Thursday, September 30, 2010

A reminder

Whatever action happens, whether you eat ice cream or meditate, at that moment you could not have done otherwise.


Ramesh Balsekar

...and I will go out now in a cafe, sipping coffee there and writing my journal there. A book will be in my handbag, too. Nothing else can happen now. I have to go.........to the cafe,........

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Remembering the details


Mysore class this morning was much better than expected. Finally I have my back bending adjustments again in kapotasana and urdhva dhanurasana. This makes me optimistic that these poses improve.
Practicing in a group gives energy, this is so amazing.

I remembered the details which are in fact important till the end:
- Bandhas are engaged till the end,mula bandha and uddyjana bandha.
- I focused especially on the drishti when I practiced back bending. It's mainly the nose, it's not looking upwards. This is a concentration exercise
- When practicing shoulderstand the eyes are not closed or look around, drishti is the nose.
- Also uddjay breathing is applied till the end, also during the closing sequence and padmasana.
- I engaged the muscles.

I started the practice with my fellow yoginis, but I needed more time. Second series needs more time (first series has 20 asanas in the middle part, second series has 27 asanas).
Tomorrow I'll practice primary. My focus shall be jumping through (forward and backwards).

Full vinyasa is good, it gives me strength. A challenge is not to take breaks between the asanas when being in standing position. Additional breaths only postpone the next challenge. Flow means to go on, each breath a movement except when performing an asana. Ah, all these aspects together make this Ashtanga practice really exciting.

So, the nap this afternoon was relaxing, too. Time to move on........

Gregor Maehle:

Self-studying is helpful. Gregor Maehle has written 2 very good books. Get them.












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Sometimes I wish....


Sometimes I wish you'd know how much effort I have to put in taking pictures in order to have a presentable result.

Ralph, no these are not the legs of E. My E has hairy soccer legs. Hahahahaha. These are the legs of the cleaning woman in Natal, Brazil.
Eljaylz1493,the film, me doing baddha konasana is coming, sometimes watchers have to be patient, too.

I'm up, sipping coffee. The winter season has started. Our teacher M is back from his summer break. I maintained a nice self-practice during that summer. Practicing in a group will surely intensify my practice.
Ah, I'm craving for the back bending adjustments.

The advantages when practicing in a group:
- flow arises more easily
- adjustments
- energy of the group supports the own practice
- time is limited, after the class yoga is done. Afterwards time is available for all the other chores and tasks every citizen has to do.
- to see and to chat with my fellow yoginis and yogis is surely also one of the advantages of practicing in a class.

Time to move on: second coffee, a little breakfast, shower, packing my bag.....waking up E.

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Manduka yoga mat: It is said, the manduka mat are of good quality and extra long for the Asthangis. Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog.






Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I am not a sannyasin.....


I am not a sannyasin. Ah, this is a new word. I am not someone who likes to do "spiritual" practices all day long. Sometimes it might seem  as if I've nothing else to do. It's 4:30 pm and I stepped out of my hot bath after an excellent Ashtanga practice, second series today. This was my preparation for the Mysore class tomorrow morning. Summer break is over. We can bend forward, backwards, sidwards again in a group.  I know the others will  give me energy. My focus was good today, but it will be better tomorrow. So is it with the flow.

My practice was excellent. It was also demanding. In comparison to primary the second series requires much more from everything. Practice and all is coming, practice and all is coming I think again and again. I know that thinking can be supportive or limiting. Shall my thoughts support my activities on the mat.

I wanted to write about jumping back, it's coming.......I'm not a sannyasin. Other things have to be done, too.

Feel free to "like" this blog on facebook. A link is on the right side of this blog. Thank you.

Matthew Sweeney:

This book is always handy here. Four series are shown in pictures. This is fantastic.

How taking pictures help me


This is a lousy uttana padasana.
I am glad that I took a picture of it. It felt so correctly when I did it. Sometimes a pose feels totally differently as it looks like.

The legs are supposed to be in a 45° ankle to the floor. Then the pose becomes a bit more demanding for the legs, but this is doable for me, absolutely. When the legs are in that ankle the crown of the head is on the floor. That's how this asana is supposed to be.

