Thursday, October 30, 2008

Last minute tax declaration

Going through the year 2007 showed me again how less time I've had, how overwhelming this year was. I have no real expenses for that year, I only worked, worked, worked. There was no time to spend money. My tax declaration is posted now. I just came back from the post office. Thanks God or whoever helped me to finish this task. Another burden is gone. It is so difficult to fill in all these forms. I wonder how people handle this who have no clue about taxes. As an accountant I'm considered as an expert, nevertheless it is demanding. Every year the forms are changed a little bit. It's done now, and it's late already.

Now I am no more able to do anything productive.
Tomorrow at the same time we (E. and me) will probably sit in a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey. The weather report says that it will be warm and sunny there. Again I will try to forget all that has nothing to do with the moment (all the self-made problems relating to the past or the future).
For now I am lazy, I do not even want to pack my suitcase. There will be time tomorrow morning. The flight is at 11 o'clock. Last minute activities dominate my life. :)

The daily "tantalization"

Late I was on my mat, I guess it was already lunch time. The wish to do the entire second series does not exist for the time being. I want to go deeper into back bending. It's better to do asanas twice or to hold them longer than to hurry from asana to asana, I think. The reason why I think so might be that I see slow progress in urdhva dhanurasana. This motivates me to work on that pose.

I practiced till ushtrasana: First I try to lengthen the body with the inhaling. I stem the hands against the hips and press them forward. With the exhaling I go back. Then I try to stay there. This is demanding. I try to make the inhaling as deep and long as possible in order to open the chest and in order to bend deeper. With an inhaling I come up.
Despite this preparation I felt a mental block to do urdhva dhanurasana. So I started doing the bridge. And then I pressed my hands into the floor, arched my back and I was in the pose. Breathing, breathing, breathing. Down. Buh. Again. Up, up. Buh. Breathing, breathing. Walking the hands to the feet, at least a little bit. Buh, hard. I did it. Down.
I arched back from standing position, too. Today I didn't stretch my arms backwards, they remained at the back of my legs. I try to go forward with my hips as much as possible. To remain in the pose is important so that the body can relax and finally that the arch becomes deeper. This is so hard. Three times I bowed backwards, always trying to lengthen the body first. Done. I won't judge how it was. It is always good when I try something.

I did the closing sequence with the CD by Sharath. In Mysore I couldn't hold sirsasana as long as counted. Today I could hold sirsasana for 15 breath, but then I had to go down. I was too weak to hold the legs in the 90 degrees position. Next time.

To relax was so difficult today. So many thoughts came up. Time to meditate. Time to become aware of the present moment again. Now, always now. Very important.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The tongue

OMG, the tongue. The tongue is supposed to be at the upper front teeth. I had rolled my tongue and pressed it against the lower front teeth. Of course this influences the breathing. There is much more room in the throat when the tongue is slightly touching the upper front teeth. OMG.

Mysore class this evening: 8 aspirants showed up today. I love the energy of my fellow Ashtangis. This gives me motivation and strength. Urdhva dhanurasana improves, at least I have the feeling that this is the case. I had a great practice. The breath, the right counting, that's what will be my focus tomorrow and of course the back bending.

I relax now. Enough for today.

The water meter

It rang at the door. I asked who was there. Unannouced 2 man stood in front of the door and they wanted to substitute the broken water meter. I was glad. It had taken 2 years till I was able to initiate this. I felt so overwhelmed during the last 2 years that I felt too weak to do these tasks in addition to my work and general chores. My yoga practice was like a blade of grass on which I desperately held. But it needed a lot of time. It was all too much. I was not able to do everything and some thing left undone - for years. Now the water meter is substituted, what a relief.

I am so glad that I am still in a vacuum so that I can accomplish a few things apart from making money. Next very important step is my tax declaration. Very important.

Better

I am glad that I had not put the pressure on me to do the entire practice. This evening I will go to the Mysore class and a modest practice in the morning should be enough.

It was late when I got up. Firstly I did some chores like doing the dishes, putting the books on the right place. My rooms were chaotic this morning.
It was already lunch time when I was standing in front of my mat, chanting the opening prayer. I was happy with 5 surya namaskara As and 2 surya namaskara Bs. I did all the standing poses and added even a twist. I bound my arms behind my back in parivritta parsva konasana. This intensifies the twist and was supposed to be a preparation for pashasana this evening.

My body felt so much lighter than the last days. I blame my vegan diet. Animal protein is not good for me. To feel at ease in my body helped me a lot to be focused. I remained on my mat and did one asana after the other. I did only a few asanas and omitted most of the vinyasas. Free style today, no pressure, only fun. Nevertheless it was so challenging that I sweated.

Marichyasana C and D: I can reach the wrist when I weight 47 kg. Now I have 48 kg, that means I can only hook the fingers.
Urdhva dhanurasana: I started with the bridge before I did the bow. It is difficult to do this pose. I want to focus on the progress that I have already done. Not always I was able to lift me up three times. And I arched back from standing position three times and I didn't hold the breath. Oh mei is that pose difficult.

I did the entire closing sequence, includig 5 min savasana. Redundant to say that I feel good now.

"Are you rich?"

"Are you rich?" asked the old rich man from New York Janwillem, the man who was in the US in a Zen community. They both knew what they meant with "rich": the possibility to become free during this life.
(They both considered themselves as rich.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zerwirk - lunch at a vegan restaurant downtown Munich

I am enthusiastic. Best food was offered, exciting food. One could have either a soup or a dessert when ordering the daily offer. I took the dessert, which was a mousse au chocolate. If I didn't know that I was in a vegan restaurant, I wouldn't have tasted that it was without animal products like milk or butter. It was most delicious. So was the main course. It was celery buffer with potatoe-cucumber salad with a remoulade. I loved it.

And: It is something for everybody. A vegan life style has nothing to do with being in a sect or being over the top, or being crazy. OK, a bit crazy one must be, a bit extravagant. But this I consider as something positive.

Distraction

Being distracted is certainly a topic in my life. I managed it to check my emails, I put the wet clothes on the festoon drier, I adjusted a hundred times my mat, I walked around and all that happened during my holy yoga practice. If I were still at school, they certainly would give me pills to calm me down.

I practiced. Yeppeeeee. Really, I am glad. I don't mind that I was distracted, I returned to my mat and I gave my very best.

Pashasana: I couldn't reach my fingers, even though I tried this pose twice. Usually during the second time I can go deeper into the pose, but not today.
Usthrashana was my last pose of the second series. I did one variation, that I saw in the book by Sweeney. I stretched one arm close to the ear backwards. This shall lengthen the body and is supposed to be a preparation for urdhva dhanurasana. I think this is true. It feels good.
Urdhva dhanurasana: I could lift me up three times and I could even do it with straight arms. To bend backwards from standing position was weak today. Breathing is important I thought, this was my focus.

When inhaling I stretched and lengthened my body, when exhaling I folded deeper into the pose.

My practice was better than the last days, nevertheless hard.
Now I feel good.
I have still time to meditate before meeting C. for lunch.

Monday, October 27, 2008

And now it is 5 p.m.

I have just finished my morning practice. OK, I must admit I was distracted from time to time and checked my emails too often. I managed it to make 2 appointments with friends. I read that I won't get the job round the corner, I informed my bf about it, but I always got back to my mat and practiced. I swear, not one single asana was omitted nor the vinyasas. It was all incredible hard. I desperated. This is not a joke or an exxageration. It was hard.
I think my life-style became not really Ashanga yoga friendly: 2 pounds more, too much booze, too many moon days. I must get back to a strict vegan diet. I know this, this is good for my body and for the animals. Tomorrow I will have lunch with C. in a vegan restaurant here in Munich. It is the Zerwirk. It is a good opportunity to refresh all the good resolutions and to have fun.
No, I don't give up. No, never.
Picture: This is Bavaria with mountains and cows on the field (not in the street).
........and now I deserve an apple. :)

12 o'clock

We both got up too late. I don't add "as usual". I prepared a cup of coffee for him, while he was packing his suitcase. He, my bf is travelling to England this evening. Next time I will see him Thursday night and Friday we will fly to Istanbul, Turkey. So to prepare a cup of coffee was really not much I could do on our last morning for a while.

