Sunday, May 31, 2009

And tomorrow.....

....is Monday and I can stay in bed as long as I wish. I want to get up early, but tomorrow is a day off and I so love it.

Not now, my Dear

by Honoré Daumier

A yogi in the backyard.......

I was in Samasthiti when I saw a man in the backyard, doing yoga poses on a blue blanket. Or was it stretching what he was doing?
I started my yoga practice, but couldn't resist to look down from time to time. He obviously did no vinyasas and I would say he was a beginner (like me). Why? He couldn't be calm for a fracture of a second. He was distracted all the time, playing with his body, adjusting the legs, touching his arms, hair. And me I was so distracted, too. I was so curious what he was doing that I looked much too often down to the backyard to see what's going on in the meantime. All this happened during my practice between my asanas.
Pashasana: I could hook the fingers.........wonderful.
In the meantime the man was drinking coffee and eating something out of a bowl.
Urdhva dhanurasana: Even though my body was stiff, I dropped back, three times. And......I started working on standing up from this pose. I rocked forward and backward and my hands could lift up a bit. It was a start.
The man went on with his stretching activities after his breakfast. Mmmm.
And I was ready for my closing sequence after I had switched off the washing machine.
And I looked down again and then I saw how he was throwing his cardigan upwards through the window in the second floor (third floor in the US). The window was open. Firstly I was impressed. Then I thought: he is a beginner, if he would have been able to through the cardigan through the closed window in the third floor he would have my admiration. Then I would know that I have had an advanced yogi in the backyard. But the window was open......

After a while I looked down again. A woman with a baby had joined him. They were talking now.

I am such a beginner and a voyeur, I am so easily distracted. Focus is what I will concentrate on during my coming practices. Focus, focus, focus.

The man in the backyard served as a mirror. This is exactly my challenge, to stay calm for some breaths while in a pose. Not to be so distracted but to be focused is what one can learn when doing yoga. And this ability is also useful in life.

Sit still, think of nothing, spring is coming, the grass grows by itself

Sit still, spring is coming, the grass grows by itself.

A nice picture with the meaning "let go", "life happens".

Zen basics and my wish to have a lot of money.

- Go step by step.
- Make every step completely.
- Isn't this step the only one and last one?
- Observe yourself doing every step.
- No step is good, no step is bad.
- Observe the observing.
- No observing is holy, no observing is not holy.
- This step, this observing - this is the Here and Now.
- Simply go step by step, then stop and then make the next step.

My mind is busy finding solutions for me. I need money - a lot of it, so that I can live a luxury lifestyle. This means that I want to have a lot of time for myself and I want do work that I love.
Why shall this not be possible for me (I mean I can drop back from standing position also). Focus is important, and I am so easily distracted. My focus shall be keeping my job another 10 months and writing my book. Enough.

Time to practice yoga, time to practice focus. Time to deepen the breath, as this gives energy and calms the mind, time to practice doing one step after the other. My yoga supports my life. I love my life, it is so exciting. I feel so young and fresh. I love to live. That's all.

PS: The Zen steps are from the book "Das Zen der ersten Million" by Claus David Grube.
(I don't know if there is a translation on the market, the title translates: The Zen of the first million)

E. is sitting on my yoga place, there are always obstacles. I will tell him that when he is sitting on the yoga place, he must do yoga as well, at least one pose.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today is my moon day

And a moon day is wonderful. Now I also have the energy to take a bath. No regrets are felt that I didn't practice today. I know now the time sitting on the sofa was not wasted time. My unconsciousness digests what happens in my life. This takes time and calmness. And solutions come. Clarity comes just by doing nothing. I need this time, this time where I do nothing.
Time to bath, time to enjoy life. Love thy neighbour like thyself, it is written in the bible. First comes to love oneself. This is more difficult than it looks on first sight. This means also to trust the own feelings. I do.
And I am still curious what will come next. I know I can only watch this movie called "my life".

No, six o'clock P.M. already

Nothing is done so far. I don't know what happened with that day.
I did a few sun salutations, but interrupted my practice to go shopping, because I remembered that I had some items written on a list. I knew I needed bread and shampoo, that's for sure. I put on a jacket and a pair of trousers over my yoga clothes and then I went. Exactly when I am dressed a bit sloppy, hair not combed and so on, I meet neighbours. "Are you doing fine?" I realized a critical eye on my face. Yes, I feel good, of course, why not.
Will I restart my practice today? I don't know. I sit on the sofa now, with my PC on my lap, thinking that everything is OK as it is.
A bath would be good, I think.
I can enjoy the water and the smell of my bathing essences. But I am also a bit too lazy to schlep myself to the bathroom.
In the bath tub I can try to think optimistically of my future, I think. A money mantra would be good to whisper: It is absolutely OK for me to work only a few months every year and to make 5 times more money than I make now. Absolutely OK.
Then I can travel, I will have time for yoga and friends and I can dawdle, with awareness of course. I should bath.......this is really a good idea.

Oh, I worked a bit on my book.........a bit, a tiny bit, but I did it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mangoes from Pakistan arrived and my Friday morning practice

I practiced, I was again a bit stiffer than yesterday. I want to avoid this topic but I face it again and again. It influences my practice and my life, it is food. Yesterday I ate potato chips, chocolate, red wine, also a piece of bread with aubergines mouse (or whatever was in that glass). This was simply not the best food for a good morning practice. It was too heavy, fat, and wine in general does not support yoga.
I did the standing poses today and a few forward bending. My finishing sequence consisted of padmasana. It was something. Psychologically it is important to do anything, every day.

My weeks (work) are exhausting. A learning situation? - Yes, it is, I know. When I return home I feel depleted, perhaps this is the reason why I crave for food (energy). To start with a tea or an apple is perhaps a good idea. And I want to get away from the thinking: still 10 months, then it is behind me. Every day that I live is a present and I appreciate this.