Taking pictures help me to correct these little mistakes that happen because poses can become sloppy over time without realizing it. Feed back by a teacher is excellent. Not always this is available and we cannot expect everything from a teacher. My pictures help me to spot out these "mistakes" that I can correct easily and they show me the points I can work on.

The arms are parallel to the feet.

Drishti is the nose in that pose. It's not necessary to frown the front. Pretending as if this pose is relaxing, makes it relaxing.

Try it with a camera: Hand and head positions i.e. can be corrected easily. So it is with the drishti, the gazing point. Over time progress can be seen, that's very motivating.

Cameras:
The small ones have usually 10 sec when you use the self-timer. Some offer to make little films.
The big ones have usually 20 sec.
It's advisable to check these details.

Monday, September 27, 2010

To be mentally strong


To be mentally tough can mean many things:

Close your eyes first and reflect: what does it mean for you to be mentally tough?

- It can also mean to stay positive when meeting people who tend to express negative thoughts.
- It can mean to practice patience.
- It can mean to learn to focus on the breath during a yoga practice that lasts 90 min.
- It can mean to stay positive when facing setbacks.
- It can mean to start new habits.
- To trust helps to be mentally strong.
- Positive self-talk is important as well: Instead of thinking an asana is not possible due to age, stiffness or whatever, one can start thinking the classic sentence by P. Jois: Practice and all is coming.
- Visualization supports mental toughness.
- Sleeping well supports mental toughness.
- Focusing on solutions not on problems makes a person stronger.
- Action.

Ashtanga yoga also exercises the mind: visualization, thinking positive, trusting, focusing on the breath are exercises that makes us mentally strong, it can all be applied during our daily practice.
And now I'm mentally strong enough to make the first small step on the mat in order to greet the sun. It's even shining today.

If you like this blog feel free to suggest it to your facebook friends.
1. Like my yoga blog on facebook. A link can be found on the right side of this blog
2. Click on "suggest to friends" (under the picture of the left side).
3. Then make choices to whom you like to suggest this blog. Thank you.

My list is influenced by the book by Jon Gordon:

Many methods that help to be succesful in other areas, also help to develop a yoga practice.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Primary today


I'm sipping my first coffee, I know I need another one.
It's Saturday. As I haven't practiced yesterday, I want to practice today. It will be primary. During the weekend I won't have time for another practice. We drive to my parents home to the birthday party of my mother. (Please Gods, don't let me eat too much.)

Time is limited also today, but this turned out to be something positive. Too much time seduces me sometimes to dawdle and to make breaks. Consequent I have to practice when I know that I have 90 min available only. E is still sleeping. I will practice without the CD of Sharath and without music. My breath will be the only sound that will be heard.

The breath shall also be my focus.
Lately I also gave a lot of energy to the vinyasa, the jumping forward and jumping backwards. Both is done with 2 breaths: Inhaling, pause, exhaling.
Jumping forward from downward dog: I go on the balls of my feet, I look forward. The inhaling initiates the jump. The weight moves to the hands, knees bend, legs cross. Pause. With the next exhaling my crossed legs move through my arms. Bandhas! I stretch the legs or bring them in the position of the next asana. The body shall be under control.
Jumping backwards from sitting position: With an inhaling I lift up the legs, I bend the knees and I bring the crossed legs as close as possible to the upper body. With the exhaling I move them through the arms. So far a foot is touching the floor. Important adjustment: I take care now that it is the ball of the foot that is touching the floor. That way the legs are higher and it makes it easier to jump back.
Important: The feet point forward, not sidewards. This is my new insight.

Forward jumping needs a lot of balancing skills and strength.
Backward jumping needs even more strength. That's how I experience it.

I will practice the series with full vinyasa as it feels better. When I am in samasthithi again I silently speak the name of the asana. To know the names of the asanas is part of the game. It's an exercise for the mind.

Pictures help me so much to correct myself: Feet are supposed to be parallel when doing urdhva dhanurasana. Somehow they always drift outwards.

Time to step on my mat.