Decluttering this morning was important. To let go is always important.

I did pranayama (spinal breathing) and I meditated. I mentioned it so often, but again it was clear to me: 10 min are enough for me. Today my head was tickling me. I didn't scratch. Feeling, feeling, I thought. It was not easy. Many thoughts came up. I let them go. I like meditation, because I know nothing can be accomplished. Each session is different. The task is to observe and to let go, to focus on the breath and to get back to my little mantra "I am". Sometimes it is easier, sometimes it seems to be impossible. That's it.

12 o'clock now. I have still a lot of time for my yoga practice and my tax declaration. That's all I really want to do. I have time till midnight. It should be doable.

Picture: It is the Wendelstein, where we spent a few nice hours last weekend.

Action - no collections

This morning I went through my bedspreads. It is stored under the bed and became a collection. Some of the stuff is more than 15 years old, at least. Aren't 4 pairs of bedspreads enough? It is. Nevertheless it was a difficult task this morning. Let go, I thought, let go. It is easy to find better substitutes in case I would miss anything. The most beautiful bedspreads now are left. Quickly I brought the ugly and old ones including a rag rug (what a word :) ) down and threw it into the garbage can in the backyard. It is a relief. It is good, that I have done it.

The white cotton bedspread, thought as a dower is still under the bed. 30 years I'v kept it now. I use it, even not married, but one day........I will let go of this old bedspread, my dower, too.

To throw things away is symbolic, nothing can be held, nothing is for eternity. Everything must go sooner or later. What an exercise.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

To meditate is like going to a retreat

To meditate was important for me this morning. It was already late when I got up. Much too late for all the activities that I had planned. But I wanted to do 5 min pranayama and 10 min meditation. Within 10 min I encounter my challenges like restlessness, the urge to move, but 10 min are not too long and I can withstand to look at my watch and I can withstand to scratch.
To think "restlessness, restlessness, restlessness" helps not to look at the watch. To think "feeling, feeling, feeling" when I feel that water in the ear is tickling me helps not to scratch. To think "feeling, feeling, feeling" when my leg starts hurting, because I sit in lotus pose with left leg first helps me not to move, but to remain motionless. And sooner or later something else comes up that distracts me from observing my breath only. But I can get back to my breathing and my little mantra "I am".
10 min are not so long, I have challenges, but I can stand it so the feeling of failing does not come up.
Many thoughts came up today (thinking, thinking, thinking). I draw my attention back to the breath, that is changing during 10 min. Sometimes it is deeper, sometimes not. I only observe it, I do not manipulate it.
It was good to sit this morning.
I'd prefer to do yoga now, but on the other hand E.'s mother is not here so often. Sometimes social obligation are more important. And it is also fun for me to be with them, with E. and his mother and to go to the close mountains here.
I could have got up earlier. Why did I not get up earlier? Who knows.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Working on the symptoms?

"I have no time to bring the home in order," said the fellow Zen student to the author Janwillem von de Wetering in the book "A glimplse of nothingness". Janwillem doubted this. He already was in another hut to fetch water and there it looked totally different. It was clean there, no mess.
To have no time or to have no money are excuses. A messy home is a symptom for something else in the brain. Even a poor hut can have something lovely. I think Janwillem is right.

Do we work on the symptoms when we clean and throw out old stuff? Might be. Might be not.

Today I gave away a pair of summer shoes, 5 scarfs, old maps, a bottle of liqueur. I found winter shoes. I feel good. Emptiness is something wonderful. I am still far away from a really decluttered home I must still created space, but I am on my way. Further steps are done, and I will go on.

Up at ten

This will change again that I sleep so long. For the time being I enjoy it.
Today is decluttering day. I will create vacuums. I will exercise to let go. It is a freeing act and it can become meditative.

Yoga time is somehow later. I want to be a bit more flexible than lately and this is more likely in the evening. Perhaps this is an excuse, I don't know. Action now. The house needs cleaning.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Business clothes are back on the hanger

I am enthusiastic. I'd like to work for that company. That's my first impression after the interview at noon.
First I'd like to start with a quote that I found in the book "A glimpse of nothingness" by Jan willem Van de Wetering. I'm reading the book in German so the quote is freely translated by me. Page 17 - German edition: Again I was a jumping jack, a marionette that is moved via threads that are fixed at a metal hook. The marionette is programmed in an unknowable way. The marionette was dropped again to continue her little danse. But it became a danse and it is no more a depressing, painful stamping. I had started to find fun at that game that some forces played with me.

Me, too, I enjoyed the danse today after a lazy day at home yesterday.
Yes, the day yesterday was awful. I ate potatoe chips, Italian cakes, I drank red wine and coffee. The TV programme wasn't so exciting either, only depressing. But I couldn't stop watching. Unhappy I went to bed to find out this morning that I deserve the famous "ladies holidays".

As I have done nothing yesterday, I had to do all the necessary steps to garantee a sucessful interview this morning. This morning I wanted to prepare myself for the interview. I must give something to the people, who will talk to me, I thought. Luckily my new business cards arrived. But I also had to complete my folder with my cv. I was busy this morning to print out some missing papers. I dressed nicely, put some eau de toilette behind the ears and wanted to leave the house on time. Then I couldn't find the keys, not even after some hectic searching. I had a suspect - my bf. I called him and so it was. He had taken my keys and his were still in his bag. So before the interview we met each others in front of the company. My thoughts: see quote above. It is all out of my control. I even had to laugh about this little mishap.

I'd like to work for that company, even though I'd be the oldest person there then. I like youngsters. I know how to impress youngsters, I couldn't resist to mention in a subordinate clause that I was in India lately. Young people are adventures, they usually want to see the world. I got the expected reaction - an interested "ohhhh, you were in India". After 40 many people are full of fear, often fat they fear to become ill when they move. The sofa seems to be a safe place. Not everybody is like this, I know, I know.

I want to meditate now. Then I will meet E.'s mother. E. will join us later for dinner.
Again I see that the best time to do yoga is the early morning. During a day so many other things happen that might force to change the planned schedule.

My excuses why I missed my yoga practice today:
- I had to prepare the interview.
- I got up too late.
- Ladies holidays.
It shouldn't be today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

OMG, I just learned...

....how difficult it is to live in this world. So many people are poor. 10% of the German population is poor and everybody can become poor every day. There are series killers walking around. To get a job is almost impossible. Shares go down. And dogs are not allowed in Canadian hotels. OMG. Personal crises, economic crisis, crisis whereever one looks.

I shouldn't watch so much TV. This depresses me.

Can I resist to watch the little movie about the private detective with his two assistants?

Horror

After the standing sequence, I gave up. I left my mat. It was soooooo hard today.
I wonder if my fellow Ashtangis have such difficult days, too.
I consider to bake an onion cake, perhaps I will be more successfull with this activity.

"Let's have breakfast in a bakery."

My bf wanted to have breakfast in a cafe or a bakery. We can still do it as I am at home. This can change very quickly. So we took advantage of the situation and went out. Round the corner is a bakery and there we had our morning coffee and cakes, something sweet.

At home again my routines started: I also did pranayama and meditation. For me it is helpful to name what happens when meditating. I.e. when I want to stop meditating, I think: restlessness. Then I observe restlessness and to my surprise it disappears most of the time. It comes back, but the same method helps again and restlessness disappears again.
I think it could be a good idea to use this little trick when I want to leave my mat when practicing yoga. I intend to close my eyes when I want to leave my mat and observe and name what happens: restlessness. I am curious if this will make my practice more focused.

It's rainy here and cold. I feel energized. This is very good.
Oh I am shocked. I just saw that it is already after 12. Where does all the time go all the time???