The first mangoes from Pakistan arrived: I bought a box of 8 mangoes yesterday, my favourite fruit. This morning I had a mango with soy yogurt. Years ago I didn't know what a mango was. During my childhood, canned ananas with sugar was something special. I don't eat this nowadays anymore. What a luxury life I have - mangoes from Pakistan as a breakfast. Thank you.
I want to get back to a strict vegan diet. Lately I saw so wonderful vegan blogs, I was so inspired. My breakfast was delicious, a vegan one.
So many wishes came up today. And the sun is shining. Ahhhhhhhh.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amazing

I had a very intensive practice this morning. This is rather astonishing as I already had a most intensive practice yesterday evening.
There are always surprises. I sweated this morning and I like this. Back bending was on my schedule. Usthrasana was so good. I didn't drop back today. Why ever.

And how is the weather today? I don't know. I must stretch firstly my foot out of the balcony door to find out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday evening - Mysore class

Progress: My hands lifted up from the floor when I tried to come up from urdhva dhanurasana. This feels good.
Oh, I sweated so much. It is so much fun to practice yoga.

And tomorrow is the focus on back bending again.

Grey clouds salutations

Buh, this buuuuuh, only I understand. Focus, focus, I tell myself. Focus on the breath.

I greeted the clouds today. It is raining here. That's why it is so green here. Trees and flowers need rain. So a few grey clouds salutations happened this morning. I simply stepped on my mat too late. I want to write and it is difficult to stop writing. As time is limited in the morning.......
Oh, I remember, I did also trikonasana........

This evening I have Mysore class. This should be enough Ashtanga yoga for today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The morning is the best time for yoga

When I come home from work I am tired. I only wanted to take a nap, but I slept deeply. The shower refreshed me a bit. The day is over. That was it for today.

In the morning (after my first black of coffee) I feel awake, the mind is still calm, it is the best time to practice Ashtanga yoga.

My toes told me this already in the early morning

Today it will be a stiff practice, my thick toes told me when I climbed out of the bed. So it was. But I don't care anymore when my body is stiff from time to time.
I practiced: sweaty and stiff, stiff and sweaty - so was it.

Pashashana: The finger tips could scarcely touch, but they could touch.

Despite the stiffness I managed it to drop back from standing position. I am still so happy when I do this. I can do it - yepeeeeh, yepeeeeh. I work on making the pose healthier for the knees. My knees point outwards, it is better for them when the feet are parallel.
To come up from this pose seems still far away.

Ah, the breath, it always helps to breathe deeply and to match the breath with the movements. The breath is the key to a successful practice.

Summer time here. Smile.

Balsekar wisdom: Life is truly great - if you don't get involved in it.

Thinking: Not to get involved is possible when being aware. I will make my day a spiritual exercise, a meditation. I will enjoy the movie that is offered to me today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A long to do list - a few sun salutations

Oh my, this morning I wrote in my journal what I all have to do and it was a long long list. I was diligent during the weekend. Nevertheless, so many things need to be done.

I did a few sun salutations this morning. The first movements are always a bit stiffer than what follows. But I remember a few years ago: that time the first sun salutation was really painful. This disappeared. Did I change my diet? I cannot really remember. Whatever caused this. The beginning of my practice is easier nowadays than a few years ago.

There is still some time to work on some items on my list: writing bills, writing emails. Writing sound good. So. Action.

Awareness will be my exercise during the day - meditation off my Indian blanket.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sweaty, focused, flexible

I loved my practice this morning. I sweated a lot. Back-bending was on my schedule.

Pashasana: The fingers could hook. The pose was rather stable, I could hold it as long as I wished without wobbling. I am on the balls of my feet. For some weeks now I am looking for a method to bring my feet flat on the floor. My exercise: I will make the downward facing dog wider, so that I won't be able to do it with the feet on the floor. Then I can press backwards. I think this will help.

Laghu vajrasana: I had the feeling that it is within realm to come up on my own. It didn't happen, but it seems possible in several months. Ha.

Urdhva dhanurasana: My heart is still beating a bit faster as usual when I do it. I dropped back three times. I loved it.

Pranayama was great, I did 6 rounds of alternate nostril breathing with a deep breath.
Meditation: could only sit for 8 minutes ( 10 was the goal). But meditation is to be aware and this I can also practice now.

What I learned from learning dropping back into urdhva dhanurasana

Years ago when I saw the first time someone dropping back into urdhva dhanurasana I thought that this wasn't possible for me anymore due to my age (now 50). I'm so lucky to have a yoga teacher who didn't care about my age. I worked on this pose, or was brought to work on it, however. Till I did it I doubted that I would be able to do it. A limiting thought? Surely.

The quality of your thoughts are important, I read in the book "Money is my friend" by Phil Laut.
"...increasing your wealth is a matter of increasing the quality of your thoughts", Phil writes on page 7.
Yes, my job is after 4 months so "difficult", that I start working on alternatives when the project will be finished next year at the end of March. I know that it is important not to limit myself: I am not too old for anything. I will have fun with earning money.

The book that I am reading on money is a spiritual book, I highly recommend it: title see above.

Time to do yoga, time to exercise my mind being focused. Time to improve my thoughts: I can drop back, I will also be able to come up. Hahahaha.

It is OK for me to be paid for enjoying myself

Yes, this is my new affirmation. My job life must change. My thoughts about it must change, too. I know that it is not true that money can only be earned when doing a job that is not really fulfilling.
It is not true that earning money must be an unpleasant activity.
Therefore: It is OK for me to be paid for enjoying myself.

I am curious where this affirmation will usher me???

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Vacuum

This morning I tried to create vacuum. A vacuum is something good.
Emptiness does not last long. But a vacuum allows that someting new arises.
I went through my cosmetics this morning. Do I really need more than 12 soaps? I was not so good in letting go. I kept them all. At least I know now, I don't need another soap.
The washing machine surface is clean now. Very good.

The space clearing process must go on!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Self-knowledge

The master of dawdling (me) had time for a few surya namaskaras. The body was relaxed and at once after the first surya namaskara A I regretted that I was not earlier on my mat. Time is over now. I must prepare myself for another working day, the last one of this week.