Gregor Maehle:

This book is full of tips. Buy it and enjoy it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yesterday it was the chair.....


Yesterday I almost fell off the chair because I had so much page views like never.
This morning I fell off the waggon due to another reason.

"Focus", I remember now. This is what I exercise on an almost daily basis. It's possible to shift the focus. Mainly my deep even breath is my focus. This I can also practice off the mat. Sometimes this focus get's lost. However, the day is over, I was busy. I have bought some birthday presents for my mother downtown, this is good. It was so crowded everywhere. It's due to the Oktoberfest and the warm weather.

Next planned practice will be on Saturday morning. Primary is planned and I'm looking forward to it.

Picture: Lisbon, Portugal.

I almost fell off my chair


Yesterday I almost fell off my chair. What is that, I wondered? I had 1713 page views on only one day and more than 746 unique visitors. This is more than double as much as usual. Most visitors came from this page. Thank you, thank you to that person who linked me. So it can go.

One year is over already since I was in India. I'd like to be in Mumbai to meet all the other friends who meet to think about Ramesh Balsekar who passed away a year ago. But I cannot be at 2 places at the same time. Not yet. Advanced yoginis can do this, but I guess I need still some more years of practice to be able to do this. This year I'll be at my mother's birthday. And I'm looking forward to this event, too.

Asthanga yoga: Yeah, I practiced yesterday, primary. It's getting better again. Only my right leg drives me crazy. It's still overstretched and hurts when I stretch. Grghhhh. This might be the reason, why I'll practice without the CD of Sharath in the middle part. Friday is usual the day of the led class.
My focus was jumping through lately. Forward jumping and backward jumping is done with 2 breaths: Inhaling, pause, exhaling. The pause is important, too. This could be a topic on its own.

Time to step on my mat.

Picture: It's a restaurant in Portugal, Lisbon.

Ramesh Balsekar:

I highly recommend this book. "Enlightenment" not excluded.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to stretch


To apply the correct stretching technique is so important, because progress comes faster. It seems to be a contradition, but it isn't: in order to stretch, it's helpful to engage the muscles.

Let me quote Gregor Maehle (page 20): "The technique employed in Ashtanga yoga is active stretching. In this type of stretching we utilise an inherent reflex without which the body could not move. Whenever a muscle contracts, its antagonist (the muscle with the opposite function) releases. To understand this reflex one may look at the elbow joint. When the biceps (biceps brachii) contracts, the triceps (triceps brachii) releases, so that the elboy may be flexed. If the triceps also contracted, the elbow could not move. Likewise, when the triceps contracts, the nervous system simultaneously sends a signal to the biceps to release, and the elbow is extended.
A muscle that is being stretched will receive a signal to release when the opposing muscle is activated."

Don't overread the words "relfex" and "nervous system". This active stretching technique really understands our body functions.

I finish quoting here, even though the text goes on evenly interesting.

The next step is to relax into a stretching pose with engaged muscles. Then the method is complete.

Let me describe 3 methods that I used to do and that have not the wished effect or if progress comes, it comes slowly:
1. In school we used to swing the body when we wanted to stretch.
2. I used to draw myself in the direction I wanted to get without engaged muscles. Re paschimottanasana my arms tried to pull my upper body in the direction of the feet.
3. Gravity should do the hole work. Simply to hang forward was the applied technique. Padangushtasana is a good example.

Paschimottanasa , an example:
Nowadays I engage my leg muscles in order to stretch forward. This is important for all the forward asanas of the first series. Feel the difference.
Important: give the body some time to relax/stretch when the opposing muscle is engaged. Give your body confidence that you won't hurt yourself, that you won't go too far. Relax into the stretch is a book that describes this method as well. That's it. This makes the difference.

Comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Padmasana


The details, the details, the details: today I refound the blog by Alan Little, who travelled to Mysore in 2001 in order to study Ashtanga yoga with P. Jois. He was one of the first who blogged about this trip. It's really interesting to read.

He also wrote about a conference with P. Jois in that blog. Padmasana is performed differently. The knees  are supposed to be close together when doing baddha padmasana and yoga mudra. Otherwise the knees are more far apart. I will observe this the next time. The next time is tomorrow.