Fight when you have to, climb when you can

I found the right words again. I cannot read it often enough. So I quote it here.
It is from the book "Spiritual Warfare" by Jed McKenna, page 259 ff:
"Imagine you're climbing out of a dark sewer and some beast has its teeth sunk into your leg, making a lot of noise and tearing at you and weighing you down; a demon. Are you going to jump back down into the sewer and fight it? A lot of people think that's the answer, but why do that? It's tough to slay demons because they're symptoms, not causes, and even if you kill one, there are always more. What's next, a fight to the death with your obsesssive neatness? Pistols at dawn with your love of chocolate? The only real result of these little battles is that you haven't gone anywhere; you're still in the sewer. All you've really killed is time, and time is all you relly have. You haven't killed a demon, you've lost a piece of your life, and that means they've won; the part of you that's afraid to move forward has won. You have to ask yourself, what's your objective? To achieve mental equilibrium in a sewer or to climb out of it? To slay every little demon or to rise up out of the realms they inhabit? Don't laugh like it's obvious, everyone seeks solutions within the sewer rather than escape from it. Battling demons is the ultimate form of shadow boxing. You're just punching at an empty projection of yourself. For our purposes, if demons aren't demonizing you, then they don't exist; it's as simple as that."
"Sounds like a cop out," says Justin,"like a way of not dealing with your issues."
"Who agrees with Justin?" I ask the group, and many people nod or raise their hands.
"So do I," I agree, "it does sound like a cop out, but dealing with our issues is a real cop out. It's our way of avoiding the real war by engaging ourselves at the level of minor skirmishes. Who wouldn't prefer to struggle against their addiction to caffeine instead of their addiction to mindless conformity?"
They laugh.
"As we develop a subtler and more refined understanding of what a demon is, identifying them by what they do, not how they look, we begin to see that demons aren't limited to addictions and critical voices. It's not just negative attachments that hold us captive within ego's sphere, it's all attachments. The approach to life and spirituality where we decrease bad things like sins and addictions, and increase good things like love and compassion, never has and never will move anyone a single step in the direction of awakening."
........
"Demons keep us unfocused and distracted," I continue, " which is something the Spiritual Autolyses is very effective at cutting through. The need to deal with tormenting demons comes up again and again as we progress, so you have to know what to do as a matter of policy; keep climbing or jump down and fight? My advice: Fight when you have to, climb when you can. Futher is everything. Use the writing to keep yourself in thight focus and the demons will die from lack of attention."

Enough qouting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Go, go, don't think, go, go..

......and I went and as usual I didn't regret it. Full house today at the Mysore class, that means we were 7 Ashtanga students. Strength left me after the first half of the primary series. I think my practice was less elegant as usual then. Oh this sounds a bit arrogant as I do not know if my practice usually looks elegantly. However. I feel good now. I have energy again. After the interview this afternoon I was tired. So tired that I laid down in relaxation pose when I was at home again. I slept at once for half an hour. I had set the alarm clock in order not to miss my yoga class. ..........and then I went. It is amazing that the practice can give back the energy.

Jump through: This improved. I learned from our fellow blogger (blog:"Jump through") that it makes sense to lift up the heels as much as possible before jumping. This little change has great effect. It becomes easier to balance on the hands and this makes it easier to bring the legs through the arms without touching the floor with the feet (too hard).
Urdhva dhanurasana: I have the feeling that I can arch my back a bit more. The pose becomes easier. The hands must still walk more to the feet. Slowly, slowly. Most important for me is that I don't get injured. I try now not to hold the breath when I am in that pose, what is not that easy. I shift the weight from the feet to the hands and back. I try to keep the arms straight. This are enough challenges for me. When standing and arching back, I walk my hands slowly down my legs. I relax and then I try to go a bit deeper. With an inhaling I come up, hopefully evenly. The leg muscles must be used, but also moola bandha. The chest must open, the shoulders go down and backwards. The head goes backwards, too. There are so many things to take into consideration. But one day this will all happen automatically and then......bang, the pose can be done without falling on the head.

What else: pashasana: Will I ever be able to do it alone? I shall see. With time the answer will come.

That was my day. A busy day. At least it seemed so to me.

Where did all the time go????

I know it , I know it.
I got up with my bf. It was 8 a.m. I pampered him with a black cup of coffee.
When he had left the house I saw that the kitchen was a mess, I actually have taken the last clean cup. Doing the dishes was the first thing I did.
Then I wrote my journal when the door bell rang. Bf was back. He wanted to have breakfast outside with me. Good idea, I thought and we went.
Back home again it was already much later. I finished my journal writing, then I did pranayama and meditation.
But that was not all. The job agency called me twice. I have 2 further interviews. In the meantime it was already past 12.
I did some suryas, the standing poses and a very quick closing sequence. That was my morning yoga practice today.
Now I must prepare myself for the first interview with the job agency. They just want to get to know me. It is understandable.

10 min meditation seems to be the right time for me now. It is still challenging, but doable, I don't feel overwhelmed. I have often enough the possibility to observe my thoughts, name them and let them go.

I must hurry now. For interviews I must be beautiful, and this takes some time. Clothes must fit perfectly together, make-up, jewelry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Indian jewelry

Almost all my jewelry, that I bought in India breaks into pieces: a few days ago the red pearls of one of my pearl necklace ran over my glass desk, my bangle is no more complete, too. This morning I saw that my expensive star sapphire shows little cracks that become brown. The sapphire itself is ice blue, almost liquid with the star on top when light falls onto the stone. I don't mind. Nothing is for eternity. Nevertheless my jewelry survived my well-being. I was not able to protect myself.
The trip goes on. The trip out of the sewer, like Jed McKenna would describe the place we are when we are attached. And I thought that I saw already more light. But this is not the case. But setbacks are part of the way. And the heater doesn't work either. It is cold here till 8 p.m.. Hahaha.

Oh, I just found my silver feet rings and they are in best shape. This gives me hope. And how lovely they decorate my feet, so nice to look at them. :)

About Schmidt

What a movie. I just saw the movie "About Schmidt" with Jack Nicholson. So touching, so true.

Proud

I practiced.
After ushtrasana I stopped. I wanted to have enough strength for urdhva dhanurasana. I lifted me up 3 times. I arched back from standing position, also three times. I tried to breathe deep and evenly, what is a challenge. I become more and more familiar with the pose. I know which muscles I have to use, how to open the chest. Slowly I progress.

It was so good that I found the way to my mat. After a break of 2 days it is even more difficult to start practicing again. This Ashtanga yoga must be practiced daily. A break of 2 days when not injured is 1 day off too much.

I practiced. Yepeeeeeeeeeee.
I am so astonished how relaxed I am now.

Time to do yoga

At 6 my Ashtangi fellows start their practice at B.. And I practice with them only that I am at home. My mat is already rolled out, I'm dressed with my yoga clothes. It's not really a morning practice anymore, but who cares.

5 min pranayama, 10 min meditation

This is enough for me.
After a week of practice you can do 10 min pranayama and 20 min meditation, I read in the book by Yogani. For me this is too much.
My next step is to combine the 5 min pranayama with the 10 min meditation. I want to remain sitting in lotus pose. So far I stop between these "activities" for a min or so. I open my legs to relax them. On Mondays I take the right leg first to fold into padmasana, on Tuesday I take the left leg first and so on.

In Mysore they strictly paid attention, that students only take the right leg first when doing padmasana.
M. Sweeney recommends to alter legs after one year of practice.
The more I read the more different messages and even belief systems I find.

Be your own guru becomes more and more important the longer I practice. I prefer to exercise the right side exactly as the left side, so I change legs when I do padmasana.

I fell of the waggon. It is 1 o'clock and I have not yet done yoga. I was not able to protect myself from outside influences lately. There was no silent observer, but a furious activist.
Meditation is my reminder to get back from doing to being, being an observer.

Tradition versus creativity, self-made series

Even at the shala in Mysore nothing remains like 80 years ago. The changes are slow and slight, but they exist. I.e. nowadays only 2 paschimottanasanas are done (holding the toes and catching the wrist), in garbha pindasana students shall role only 5 times instead of 9 times. Urdhva dhanurasana is added, in the yoga mala this pose is not yet mentioned. Full vinyasas are not exercised, but only half vinyasas.

So far I've heard 2 reasons why it is good to stick to the tradition:
The series is perfectly designed.
There is the danger, that students never learn difficult asanas when they do free style, when they go too fast to the next asanas and omit those they are not able to do.

I see several reasons for adjusted series:
Sometimes we have not enough time to do the whole series.
Injuries force us sometimes to modify the sequence.
Ashtangis who practice 30 years or longer mention sometimes: boredem.

Yesterday the new book by Sweeney arrived. He has created several series. They look nice, but I don't think that I will learn them by heart and practice them. Beside the series many helpful hints are in the book, i.e. how to approach urdhva dhanurasna.