I relaxed yesterday, it was necessary. Even though I do not have an overload of work at my current job is not so easy-going. Oh, it is absolutely perfect to be there. Only in relationship with others I can experience myself and not while sitting in the forest in the Himalaya, but in Haar, close to Munich. Hahahaha. I exercise awareness and from time to time I enjoy these characters I meet there. People are the most interesting thing in this world for me. I am relaxed and glad that it is Friday. I like the attitude to see my work as a spiritual exercise, a meditation practice, a practice with the intention to stay aware, a possibility to enhance self-knowledge.

Balsekar wisdom: Self-knowledge cannot happen by sitting in a corner, meditating about oneself. One exists as an individual entity only in relationship to people, things and concepts. One can only know oneself by watching, observing, studying one's relationships, as well as one's inward thininking.
One must study oneself as one is, not as one would wish to be - without judgement, without approval, without condemnation. That very perception turns out to be the action, the beginning of Self-Knowledge.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am a master in dawdling

Sometimes a salad can be too much, too. This is a picture from my first trip to the US, California 11 years ago.
That's what I do on a day off: Going through old pictures, flipping through my books and simply doing nothing. And I wanted to do sooooooooo much. At least I started rereading the book "Money is my friend" by Phil Laut. Shall I always be able to buy myself a good salad.
(Must be honest: I was invited here. Smile)

A late practice

I could open my doors to my balcony because it was so warm today. Then I practiced yoga. I could see my neighbours smoking. They could see me practicing yoga (I am not sure if they know what I am doing).
It is still like a miracle. I am able to drop back and it is fun. Back bending is good for me.

Laghu vajrasana and urdhva dhanurasana

To come up is now the next step (from both poses - laghu vajrasana and urdhva dhanurasana).

Laghu vajrasana is my last pose of the second series. I go backwards several times but only so far so that I can still come up. This is far away from the floor.
But I think practicing this supports the learning of coming up from urdhva dhanurasana.

Do I have to build even more leg muscles? I fear, yes.

A day off from work

Till now I am dawdling, but practice will happen. We have a day off here in Germany and the weather is sunny. Smile. I don't want to become hectic, I want to do everything slowly today to have the feeling of having a lot of time.

Balsekar wisdom: Events happen anyway, but the ego thinks it has done it all.

Ha, I dropped back silently

B. danced a bit. I made no fuss about it, I simply dropped back. The work of two years minimum. And finally it is fun, it is even easy, yes easy. I dropped back into ud - urdhva dhanurasana. I loved it. Finally I can feel joy. First feelings were: this is not true, I cannot believe it. Now joy is felt. And B. is happy, too. She didn't give up. I did - almost.
Practice and all is coming. Smile.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

That's what routines can do for you.

We had a business dinner yesterday evening with our Indian colleagues. Even though I left the group not as the last one, I was at home rather late. One hour later than usual I was in bed and so I also readjusted my alarm clock. Instead of 5 am, I set it to 6 am. This morning I woke up at 10 to 5 as usual. I loved it and I jumped out of the bed. OK, I didn't jump out of the bed, but it was easy to get up. "Ha, my routine is stable," I thought.

Up so early allowed me to write my journal and I had time to practice yoga. I only did the suryas and the standing poses. This alone makes the body soft already. I am happy that I did this and this evening I'll have Mysore class. I am still excited and curious if I will be able to drop back on my own. But I think it will happen. And when this happens I will work on standing up from urdhva dhanruasana. One wish is fulfilled and the next wish comes up, like the sun in the morning.

Balsekar wisdom: Happiness can be found not in the flow of life, but in one's attitude to life.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Practice and all is coming."

To practice is the secret, to be perseverant. That's what I admire most when I think of Pattabhi Jois.
A decade ago only a few Ashtangis pilgered to Mysore. In the old shala only 12 people could practice at the same time. But Pattabhi Jois went on teaching, he went on sharing his passion for Ashtanga yoga. He also found someone who developed passion for this yoga style - his grandson Sharath and he forwarded his knowledge to him, too.
Decade after decade he put energy into Ashtanga yoga till it spread all over the world. In my opinion he was also a modern man: He wrote a book. This is, as I understand it, not really traditional, because in former times yoga was taught only from teacher to student. Through books the Ashtanga series were available also for people who couldn't travel to Mysore. The success came.
Almost everywhere I can practice Ashtanga yoga now, no matter if I am in Turkey, Russia, Singapore, Japan, the US, Germany, Italy and and and. With forwarding his knowledge about Ashtanga yoga Pattabhi Jois has spread a lot of joy and happiness around the world.

May I finish with a famous quote by Pattabhi Jois: "Practice and all is coming."

After rain comes sun, after a day, comes a night

And after a good practice follows a not so good practice and the other way round.
I was very stiff when I did my first surya namaskara A's today. Oh, it even hurt a bit, only the finger tips could touch the floor when I did my first forward bending. Differently than a few years ago, the body became softer soon. Nevertheless it was more or less a stiff practice. I don't care. This is how it is: up and down, forward and backwards, to the left to the right.

I lifted myself up into urdhva dhanurasana, but I didn't even try to drop back. It would have been the first time that I would have done it so early in the morning. This morning I simply was too stiff. But I am not afraid that I have lost the pose. I am sure, tomorrow in the evening I will be able to do it again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sitting on the sofa

There are mornings like this: I was sitting on the sofa writing my journal and thinking of my life (the past, the future, the present). Is this a waste of time? Probably yes. Nevertheless I wish I could stay at home today. I want to sit on my sofa the entire day, doing nothing else but thinking and writing. But I cannot fulfill myself this wish.

So I will move my body away from the sofa. The word "sofa" pleases me very much. It sounds so much better than "office chair". To sit is better than to stand, so there is nothing to complain. I try to console myself that I have to leave my cosy home. This week has 4 working days, this is great.

No yoga today. I was so low in energy this morning. I will focus on my breath during the day. A deep breath shall guide me through the day.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Energy

I am currently reading the book "Living reality" by James Braha. It is about Bob Adamson. I don't want to quote but remember on my own what I've read.

One topic was on energy. Much energy is lost, it is written, because our awareness is taken up with thinking (of the past and of the future). Giving awareness to the five senses - seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, hearing frees a lot of energy.