We (E and myself) just came home from strolling around. We saw the moon, it seemed to be full. Finally I know why no practice happened today, it was the moon who prevented me from stepping on the mat. Secretly of course. Hahaha. I feel good with it. After the last two horrible practices a day off felt good. I do miss the Brazilian weather, it was so supportive.

Comments are always welcomed.
If you like to write a post on my blog, feel free to contact me (either via a comment, or via facebook. A link can be found on the right side of this blog.) No, I got not too lazy to write posts by myself.

Yoga Mala:

Jet lag blues again


I feel much better today. I must have slept, this is for sure. At 7am I woke up and I got up. I woke up without alarm clock, but I felt tired. The eyes are open and want to be closed and that at the same time. This jet lag feeling is no more that awful. I was even able to do some chores already. First I cut the dead flowers on my balcony. The freshness opened my eyes. Later I cleaned the dishes, I put our dirty clothes in the washing machine. Slowly I unpack my suitcase. I will nap 1 hour or so very soon. Afterwards I'll practice. I am not yet ready  to step on my mat. It will be second series today, an early afternoon practice. Who cares.

PS: Jet lag and the time one has to spend in planes and at airports are part of travelling. When I go through my pictures and when I remember how it was when I sat in one of the restaurants at the beach, sipping fresh fruit juices, watching people, I know to travel the world is always worth the effort.

Picture is taken in Lisbon, Portugal.

Yesterday evening I read in the book my Gregor Maehle. It's worth to have it. It's so good that I will even quote from this book in one of my next posts. Thank you for buying it via my blog.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Asanas



There are:
1. balancing asanas
2. forward bending asanas
3. back bending asanas
4. twists
5. inversions
6. others (because some asanas I cannot categorize)

The distinction is not difficult or easy.
Nevertheless in sum I had a difficult practice. The right leg is still overstretched. It heals only slowly, very slowly. This is all part of it.

A hot tip here: Asthanga yoga requires a daily practice. 3 days off is too much. To practice daily, at least some sun salutation, helps to keep the body soft and strong.
Today it was easier to practice than yesterday, but still very exhausting.
The body felt stiff.
My arms got weak.
The weather in Brazil was better, here it is already cold, this is not so supportive either. I don't want to complain.
I had started with the CD by Sharath. This is helpful as it does not allow much thinking. I did each and every asana.
Time to go out. The sun is shining.

Jet lag


It's only 5 hours difference to Brazil, but this makes THE difference. I still jet lag. I had difficulties to sleep in, even though I went to bed late, means 11pm. I didn't hear my alarm clock, which I had set at 6am. At 9am I was still sooooooo tired that I didn't find the way out of the bed. Now it's 10:30am. In Brazil it's 5:30am. I'm not amused that I get up so late, not at all. This jet lag makes a mess out of my day.

I need a second cup of coffee: strong and black, Jakobs Krönung.

Manduka yoga mat:

If you need a new yoga mat, or if you like a new yoga mat, go for quality, go for a Manduka. Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It was horrible


I wondered what did not hurt today. I knew why I postponed my practice to the afternoon. 3 days I was without a yoga practice. But that it can that bad astonished even me:
- the joints were rusty,
- the muscles felt poisoned,
- the second toe is still swollen,
- my left knee hurt
- and my upper right leg, where the harmstrings meet the buttocks tortured me each time I stretched the right leg. This was the worst.

Only the mind was strong, so incredible strong. Despite the pain and it was no more discomfort, I practiced. With care of course I did one asana after the other. It's true that I practiced with care, but I can stand pain, too. I didn't omit a single asana, I even did full vinyasa. It's simply better, also psychologically. To start again and again from samasthithi is like having again and again a new chance for a wonderful asana.
Afterwards I took a shower, first I showered with warm water then with cold water, as usual. Wow was I glad when everything was over. I looked into the mirror: fantastic, I thought. I look relaxed.

The therapy:
- No caipphis anymore, also not those with fruits. A tiny woman like me does not need vodka (nor red wine).
- Back to a strict vegan diet, this is the best for the animals and myself (the animal U).
- As usual I will get up early. To practice shall be one of the first activities in the morning (not the afternoon).