I am too lazy to learn new sequences so I prefer the flexible approach of Danny Paradise. The series is more or less the sceleton. Asanas can invite to do variations of it. Asanas can be added in order to deepen an asana of the series.

My variations, that I like:
Sometimes I do full vinyasas, sometimes half vinyasas or even vinyasas only after each pose.
I like to add asanas from time to time.
I like to do variations i.e. to bind, catch the wrists when doing parivritta parsva konasana, because I think that this deepens the wrist and this is a good preparation for pashasana.

It is good to finish here with: the guru is in you.

Modest

Better twice a day, than one long session. 5 min pranayama and 10 min meditation are enough for me for the time being. This is realistic. More is not realistic and creates pressure and dissatisfaction.

The feeling that meditation could go on is a much nicer feeling than thinking all the time when it is over.

I managed it to do 5 min pranayama and 10 meditation in the evening. It was nice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Now is the opportunity

I do not save clothes for later for special events. Now is the opportunity. I put on my new shoes and they are so comfortable. Always now, now.

Garlic

What an advantage that I do not have to work outside tomorrow. I can eat the aubergines with garlic now.

Answers to some key-words

Love: It can only be altruistic. Othewise we should talk about business.

Success: To be in the present.

Self-knowledge: Good that nobody knows.......

Luck: Says nothing to me. What is it?

Spirituality: Awareness, awareness, awareness, now.

Death: The best coach ever. Would you do Ashtanga yoga today, if this was your last day? Yes, of course, what else.

No perfection, no pressure

The right order might be: asanas, pranayama, meditation.
But no harm is done when I do pranayama and meditation first. In the morning after one of the Ashtanga series I don't want to do pranayama and meditation anymore. Relaxing pose is my last pose, I don't need more. When I want to meditate twice a day, I must meditate before my yoga practice in the morning.

It is already 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I don't care. No pressure, no judging today.
I did pranayama for 5 min and I meditated 10 min. I feel at ease with this time. Longer often is too long and provokes impatience in me. Then I start feeling the urge to look at my meditation clock. So I was modest today. And I had a nice sitting session. Slowly I refind my middle again. Slowly. It is my life and I live it as I like to do it. Point.

This morning I picked up the book by Sweeny at the post office. It really has a huge format. I walked home with it under my arm. I had time for a cup of coffee in a nice coffee. It was even possible to sit outside in the sun. I found winter shoes, which are not made of leather.
Play time: I need it. I will have a closer look at the book by Sweeney.

"We are sorry.....,

.......,but we want to inform you that you won't get the job, but someone else. It is not because of your qualifications, but because you go on vacation for 6 days."

I thanked for the quick info and wished an interesting time in Berlin. The company will relocate to Berlin in January. So the job was even limited till the end of December.

Only for a minute I was disappointed. Then I thought that I have to enjoy my holidays with E. even more. On the 31st of October we will travel to Turkey, Istanbul. We will stay a bit more than a week. The flight is already booked. Time with E. is precious.
New opportunities will come. Hopefully. I can still use the vacuum to let happen something new.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Indian restaurant this evening

Soon I will have to change the name of my blog to "my food blog". Just a joke, we go on with yoga here. My mixed vegetables in the Indian restaurant were spicy. Loved it. I had also ordered a naan bread. There was no cutlery on the table, so the waiter told us if we were in India we would have to eat with our hands. Me: "I know, I know. I just came back from India and I only ate with my right hand." (Hahaha). We finished with a delicious mango cream.

Plan for tomorrow morning:
Journal writing, pranayama, meditation, Ashtanga yoga - first series. Will it be easy? Best is to go to bed nooooooowwwwww.

....and the book fair in Frankfourt itself

My personal highlight: I opened a book and found a picture of my former Aikido teacher. The book showed on the left side a picture of a famous politician, writer, painter, comedian or what ever. On the right side this person should say something to the following words:
Love, life philosophy, success, self-knowledge, luck, spirituality, death.
Some people quoted famous writers like Hemmingway, others thought by themselves. One answer I found twice: Success meant "to fail, to fail again, to fail better" for 2 people. It is negative, even though I like these negative answers regarding success. Does success come from alone when we do not confuse anymore the contents of thoughts with reality? Geerd Walter, the Aikido teacher thinks so. Death was a taboo for many.

Of course I wanted to know what E. associated when hearing these words. I asked him when we were at the restaurant after the fair. It was funny. Spirituality does not say anything to him, but I think he is much more spiritual as he thinks he is. We enjoyed the current moment, what else is spirituality.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the visitors there, another person who wanted to write a book. We encouraged each other to do it.

Ok, this was supposed to be an inspiration, something I brought back from the book fair, a few thoughts, luckily no book.

"Do me a favour....

"Do me a favour and stop talking abut the birthday party."
I stopped talking about it. (Unfortunately I didn't stop thinking about it.)
My bf is not spiritual, but also he knows, what counts is the current moment, nothing else.

Nevertheless: The book fair in Frankfourt was great. We finished the book fair in a wonderful restaurant in Heidelberg enjoying each and every bite. E. knew the restaurant already from an earlier visit.
We started with a Martini rosso at the bar because we had to wait 10 min for a seat.
As a starter I had a field salad with walnut sauce. Under the salad I found 3 marinated cocktail tomatoes. They tasted of garlic and honey.
The best was the main course. I had ordered a risotto. Usually this is a rather heavy meal. But in that posh restaurant it was not heavy. Cauliflower was in the risotto, perfectly cooked, so that I still had something to bite. Around the risotto was a brown sauce (very delicious) and above the risotto was red beet pulp. On top was a thin slice of red beet, which decorated the meal. I ordered the recommended white wine.
The ambience was perfect, so was the service. We had a wonderful evening.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Free style

I rolled out the mat and started with some surya namaskara As and one surya namaskara B. The plan was to do the asanas series that I've learned from my pranayama teacher in India.
The system is so flexible. Vinyasas can be done when the feeling comes up that it would be good. I was not lazy. I did even a lot of full vinyasas, returned to samasthiti and started again with hands up.
I wobbled when I did standing poses. These are the balancing poses.
The sequence has a lot of forward bends. Doing forward bends it is also possible to open the chest, the shoulders must go down and backwards. The inhaling gets easier with the idea in mind that the chest is opening. My breath was very deep today. I could hear it even though I had background music.
I could reach the wrist in marichyasana c. This hasn't happen for a very long time. To hold the wrist in that demanding pose made me happy. But I also wanted that this would happen. I felt no mercy with me and twisted my body till I could reach the wrist.

Then pranayama 8 rounds and meditation.

Afterwards I stretched a bit. It was a very good session, not classic Ashtanga but good. This was a little miracle as I ate a lot yesterday and I had even retsina and 2 ouzos. But sometimes the body is willing.

And now I will eat, dress. Later I will call my bf to remind him to leave the company to pick me up, so that we will be on time close to Frankfourt. This evening we will have dinner in a nice restaurant we know already from 2 years ago. On Saturday we will stroll over the book fair in Frankfourt. Books, my passion. I will look for some interesting discussions.
My yoga mat will travel with me and my meditation blanket of course, too.

At least this was already possible

I did pranayama and then I did meditation. 10 min.
Oh, I forgot to write my journal, my three morning pages. (I don't count the midnight entry of last night, because I thought I understood something.) To write my journal comes next.
I am too weak for a led class today, which means practicing with the CD by Sharath. I hope I will be able to drag me to the mat. It would be good.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's raining, I don't mind

I picked up my new book from the pack station: Radical awakening - Dialogues with Stephen Jourdain. There are European people who are awakened, too. It seems to be a very good book.
It was raining while I walked downtown. Soon my shoes were wet, I didn't mind. I walked down the streets, knowing my destination. My destination was the Indian restaurant that I found a few weeks ago. Arrived, I took a seat. It took half an hour till I got the menue. Then the waiter must have forgotten me. I stood up and left the restaurant after another 30 min without having had lunch. India is far far away I thought, I didn't get a bit of a taste of it. I was relaxed.

