulp of alcohol. I gained weight (not much, but...) and this doesn't make it easier.

I was happy how I practiced. I was not ambitious and didn't force me into asanas even though I was already able to perform them during former practices. I think this was very good as my lower right side of my back still hurts and my left leg isn't OK either. The breath was there, I neglect the bandhas a little bit. It is better to practice one more time, than to overdo it. Hopefully I will have time today. The mood is very good now.

Kapotasana: I thought I could take the couch as a stopping point for my hands. But it is still too far away. I need the wardrabe. I can reach it with my hands whenever I need it.

Sirsasana: It's a surprise, because I wasn't specially working on that position, but it gets better and better. I can say that I feel very comfortable in this position at the moment. Fear to fall over is fading.

It is 1:30 my boyfriend got up and now he has a lot of power and hunger. We'll go out for brunch.

On the picture you can see our place where we had lunch yesterday - it's a Bavarian restaurant close to the Chiemsee.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It is Saturday. To yoga or not to yoga?



Saturday - should it be a rest day for me, too? That was the question of this morning.

Now it is about 1 pm and I needn't answer the question anymore, because we want to go to a sea. My back hurts and it is perhaps a good idea to have a rest day. Of course I fear that it will be more difficult on Sunday after a day with no practice, but so what. The weather is fine and I like summer days. Let's have a fun day outside of Munich.

On the picture you see a little museum round the corner. There is a nice cafe there as well. It is Art Noveau (Jugendstil).

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stiff, stiff, stiff



.....but it doesn't matter (that's the sentence I've learnt from my marathon book). "Practice" was hard. I was about half an hour on my mat. I did the surya namaskaras. I didn't hold the asanas of the standing sequence. My right side of my back still hurts. I've to treat my body with care. Then I sat down and stretched or better tried to stretch. Difficult. No vinyasas. I finished with sarvangasana and halasana. I want to do a second session today, perhaps with one of my CDs. In the evening I will be more flexile, hopefully.

Picture is taken from the Feldherrenhalle, Odeonsplatz with a view to Ludwigstr. and then Leopoldstraße, Munich.

First thoughts in the morning


Coffee. How is my back? A little bit better. Sigh. Coffee. First series today. I'm looking forward to it. No, today I won't go on the scales. This has time till Monday. Mood: went up with every little step I did and is almost excellent.

Madonna: We have her in town as well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Do you know how it is when you get from everything too much


We were at a Greece restaurant this evening. The food was good and too much. I had too much pita bread, too much tomatoes, too much onions, too much fried eggplants. I had too much ouzo and I had too much retsina. The yoghourt with honey at the end was too much as well. The air was smokey and hot. The room was crowded, the bodies of the guests could almost touch each other. A musician came and played on his guitar rhytmic songs, very loud. All my cells danced with him. Then we searched for some money for him. Then I had the idea to show my muscles, my arm muscles. E. and G. laughed. E. is a bear and G. his mother. They are both sure that they have more arm muscles than me and I know it as well, they are both so much stronger than me. They examined my arm muscles and we laughed. We needed a taxi to get home. A funny evening.

I practiced carefully



At 7 a.m. I was on time at the Hotel Meridien to have breakfast with B. I loved it. It is such an international atmosphere there and the buffet was great, too. Fresh food and all sorts of bread were offered and we enjoyed it to talk to each other.

I walked home after our breakfast at the hotel and my boyfriend was still in bed. When he left the home I practiced. I did the second series, but I had to be careful. My right side of my back hurts and it is not really pleasant. To move is always good and so I had an attentive second series.

Then I called E.'s mother. I wanted to go downtown with her. We had a nice lunch at an Italian restaurant and now we wait till my boyfriend will come home, so that we can go to a Greece restaurant for dinner. I cannot complain. In total too much food, but so is it in our affluent society.

I started preparing my South Africa trip. On the 3rd September I will fly to Cape Town. My boyfriend will already be there. He will pick me up at the airport at 5 a.m.. I won't have time differences, but to fly overnight is tiring as well. I ordered a book via amazon to inform me. A Brasilian guy went to South Africa and wrote about his trip in a book called "Rainbow diary". It is recommended at amazon.de and it shall be rather informative. I cannot wait till it is here. I already see me how I'm on my way to South Africa with my yoga mat over my shoulder.

On the picture you see a fruit and vegetable stand of one of Munichs greatest markets, The Viktualienmarkt. There you can find everything. Often I find fruits of vegetables, which I've never seen before.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Overcooked


Mysore class: 4 people today. One man, 3 women. The man practiced next to me. I didn't hear one breath, but he practiced like a fast train. He did the entire first series and the second series till kapotasana. Overambitious? Fact was that he was so fast that I almost forgot an asana, parshvottanasana. I know, it was my fault and not his. Was he a mirror? What I take from this experience is that I want to go from ambition to fun, joy.

Back to my own practice: at first I thought I cannot bend forward at all. But with each surya namaskara it went better and better. Finally I had a very concentrated practice with highlights. With the help of B. I went down into dhanurasana from standing position once and twice I went up. This was enough. She would have helped me some more time, but I had enough highlights. In total breath was good, forwardbending was good, marychiasanas were amazingly good. In some positions I think I went a little bit too far. That means that I'm very curious what will be tomorrow. I guess my body is overcooked.

But now comes the best thing: We 3 yoginis went down the stairs after practice all a little bit sad. B., our teacher won't be there next week. In September she won't be in Munich for a week at least and from December on she will be in India till the end of March next year. That sounds great. But what about our practice? We went downstairs and we were all a little bit moaning. And then we had an idea. We can meet without a teacher as well. We all liked the idea at once. We have perhaps no adjustments but the support and the advantages of a group. I gave them my business cards to contact me in order to coordinate it. D. already has a room for us, it is the kindergarten of her kid. Only a few matresses are in the room. It is close to an underground. We are already 3 and I'm sure V. will be part of the group as well. That's what I always wished - a group, each member of the group on the way to happiness - yoginis with passion. I'm rather happy.

Tomorrow I have to get up very soon. B. invited me for breakfast in a 5 star hotel. I have to be there at 7 am, because she has to go to work at about 8:45. It is close to the station, means in walking distance of my home. I like to meet her and to have breakfast in a hotel with a huge buffet is cool. It is an invitation. Ohhhhh.

Another lion downtown: The lion has the face of a Munich VIP, who was murdered a few years ago. He was killed from a paid lover. M. was loved by the homeless people, because he gave them a lot of his money. He sold very expensive suits and clothes for men. An individualist.

I was on the mat


I practiced a few suryas, then the standing asanas. I was very careful. I didn't go to the edge. It was more an examination of my body. My right side of the back hurts and is sore and my left leg is not OK either. I have to be more attentive. I wanted to do a few backbending asanas. This evening I will go to B., Mysore class. I want to try dhanurasana again. I need help in this position. I've not the courage to go back alone. And I also have no clue how to manage it to go up on my own. Sometimes I believe to see on pictures of yogis that they go forward with the knees till the rest of the body has to follow. But how to go forward is still a secret for me. What I can try is to go back as far as I can as a preparation. I will give my body the chance to remember the movement which is necessary to get up and down. But I have already taken the most important step. I think that this asana is possible to do also for me. When I saw it the first time I thought "no way". And when I think I can do it, it is only a matter of time, technique and practice. I will give me all the time I need. No injuries please.