Will I be able to practice second series tomorrow? It's either primary or second.

Damned I must buy some food for E and me. My suitcase is not yet unpacked. Clothes are still dirty. Nothing is done so far............


Self-discipline in 10 days:

This book is good. I have it, too. Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog.

Slowly I arrive, very slowly.....


Mentally I still need some time to arrive. Time flies. It's already afternoon and nothing happened so far. I took a bath, which was relaxing, but this was it. Somehow I feel in a vacuum. I am at home, but not yet arrived. I am nowhere. I look around and must smile because we were considerered very well organized in Natal. It's all relative.

Time to unpack my suitcase.

My flight plan for today....



Hahaha, the room mate in Brazil told us via our friend J that we were the cleanest guests that were at the hotel so far. The hotel exists since years already. We were also told that we are best organised guests they ever had. I thought: How might look the rooms of the other people then.
I look around here in our flat in Munich and I see mess. This gives me the schedule of the day: I must unpack my suitcase, I must do the laundry. This has priority among all the chores.
My reputation in Brazil as a clean and organized person motivates me.

Primary is on the schedule, too. I feel stiff. Already now. It's also fresh here (even though the sun is shining). This autumn weather won't help me to be super bendy. I will start with the CD by Sharath.
After a break of 3 days I have no expectations. Simply doing it, shall be enough.

Picture: It's taken in Lisboa, Portugal.

Jet lag


Every 5 minutes I changed the position. I moved my body from the left side to the right side. Then I thought to be on the back is perhaps the best position. To be in savasana should help. But to find sleep seemed to be impossible the last night in Portugal. I had a vodka-caipphi-fruit cocktail before going to bed in one of the restaurants there. But this mixture didn't help either. I was sleepless, pretending to sleep. Then I heard the room neighbours fucking. The man seemed to enjoy what happened, he was moaning. I looked at my watch: 1:30am. I listened but soon the session was over: a quickie after midnight. Nothing that made me jealous. Then I heard the man talking for a minute or so, he seemed to be the expressive one. Silence again. I was still not sleeping. Finally the alarm clock told me to get up, it was 4:30am. I was relieved. Later in the plane I slept. "Look", E woke me up, "there is Bearitz (France), we'll go there one day." "I come with you", I told him and slept again.

Yesterday we were at the Greek restaurant in the evening. I had a retsina and 2 ouzos to my artichokes and salad. This should help me to sleep. At 9:15pm I was in bed and I slept. At 1am I woke up. "Impossible", I thought. I counted. Twelve, eleven, ten, nine, eight, ........at eight I was not yet tired in Brazil. It was impossible to sleep again. I stayed in bed, pretending to sleep. At 6am the alarm clock told me to get up. I had found some sleep by then. I switched  off the alarm clock, I was tired, now I was tired!!!! I counted: five, four, three, two, one. Yep usually I was in deep sleep in Brazil at that time. I slept another 3 hours.
It need a week usually to adjust to a new time zone. It's only 5 hours, but 5 hours are 5 hours.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I set the alarm clock at 6am


I have a lot to do tomorrow.........I feel cold......good that I have something warm to cover myself.
Let's see what will happen.
Planned is primary.

A place for a yoga practice


The idea was to practice next to the swimming pool in the hotel, when we were in Lisboa, Portugal. The room was too small to practice, even for me. I still like that place next to the swimming pool. But we strolled around in beautiful Lisboa. And that was it and it was fantastic.

We are at home again. I jet lag. Can only 5 hours time difference make me feel so tired? Obviously, yes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flying in Lisboa, Portugal


A bit posing is a must. Some people kiss the floor when they land in a new country, I do a yoga pose as soon as possible.

2 days I'm without practice so far.
I'll check the fitness room tomorrow, perhaps I'll have enough space there. The room is a bit small, too many furniture are here. To practice next to the swimming pool usually pleases me. Let's see. This could be a possibility to have an intensive primary.
I'm still a bit jet lagged. It's part of travelling.