My thoughts circled and circled and circled around the pictures that I have taken at the birthday party or better that I have not taken. I just managed it to go through them again. They are not so bad. There is at least one picture of my mother that is very good and at least one picture of my father that is very good. My thoughts circled around the awful phone call full of shouting and accusations. I wrote my parents an Email that they should go to a photografer in their home town to get the missing picture (both together on one picture) and that this was part of the birthday present. They won't do that, I know this. But now I must go on with my life. I must close my soul, there is no room for the frustrations of others. I finish this topic now.

Next birthday will be my birthday next year. Whatever I will do, it will be....... I don't finish this sentence.

A lost day, yes, because I did no yoga, because I did nothing. Soon E. will arrive and we will go to the Greece restaurant.
Wise people say: So is life, that's it, there is nothing else but this. Live it. See the show behind all this seriousness........ I try, I try.

German TV

I prepared an Earl Grey tea, I still had Lebkuchen at home, I burned some good incences and sat down on my Indian blanket in front of the TV, switching channels. There are these endless discussions on our health system. It is interesting that we name our health insurances, illness insurances (Krankenkasse). The health insurances wanted to change this, but I think with not so much success. People talk about illness insurances. In America people are just better regarding marketing. Dissatisfied people in boring clothes changed arguments. I switched the channel. I couldn't believe my eyes. A naked woman (dressed only with underpants) was playing games - puzzles - with spectators that were calling, of course for a much higher rate as usual. That's how they make money. It was humiliating. And I do not understand why this is allowed. I switched to the next channel. A thriller. The music was so dramatic, that I started shivering for fear. Quickly I switched to the next channel. CNN and n-tv, but in the evening the reports are boring sometimes. I was also not interested in a report on the Second World War. I switched back. Bloody, ugly faces were seen, the music was still most dramatic. Damned the naked woman again, the "serious" men and women in suits again. I was so bored and in disgust. Only the music channel pleased me. People could send SMSs that were broadcasted below the little music movie. I loved the song by Sarah O'Connor. Soon I switched off the TV. I know now that I do not miss much when I go to bed rather early, because I want to get up early to have time for my yoga practice.

I searched my teddy-bear behind my pullovers and t-shirts. He should go to bed with me that night. I wanted some consoling warmth. Teddy-bears are usually patient contemporaries and they know how to listen. Especially my teddy-bear is very good at that. I had a more or less sleepless night. I want to get back to my daily routine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mysore class - this was the best today

Mysore class this evening. We were 5 students today. I was jazzed. I forgot to do mari c and d. I remembered these poses after bujapidasana. Then I did mari c and d, it was a different order than the given one, but who cares. It showed me that the mind was absent from time to time. The body was flexible, incredible flexible. I hadn't eaten much today, I couldn't. Late in the afternoon I ate a salsa sandwich, this was it. Supta kurmasana was great today. And urdhva dhanurasana was great today, too. Three times I walked the hands closer to the feet. This is not easy. But I walked the hands closer to the feet and again and again. Pashasana was with B.'s help great, too. My body was soft, no resistance was felt.

It was still warm outside when the class was over. I walked home, slowly, enjoying the warm air. People were sitting outside the restaurants, having dinner and drinks. It was as if we had a last summer day.
Now I am at home. If I didn't practice, it would have been a totally lost day. I feel heavy, pessimistic. Soon I will sit in front of the TV, switching from channel to channel, feeling bored. Nevertheless more is not possible today. I will look at my frustration, that I allowed others to spoil my day. I will examine how it looks like to feel paralysed, depressed, unable to move, feeling unable to do anything. I hope my inability to do anything also includes not to open the bottle of white wine. Tomorrow I will insert a fun day. No duties tomorrow, only self-love. I make this a programme.

Then life goes on. Tomorrow bf will be back from Serbia. On Friday we will drive to the book fair in Frankfourt. I won't be at home during the weekend. I will be on the road again.....

How I woke up this morning

The phone rang. I was still in bed. I got up, picked up the reciever. "I am pissed off," my mother was shouting, I had scarcly said my name. The reason: I have forgotten to take a picture of them both together(father and mother) at the party. They are on the pictures but only with others. My father told me to take a picture of each guest, so that they can send it afterwards. It is not that easy not to forget one person out of 31. I was so busy following this wish that I really have forgotten to take more pictures of them. They counted the pictures: "E. and his mother are on 12 pictures and we have not one picture of us." And so on, and so on. 40 min. Now it is clear, this was the last invitation to a party. When they do not have pictures afterwards, they won't make a party anymore.

I reflect on taking pictures. It is a difficult job to take pictures of people. Me including, we all think of us as most beautiful beings. Pictures often show something else. They show our ugliness. My bf use to say: Wait 10 years and then you will like this photo. It is difficult to meet the expectations of others who often do not know them precisly. But afterwards they know that the expectations are not fulfilled.

Right now the heater gets repaired. I had my first cup of coffee.
Advice of my bf: Go out for breakfast, read in a book that you like and don't think about it.

I think I wrote already too much today.
Thoughts, thoughts, nothing but ever-changing thoughts.
I am not responsible for the fellings of anybody in this world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Furious

So fast emotions can change. The heater here does not work. I called the property management, twice already and what do they say: It is warm outside. Each year we have the same problem. They are not able to change the heater from summer to winter. They drive me crazy. It will be cold the entire night, the second night already. And tomorrow I will call them again. Instead of fixing the problem, they justify their mistakes. Yeah, life is not easy. And perhaps one day we won't have a heater anymore, because the oil ressources will be exhausted.

My neighbours invited me to the backyard. I will come. We will barbecue and talk. Yeah, life is fun.

Reflexions (on the birthday party)

It was noticed that some were no more among the guests. They passed away - my grandma two years ago and a cousin of my father a few weeks ago. Death is of course not a topic at a party. A relative asked me if I was informed about the sudden death of S. . Of course I was, but that was it. The others could still celebrate, have a party. Was it only conscious to me that life can be over so quickly. Life is limited. Nothing goes on for ever. When this comes to my conscious I admonish myself: enjoy what is, as much as you can. Be awake. Don't sleep.

There are those who couldn't come due to illnesses.

There are those who came with pain, chronic pain, but still alive, still trying to enjoy what is offered - best food, wine, polite conversation. Attitude became already a bit modest. I mean the pain, always, it might really be a limitation.

There are those , who are still greedy for life. Now, always now. More, more we seem to shout, more, deeper, ahhhh, now. It is not yet enough. To wait for the end is boring. We are ready for everything. Where is the next horse to ride, the next person to meet, the next country to discover? Life has left traces in the face, but this is all not important. We still feel sexy, no matter how old we are.
For us greedy ones the party is over one day too. Perhaps we remember this more often than the others. That's why we are a little bit more courageous like the others?

(Am I glad that I travelled to India.)

Back bending today

I practiced. This IS good news. I have to get used to a hard beginning, even painful beginning. This makes it difficult to start. Not to fight it, but to welcome it might be a solution. The pain, which is very difficult to describe is fading when I go on with the practice. I took breaks between the poses today.To stay focused is one of the challenges of the practice and not only the asanas. I got distracted by some dust on the floor that I had to take to the garbage bag. Other distraction like checking emails made me interrupt my practice, too. But I returned and I continued.

Pashasana: Fingers couldn't touch today. I repeated the pose twice, using the sofa as a help not to role backwards when on the soles of my feet.
Ustrashana: This was my last asana today. I think that ustrashana is a good preparation for urdhva dhanurasana. I didn't like to be so exhausted when coming to that pose.
Urdhva dhanurasana: It is a mental exercise as well as a physical exercise. Firts push your self up till the head is on the floor, I tell me, then go on, the breath will help. It helped today. I lifted myself up 3 times. I walked the hands to the feet, at least a bit. I didn't forget to breathe and to use the bandhas. Then I bent backwards from standing position. No, I didn't drop back till the floor.
Relaxing pose: The phone rang in the middle of the 5 min. A company wanted to sell me something. Quickly I was no more so relaxed. But I returned to my mat to relax again for 2 further minutes. And now I will stay relaxed for the rest of the day. Promised.

It is noon now. :)

Picture is taken in my home town B..