Yesterday I did no yoga. But this is OK. Today I think this was even good because so my back and my leg had a rest day. I was out in the afternoon and when I came home G., E.'s mother and E. were already at home. G. and I chatted, while E. was working. We went out for a drink later. I spent my evening reading a book. That was it.

Inside of the building on the picture is a huge rustical wine bar/restaurant. It is downtown Munich at "Odeonsplatz". I took the pictures 2 days ago; it is already raining here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The greatest gift Ashtanga yoga can give



One of the sentences Danny Paradise said during his workshop doesn't go out of my mind anymore. He said that his experience was that people who practiced yoga for a very long time (decades) would die fast (or transform fast I think he said). To live long and to die fast, that is it. This is the last gift I want to get and it is the greatest one: to die fast. That's a real great motivator to go on with the practice. Fun till the last moment and then good-bye - all is done. No, I'm not sentimental, I like to live, I feel great today. I only touch taboos (it is not tatoo it is taboo).

I'm listening to Beethovens 6th symphony - Die Pastorale: It fits to my subject today.

On the picture you see one of the streets that goes from Odeonsplatz downtown. I like cities.

I am a yogini


Some years ago I wanted to learn about mental programming. I came across a very interesting book "The non-runner's marathon trainer" by David A. Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener and Tanjala Mabon Kole. In the end of the book I cried. It is the American dream that is described in the book. From poverty to wealth, from fat to slim, in this book from non-runner to marathoner. The book is definitely worth reading.

How to construct my own reality is a main issue in the book.

Now I ask me what can I learn from this book for my yoga practice:

Week one: Among other things, shoes and clothes were discussed. For us yogis/yoginis it is a good mat that counts. I experienced the difference when I bought my extra long super sticky mat. Hints from a later chapter, but they fit here: Food matters as well: More water, more veggies (re marathon more carbohydrates). My opinion: no alc, less food in general.

Week two: Focusing on the positive: "......one of the most important features of your mental preparation will be an ability to maintain a positive attitude. (p. 41.) The authors go so far that they say that a positive attitude about life in general is necessary. How to gain this positive attitude? The hint: ".... whenever you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative. The phrase is,...."but it doesn't matter"." (p. 41)

Examples:
My legs are sore today, .... but it doesn't matter.
I'm tired today,.... but it doesn't matter.

Week three: It's about injuries. Best thing is to avoid it. No overzealous actions, only 10 % more than the day before, is one of the hints, and stretching (but as yoginis we stretch). Be attentive.

Week four: Acting as if.... "Are you a marathoner? YES, I AM! Are you a yogini? YES, I AM!

"If you want to change the beliefs, change the behavior." (p. 81) "Actions will initiate corresponding beliefs and feelings." (p.82). I think this means practice, practice, practice.

Week five: It's about visualization: making videos in your head. The task of this week was to construct 2 short mental video tapes, each one to one and a half minutes in length.

"The first one should be about the best training run you have ever had." (p. 87) Hint: write it down in great detail and then practice it over and over again "run the tape".

"The second mental highlights tape should be of what you imagine it will be like to finish the marathon. Again, it should be short. Imagine what you will look like, what the weather will be like, who will be there, what you will say ...... (p. 88, ff)

How to use the tapes: whenever there is a negative image and during the marathon /practice.

I think this is applicable for the yoga practice as well.

Week six: Using self-talk to remain positive.

- I'm a yogini
- I love to practice
- I never quit on a run/practice
- I never get tired
- I'm in great shape and I look and feel like it. I never get tired when I practice and I never quit before I finish the sequence. I always feel strong when I practice......

Positive self-talk is also important for the rest of the life.

Week seven: Learning to focus or how to maintain concentration.

To improve concentration they recommend i.e. to take a newspaper and to cross out all of a certain letter. It is an idea. I prefer to concentrate on the breath during practice.

To rest is important.

Week eight: Achieving "flow" and how can we create it?

"One of the most exciting aspects of achieving flow is that it is often truly FUN!" (p. 140)
What makes something fun for you. Have fun and flow will be there.

Book recommendation: Csikszentmihalyi's book called Finding flow.

Week nine: Why trying harder isn't helpful - the details are perhaps more for marathoners.

Week ten: Learning to relax: drop the arms i.e. or going through the single muscles.

Week eleven: Associative and dissociative mental techniques.
I think this is very important NLP techniques. To be in your body or to look at yourself, that's the question. Try it out what is best for you.

Week twelve: Knocking down the wall. Use self-talk, visualization.

Week thirteen: Goal setting: Regarding marathon it must be for these non-marathoners to finish it and NOT to finish it in a certain time. For yogis the goal might be to concentrate on the breath during the practice and to finish the practice not to do perfect postures.

Week fourteen: Integrating all the techniques.

Week fifteen: Having fun on marathon day - having fun when practicing.

The other chapters are especially for marathoners. Read the book. It is a gem.

Have fun with the practice is perhaps the most important hint.


The picture is a part of a well, that I found in the Hofgarten downtown Munich.

Monday, August 21, 2006

...but the evening was so much better



TV programme was not really interesting. I saw "You are what you eat". People, who want to get slimmer get informed what to eat, to do sports and so on, mostly basic things everybody knows. But to know something and to live according to it is something else. As I'm interested in feeding in general I watch sometimes. But the programme didn't need my whole concentration.

I rolled out my mat and without any expectations I started practicing. I did a few suryas and then the asanas of the first series. I did only a few vinyasas. But I feel so much better now. My body is relaxed. It was as if I needed some stretches. Far away from perfect I enjoyed my little yoga practice.

The marichyasanas get better and better, all of them. I even tried pincha mayurasana after the headstand. I tried it against a wall. But I could stand alone as well. It will come. And I put my leg behind the head. This was my preparation for supta kurmasana. This position still needs a lot of work, but I progress.

On the picture you can see a little pavillon close to Odeonsplatz. Perhaps 9 years ago a group of people used to meet there on Friday at midnight. Someone had a CD-player and a bottle of wine. We drank together and danced Tango in that little pavillon. It was hot and cool at the same time. Passengers looked at us. The garden, very close to a main street is a meeting point for all sorts of people - a relaxing place in the center of Munich.

This was not my day



Yesterday in the evening we were out. I had the feeling as if I had done nothing else but cleaning after my yoga practice. I vacuumed, I dusted, I did the laundry, I ironed. I didn't like to stand in the kitchen in order to cook later on Sunday. So we went out to one of our favourite Italian restaurant. We had spaghetti tarantino (tomato sauce with capres and olives), I had a glas of red wine, my boyfriend had a glas of beer. We couldn't resist to order a dessert as well and 2 espressi afterwards. It was a nice dinner. We were on time for the evening thriller, followed by a discussion programm on the German health system, flollowed by a cultural programme.

At twelve we were in bed and then I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned around. At about 3 am it was loud outside. The company on the other side of the street made such a noise, I couldn't sleep. I went up at 8, but I was tired. After my shower I lied down on the bed again and I slept finally till lunch time. I switched on the TV and watched the press conference with our Chancellor Angela Merkel. But this was not how I thought Monday is supposed to be.