-----------------------------------------------

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Ashtanga yoga:

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Portugal, Lisboa


Lisboa is immensly beautiful. It's underestimated how nice it is to be here.

In Lisboa


We are back in Europe, Portugal, Lisboa. It's sunny here and this makes it easier to return. After a late breakfast we walked around. We made it till the castle.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some impressions of Portugal


Time to sleep. The place where I am is very nice, a bit small. I have place for my yoga  mat. But first I sleep.

Back in Europe, Portugal


Brazil is far away already. Yesterday I still watched the youngsters playing soccer at the beach.
Right now I'm in a hotel in Portugal. We just paid 20 Euro for internet connection for one day  in a 5 star hotel. It's not even wifi. We had to find where to plug in the cable that they gave us at the reception. The woman at the reception told us that we could plug in the cable behind the desk. But I couldn't plug the cable in there, behind the desk was nothing. I called. The connection should be close to the phone. I really want to complain. Are they behind the moon here, it's standard nowadays to have wifi. Point. What a shame for so called "developped" countries when they don't offer the same service like much poorer countries.

Ok, done. And I'm done, too. Italian food was good here. We were out in an Italian restaurant. I love the Italians, they feed me around the world with there simple but delicous food.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It was primary


It was primary. I had not the energy for second series.
Three times in a row I had practice second series and this shall be enough. I deserved a harmless primary.

Everything that I do now is the last time here in Brazil.
The last time I practiced primary here.
It will be the last time that I'll have a caipphifrutta here. Ahhhhh Caipphifrutta, darling let's go........

One more day in Brazil


The sun will keep my body soft, the wind will dry my sweat. As predicted the weather is perfect again for a last practice here in Brazil on the terrace of this hotel. It will be second series with the deep back bending asanas, the heart-opening asanas.

I will have my last caipphifrutta today.
A last time I will walk on the beach. How I will miss that.

But there is still a day to enjoy. Till midnight it's still some time....

Picture: Purvottanasana, the second asana of the middle part of the first series. Is this pose a back bending pose????
Looking at the picture, I think it is a back bending asana, as the chest is open and not protected like in all the forward bending asanas. Bettina I think you are right, it's back bending.
Ashtanga yoga as it is:

Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog. BTW amazon sells food now, too. It's surely worth to check what they offer.

Repetition, repetition, repetition


I will celebrate it with an outcry when finally my fingers will touch my toes. Kapotasana this deep back bending pose has the potential to drive me crazy. One day the circle will be closed, I know this and then this pose is mine. By now the finger only try to approach the feet.

Again and again my fingers crawled on the floor towards the feet this early afternoon. I stopped when it seemed as if no further inch was possible. Then I pressed the shinbones against the floor and what a miracle the head could move a bit further to the legs again. This was the sign for the fingers, too. They also managed to get a tiny bit closer. I breathed deeply and relaxed on my knees with a vertical body after that hard work.

I took a break, and tried it again. I know it works. Repetition is everything. I have no clue how close my fingers walked to the feet. This early afternoon I had a lot of energy to give my best. It felt excellent.

It's raining now, but I am sure that tomorrow the sun will shine again. I'll have again the perfect weather for a last second series in Brazil. My fingers will crawl again to the feet as if nothing else is important.

What else: It's our last evening in Natal. At 10pm we'll go out for a late dinner with our friend J. It will be an Italian restaurant this evening, because it's close to the hotel and good.

Feel free to join me on facebook. There is a link on the right side of my blog.

Ashtanga yoga as it is:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back bending, a challenge



Only the first time it hurts. I speak about asanas. My experience is that each time when I repeat an asana it's a tiny bit easier and I can go deeper into that pose. Discomfort is fading.
Many of my back bending asanas need additional attention to grow and to flourish. I have plenty of time, the weather is best, I consider to do all the back bending asanas twice today.

But first I wanted to have an overview what this would mean. How many back bending asanas do I practice in the first series and in the second series?

First Asthanga series:
1. urdhva mukha svanasana or upward facing dog
2. setu bandhasana (this is probably a back bending asana, too.)
3. urdhva dhanurasana (to stand up from this position is still a challenge, give me another year....)That's it.