This is true.

Questions like: What do I see right now, feel right now, hear right now, smell right now, taste right now are questions that bring the mind to the here and now.

This morning I enjoyed the sun on my naked legs that I had stretched out to the balcony.
I changed my reading position from time to time. For instance I separated my legs and put my book between my legs in front of me. With straight back I bowed forward in order to read the book. I enjoyed this stretching. Oh, where is my breath. Deep inhaling and exhaling happens now. Oh, I want a cup of tea, that I will drink next to my balcony. Ah, the tea now.......

9:30 and I have finished my yoga practices, yepee

Urdhva dhanurasana: Also today I was able to let go, to drop back from standing position. It is still a test of courage but nothing in comparison to a few days ago. A few days ago I refused to do it. Now I am able to do it. I really leaped ahead. I don't work on improving this pose. I want to stabilize it. My confidence that I can do it shall become more stable. No way to think to come up. I will start with this idea next Wednesday eve.......

Savasana - relaxing pose: How can I? Lately I omitted this very important pose. Especially for me it is important. It is the pose that teaches me the ability to relax. So important. Today I was in that pose for 5 min and I enjoyed it, even though 5 min seemed to be rather long.

A recommendation by Sweeney: I read in Sweeney's book yesterday. He recommends to repeat a pose up to 5 times when learning it. This is a very good idea. I will apply this to laghu vajrasana.

Pranayama: 5 rounds of alternate nostril breathing happened.
Meditation: After 8 min I became restless, so restless that I stopped. Horror scenarios came up today. And those popular thoughts came up we are all so familiar with.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Ha, so far I thought it is difficult to drop back....

... now first thoughts came up that I have to stand up from urdhva dhanurasana and from my latest given pose laghu vajrasana.
I cannot go up at all from these poses. B. told me last Wednesday eve that I should go back only as far as it allows me to come up again, when I do laghu vajrasana. That way I can build leg muscles. Each time I can go back a bit further. This will help me to come out of laghu vajrasana and to stand up from urdhva dhanruasana finally.

With wishes it is the same like with challenges. One wish is fulfilled and the next comes up. One challenge became a success and the next challenge shows up. Knowing this makes all the wishes and challenges less important, they keep me entertained. Nothing else. Fulfilled wishes never bring permanent joy or happiness.
How to come up now from urdhva dhanurasana and laghu vajrasana?????? Damned.

Urdhva dhanurasana - would I be able to repeat it?

I was so excited this morning. Would I be able to drop back on my own again? I switched from first series to second series after ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana. I was so impatient and curious. I wanted to know if I would be able to repeat my "success" from last Wednesday eve. It was reasonable to practice the back bending asanas of the second series. I went till ushtrasana. By then I was sweaty, the body was soft.
Then I lifted myself up into urdhva dhanurasana - 3 times and I breathed deeply - inhaling/exhaling. I arched back 2 times as a preparation. Then I posed my feet next to the black mat. I had confidence that I wouldn't slide on the carpet and then.........I dropped back. On my own. Adrenalin shot into my blood. I scarcely couldn't believe it. But I didn't fall on my head. Happy. Proud. Yes. I did it on my own. Now I know I can do it. Ha!!!

I know there is no reason to be proud of it. My body (not my merit) and my conditioning (ambitious) (not my merit either) allowed me to to this demanding pose.

I enjoy it, my merit or not my merit. It is a wonderful feeling to do it. I also had not the feeling that I fell back - out of control. I did this dynamic pose consciously.

This is not the end: Now I want to bring the feet closer together and I want to learn to stand up the same way I went down. Buh. Will this take me another 2 years?

I did pranayama and 10 min meditation afterwards. Now I sit here before the shower, still sweating. I had to write this down. It was such a wonderful experience this morning.

I got up early

Today is the day of truth. Will I be able to repeat it, I wonder? Will I be able to drop back on my own? I shall see. My life remains exciting.

Also the not so pleasant events have something good. Sometimes it is only not seen at first sight.
To stay aware, to stay conscious, to be entertained, to be amused is an approach to life that I start appreciating more and more.
Looking at my life as if it were a novel, a movie helps me to be entertained even about the not so pleasant events. I start loving surprises. And soon I want to be surprised by a wonderful drop back.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The mind

The mind: We experience the world through our senses - the eyes (seeing), the ears (hearing), our skin (feeling), our tongue (tasting), our nose (smelling).
Yesterday I sat in the underground and I asked myself: what are you seeing? People, I answered myself.
Why did I not mention the chairs in the underground, I wondered. It's obvious, my conditioning is so that I am more interested in people than in the building of an underground.

Between the seeing and the thinking of what is seen is a great gap. Much more can be seen than what one expresses what one sees. Thoughts only reflect parts of the reality, more is not possible. Knowing this allows to be flexible. It allows to see that all we express verbally is nothing else but a self-made reality according to our conditioning and our genes (and not the entire reality).

We use the mind our entire life, but we do not try to understand how it works. It is as if we have a wonderful software, but we do not use the manual. To understand the mind, how it works, how to use it, is a question that came up lately. The mind,this wonderful tool is as perfect as the body, we only have to understand how it functions and how to use it.

During my yoga practice I exercise the mind. I try to be concentrated for a while. It is a difficult task, but finally satisfying. It is also a useful ability during working hours.

The wild mind, what a gift.

Such beauty

Such beauty I see when I start my working week on Monday morning. And such beauty I see when I go home on Friday evening. Can one be in love with a tree? One can!!!

I overslept

I overslept. When this happens I know that the body needed sleep. After work I was already so tired that I took a nap. After an hour I woke up had my evening shower, but soon I found myself in bed again. Tired. It's Friday and the weekend is coming, which means that I will have so much more time for myself. I really like to do urdhva dhanurasana again, to see if I can repeat it.

I'd like to finish this post with a quote by Ramesh Balsekar:
"The Essence of Meditation:
Meditation actually happens when the mind watches the flow of life - seeing and listening without opinion, without any judgement, wholly attentive to the movement of life in all relationships.
This could happen throughout the day, not necessarily when you sit in a particular posture trying to stop the movement of the mind by various means, internal and external - such as controlling the breath, reciting a mantra or counting the beads of a rosary."
(From the booklet in the box: 90 steps to oneness by Ramesh Balsekar, page 7 f.)