It was already 2 pm when I went to the post office. I had to mail a letter and I wanted to go out. On my way to the post office I bought 4 T-shirts. One has the inscription "alp goat", one has the inscription "sweet", the two other ones are uni. I like the one with alp goat best. I mailed the letter and went downtown. I took pictures. This bettered my mood. I start thinking that Munich is a beautiful city. But nothing was really done till the late afternoon. I ate a piece of cake with a cup of coffee, later I ate a salsa sandwich with a cappuccino with soy milk. In total it was a money spending day. I wanted to save money.

It rained from time to time, but I didn't care. I'm at home now. Depleted. Not happy. So far I didn't practice. It is too late to go to a yoga class. I leave it as it was. Not my best day. Some days are simple lost. Why worry I can't change anything about it. I will enjoy my evening with or without yoga.

The picture is taken downtown Munich.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday morning practice


At first a story: A man couldn't sleep all night. So he went to a yoga guru and asked him for help: "I cannot sleep, can you help me?" The guru said: "I'm very sorry I cannot help you, but I know a guru who can help you. He lives 2 blocks away from here." The dispairing man went to the guru 2 blocks away. And he could help him. Very happy the man went to the first guru again to thank him for having given him the address of the guru. The man: "Thank you for giving me the address of the guru. Now I can sleep every night." The guru: "I'm pleased to hear that. Now when you want to wake up, please come to me."

I practiced before breakfast - second series till eka pada sirsasana. I sweated. I took breaks after almost every asana, but I did the vinyasas. I find that they are so important in the 2nd series, because the backbendings are so demanding. Doing the vinyasas I have the counterposes which help to relax the back again. Dhanurasana was not very good today. Headstands get better every day. I see more and more how important it is to define the right goal. Not the perfect asanas is supposed to be the main goal. To have this as the only goal creates discontent. Who is perfect? To be with the breath is a better goal. Being content because one practiced a certain time is another more satisfying goal. I hope the gurus are right when they say: Practice and all is coming.

Yesterday I read in a blog the important steps if one wants to go to India. I took the blog recommendation from Yogini's Quest blog. I think the author of the blog is one of the teachers in San Diego:
He wrote:
1. Buy a ticket
2. Go
It can be that simple.

Yesterday I checked the prices of the flights to Bangalore, India. Air France offers tickets for 700 Euros. I think this is affordable. The next step is to write an Email to P. Jois and Sharath to tell them that I want to come. I have to fix the time. Then I can buy the tickets.

On the picture you see a typical German apple cake (self-made by my mother) with cream and a black cup of coffee. It's a Sunday afternoon ritual to have coffee and cake.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday afternoon with Bryan Kest


Spinal strengthening: I thought it would be relaxing. I had a glance on the pictures in the booklet. I said to myself: Oh, that's easy. It was not easy. In fact I thought that I had to stop in the middle of the CD, because I was so exhausted. But I went on. It is an interesting CD. The sequence of the asanas pleased me. The asanas are held rather long.

Yes, one has to get used of the language Bryan uses. But we all have our own way to talk. Juicy positions, colorful move, downward doggy, I forgot most of his words, are perhaps needed getting used to. A few times he even moaned so loudly and intensively that I was shocked in the first moment and then I hoped that my neighbours hopefully won't misunderstand this. My door to the balcony was open.

Bryan pushes you, it is not a soft talking through a few asanas. He is very precise in his explanations and it was easy, even for me, to follow him. That's not always self-evident.

What is important is, that I think that I will work another time with this CD. Then it was already worth the money. I think Bryan gave a good CD to the yoga community.

On the picture you see inside the little church of the monestry "Kloster Andechs". It is baroque. I prefer gotic style. But as mentioned already, people visit the monestry because of the good beer.

Cleaning day


It is a wonderful Saturday here in Munich. The sun is shining, it is perhaps one of the last warm summer days. This makes me think which of my nice summer clothes I will wear today. Perhaps this is one of the last chances to wear a skirt. But at the moment I like my washed-out blue jeans. I will wear my brown blouse (bought at gap in the US) with it and my sandals. Brown and light blue is a nice combination.

I cleaned today my home, yoga demands for a clean environment. Today is an Ashtanga free day, a good opportunity to clean. I did the laundry, I even ironed, I cleaned the chairs, I washed one door frame. I cleaned the faces of my fridge. I did routines like washing the dishes, making the bed. I worked for one hour and then I stopped. Cleaning is a task one can go on and on. There is never an end, a home is never really clean. One has to stop consciously. That's what I did now. When I remember the dirty water that I poured away my home must be cleaner now.

There is no Ashtanga today. But I only wait till my boyfriend will leave the home in order to play soccer, then I will switch on the CD player and I will try out one of Bryan's CDs.

Yesterday I wanted to write the moon days into my daily calender. What for a surprise. There are painted moons already in my calender.

On the picture you see a little village about 40 minutes away from Munich, if you drive by car. It is rather famous as there is a monestry there and they brew very good dark beer (in case you like beer - I prefer wine). During summer time it is crowded there - tourists and locals pilgrimage to this little, but famous monestry called Kloster Andechs.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Like an old lady....


I was already tired in the morning when I woke up at 9 am. The first thing I thought in the morning was: coffee, black coffee. Then I checked my Emails, had a shower, wrote my morning pages, did some google searching regarding vaccination, visa for my Indian trip, and then I cleaned my desk, which was a greater issue. Then I practiced. It was already 3 pm.

I practiced like an old lady. The suryas were OK, but then I needed a short break after almost every asana. The practice became more an examination of every single asanas than a series. No flow. Each asana stood alone. I practiced very very slowly.

When I reflect now how it was, I think it was something different as usual, because usually I'm rather fast. Today it was slow motion. But so I had the time to observe how I enter an asana. I considered the principles of stretching: searching the edge, having the muscles 70% or so tense, bandhas tense as well, and then I tried to relax in the position. Self-talk was positive.

Marychiasanas were extremly good today. I think that soon I will grasp my hand joints and my upper body will remain open and straight, breath even. Headstand was good as well. I went up with both legs at the same time. I did dhanurasana 3 times and then I stood up bent backwards as far as my fears allowed it. I think it will take some time till I will have the courage to go down alone. Supta kurmasana was good as well (always in comparison to my former ones). In kurmasana I turn my palms up to protect my elbows. Once my shoulders are on the floor I can turn them around again. I know most teacher don't like to see this, but I think it helps to get deeper in the position.

I think now that my practice was better than I thought it was after just having finished it. It was slow, but concentrated. The breath was good. I did every asana, omitted the vinyasas. They need some extra attention another time. I practiced, that's it what counts. I repeat myself.

On the picture you see one of the street parties which take place everywhere during summer time. It has not yet started on the picture, but it will. Usually these parties are very popular. The picture was taken a few months ago.

Gregor Maehle's book and Bryan Kest's CDs

Yesterday the book Ashtanga yoga by Gregor Maehle and the 3 CDs by Bryan Kest (Spinal strengthening, Long, slow and deep, Advanced yoga) arrived.

The book by Gregor is very good. I already got some helpful advice. In order to learn to swing the body back he suggests to start lifting the body and hold it every day a little bit longer. Next step is to swing till the vinyasa can be executed. It is a way to build strength in the arms and shoulders. These little steps might help.

I like it to have the sutras in the book - the philosophy. The anatomic parts are good, but I have to look up the vocabulary.