Monday, October 13, 2008

Awake

Back home now.
I was awake, I was in the present, I was able to create a friendly atmosphere and I was even able to listen at the interview. Next Monday I will get the OK, so that I can start working there for a few months. Haha, of course I do not know this, but I am optimistic.
After so much focus and concentration I was hungry. I entered my home, put the business clothes on the hanger and ate sunflower bread with hummus and tomatoes. It was enough to fill the stomach. It should give me the energy back.

Plan for tomorrow is done:
to order new business cards
to start and finish the tax declaration. This should be enough.

Oh mei, oh mei

It its 3:40 p.m. and I just finished my morning practice. I was over 2 hours on my mat. I did full vinyasas. To begin most of the poses with samasthiti is each time like a fresh start. I like this. It is also an opportunity to stroll around a bit, to take a little break. That's the challenge, not to walk around too often or perhaps not at all.
It was hard, but I was very motivated. I know that this practice is good for me and no pain no gain. I want to stay healthy as long as possible.



Ha, no reason to worry

A few minutes ago I got another job offer and this evening I will have already an interview. Life goes on. There is speed.
Primary series, meditation and an interview, this should be enough for today.
Picture: My home town B..

The Party

My mother turned 70 and my father 80. This was a reason for a party.

The party was also interesting because I met one of my aunts and oncles and 2 cousins that I haven't seen for 30 years. Nevertheless I realized at once who they were. I remained the same, too, I was told.

First we had a glass of champagne or orange juice while we were greeting each others. Then we had lunch at noon. Lunch was 3 hours. As expected the food was excellent (I got vegetarian food). Best was the carrot soup, one fo the 5 courses. It was really a poem.
Then we all drove to a cafe a bit outside of B. to have coffee and cakes there. Late in the evening I was in bed, tired.

This morning I jumped on the scales: 2 pounds more. So full vinyasas today: :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Relax and all is coming

We both, E. and me slept very long. At 9 a.m. we opened our eyes. What, so late, we wondered. Neither he nor me heard the alarm clock. It was 10 a.m. when I started writing my journal.

The phone rang: I got a job offer, out of the blue. What a surprise. I updated my cv and sent it. But other things had to be done, too. I had to pick up my repaired clothes. I needed a new pin for the pack station. The birthday present for my mother had to be bought, and and and.....

At 2 p.m. I was on my mat: I PRACTICED. Full vinyasas. I needed breaks. Music in the background helped me to go on when it got difficult. It was difficult. But I practiced. Yes, that's good. Ashtanga yoga must be done daily.

I am too late already. Soon I will have to leave the house to pick up E. We will drive to the birthday party of my parents (70 and 80), which is actually tomorrow. Thirty-one people are expected. So I must hurry. Like so often.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Whyever

It is difficult to practice on my own. I must face this. I don't know what holds me back, what makes it so difficult. I have time, I have a wonderful yoga space, I own the best mat that is available on the market, nevertheless it is difficult to just do it. I would be happy with a humble practice, but to do nothing at all is not good.
But tomorrow............

Not to follow each impulse

Finally I found the way to my blanket with the colorful stripes.
First I did alternate nostril breathing, then meditation.
I see that I do not have to follow each and every impulse. It helps me to name what happens: a thought, a feeling, planning, past, phantasy, a feeling. I sat 16 min, which is rather long for me. Restlessness was felt, too. I named it, I needn't to react to it. I didn't look at my meditation clock. It is possible to return to the breath all the time. Off the mat it is as important as on my mat: awareness, what is happening now. Consciously I will go on with my life.

Picture: It is the National Theatre (Opera) in Munich.

On anger - an analysis

Anger (and other feelings, we usually judge as bad like hate, jalousy): We all know the feeling of anger, this state of mind. Most of the time it develops out of frustration. Most often we want to blame something or someone for our anger. But it goes further. I quote from the book "A gradual awakening" by Levine (p. 60): "We really can't be angry at something or someone without wishing it harm. It's an unfortunate natural quality of this mental factor." It is as if we are reaching into a fire to pick up a buming ember in our bare hands with the intention to throwing it at someone. Before the injury is done to another, it is done to ourselves."
That's what negative feelings like anger, hate, jalousy do to us.
The cure:
Becoming aware of it. Then this feeling shall have less power to pull us into activity. We have time then to investigate these states of mind for ourselves. We can practice non-judgmental awareness. We won't probably act anymore and the anger will disappear.
Loving kindness towards oneself is another meditation practice that can help to handle anger according to Levine.

I just remembered a story from the book by Osho "Autobiography of a spiritually incorrect mystic (page 105 f.):
Once it happened in Baroda. I was talking to a big crowd. Somebody sitting just in the front row became so disturbed by what I was saying, he went out of control; he lost his senses. He threw one of his shoes at me. At that moment I remembered that I used to play volleyball when I was a student, so I cought hold of his shoe in the air and asked him for the other one. He was at a loss! I said, "You throw the other one too - what am I going to do with just one? If you want to present something to me..." He waited. I said,"Why are you waiting? Throw the other one too, because this way neither will I be able to use the shoe nor will you be able to use it. And I am not going to return it, because evil should not be returned for evil! So you please give the other one too."
He was so shocked because he could not believe it. First, what he had done he could not believe - he was a very good man, a scholar, a well-known Sanskrit scholar, a pundit. He was not expected to behave like that, but it had happened - people are so unconscious. If I had acted the way he was unconsciously expecting, then eveything would have been okay. But I asked for the other shoe and that shocked him very much. He was dazed. I told somebody who was sitting by his side,"You pull off his other shoe. I am not letting him off, I want both shoes. In fact, I was thinking of pruchasing some shoes, and this man seems to be so generous!" And the shoe was really new.
The man came in the night, fell at my feet and asked to be forgiven. I said,"You forget all about it, there is no question.... I was not angry, so why should I forgive you? To forgive, one first has to be angry. I was not angry, I enjoyed the scene. In fact, it was something so beautiful that many people who had fallen asleep were suddenly awakened! I was thinking on the way that it is a good idea, that I should plant a few of my people so that once in a while they can throw a shoe and all the sleepers will wake up. At least for a few moments they will remain alert, because something is happening! I am thankful to you."
For years he went on writing to me,"PLease forgive me! Unless you forgive me I will go on writing."
But I told him, "First I have to be angry. Forgiving you simply means that I accept that I was angry. How can I forgive you? You forgive me, because I am unable to be angry with you, unable to forgive you - you forgive me!" I don't know whether he has forgiven me or not, but he has forgotten me. Now he writes no more.

There are different ways to handle anger. Best is not to get angry, because who gets angry if there is no "me". If angry, it is an opportunity to practice non-judgemental awareness. It is an opportunity to wake up. And finally some self-love cannot do much harm.

Picture: It is the entrance of the Opera in Munich. Two days ago I have spent a most wonderful evening there, watching a ballet, Cinderalla.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A man, a woman, a teacher

It takes three to make the thing comes true.
Mysore class this evening - exactly what I needed. The first surya namaskara was awful. I know this already. The body tightens rather quickly during the course of a day. But soon after the start the body became soft. This I experience rather often, too. It is amazing. The start is the crucial point. Once this is done to continue becomes easier.

I got so many helpful hints today regarding chaturanga dandasana and krounchasana. Adjustment in mari c and d were great as I seem to loose these poses. Supta kurmasana was most intensive. What an evening.

With new glasses

This morning I woke up with bad mood or should I say that it was only low energy due to low blood pressure? I observed it, I wasn't attached to it, because I knew it would go away soon. To support this process I took a cold shower. Not really surprised I could observe that the cold water on my skin influenced my mood for the better.
Do anything, I said to myself, but do not only hang out. So I went downtown to pick up my new glasses. My eyes got worse - 1 diopter on each eye within the last 4 years. This is a lot, now it is clear why it became difficult to read. The new glasses cost me 170 Euro. I have a health insurance, they promise to cover difficult surgeries, but glasses are no more covered. Money runs through my fingers.
Afterwards I had breakfast in an Italian cafe. Weather is warm and sunny, a wonderful fall day.