This is what I try during my working hours: to observe the flow of life. And when I am able to do this, I am amused and amazed about the variety and uniqueness of human beings. How serious we take ourselves, I think. Everybody thinks he/she has the right view of the world. The more we think that there is only one view and that this view reflects how the world is, the less flexible we are.
Picture: Another picture of the castle "Schloß Seehof"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Goose bumps

I don't make a secret out of it anymore. Even my colleagues know that I do yoga in the morning and that this is one of the reasons why I arrive at 9 and not earlier.
Yesterday a colleague told me: "This morning I thought of you. I felt so weak and I remembered you and that you do yoga. I did yoga, too and I loved the sun salutations. Alone the imagination to greet the sun in the morning makes me goose bumps." (She got goose bumps, I saw it.)
One can see it like that. Alone to greet the sun in the morning is such a wonderful practice. Thank you to the former yogis who invented this.

(Such wonderful conversations happen at work as well, beside a lot of "challenges". (I wanted to avoid the word 'shit') Sometimes I forget that it is all the same, that it is energy in movement. And I forget that what I think about anything is nothing else but a concept and not reality. So I will focus on the more pleasant concepts. Focus is something I learn when I do Ashtanga yoga. My job simply didn't exist when I dropped back from standing position yesterday. And still I am here in my cosy home. How lovely.)

And this was what happened this morning: a few sun salutations. It was an intensive practice yesterday and my body had tightened overnight. It was so OK for me. My body needed to rest a bit. The sun salutations were great.
I also wanted to do pranayama and meditation. So many thoughts came up this morning, so the 10 min seemed to be very short.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Champagne for all

I did it. This is not alone my merit (thank you B.), but finally I had to do it alone: to drop back from standing position. This pose is called urdhva dhanurasana. I realized that I didn't slide on that wood floor and so I separated my legs more. This helped me. And that I had a really sweaty practice. And that I was pushed (wink). And my body was soft. And then - I dropped back. I repeated it. And I was able to do it again. The Source simply wanted me to drop back today.

It took me years to do this. Since 2 years I try to drop back from standing position. Before this 2 years I lifted my body up from lying position. It took me that long. Now I have to stand up again. How long will this last. I shoo this thought away. Today I celebrate my courage to drop back. I seem to be rather persistent. I am still trembling a bit, inside. Buh. Is this another birthday present. I consider it as such.

I must repeat this pose now.
For now I am tired, exhausted, somehow satisfied, content, optimistic, feeling great.
It is a bit like roller coaster, this damned pose.

Time for myself

The early morning hours are for myself. I am glad that I got up at 5 and that I experienced these early hours awake. I couldn't find the way to my mat this morning. It is not a tragedy as I go to a Mysore class this evening.

My job keeps my mind busy. The goal is clear. I want to stay there till the end of March 2010. The working life in this company is not easy either. It is nowhere. It reminds me to appreciate the moment and always the moment. Fears (to loose the jobs earlier) are nothing else but bad thinking habits, concepts of what could be, but who really knows. Back to the moment is my mental task. Back to the moment, the here and now. Only this moment now exists.

To blog will help me to find the way back to my mat as I prefer to write about my yoga practice than to write about other issues. Tomorrow is back bending day. I love this. So a practice is likely to happen. Let's see.

The mind (our software): Sometimes I think we have a very advanced software, our mind, but we do not know how to use it. We fill it with contents, that's all we do with it.
Doing yoga we exercise the mind to focus. That's already something. To get to know the mind, how it is functioning, how to use it in a reasonable way are good questions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

...oh I refer to myself and I want to correct my post from this morning

It is crucial. I wrote that the identification with the ego creates issues. This is not the point. We will always be identified with our name, our likes and dislikes, our behaviours. That's how we live here on earth, how we relate to others.

I simply must quote Mr Balsekar (he is the best for me): "What is to be destroyed is not the basic structure of the ego - the identification as a separate entity - but the sense of personal doership." ("Connecting you to the source" by Ramesh Balsekar, page 5) I found this little booklet in the box "90 steps to oneness".

This sounds so simple, it has consequences. Knowing this we become an instrument through which life happens.

Another quote from the same booklet like above, page 6: "The difference between the sage and the ordinary person is not that a sage does not have an ego, for he wouldn't be able to function in the world if this were so, but that the sense of personal doership has been removed from the ego of the sage. Therefore, the freedom that is sought is really not freedom from the ego, but freedom for the ego from the sense of personal doership." That's it. Full stop.

Other Advaita teachers might have tought the same but often they are not so consequent in how they used the words. Things got lost in translation as well. Mr Balsekar, as a former president of the Bank of India, speaks fluent English, so his wisdem needn't to be translated. His thinking is clear and consequent, that's why he is my favourite Advaita author. (and perhaps I will see him next year)

This understanding brings freedom and not being able to do the 6 Ashtanga series.
Oh, nothing against Ashtanga, I love to do these demanding practices. They exercise my body and my mind perfectly, but they won't free me. Only understanding the above can bring peace and liberty.

I am not like my flower boxes on my balcony - I like my ego

I like my ego, or better expressed: good that I have an ego. This makes an important difference to my flower boxes. To walk around without an ego is neither possible nor something desirable. To be identified with it is what creates the problems.
There is a story about Ramana Maharshi: when his devotees applauded him and praised him, he did the same, as he loved the creation Ramana Maharshi as well. He was not identified with himself.

No, I am not so convinced about my person like Ramana. Nevertheless my special conditioning allows me to attract special persons and the other way round. There is fun to exchange concepts. Through our conditioning, our thoughts, feelings, we live. Nobody writes I want to live without my body, but many authors write that it shall be a goal to get rid of the ego (the mind). It is an important difference to see that the ego is not the problem, but to be identified with it. Not to be identified also helps to let go, and to live the next moment, the next, the next.
There is a quote that I like (I have only forgotten who wrote it, sorry): the mind is a good slave, but a bad master. The mind is a tool, that we can be exercised like the body.