Second Ashtanga series has some more back bending asanas:

4. shalabasana A and B (it builds strength)
5. bhekasana (sometimes it's doable that the finger tips touch the floor, but it's more important to open the chest.)
6. dhanurasana (knees are supposed to be together.....)
7. parsva dhanurasana (knees are supposed to be together...)
8. ushtrasana (a great pose, it looks beautiful when I do it. hahahaha)
9. laghu vajrasana (I'm still not able to come up.)
10. kapotasana (OMG, let's change the topic. Minimum another year is needed, minimum, probably 3 years. Sigh.)
11. supta vajrasana (Yes, I mean, see picture, it's done with another yogi/yogini as support usually.)
12. going from handstand to urdhva dhanurasana and up to a standing position (I love to do it with support. To do it alone is scary, I am not yet so far that I want to try it alone.)

The closing sequence has matsyasana and uttana padasana as back bending asanas.

Ahhhh, only 12 challenges.
It's good to have an overview. Somehow I needed this. Yes let's double it today. I want to practice the back bending asanas twice today to speed up improvements.

Practice and all is coming shall be my mantra, practice and all is coming........

How do you improve your back bending asanas?

Picture: supta vajrasana. The fence and the strap help to perform this pose.

Guruji:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Still life in Brazil



Brazil: what a most beautiful country. I love to be here.

A Brazilian soccer field


Soccer is the sports no 1 here, we were told. My impression: people like to move. I see surfer, jogger. Many people have exercised body (the opposite can be seen, too). :)

Impressions of Natal, Brazil

Impressions of Natal and the fisher village


We walked around today and found places where the locals live and eat and sleep......

A supermarket in the fisher village in Natal


The fruit and fruit juices and caiphifruttas are very delicious as the fruits are ripe here. I will miss these exotic fruit at home, for sure.

Brazilian food - a salad with potatoes and pineapples and ......


Two of the mango slices are already eaten. A bit too late I had the idea to take a picture. This salad was with potatoes pineapples, tomatoes. It was very delicious.

Urdhva dhanurasana and dristhis


Three more days here in paradise. I got my coffee and I realized that the weather is sunny, warm and windy again.

Back to the drishtis: My friends Cara and Susananda left important comments. Both studied in India with the masters. I learned that drishti is the nose when doing back bending. It's good because this is easy to remember.
Upward facing dog was discussed especially. Is it now an exception or not? I think it makes sense to look to the third eye. Why? When practicing sun salutation the drishti alters between third eye and nose. Chaturanga is nose, then comes upward facing dog. To lift up the eyes a but feels good.
Btw, both ladies have fantastic blogs. Click on the names and here we go.

When at home I'll check the bibles in addition:
Yoga mala by P. Jois and Ashtanga yoga by P. Jois and Lino Miele.

I must take advantage of the warm weather here. I practice second series again, with focus on back bending. Repetition, deep breathing and visualization shall help......:)

Yoga mala by P. Jois:

This book is also a must-have for every Ashtanga practitioner.
Thank you for buying it via my blog.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Beach life in Brazil (part 10)


Even when it's dark people sit on the beach, observing the surfer. Some are kissing and hugging each other. Many jog or walk around. I know already now that I'll miss these long walks along the beach.

Brazil:

Brazil.....


If I were here another week I had a bikini, too. People like to dress not so much here. The weather is ideal for that, every day. It's warm even at night, when it is dark already. Even in restaurants women are in bikinis and men in short pair of trousers, nothing else.

We were at the beach again, strolled around, watched people.

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Samba music:

Mission impossible: kapotasana


That's how kapotasana looks like in Sept 2010. How many years will it take till the finger touch the feet. Ah, this pose drives me crazy.

- I press the shinbones and the feet against the floor
- I walk my hands closer and closer
- I press the hands against the floor
- I breathe deeply
- I push the hips forward
- I open the chest as far as possible
- I don't give up.......hahahaha
- Drishti: it's the nose. It was too much, I didn't pay attention to the drishti........

(I admit it frustrates me that this pose develops sooooo sloooowwwly.)