Crisis here in Europe, too. I watch TV (CNN and n-tv) to update me regularily.
Should count my money.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why it is good to be strong, even as a woman

"Look for a young man, who can carry your bicycle". The owner of the bicycle shop told me this, because I have misplaced the key for the lock. Oh, it is nice to have a strong willing young man, perhaps even good-looking around me all the time. Unfortunately this is not always my reality. I carried my bicycle alone to the shop. I am strong. Yeah. I have strong arms, because I do Ashtanga yoga. Yeah. Now my bicycle gets repaired. Perfect.

Corrections: I know it but I did ignore it. We all have too much to do. A to do list is fine, but usually it is too long (at least mine) and this creates stress. Sometimes nothing gets done at all because of this. The intelectual work starts when the to do list is done. What are the 3 most important tasks and what are the first steps for these tasks are the crucial questions. On my list were 5 important items. Three tasks are done now, should be happy: refrigerator, shopping, bicycle. There is time for another task. I need new glasses. Buh.

Why each task has the potential to drive me crazy

Bicycle blues: I delegate whenever it is possible. To clean my bicycle is nothing I want to do by myself. 33 Euro and they check everything (light, breaks, gears) and clean the frame. What is the first step that I can do to get it done? I need to find the keys for my bicycle. But where are the keys? I found one, but I have an additional lock and for that lock I have obviously misplaced the key. Yesterday the shop was closed, today they will open at 12. First I have to ask now if they can break up the lock. Tasks that seem to be done within 1 hour need 3 hours. This gives me the feeling as if I accomplish nothing. But I will go on with my bicycle task. It must be done. Breath by breath everything can be done. There is no reason to get crazy. There is no reason to get crazy. I must repeat it. Ohhhh they play Robbie Williams for me in the radio. It is about love.

What is done already:
The fridge is set up. At 5 p.m. I can switch it on.
I was shopping, toilet paper, tooth paste, salt, nothing superficial.
I found a phone number to change an appointment.

No yoga so far. Awful.

Monday, October 06, 2008

An evening routine

I had time and I wanted to meditate in the evening. I did the routine that I learned in Gokulam from the pranayama teacher. This means I started with asanas, that prepared me for pranayama. Then I did 6 rounds of alternate nostril breathing, that prepared me for meditation.

I set my meditation clock for 16 min. Thoughts, which were more or less phantasy, imagined situation altered with sensations. I felt that I started sweating, I felt the impulse to scratch my back, my leg hurt for a while. Then imagined situation arose again. I let them go. I could sit 16 min. Is this boring, I wondered today. Thoughts came up that it is boring to meditate, but these thoughts flew away as well. At the end I thought that it was much less boring to sit and meditate than to iron my clothes.

This evening is TV evening. They broadcast a movie called "My heart is in Chile". Yesterday was the first part, today the second. I do not watch TV so often, when I do it, it is relaxing and just something else. I am looking forward to it. Drinking a cup of tea and being entertained, that's it for today.

We all know this:

We think we will have a hard time on the mat and then we have an excellent practice. So it was today for me. I started with not so much energy, mood was even bad. BUT I STARTED. And this is so often the secret. I must find a way to the mat, then many things come from alone. I switched on music, I took several breaks. It helped me to practice, it is OK. Sometimes little helpers are needed.

Setu bandhasana: This pose becomes easier when the body becomes stronger. The weight of the body is not supposed to be on the neck alone but spreaded over the entire body.
Urdhva dhanurasana: I managed it to work longer on that pose than usual. I bent back from standing position several times. One day it will happen from alone that I drop down.

Yeah, I feel good, energy level is good,

Low blood pressure - low energy?

I managed it to role out my mat, I put my blanket on it and exercised pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) how I've learned it in India. I was very focused. Then I meditated 10 min. A few times I felt the impulse to scratch my nose, my back, my arm, but I could always resist. That was nice. I let it go. A feeling, I thought, it comes and goes. I focused on my breath, life went on and I hadn't followed the impulse to scratch. This was nice.

And now yoga, however it will be, slow, humble, I don't care, I only want to practice. Breath by breath I might be able to practice. Body feels stiff. Auweia, it's not easy to start.

I am up

It is already 8 a.m., this doesn't alter the fact that I am still a bit tired. I have difficulties to sleep in, the consequences are that I am either tired in the morning or that I stay much too long in bed. To get up is the better version. Quickly I made the bed after we both (E. and me) left this cosy place this morning. Now I have a good chance to accomplish a lot on this Monday.

5 hours of productive work is planned. I want to work on my long list, "difficult" tasks first.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Burning incenses is not necessary in order to meditate

I found so many incenses here at home, but for what. Will they serve my meditation pracitce? Meditation is a jouney to the inside. The outside is a distraction when meditating. There is always a distraction from the outside as we live in that world. While sitting, the neighbours might come home, the leg might start hurting, it might be cold. These are events we might register, but they are not the focus of our interest when we meditate. It is the inner world that is the topic. To explore the flow of thoughts (inner world) no incenses are necessary. They might even nebulize everything. Meditation is a tool to get to know oneself. That's also why I close my eyes now.

Incenses might be nice when watching TV, they aren't a help on the way to awakening.

Meditation

The main intention of a meditation practice is to be aware, to observe the thoughts, to observe what happens. To become quit is a consequence of these observations, but not the first intention. Not to identify with the thoughts is important. When not identified with the thoughts the mind becomes quit alone. Nevertheless all the time thoughts will come up, that's how the mind works, it is its nature. Nothing must be changed or oppressed. Observation alone initiates some changes, but the nature of the mind won't change. Understanding can grow, the understanding that we are not the mind, that we are not our thoughts (but pure consciousness), as the thoughts are always changing. That's at least how I understand it so far.

16 min I meditated today. I observed what happened and I noted it: thoughts, thoughts, or more precise, planning, planning. Many future thoughts came up today, thoughts about what I will have to do in the next days. Then my knee hurt. I thought: feeling, feeling, feeling and I let go. This was possible today. I had not to react, I could observe the pain and somehow it disappeared. I got back to the present moment, breathed, and was aware of the thoughts that came up again. Hearing, hearing, hearing, the sound of my washing machine became dominant. And then again a thought: How to clean my silver jewelery?
I thought: Interesting and I let go.

And now I look at my long to do list for the next week, which is next to my PC. Do it step by step, I think. Plan to do three things each day, this should be enough. I am so glad that I do not have to work for an employer for the time being. This would be too much.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The day was dedicated to my home

I am glad that I meditated this morning. I had no time for yoga today because I got up too late.
I am one of these woman who starts cleaning the rooms before the cleaning woman is coming and that was what I did after breakfast. I had help today. And I need help. My decision not to do everything on my own was a good decision. My bf was in a cafe eating cakes and drinking coffee, while we both were fighting dust and chalk and mess and.......The difference can be seen now. My rooms are cleaner now and more beautiful. They are not yet in a state that really satisfies me, but everything is so much better. I can breathe again.

I also tried to exercise to let go: I decluttered. I even managed it to throw out a self-made pull-over that didn't fit. Hours after hours I was knitting it, but so what. It doesn't fit. Away with it. It was not easy to let go. The wool was so expensive and all the work that I had put into it. Nevertheless I think it was a good decision. It had no use, it only took space away. In India I had one suitcase and I did miss only 1 more towel. I want to create space, emptiness inside me and around me. The process is initiated and it must go on. Let go, let go, don't cling to anything, that's what I think all the time. It is easy to throw out garbage, it is not so easy to throw out things I attach emotions. Here starts the work.

At exactly 4 p.m. the phone rang, bf wanted to come home. He knew that we would stop working at that time. We did grocery shopping together and I prepared a noodle salad. It was average, the wine was very good. Of course I wonder if it makes sense to sit down for meditation when I have 2 glasses of best red wine in my blood. But I think it makes sense. I even suspect that it will be easier to sit.

Of course I miss that I haven't practiced yoga today, but sometimes there are other priorities. I loved my space in India, I knew for a very long time that I wanted to change how I live, now I have started to create space again. To create a vacuum is so important, only then new things can happen. That's what I am doing now, I create vacuums, I practice to let go (in all areas of my life). What counts is the moment, this moment. Let go, let go.