I couldn't resist to start one of Bryans CDs. I had to stop after a while because my phone rang and I didn't like to start from the very beginning again. I think they are good. But one has to get used to his talking (that's what everybody says and it is true): downward doggy, we live in a free country (I think he speaks of America), don't think of what you are eating afterwards (makes me think of it), made me laugh. I actually fell out of the asana, because I had to laugh so much. These sentences came so surprisingly. But I'm sure I won't laugh every time I practice according the CD. A more detailed report can only be given when I did the 3 CDs. The booklets are very good and helpful, especially helpful for those who have English not as their first language. It's like a cheat sheet in the beginning.

I'm happy of my new belongings. I think they are all worth the price.

But now I have to save money for my Indian trip. I want to check which vaccinations are necessary. And I want to check the prices of the flights. These are my next steps.

On the picture is the peace angle of Munich.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I want to go to India, but....


My fears and obstacles:

I will get ill.
I won't get a hotel room, because so many Ashtangis are at Mysore at the same time.
I fear that I will not be able to earn a decent living after that trip.
I fear that my money gets stolen.
I fear that I don't get up in the morning to practice in the shala.
I don't know when to fly.
I don't know how to organise the trip.
I fear the injections from the doctors to avoid one of the diseases like thyphus and so on.
I don't know how to get from Bangalore to Mysore.
I fear that they won't let me do the whole first series.


My parents opinion (likely fears):

"You were already in India. Once in a lifetime is more than enough." When I was in India perhaps 25 years ago I had written a letter to my parents. They still have this letter, and they reread it when I told them that I plan another trip to India. I don't know anymore what exactly I wrote, but it didn't make them very optimistic. When they learn that I will make this trip without my boyfriend they won't be able to sleep anymore.

My boyfriend gave his OK.

I fear that if I won't do it soon I won't do it at all. P. Jois is not so young anymore, so am I. Now I'm on fire with all this Ashtanga stuff. Perhaps a few years later I will be happy with my home practice. Now I'm still wild at heart. A part of me is still adventurous.

October or November would be fine. I want to do it. Why all these doubts and fears?

I will overcome my obstacles. I can do everyday a little step towards my goal and before I open my eyes I can be ill, robbed and lost anywhere in India (hopefully not).

Another lion, ääähhh and me.

Horowitz plays Chopin and Ashtanga 2nd series


I'm back on my routine. After my morning pages, after checking my emails, but before breakfast I practiced. It is a sunny day here, a real summer day and this facilitates everything.

I took the advice by Steve Ross and practiced with music, but not the recommended meditation music, but music of my own choice. I think the meditation music is often very boring and I'm happy when the teachers switch off the CD-player. I wanted to give Horowitz and Chopin a chance. It was already good, but I will try other classical music as well. I'm not sure if operas are good, as they are too strong on their own, but I will test it.

Fact is I practiced. It was not easy, and the body hasn't had the best day. No. But I went on and on. The breath was there. Yesterday I must have pulled a little bit too much as I feel a little pain on my right side of my back. It is not really a hindrance, but it is there. Once I thought: Do it badly till it gets better.

Oh yes I practiced. I'm proud now. It is something to step on a mat and do these challenging asanas. My headstands get better. In the end of my practice I liked to sit down for a while. This made the wonderful music of Chopin. To sit and to listen to music is nice. It was sort of meditation.

Now I'm ready for breakfast.

On the picture you can see me in one of the many beergardens in Munich. The one which is on the picture is round the corner of my home. It is open till late at night, but only on summer days.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ashtanga yoga is for every day


Ashtanga yoga is something for every day. Breaks are good, but only short breaks of one day or two. I didn't practice for 4 days and it was so difficult to start again. I rolled out my mat in the late afternoon. I put on my fancy yoga clothes, opened the door to the balcony and then I practiced. I took all the time that I needed for the 1st series. I practiced slowly. No hurry.

Ashtanga is not something one can do half-hearted. The whole life must be dedicated to the practice. I know for instance that I gained weight, not very much, but during practice every pound makes the practice more difficult. I remember when I laughed about Sweeney, because he recommended sex on Friday night, because on Saturday is a day off for Ashtangis. In order not to exhaust oneself before a practice Friday night seemed to be the best time. And so it is with drinking alcohol. I had a glass of wine yesterday. This tortured me during my practice at 5 p.m. I wanted to practice in the morning and then I thought it might be easier in the late afternoon. It was not easy, but in the morning it might have been even more difficult. The weight, the alcohol, the break - all that made it not easier today. I did all the positions of the first series and some variations, I left out a lot of vinyasas.

I practiced and now I have the feeling that I'm back on my way. I must learn self-discipline - less expectations, more self-discipline. Yes, I feel good now. Without any doubt I feel much better than before the practice. When will it be easy? Will it ever be easy?

In the morning I went to a restaurant to have breakfast there. I wanted to walk and I wanted to go out. I wrote my morning pages there and I read my daily newspaper. I had a cup of tea "earl grey" and a croissant. On my way to the restaurant I thought that my life is exhausting at the moment because all the things I do, do not show an instant success. So it is with yoga. I exercise, sometimes I have highlights, but more often I struggle. As soon as I stop, I have to struggle even more. It is the same with my business activities, it is the same thing with preparing food (shopping, cutting, cooking, mixing and within 10 minutes everything is eaten and then it means washing the dishes - where is the success?). It is the same with cleaning the home and so forth.

There is one thing I see instant success: it is when I take pictures. This is why I like it so much. I see something, I look for a good view, I take the picture and than I have something, I can show something. It is somehow satisfying. Quick success. But the other activities are worth doing as well, there is only not that quick satisfaction.

On the picture you see the door of a restaurant round the corner. There is a beergarden there as well. My boyfriend thought that my blogger friends would like the picture. I like it when he wants to add something nice to my blog.

The best thing I did yesterday...


The best thing I did yesterday at night (I think it was already after midnight), was to clean my kitchen (means to do the dishes). To have a clean kitchen is a symbol for me, a symbol for a fresh start in the day. It was already late. We saw so many movies and documentaries yesterday. At first we were at the theatres to see "Lost in translation". Afterwards we ended watching TV. Whatever happened the day before, with a clean kithchen the next morning can be considered as a new start, another chance for a nice day. I enjoyed this this morning. At least the kitchen is clean. I'm not overwhelmed at least for a couple of minutes when I stand in the kitchen preparing the first cups of coffee. But now it is already after 10 a.m. I have managed to take a shower and to make the bed. I made two cups of coffee, one for me and one for my boyfriend. That was it. Not really very much.

I have not yet written my morning pages. They are very essential for me. They are like cleaning my soul. There I write down everything which comes into my mind without any filter, without any considering even grammer. Sometimes nice texts come into being, often it is simply chaotic writing about this and that. But it is like my daily shower. And now it is already so late.

That's my great problem, that I waste too much time.

No yoga yesterday. Today I want to practice. B., my teacher is in Denmark at a workshop with Jois, so I will have to practice alone - no Mysore class today.

The picture is taken in the garden of my parents.

Monday, August 14, 2006

No yoga today


No yoga today. It is not a crime. But I'm disappointed.

I was busy conquering the chaos at home. I did the laundry, I washed the dishes, I vacuumed, I ironed, I cleaned the bathroom . I went shopping. Tomorrow is a banking holiday in Germany and we needed some food.