My practice this morning was short. Today was my back bending day. Urdhva dhanurasana happened between the suryas, standing poses and the closing sequence. For me it is progress to be content with a modest practice. Other times will come again. And times will come where I manage it to be on my mat on time. Then I will have time for so many more beautiful asanas. This time will come again, yes, yes, please soon.

Writing in my journal was important for me this morning.
My job gives me a lot of opportunities to bring me in the here and now every time my mind wanders away. To be in the here and now can be relaxing. To see that thoughts are nothing else but concepts about the world, but not the world is a helpful insight. It helps to be flexible and to take things easy, because everything can also be different than the own concept.

Oh, I am in a hurry again. I must dress..........

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tomorrow morning...

....when I will go into my kitchen, I will be pleased, because it will be clean there. Bills are written too, time sheets are filled in. That was it what I did after work. Oh I was grocery shopping of course, bananas, toilet paper, sunflower bread, (chocolate is already eaten) is here again. This takes me 30 min minimum. I won't complain. One thing is equal for everybody. We all have 24 hours available during one day/night.
One hour is left before I have to go to bed and I want to read. I really wonder how other people manage their lives. I have always too much to do, I have always the feeling I should have accomplished more.

Unpredictable

After a modest weekend, not much food, no alcoholic beverages, and much relaxation I thought my body would be flexible. It wasn't. However the body is, after the practice it is much more flexible than in the beginning. It is as if the body wakes up during these asana/vinyasa exercises.

There was only time for a few forward bending. Tomorrow I plan to step on my mat at 5:45 to have a bit more time. The beginning is the crucial point. I procrastinate the beginning of my practice sometimes 20 min. This is a lot of time in the morning. So to make it easy, I plan to sit on the mat first, till the impulse comes to practice. I'm sure this impulse comes soon, as it usually becomes boring rather quickly only to sit. I love the sun salutations in addition.

Another working week starts.
It gives me opportunity to live in the here and now.
It gives me the opportunity to exercise awareness.
It is sunny today. Love this.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The map can never be the territory

Thoughts are concepts about the world not the world itself. The mind can only translate what is seen, heard, felt, smelled, tasted. Showing an apple to 100 people with the request to describe it, 100 different descriptions will be written. The apple remained the same.
Nevertheless it cannot be the goal to give up thoughts at all and to walk around thought-free.
It is not possible either.
I quote Bob the "Sailor": "People think they have to force out every thought. But, in fact being thought-free means just let the thought be free. Let it do what it likes. Let it float around and then leave. No thought has ever lasted. Where are yesterday's thoughts?" (Living Reality by James Braha, page 95).

Sometimes I read something and I know instantly this is true. The difficulties in life are not created by the thoughts, but by identifying with it, taking it seriously. Once a thought is seen as an expression of energy (nothing else) it looses it's power. We are not our thoughts and the thought are not how reality is. That's only how we are brainwashed. To understand this means liberation. Thoughts come and go, but they are nothing else but concepts.

Focus

I practiced to focus on the breath, to focus on even steady movements, to focus on the bandhas, to focus on the present moment last but not least. The "correct" performance of the asanas came second.

The asana/vinyasa practice keeps me strong and helps me to stay painless despite the long hours that I have to sit at a desk during the working week. But even more important it is to focus on my work and not on the fear to loose the job earlier than thought. My yoga practice trains abilities that could be of good use in my daily life. Focus is so important. How can a thought persist if we don't put energy in it? It cannot. To be able to let go is very helpful. (Cooking magazines and a green yoga top had to go today. Bye, bye.)

I intended to do the first series and then the second series till laghu vajrasana. Pressure was felt and I changed my mind. I only did the second series till laghu vajrasana. It was enough. I sweated and I had deep back bendings (usthrasana, parsva dhanurasana).
I could hook the fingers again when I did pashasana. Oh very nice.
Pessimistic thoughts came up when I did urdhva dhanurasana: I will never be able to drop back on my own. I remembered the recommendations of fellow yoginis: Do it on the grass. Separate your feet as much as possible. It doesn't matter when you fall on your head. My own thought: Perhaps I should drink beer before urdhva dhanurasana. But I discarded this idea. I prefer healthy tools like visualization. Patience is needed and courage. Do I think too much? Shall I just let go? I stay curious.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Productive today

My colleague tells me sometimes: "Ms W. you must have other goals beside this job. Otherwise you won't bear this job."
And he is right.

I am productive, I work for myself now. Taxes must be done, invoices must be written. I file papers. I am productive.

So far I haven't practiced. Again I learn - the early morning is the best time. Sigh.

Another attempt to move forward

More or less a desperate attempt to move forward. This horse was stubborn. Look the eye of the horse. This tells me everything.

I prefer to walk. To walk is great.

Speed

For me a "Jaguar" is a big car.

Desires

Influenced by a comment, some thoughts on desires:
I think to have desires are part of human nature. When we are hungry the wish comes up to eat. It is nothing bad with desires. Some desires might seem crazy, like wishing to have a big car like a "Jaguar". Other desires might look noble, like wishing a good live for the children.
What is to understood is that all these wishes, thoughts, feelings are nothing else but an expression of our existence. It is pure energy, that shouldn't be taken too seriously. It is distraction, it is how life unfolds in front of us.

My wish now is to have already fetched the cake that I want to have for breakfast. This wish can be fulfilled. Urghhh, who wants me to eat a cake again, urghhhh (instead of healthy fruit with soy yogurt).

Where is my pen????

I wanted to underline sentences. Currently I am reading the book "Living Reality" by James Braha. Yesterday I opened the book slowly page after page and then I saw that it is signed by Mr Braha, with a blue pen. I loved this.

The book is on Advaita teaching. James met "Sailor" Bob Adamson and wrote about this extraordinary summer. Great book.

"Understanding is all", I think this is so true. It is not necessary to do 6 series of Ashtanga yoga or 1 hour of meditation for years to wake up. Nothing can be accomplished in the future. Only the present moment exists. And what has to be understood? You don't live your life. Your life is being lived. (page 13) That's all.