Meditation - twice a day

I am not yet back to a stable morning and evening routine.
But yesterday in the evening and this morning I managed it to meditate. It was surprisingly good. I am very motivated due to the lecture by Levine "A gradual awakening".
Suffering means to wish to be somewhere else, he wrote. To live in the present moment is what I practice when I meditate, I practice to be happy with what is. And it is wonderful to sit in my warm room on my Indian blanket.
Levine also writes about restlessness, a feeling that I experience rather often when I meditate. During meditation one can exercise not to act to that restlesness, but to observe, to observe restlessness. It is a possibility to see that through awareness automatic reactions can be interrupted.

Ha, what a joy, I just got a phone call and an invitation to a ballet on Tuesday evening. Tralalitralala.

Friday, October 03, 2008

An analysis of my primary series (before practicing)

Influenced by the book by Levine "A gradual awakening" and the chapter of loving-kindness (also towards oneself) I'd like to start writing about something positive.
In the beginning of my Ashtanga practice I was convinced that there were a lot of asanas in the primary series I would never be able to do. Here they are: ardha baddha padmottanasana, marichyasana c and d, supta kurmasana, garbha pindasana and baddha padmasana. Most of the asanas I just mentioned I am able to do now. I can do ardha baddha padmottanasana, marichyasana c and d, garbha pindasana and baddha padmasana. Supta kurmasana needs improvement. By learning one by one of these asanas I doubt my own words now when I think: I will never be able to do xy-pose. Perhaps it takes longer to learn it, perhaps even very long, but more poses are within reach for me than I thought. It is possible that I will never be able to do very advanced poses, it doesn't matter. Again, I think now more is possible than I sometimes can imagine. My attitude became more positive, limitations that I saw disappeared. This is an attitude I learned and experienced in my yoga practice during the last 5 years, but it is an attitude towards other tasks in my life, too. I mean this is something. What a miracle that a few poses could do.

Here are the poses/vinyasas that needs more attention:
- It is the jumping forward and backward between the poses, called the vinyasas. Gregor Maehle has helpful hints. It shall be a matter of strenght if one is able to do it. He recommends lollasana, to lift the body up, being on the hands, knees are bent. This shall be repeated if necessary even 3 times a day. The pose shall be held for 15 breaths.
- Supta kurmasana - It is still a challenge. I can bind the fingers behind my back now, but the toes can only touch when I have a good day. I guess patience will help.
- Beside the classic vinyasa of jumping back and forward there is the vinyasa going from tittibasana to bekasana when coming out of bhuja pidasana and supta kurmasana. This is really a challenge and often I feel too weak to do it.
- Urdhva dhanurasana (dropping back on my own): This pose needs perhaps the most attention. It should be possible to do it, it should. Really? Also at my age?

How to improve these poses? I think to give them more time is a good idea. To stay longer in these asanas, to repeat them is surely a good idea. It might be helpful to explore them in detail. To develop at least a feeling of curiousity is better than to be impatient.

It is rainy here (and cold), a perfect day to convince the body that it is most pleasant to do Ashtanga yoga, a perfect day to convince the mind that it is most relaxing just to sit and to observe the flow of thoughts.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Indian restaurant this evening

The food was not soooo good. For me it was not spicy enough after my Indian trip. We had something to celebrate. E. has worked 20 years for the same company.
Me: What do you feel now after twenty years?
He: A deep silence.

Mmmhhhhh and I torture me with lotus pose and meditation.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

I still have this cold in my nose. My nose is a bit clogged, not much but a bit. It is as if the body cannot make a decision. Shall I get a cold now or not, I wonder. I had an apple for breakfast to facilitate the decision for my body: no cold please. The yoga practice helps as well to stay healthy.

After a long sleep I got up and found my way to the mat. The first surya namaskara was awful. I am glad that nobody saw me, like a very old woman who hasn't moved for ages I tried to bow forward. Quickly I got more flexible after this disastrous start.
Pashasana: I could not touch the fingers not even when I was on my heels. Yesterday this pose was so good (with the help of B.)
Urdhva dhanurasana: I lifted myself up - 3 times. "When will it be able to drop back on my own", I thought. Must change self-talk here, very important. "UD, my favourite pose, ahhh finally I can work on this pose", I should think instead.
I thought that my practice is so humble, everything could be better already. Being in relaxing pose I finally thought "how nice, that I practiced, I feel so good now".

I had an idea, influenced by my stay in Mysore. Once a week they offer a led class. Why not doing this here as well. Friday is primary series day and I have the CD by Sharath. This is my plan. Not for next Friday, because next Friday we will have a day off and E. will be at home. But once a week a led class (switching on a CD) is very good I think.

Exactly after my yoga practice and before my meditation my phone rang and the landlord gave the OK for the refrigerator. Things get done. I am so glad. Soon the water meter will be replaced as well. I was not able to initiate a replacement for 2 years. Now I feel already what a relief it will be when everything will be done.

Meditation: I did it, it was difficult to sit so long in lotus pose.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Alone and with others

I am a fan of my home practice. To practice alone is the final goal is my conviction. But sometimes support is needed. My Mysore class every Wednesday night gives me this support. We were 6 people today, one of them was a man. As usual we were all committed and we tried to push the limits a bit further away. Laughter happened too. When this happens I am always reminds me that this exhausting practice is supposed to be fun and it is fun. I feel great now even so I would say that my body was moody today. The body was moody not the mind: Here a little pain, here a bit overstretched. This evening I gathered enough motivation for my morning practice. And now it is time to sleep.

Gradual awakening

Downtown in a cafe I had time to continue reading in the book "A gradual awakening" by Stephen Levine. The book is on awakening, on meditation.
Levine recommends noting while meditating: It is a technique which keeps us on the track. Thoughts can be noted as wishes, planning, anger when observing them.
I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in meditation. It helps to understand. It is one of the best books on meditation.

Step by step

What helps to start with the yoga practice also helps regarding other activities. I just stopped me at the right moment, I wanted to right - helps regarding other unpleasant activities. But yoga is a pleasant activity, isn't it?
It helps me to start with yoga when I break the whole practice down to a very easy first step. Much too often I see the whole practice instead of the first step which is rolling out the mat. When seeing the whole practice my attention is drawn to the effort, it makes it difficult to start, sometimes impossible. Thinking of the next breath and only the next breath makes it usually easier to start with the practice.

But I didn't like to talk about yoga, this time it is the refrigerator. The old one doesn't function anymore - too old. The first step was to find a shop that sells refrigerators. Was this the correct first step? I don't think so. It would have been better to meassure the fridge frist. Till I will possess the refrigerator many steps have to be done: to meassure the refrigerator, to talk to the landlord, to make a decision, which one is OK for our porpuses, to buy it - only to mention a few steps. (So far I saw an appropriate refrigerator and I spoke to the landlords. They want to call me back, hopefully tomorrow morning.)

The next task is, that I need a new pin no for my pack station. Believe me, this too is not done quickly. I was already at the post office. There were long waiting queues. They gave me a phone number finally. I called, but the phone number belongs to a newspapaper, so I think this cannot be the correct number. For today it is too late, but tomorrow I can call again. .......It is endless. I am busy, but I do not have the feeling that I accomplish anything. One more time I see that I have to organize myself in a better way - then I would still have my pin number. India cleared my mind, I have forgotten it (and it was only in my mind, like the name of a lover, only that the pin no of the packstation is NOT my lover. That's why I have forgotten it).

But I started with important activities, I should praise myself. I hope my activities brought me a bit closer to the wished outcomes - a new refrigerator and a new pin no. Step by step things can be done. What is the very next step is a good question.

Picture: House close to the Chiemsee.

A morning

My nose spoke to me this morning: "Honey, a cold is coming." I still hope that this is not true. I sneezed several times in the morning, but this is over now. I felt a bit weak, that's true.

As I am at home now, I can pamper my bf a bit, at least with a hot morning coffee. Today, twenty years ago it was his first working day in that company he is working for. We sat at our kitchen table and enjoyed the coffee together.

When he left the house, I did some chores. I felt still cold. Then I saw my bathtube and thought it would have been a good idea to take a bath. Soon later I sat in hot oily water. I am not sure if this was a good idea, sure is I feel much warmer now.

This evening I have Mysore class. I don't mind if I practice this morning or not. I see that it is difficult to get back to my routine. Today I can accept it.

My space clearing activities must go on. To create room, to get rid of everything that is redundant in my life, to let go is important for me now.