Now we just came back from a Greek restaurant. I had a heavy vegetarian meal "Moussaka" with 2 glasses of Retsina and 1 Ouzo from the owner of the restaurant.

I'm likely not practicing yoga now at 10 pm with all the food and drinks in my body. My boyfriend occupies my yoga place. I don't want to shoo him away as he is writing his monthly report.

3 days and no yoga. Then I always fear that I've forgotten everything. I fear that I will be stiff, I fear that I will suffer the next time when I practice. But these thoughts are a nightmare and have nothing to do with reality.

Tomorrow is a new day, a new start, a new chance for an exciting new yoga adventure.

The picture is taken in the garden of my parents. It is my mother's work to create such lovely places.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The robber barons come - at my parents home



That's what I call a pantry. In the upper shelf is the delicious self-made jam of my mother. A lot of these glasses are now in my kitchen.

Yesterday in the late afternoon, we arrived at my parents home. When we arrive we hug each other, then we have dinner. After having eaten, we chat in the living room. At 8 pm it's time for the news and then it's time for chatting again.

My parents go to bed rather early. E. and I watch TV then. Next morning, when I hear my parents already in the kitchen, I go down as well. I sit down at the kitchen table with them, unwashed, with my pink piyama. This shall give the impression that the little sloppy daughter is at home again. Then we have breakfast together. I get my black cup of coffee among other things, but the coffee is the most important beverage in the morning for me. We chat again about the past, about the future and a little bit about absent family members. Then it is time for a shower. My boyfriend joins us later as he sleeps so much longer. Usually it is almost lunch time when he gets up. After breakfast and chatting, lunch is in the near future. This time we barbecued in the garden. Different salads, meat, vegetables, water, beer, no wish remains unfullfilled. After chatting a little bit again it is time for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake or two. Then we go down to the pantry, we take whatever we can carry, say thank you to my parents, hug them again, we wave with our hands while sitting in the car already and then we drive back to Munich. In total a loving, relaxing week-end with delicious food (which is only a little bit too much).

No yoga on Saturday, no yoga on Sunday, instead too much food. I shall see what I can do tomorrow.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pranayama


I sat down on the floor in lotus position - right leg first. This position becomes more and more comfortable for me. But at first I played a little bit around. I tried the left leg first. I bowed forward, put my head on the floor in front of me. I wanted to make my body flexible. Then I exercised pranayama. Not very long but I breathed consciously.

At first I practiced Ujjay pranayama.

Then I did alternate nostril breathing. There are many variations to be done. I exhaled through one nostril, inhaled through the same nostril and then I changed sides. I learned this method 20 years ago and I started loving it. It wakes me up and makes my nose clean.

I was very much astonished but I wanted to do Kapala Bati as well. It is a more exhausting breathing technique. I did 3 rounds, each with 10 breathes. I didn't want to overdo it.

Then I went back to Ujjay pranayama.

This all was done in a very short time. So it is. Nevertheless I enjoyed it.

In this context I want to recommend one of my best yoga books:
Happy Yoga by Steve Ross (a teacher in LA - no Ashtanga teacher, but it doesn't matter)
There are also poses in that book, but more interesting are the things he wrote around these poses. The undertitle of the book is: 7 reasons why there's nothing to worry about.

The picture is taken in Oregon, close to the ocean in a parc within a small town.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It is only 70 minutes, isn't it?


It took me 1 hour till I trudged to the mat, which was already rolled out. It cannot be so difficult to move 70 minutes according to a CD, Sharaths CD. But today it was again difficult. So difficult that I stopped after baddha konasana. I had already omitted garbha pindasana and kukkutasana. It was not too warm, it was not too cold, I have the best mat you can get on the market - everything perfect. But I felt so heavy today. One of my last actions before the closing sequence was to try to get my legs behind my head. They won't stay there. I have to hold them rather strongly. They still prefer another position. I did sarvangasana, my favourite position halasana and then I sat for a couple of breaths in lotus position, disbelieving that it was again so difficult. I practiced at least 45 minutes.

That's an issue, which will chase me for I don't know how long: To do, what I want to do. Sounds so easy. And I wanted to do the entire first series today. I don't think that it was a matter of weakness that I stopped. It was rather a matter of losing interest, betraying myself, getting lazy, and so on. There must be a solution for this issue. Till now I haven't found a solution, but I go on searching one.

Tomorrow is Saturday, but I plan to practice and to take a day off on Sunday instead. We will drive to my parents tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'm willing to practice in the living room, as my parents are convinced that I do too much yoga. I don't know how they came up with this crazy idea.

Where was the lion within me today?????

A yoga habit? - Lions in Munich - help!


Some months ago I read in one of my business self-help books that it would be a good thing to take care of someone everyday. I think the intention behind this recommendation was to prevent that the working life does absorb the whole life.

Perhaps I did care everyday for someone already. But to do something consciously adds a new quality to an action, it takes it to another level.

To care for someone can mean to dedicate the yoga practice to someone, to write a post card, to make a phone call, to write an email, to leave a comment on one of your blogs and and and.

Yesterday I consoled a woman. I was invited to her wedding. Pehaps you remember, I wrote about it. Now the pictures of the wedding are ready and the pictures are not nice enough (opinion of S.).
I passed forward the argument of my boyfriend: the longer you wait, the more beautiful the pictures are.
And this is so true. I'm sure that after a few years, when she will be already older, she will see how beautiful she looked, how much fun she has had and so on. And perhaps she can laugh about the fact that on the pictures the suit of her husband has a stain. Not because there was a stain, but because the photografer forgot to clean the camera. I have to add: the photografer was rented and wanted 1000,-- Euro (about 1800.-- USD for this day. As he is a relative through x-corners she does not want to complain). In a few years she will perhaps laugh that there is another photografer to be seen on the picture while she and her husband were posing in front of her wedding car. She will laugh about the fact that they only have wedding pictures in front of a red brick wall.
I emailed her the 40 pictures that I took on her wedding. I was the only one who took pictures when her husband carried her over an artificial threshold. Before mailing the pictures I had a closer look on them. And what did I see: there was a stain on her wedding dress. My camera wasn't clean either. IIIHHHHH. But: the older the pictures the more beautiful they get, with or without stains.

A word to the lions: I already posted some ot them. It is a sponsorship. Businesswomen (and of cource businessmen as well) sponsor artists. The businesswomen give the money, the artists create these lions, which reflect somehow the business of the donator. I think every businesswoman wants to have a lion in front of her shop. So they proliferate. On every corner you fall over one of these nice lions. Good idea.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ashtanga second series (till eka pada sirsasana)

I practiced. I started with enthusiasm, but I
took the first short break after the 5 surya namaskara A. I went on and considered to stop after 3 surya namaskaras B. A little voice in me convinced me to go on and to do five. I did it and was happy. I started sweating. Break. I went on with the standing sequence. I needed a break after almost every asana. I added challenging variations, but after every asana I paused. It was not because I was too weak, I think it is a mind thing. I switched on the radio and enjoyed it to practice, Joe Cocker singing in the background. It made it all easier to go on. Of course I couldn't listen to my breath anymore. In total it was a good practice. I did almost all the vinyasas. The music helped a lot. I omitted dhanurasana. I thought it would need too much power (an excuse for laziness). I was exhausted at the end. After such a good practice that I had yesterday it was almost impossible to have a better one today. I want to emphasize: important is that I practiced (I say this to myself). The result will get only better through practice. I have to exercise contentment. I want to be a super yogini. And so often I'm a distracted yogini.