The book is written in the tradition of Ramesh Balsekar and Nisargadatta Maharaj. One cannot hear and read the truth often enough. Other words are used and this can only deepen the understanding. Since early childhood we are brainwashed that we are the doer, now it takes time to really understand that this is not true. Everything is a happening. And this brings peace with what is. (No mistake can be made).

Picture: Pinakothek in Munich, a block away from my home. I like to sit in that cafe of this modern art museum.

Friday, May 08, 2009

There are...

...-events/sentences that can change habits. It is simply so. Something has changed.

At least I was on my mat for a while

I did a few surya namaskara A and B today. The body was stiff. It is difficult not to generalize. But what is today can be the opposite tomorrow. Perhaps tomorrow the body will be flexible again. Smile. Then too, to generalize won't be right. Only the present moment does exist. The past is over, the future has not yet come.

Good news: Birthday pounds are melting. Slowly, but I am approaching my favourite weight again. Sometimes less is better.

Friday today. Sigh. Perhaps I should quote Balsekar here in an effort to be positive when I think of my job, the activity that guarantees me a bit of independence, the activity with which I earn my living: Desire in any form is the only obstacle, including the desire for liberation. So I try to develop the attitude that everything is perfect as it is. It can be, can't it?
Everything has positive and negative aspects.

And again Mr Balsekar: I love the picture he has created in this quote: Existence is like a ten-mile-long painting of which you can see only a tiny part at any given time.

The sun is shining here, how I love this.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My yoga practice.....

....this morning told me something about the yoga practice yesterday evening. I must have been rather committed at the Mysore class yesterday. Often after a very intensive practice my body is a bit reluctant. I did the suryas and the standing sequence this morning, a few pranayama rounds and meditation.

The breath is the engine, that moves the body. This came into my mind when I practiced this morning. Focus was the breath and I felt how powerful the breath is. The breath can move the body, but it can also influence feelings and thoughts.

Meditation: Last but not least we look inside when we meditate and examine how the mind works. I meditate with closed eyes. Thoughts were produced all the time. These thoughts have often nothing to do with the present. Usually we take these thoughts seriously and confuse them with reality. Meditation helps to understand the functioning of the mind and that the thoughts are not reality. This should help to let go.

Wisdom by Balsekar:
The basis of daily living is uncertainty. It is, therefore, foolish to worry about the future and fear the future.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mysore class

Oh, 2 new poses for me from B.: ushtrasana and laghu vajrasana. Oh, what a challenge. I love the back bending. Only ud is still an issue, a challenge. It was great to practice today. I so loved it. I forget everything, I am in the here and now and this is simply relaxing despite the effort that an Ashtanga series requires.

Sometimes deletion is the best thing one can do. One sentence perhaps: My life (job life) challenges me to apply the philosophy of Mr Balsekar. We all are as we have to be. There is no doer, everything happens. Ah, that was a good sentence. Why to blame anybody? It is a play of energies.

The last step in yoga is not to finish the 6 series, but to practice alone without the support of a teacher and the group, the yoga fellows. To practice alone can be done after the first class.
Of course the teachers won't tell this.

I greeted the sun, that appeared as rain today

When there is time for a shower, there must be also time to greet the sun. This was done this morning. I have Mysore class this evening. It will bring me back on a healthy track. It was OK therefore to have a very short practice. It was not the last one for today.
The surya namaskaras that I did were simply great. With each movement the body told me: thank you, it feels so good. I also gave the mind time to relax. No digging in the past, no worrying about the future, but checking if my feet were parallel, checking if my breath was even. All this happened in the here and now. How relaxing this was.

I relax my body when I move it.
I relax my mind when I bring it in the here and now.

After my surya namaskaras I sat in padmasana on my Indian blanket. I looked outside the balcony door and saw that the world is green here now.

Today I have to leave my home earlier to buy "Krapfen" for my dear colleagues. I hope they will like them. And then this was it with my birthday-parties. I survived them all (I only added a few pounds. Damned.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

And suddenly the sun was shining

Again I was a bit too late on my mat. It was time for the suryas, the standing sequence and a quick closing sequence. I sweated.
I stopped in order to have time to do pranayama and meditation.
Meditation is more or less a concentration exercise. I focus on the breath and herewith I try to be in the here and now, observing what is. With meditation, sitting calmly and observing thoughts and emotions something else can be experienced. It is not necessary to react to all these upcoming feelings and thoughts. It is possible to remain calmly. In daily life we often act on autopilot and this is not always the best reaction. To see that it is possible to stay centered, to observe and to let go is a good exercise for life. I hope I will remember this today.

11 months are still ahead of me, this is less than a year. This is doable, I think. It can be a long time, I know this.

I love it that the sun is shining.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The tree - May 09

In April happened a lot. Now the tree is green. My tree is green. Smile.
The fourth month in the company has started. I must focus. I faced open aggression today, this time from colleagues. I must focus, but what shall be my focus. I don't want to be a hero, I only want to finish these 14 months and 3 months are already over. It must be doable.

The tree is beautiful. On every work day I looked at it and thought: How would you look in the beginning of May? And the tree was so beautiful this morning. So new, so full of hope.

A Monday morning in May

There was a lot to write this morning. Birthday parties must be worked through. My pen ran over the pages of my private journal. It was late when I finally stood in front of my mat. I had time for a few surya namaskaras. Then I sat in lotus pose and bowed forward for a while.

Pranayama was great. To focus on the breath, to inhale and exhale consciously, to hold the breath between inhaling and exhaling gives me energy. It wakes me up.

Meditation was easy going today. When the 10 min were over, I was astonished. My mind was wandering. It took me a while till I remembered to bring the mind back to the here and now. "I am", I thought and focused on the breath and the sensations that my senses experienced.

It is too late now to buy cakes for my colleagues. I wished it were over with all these birthday invitations. But I have to invite my colleagues. It will be over tomorrow. Sigh. Then I will be able to focus on more important things, like writing my book. Or is it more important to have birthday parties? I don't know. I love daily life.