I found something out today: In pindasana I hold my wrist, but it is not always easy to stay in this position and not to fall out of it . What helps is to turn the hand, the little fingers in the direction to the head. This little movement has a great influence on the stability of the body.

On the picture you see another section of the Munich city hall.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dhanurasana

Mysore class: It was so good for me today. I went into dhanurasana from standing position and up again. I did it twice. The best thing was that it felt good. The first time I got the feeling that I will be able to handle the position alone as well - earlier or later. My pre-exercises (mostly the backbendings of the second series) helped me. It was important that I could hold my arms straight and that I could bend backwards. I wanted to do dhanurasana today and I did it - with the help of B., but I did a great part of it by myself. I'm so proud.

Again I experience that it is important to think first: yes, I can do it. Then the body just does it. When the mind thinks: this position is too difficult, because I'm too old, my arms are too short, I'm too weak and so on, the body will have much more difficulties to do it, perhaps it is so blocked that the position isn't possible at all. Too many forces which draw in different direction are called a blockade. I was so happy after I did it and happy after class. Just happy, satisfied. My body (and my mind) showed less resistance. It got soft. I like it. No ifs and buts today - I had my successes and highlights and I enjoyed them. I strolled home with my head up, just proud, another step to enlightenment was done.

A few notes on the techniques, which is a little bit modified now due to Lino Mieles recommendations: While stretching the upper body back the hands walk down on the back of the legs. When the body is bended as far as possible, then the arms should go up as fast as possible. Gravity does the rest. Important is to hold the arms straightly. Otherwise one could fall on the head, what is to be avoided.

I plan to exercise it against a wall at home, but I'm not yet sure (motivation went up today). Perhaps I need a few more dhanurasanas in class with the help of B. I will listen to my body, how it feels and how courageous I will be when I practice the next time. I don't want to disturb the newly gained courage. I don't want to force anything. I'm full of joy now.

On my way home from B., I called my boyfriend and we met in a bar later. I had a glass of water, which I enjoyed very much. After so much sweating it was like water falling in the desert. It refreshed me. It tasted so good. I ordered another glass of water. Water, what for a perfect beverage for the body. It can taste so delicious.

Now I don't feel like going on with some postures in front of the TV. It was a round thing today. I will do some reading. And I will sleep well today. I gave my very best.

The pictures shows a greater part of the city hall in Munich taken a few days ago. Do you see the "Glockenspiel" from yesterday?

Just a few suryas A and B


I got up at 7 a.m. Not through this wonderful "Glockenspiel" at the city hall in Munich. My new little alarm clock did a good job, too. It is so good to have the day before me and not only half of it, because I got up so late. I've already written my morning pages. I did yoga as much as I liked for today. And there is still plenty of time.

Today is a moon day, I know. But as I will go to Mysore class this evening, I thought that a few suryas wouldn't do too much damage, as I will practice anyway.

I did a few surya namaskaras A, a few surya namaskaras B and then I sat in lotus position for a few minutes. I was not too flexible, but I remember a time where it really hurt to do the first movements in the morning. This was not the case this morning. I suspect that food has a huge influence on the body and how it feels. I'm back to a vegan diet and this is so good for my body. To do lotus pose so unexpected fast is more difficult as after an entire practice. But it was doable of course. I do not struggle with lotus position.

I need all my power for this evening, because next Wednesday Mysore class is cancelled. I want to give all my power to the practice this evening. I've too highlights today. I will meet B. for lunch time and in the evening the Mysore class.

I read in my book Yoga Bare the interview with Schiffmann. He is one of the yogis who is rather fat, but nevertheless so bendy. I like his book "Moving into stillness". In the interview he said that he likely gave up yoga if he weren't a teacher. Not to give up is a challenge. I see this, sometimes more sometimes less. For me it is supportive to have a group (my Mysore group and the Jivamukti studio) and a blog. Sometimes I need something to write on yoga and then I'm forced to practice first . It's a trick. But I already went on without great effort.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The breath, the red yarn

I had the feeling that my breath got another quality. It was during my entire practice the red yarn. It was deep and always there and so helpful. It helped me to concentrate.

I worked on the second series today. At first I switched on the CD by Sharath for the suryas and the standing sequence. Later I practiced in silence. I didn't long for music or TV distraction. My practice was enough today. Perhaps because the second series is still so exciting for me?

Leg behind the head: I progressed. Yes, I can say it: today it was the first time that I would say, the leg, one after the other, was behing my head. But it didn't remain there. I had to hold it with my hand. I didn't feel really good in that pose. I was jolted. But it was a leap ahead.

Headstand: I was very balanced and could hold it rather long. I practiced the closing sequence again with the CD by Sharath.

Visualisation: I imagined in prasarita padottanasana and in parsvottanasana that a waterfall was flowing through my body. It helped me so much to get deeper into the position. The waterflow brought my head on the floor and in parsvottanasana deeper and closer to the straight leg. I want to work more with visualisation. The image with the watefall was great.

Now I had a few rapes. Sun is shining again. I will go out for a walk. And then I will do some chores. It will remain plenty of time for me.

I feel so good. I was so consequent with my practice and now I think some little fruits are reap. The way in front of me is long, perhaps neverending (neverending cannot be, but long). I imagine a practice where I love every single asana. A practice where I relax in every single asana, no thought like , glad that this pose is behind me now and so on.

Picture is taken in Oregon, USA. It gave me the inspiration for my practice today.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday morning - Ashtanga first series


Morning is not really correct. The morning practice started after lunch time.

It was far away to be one of my best practices, but I experienced highlights. The first time I straightened my arms in dhanurasana. And I lifted one hand a little bit and then the other hand a little bit. I was not too fearful that I would fall over. This success made me doing another dhanurasana, again with straight arms. Now I approach slowly the wanting to get up and down from this position.

Another highlight was that I went up into headstand with straight legs. Here the bandhas and trust are essential. At first I was shocked that I could lift both legs at the same time. I was close to fall over, but could regain a calm status of mind very quickly.

In Janu Sirsasana A I had the leg in a 90 degree angle. It is a total different position when the leg is so open.

Another higlight was that my finger touched slightly in supta kurmasana. It would be so much easier if I could take my legs behind my head. If I could only.....

The problem was the concentration. In the middle of my practice I wanted to stop. Did I feel bored? Not really. But to go on was difficult as well. So I switched on the TV. And as crazy as it might sound, this helped me again to concentrate on what I was doing, my practice.

To do upavishta konasana I sat with my back agains my sofa. Then I bended forward with my hands behind on the edge of the sofa. So I could push me forward with straight back. This is really helpful.

Left leg is so much better. But I have still to take care of it. It is not yet over.

Perhaps another practice in the evening? My motivation to practice soars as soon as the practice is over.

I'm back to my standard weight. And I'm sure this makes it easier to get in some positions. Now I'm hungry but I don't know what to eat. It is rainy outside and cold. But my refridgerator is empty, too. OK, this is not a problem I cannot solve within the next hour.

Picture was taken yesterday in the Schranne, a building with many restaurants inside.

To finish things and Yoga Mala by P. Jois

Breakfast is finished when I've eaten, the dishes are washed and dried and back in the cupboard. When my teeth are brushed and when I've renewed my lipstick. And not when I'm full.

The laundry is done when it is washed, dried, ironed, repaired and back in the wardrobe.

Yoga practice is finished when after practicing the mat is again on the right rest place, I've changed my wet clothes and when I've renewed my lipstick.

Consciouly setting an end to something intensifies the actions before. The end can be a time or an action. In case there is a limited time available, this available time has to be used at its best. When it is clear how the end looks like, only then can occur the feeling and knowing "now it is done". What for a relief and what for a joy. The consequences of all this: motivation goes up. The end is in sight, things seem to be doable. Half an hour cleaning is doable, one hour yoga is doable. To limit in order to intensify and motivate.

In my case it is not yoga when I'm at home in my yoga clothes all the time, planning to exercise. I've not done yoga only by wearing yoga clothes and sitting in lotus posture in front of my PC. To put my yoga clothes on, and to change them after yoga can really be a ritual for the beginning and the end of my almost daily session. Yesterday this was perfect. After having changed my clothes at the end I was so open for other activities. Yoga time has had consciously an end. And then I was open for all the other pleasures that life offers.

I read in the book Yoga Mala by P. Jois yesterday. It is a treasure chest. For instance I always wanted to know how to hold the head in Janu Sirsasana. According to the book there are options: either the chin or the forehead can be on the leg.
I saw another focus regarding counting. Nowhere I've read in that book that one should count till 5 while being in an asana. Jois says: hold as long as you can. On the other side and I think this is a little bit neglected in other books, each asana has a certain number of vinyasas. To count these vinyasa movements can be really helpful to perform the form correctly, especially the inhaling an exhaling.

I hate my rudimental English today. If I only could express myself ........ (this is not fishing for compliments). I hope it was understandable what I wanted to express today. I'm really not sure.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday morning - Ashtanga second series

The relaxing day yesterday must have been good for my body and my mind.

I had a very good practice, a really very good one today.

I started with burning incences. Somehow I thought this would lift the atmosphere. Usually I think the air gets too thick. Then I sat down on my mat and breathed, ujjayi breathing. It was my time now. My yoga time.

I already had written my morning pages. The first laundry was done. The dishes were done. But now was yoga time, Ashtanga time. It was still early in the morning 8:00 a.m.

The breath was strong. I concentrated on my breath all the time. It was the breath that gave the impulse to start going into the next position. I read somehow that this helps to make the flow more soft and flowing. I moved slowly, explored every single asanas. I added variations if I felt to do so. It was my practice.

I felt not at all stiff. I'm learning second series, I'm far away to do all the asanas. But today I had the feeling of the flow. I think I practiced about 2 hours. I took a break whenever I needed one. After my practice I did some pranayama. It was so satisfying today. I'm again very optimistic that I make progress, progress in doing the asanas, but also mentally. I was so concentrated today, that I almost cannot believe it that I was it who practiced today. What for a joy.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Ashtangis have a day off today - cleaning day

I still jet lag, but this has its good sides as well. I woke up at 5 a.m. and I decided not to do yoga, but to clean. Ashtangis have a day off today. Spirituality can only grow in a clean environment. Due to laziness, jet lag, fever whatsoever, everything was as it was when we came home. But I changed this dirty reality in the early morning hours. I started brooming the balcony. Then I went on with the bathroom and the laundry. I did the dishes. The most important thing is to get started. I even sweated. Now I don't want to vacuum all the floors as my boyfriend is still in bed. I don't want to wake him up. But this will be one of my next steps.

Years ago I had the habit to do housework only during the weekends. During the week I wanted to be my own guest. Crazy idea. That meant for me not to do any chores. But it turned out that, as I did nothing during the week, my home was never really clean. And during the weekends I had a marathon cleaning and no weekend. I changed this habit. Now I have daily routines. My home is so much more cleaner, but I have the feeling that I do less. (I hope you haven't got the imagination that everything is super clean here; by far not, but it is OK for a busy woman like me and a man who cannot spell the word cleaning.) Today is an exception as there is so much to do. It will be a marathon cleaning. All the laundry from travelling must be done i.e.. But it is OK. It is like a new start when everything is done. I sell this activity to me as a yoga thing. It works.

Today I won't take a nap in the afternoon. Instead I will drink a cup of coffee. Then I will have a good sleep at night. I'm sure. Then almost a week is over and then my jet lag as well. And tomorrow second series waits to be done. I don't know anymore when it was the last time that I worked on this series. I'm curious what will happen, it is always a surprise.

Oh, I forgot to recommend a book: Spirituell Housecleaning by Kathryn L. Robyn. This book is a gift.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Business class

I went to the Jivamukti studio in order to go to the business class - it is one hour Jivamukti yoga. I expected Marie, one of my favourite teachers. Behind the reception desk sat a man. I remembered that he is one of the new teachers. My first reaction: oh, no. I stopped this thinking and reminded me to exercise an open mind. This young man also gives his very best. It is not at all friendly and nice to judge him before having had a class with him. Finally I had a very good yoga class. I learned new variations. I'm always amazed how many asanas exist. The teacher was present, he was in the moment and he led us through the class. It is a gift, it is energy someone gives me. I'm very happy that I shifted my stupid mind from judging to just looking what would happen and enjoy it.

Gossip:
I met a women in the changing room that I met the first time at a worshop with Devereux. We talked to each other.
She: Do you remember me?
Me: Yeah? ( I was a little bit hesitant, but she reminded me of the workshop with Devereux)
.
.
.
She: Did you know that Patrick (the founder of the studio) will go to Berlin?
Me: No, really?
She: Yes. He said during his last yoga session that he would share his knowledge the last time. Then he would go to Berlin. From September on he is gone.
Me: I wonder, if he is separated from his girl-friend G?
She: I don't know.

I'm really thankfull that Patrick founded this studio in Munich. Years ago I had sparetime during the day. I thought that I have to go new ways and I also took another street during that day. I saw the yoga studio and the very next day I had my first class there ( not my first yoga class). During the last 4 years I learned there Jivamukti yoga, Ashtanga and so much more. I had so much fun there, I recovered, I refueled. I think I will write an Email to Patrick and thank him that he has had the energy to built up this Jivamukti studio in Munich. Next time when I will be in Berlin, I'm sure that I will go to his new studio there. Everything is in the flow.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fever

It got worse and worse last night. I felt so sick and finally I had to vomit. It was the tomatoe sauce that I had eaten in the restaurant during lunch time. I remember that I had been at the bank and on my way home I had to go to the restrooms as fast as possible. Degistation is a mess because of the jet lag. My whole body gets confused. I went to a restaurant to the restrooms and I thought that I cannot only go the restrooms without eating anything. As it was lunch time, I ordered pasta. That was the mistake, I guess. It had been very hot here in Germany and perhaps I ate something spoiled.

The night was awful: I vomitted, fever started, I felt so exhausted, my skin hurt. And so was my day. I was too weak to get up. I sweated and was exhausted. I was so happy that I managed to take a shower, but more was not possisble and it took my whole energy. In the afternoon I took an aspirin. Now the fewer is gone and I hope I will have a better night.

Of course no yoga today.

The recruitment company called me. This time it was the Frenchman, who wanted to test my French. My French would be OK in 3 month, but at the moment it is not good enough. I prefer that they checked it. It is even worse to disappoint later. But the recruitment company seems to be a good company. I'm sure I will soon hear something from them again.