Balsekar wisdom:
Going with the flow simply means not pursuing the pleasures not avoiding the inevitable pains.
Picture: Inside of the Schloß Seehof

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Be still, let life flow

Back to normal. But what is normal?
After 4 days off I seem to have forgotten everything.
After the shower I remembered: It means to get up at 5 a.m., writing my journal, doing my yoga practice.
Tomorrow is still an exception as I want to buy "Krapfen" for my colleagues because of my birthday last Thursday. This means that I have to leave my home earlier. E. will help me and drive me to the bakery "Schmalznudel," where I want to buy these delicious cakes.
And then I hope I will soon have a bit of time to think what happened: I am fifty now.
And what next?
Ramesh S. Balsekar gave me an answer:
Be still
Let life flow.

I exercised acceptance what was. I had to. Stiffness was felt.

I was stiff today. Nevertheless I practiced. I exercised acceptance what was. What else could I do. I know that a bad practice is so much better than no practice at all. The breath helped. The body might be stiff, but the breath can be even and deep.

Today is Sunday, I practiced back bending, second series till parsva dhanurasana. I also lifted my body up into urdhva dhanurasana - 3 times. When I bowed forward into paschimotanasana I couldn't resist to touch my belly with one hand. The thought came up to become an ascetic. I discarded this thought at once. To loose a few pounds does not require to say "no" to life in general. Of course I feel good now. The body might have been stiff, but now it is more flexible than an hour ago and this is simply great.

Stiffness is an obstacle. But I will face obstacle all the time. If it weren't the stiffness it would be anything else. It is the challenge to deal with these obstacles (in yoga and in life). To face stiffness makes me modest. How to handle it? I simply do what is possible and feel mercy with myself. I know that there will always be ups and downs.

Time now to enjoy the wonderful garden of my parents. The sun is shining. I will give me another cup of black coffee, before we'll have lunch. We will already have salad from the garden. That's what I call luxury.
Picture: The garden of Schloss Seehof

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Time to relax


...and now?

I don't have to write anything, when I have nothing more to say. I can publish some pictures without too much text.
A possilbe title of the picture: Joy.


Another view from this beautiful castle

There are beautiful places. Nowaday this place is crowded. Tourists from everywhere like to spend some time there. 30 years ago the castle wasn't renovated and a very calm place.

Schloss Seehof

This is Schloss Seehof. Inside this little but beautiful castle we had coffee and cakes.

How did this come?

He perhaps has had a party of a bit different style like mine.

I ate....


I had a red Martini as aperitive.
Salad leaves and cherry tomatoes was my starter.
As a main course I had asparagus risotto with rucola (see picture).
Mousse au chocolate I ordered at the end. Water, red wine were the drinks.
This was like a confession.
Must do a full Ashtanga practice tomorrow till parsva dhanurasana. This is not a punishment. Yoga never can be a punishment.

Individualists

A: Lunch at 12:30, so early? I'm still sleeping at that time.
M: 12:30, so early. We are in Franken, here we eat earlier.
H: Please invite this person.
E: If this person comes I won't come.
H: I am curious what this for a party will be.
M: They will be too late.
Only G had nothing to complain.

Finally we sat at the table in the one castle. Flowers were on the table, it was very lovely decorated. And then came the moment where everybody was quite. I looked from face to face, food was delicious, service was perfect. I saw that my demanding guests finally experienced something I'd call contentment with what was. Sigh.

I am almost through



Remains to buy some cakes for my colleagues.

How I love daily life.

Body, forgive me


I survived another birthday party with a smile.
It was too much from everything, too much food, too much wine.
Oh, must write about it.

Projections????

I simply cannot believe that experienced and even rich yoga teachers stop ambitious yogis/yoginis for the reason of greed (monetary reasons) or to kick the egos of the students (aggressivity), or to show the own power.

Are these projections????

Perhaps the teachers simply want to say: You are ready now for a serious home practice. I make you angry so it will be easier for you to stand on your own feet. It will be easier for you to leave me. Go home and practice for yourself. Jump and the net will appear. You can always get back to me, but jump. You are grown-up now.

Who knows.

For me it is part of the way to practice finally alone. Mysore classes prepare for this. The earlier one starts with this exercise the better. One can start a home practice after the first yoga class with a teacher. A few sun salutations might be enough in the beginning. I agree, Ashtanga yoga cannot be learned without a teacher, but this cannot be the end to go always to classes. Finally we have to face the situation, when we are alone on our mat. The earlier the better.

Friday, May 01, 2009

The feet

The feet are so important. Ashtanga yoga exercises the feet in different ways.

Balancing poses: It is the feet who balance. The toes need to be relaxed, not cramped. The feet are the connection to the earth.

The feet joints: The flexibility of the feet joints is exercised in many asanas: downward facing dog. i.e. In baddha konasana the feet shall have the position of a book, this makes the joints flexible, too.

The toes aren't neglected either. When doing chaturanga dandasana we role over our toes and so they remain flexible and beautiful. The toes and the joints are exercised during janu sirsasana C.
Also in marichyasana b and d, the joints are in such a position that flexibility is exercised.

In general the feet are supposed to be parallel. When I practice I imagine how the toes spread, this helps me to keep the feet parallel to the wall. It is concentration exercise and focus for the mind.

How about a massage for the feet? Our feet carry us the entire day. They need some extra love from time to time. What is more beautiful than relaxed well-groomed feet. I am looking forward to summer time to show mine.

10 min can be endless

After an intensive Ashtanga practice, I sat on my mat and did pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).
Then I meditated. I remained in lotus pose. These 10 min were endless today. Restlessness, I said silently. It helped a few times, but finally I looked at my watch. 9 min were over. Couldn't I sit another minute?

Wisdom of Mr Balsekar

"Take a break from the mind. Follow the breath. The constant awareness of your breath will detach you from the mind. The energy that usually moves into thinking will move into witnessing."

I think, when we stop thinking that we are the ones who do everything, we automatically become curious what will come next and we automatically become a witness of what is.

Time to move the body, time to do yoga. It is sunny here again.

Picture: Another picture from the north of Italy. There are always ways to go.