Tired and exhausted again. I will go on sleeping.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jet lag blues and Mysore class

This morning I felt so great. That's why I planned to go the Mysore class. B. still had a place for me and I was more than happy. At 2 p.m. I felt tired. It is not that I felt only tired, I felt also sick, exhausted. I laid down on the bed and slept. It was as if I were dead. I've no idea what happened during these sleeping hours. I woke up at 5:30, even though I had planned just to take a nap of one hour or so. I didn't know where I was and how late it was. My alarm clock broke down during my trip. I looked at it and it showed 2 p.m. I thought - oh fine, it is that early. Slowly I realized that it could never be 2 p.m.. I looked at my watch and it was 5:30. I needed some time to accept this. I got up, brushed my teeth, put water into my face, ate a chocolate sojayofu dessert. I regretted that I had this Ashtanga appointment. I felt stiff. My hand joints were stiff, my finger were thick. I asked me if I could pull over my ring. How much I regretted that I was so averactive this morning. Now I had to go to the class otherwise I had to pay 20 Euro. That was too much, I thought.

On my way to the class I said to me: You are not forced to do one single surya namaskara A. You only have to lift the arms over your head. Then you only have to go down. Then you only must lift your head and so on. And your breathe will help you. I forced me to the underground. In front of our teacher's house I met S. and V. We chatted a little bit. Then we went upstairs to practice. I feared it. I started slowly going with the breathe. It was difficult. B., our teacher, yes I think she knows that I like her strong adjustments, noticed that this was not my best day. She gave me adjustment, but very soft ones, exactly what I could bear. This speaks really for her - this makes her a worldclass teacher. I struggeled myself through the asanas. My breathe helped me. I feel better now than before the practice. This was predictable, but with so much effort. I'm done. I walked home very slowly. I don't know how I managed it. My brain is somehow empty. Tomorrow I plan a very soft and tender practice on my mat at home. It was a valley of tears today. Can't change it.

Yipeeeeeee


I got the last place in the Mysore class this evening. So happy.


Sorry, dove, but you have to look for a safer place for your eggs the next time.

For Julie, facing inward


Hi Julie, as it is impossible to post a comment on your blog I go this way now.

I hope you get well soon. I wish you all the best. I thought a lot of you in the last time. You are such a strong woman.

To make yoga pictures or pictures in general is a very good idea and a lot of fun. The pictures I've posted are taken by a Canon IXUS 750, in the US the same camera is called Canon power shot SD 550. My advise: spend as much money as you can. This is our second digital camera. With the first camera it was impossible to take pictures of people as there was a time delay. The above mentioned camera makes pictures which are not always sharp. In total it is satisfying.

Here is a webside I'd like to recommend: www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon


Best wishes. Ursula

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Working hours


Time to relax is over now (picture is taken in Sonoma Valley). To relax all the time is boring, too.

This reminds me of a story: a famous German speculator, who made a lot of money at the international stock exchanges was asked by a 17 year old young man: Mr Kostolany, you are already so old, over 80 years old (now K. is dead) and you have enough money, why do you do these exhausting lectures and trips and all this exhausting work. You can be on a beautiful island all the time. The answer from Mr Kostolany: I already was on that island.

I will create working hours, at least 5 hours a day. During these 5 hours I will do productive activities. Then there is time enough for yoga and fun. This is true from tomorrow on. Today I still suffered from jet lag. I slept so deeply during the afternoon. And this evening I will go out with E..

One thing I really appreciated in the US: car drivers are so attentive and polite. Today I was almost knocked over by a car driver even though I crossed the street when the lights were green. Later a bicycle driver almost knocked me over. In the US car drivers stop so far away from the ped crossings to let people cross so that it is really comfortable. German men and women like to drive aggressivly, fast, ruthless. So I experienced that I arrived in good old Germany, with all the nice things and not so nice things. I'm at home again.

Marie: entertain yourself and Allen Carr


I decided to go to a Jivamukti class this morning. Marie was the teacher and it was a perfect class, exactly what I needed.

We got two massage on the neck: one in the beginning of the class and one in the end when we were in the relaxing pose. The smell of the oil was in my nose during my practice and it stimulated all my senses.

The class started with some leg stretching with a strap. Breathing exercises followed, mainly Chapalapati. I learned a new variation. Firstly we breathed through both nostrils. Then we closed the right one and did the exercise 8 times on the left side, then 8 times on the right side, then 7 times on the right side, then 7 times on the left side and so on. Finally we changed sides of the nostrils with each breathe. It woke me up, I got high from this exercise.

Then we started with the asanas. We did variations, which I didn't know yet. In dhanurasana i.e. we took one hand to the hip. At first the right hand, then the left hand. That's perhaps a good pre-exercise for getting up from this position.

When we came to headstand Marie said: Do the asana, that you want to do now firstly. Entertain yourself. It is your entertainment. I loved this idea. I made some headstand varitions - legs 90 degree, legs open to the side, legs bended, soles together. This was my entertainment for myself.

I liked the breathing exercises in the beginning. They had prepared me for the asanas.

The scales proofed it this morning - I've gained weight. Too many caesar salads and breakfast potatoes. That's why I expected a very difficult class. But I felt good and now I feel even better. My breakfast after class consisted of a banana, a few nuts, raisins and sojayofu. I plan a salad for lunch time.

Allen Carr - author of the book "Finally non-smoker" passed away. I owe him so much. I stopped smoking 11 years ago due to his convincing ideas. I tried to stop smoking for years with no success. His book helped me. His idea was ingenious: Not smoking is fun, non-smoking is fun. After a month I only needed one chapter of his book: Don't smoke again the first cigarette. The first one doesn't taste well and it is likely that you go on again. It was an addiction. I had really difficulties to stop. Now I'm clean for more than a decade due to Allen Carr. Thank you.

Jet lag


I suffer from jet lag. It makes no sense to stay in bed now. My eyes are open all the time. It is midnight now, I will update my blog.

America: It meant to have a lot of time with my boyfriend. We share dish and bed, but this does not automatically mean that we have a lot of time together. Daily life, jobs, my own activities need a lot of time. America meant also cheese cakes, Chardonnay, Margarithas, Asian food, not to forget the veggie delight sandwiches with the breakfast potatoes with Heinz ketchup. I will miss it. It meant fantastic landscapes. One can look as far as the eyes allow it: empty beaches, plants, hills, really amazing country. Not to forget Barnes & Nobles. We used to spend a lot of time there. The atmosphere is super, always you find a cafe there, you can read as long as you like. The shops are built generously. Every subject is covered with many many books. I like it. I come always back full of ideas. I like the fancy clothes that I bought and they are affordable due to the good exchange rate at the moment. The fast service in the restaurant is so good. I liked the yogo studios I visited. I liked the optimistic atmosphere: have a great day.

Back home: at first it means laundry, dust everywhere, unopened letters, dove eggs on the balcony. But it also means to have a good cup of coffee in the morning (not caffee aroma), a coffee that makes your heart beat when you take several refills. That's what I'm longing for. But I can wait till tomorrow morning.

On the picture you see the Lombard street in SF. I had no time to go to Green Path Yoga Studio, but we passed by and I even took a picture of the door of the studio and the sign outside.