I will practice second series as long as I will be here. The weather is too good. It supports my efforts.

Beach time again.......:)

Ashtanga yoga as it is:

Back bending asanas and drishtis


Drishti is the nose, when doing matsyasana. I realized that I have the tendency to look upward when I move my head backwards. Then I often frown the front. A relaxed face shall be my focus today. Before my practice I'll check the correct drishtis for the back bending asanas.

Dristhis for the back bending asanas of the second series (middle part):
Shalabasana: nose
Bhekasana: nose
Dhanurasana: nose
Parsva dhanurasana: upwards
Ushtrasana: third eye
Laghu vajrasana: third eye
Kapotasana: third eye
Supta vajrasana: nose
Urdhva dhanurasana: third eye

Other back bending asanas:
Urdhva mukha svanasana: third eye
Uttana padasana: third eye
Matsysana: nose

Except in parsva dhanurasana the gazing point is never upwards. It's either the nose or the third eye.

I will practice second series today. The weather is again perfect: warm and windy. It invites me to do the deep back bending and forward bending asanas.

I reflect how to improve my back bending asanas. To hold them longer and to repeat them could be an idea. I have the feeling that back bending became worse since I have no adjustments anymore. Patience is necessary.

The source of the information was the webside of a German yogi. Click on German yogi and you'll find a great Asthanga page.

IMPORTANT COMMENTS: Thank you ladies, Cara and susananda. Drishti is the nose when doing back bending!!!

Guruji:

Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog. The book about Guruji is surely a book a passionate yogi/yogini must read. Enjoy.

Barfoot on the beach in Brazil


It's windy in Natal, this is great. The wind plays with my hair and makes a mess out of it. It blows my skirt in all directions, so that my white thighs can be seen. The water is warm, so is the air. We put off our shoes and walked along the beach. From time to time our feet were under water because the waves flooded the beach. Sometimes the water was up to my knees.

One more week here in Natal and I'd jump into the water, too. like all the locals and the Brazilian tourists. After only one week I'm still a bit scared of the Atlantic.
To walk along the beach is fantastic.

The Atlantic:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Setu bandhasana


Setu bandhasana is the last asana of the middle part of the first Asthanga series. Years ago this pose was not at all a pose that I liked. I went into that pose and after one breath I had enough. All my weight was on my neck.
When I was in India two years ago I experienced a surprise. I wanted a yogini to take a picture of me when I practiced this pose. I was able to do this pose and to hold it rather long. "Wow", I thought, "how comes this?" The reason: I got strong.
 (Click on the above link when you like to see the old shala in India, Gokulam, where the picture was taken. It's not the very old shala, but the shala that is opposite to the current one.)

In my opinion strength is needed in that asana. The feet must press into the floor, the legs are engaged. Engage also the buttocks and bring the hips up.
When primary is done correctly strength is build.
1. During the standing poses i.e. the leg muscles shall be engaged.
2. So it is when doing the sitting asanas,
3. Doing full vinyasa makes the body strong, too.

(To engage the muscles does not mean to engage them as much as possible, but 50%)

"Prepare", Sharath says on his CD.
- In the beginning I played a bit around where to pose the outside of the feet. How close shall I bring them to the body.
- I lift up the chest as far as possible to pose the top of the head on the floor and with an inhaling the body lifts up.

When doing this pose correctly the weight of the body is not only on the neck.

......yes, and then after some time you'll like this asana, too.

Your experiences with this asana are welcomed, feel free to comment if you like.

Manduka yoga mat:

Buy quality for yourself. I've heard Manduka yoga mats are great. Thank you for buying via my blog.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Primary today


The weather is too good for yoga here in Brazil: it's warm and the wind refreshes me from time to time. I will practice tomorrow, too, even though it is Saturday. Every day is a good day for a yoga practice.

I did full vinyasa. To start again and again from samastithi feels very good. I make no breaks here. When at home again I'll switch off my PC when I practice. My Internet access brings too much distraction for me. To practice one asana after the asana is the best. Some breaths between the asanas are good when I need some relaxation, but to stop practicing and to start again and again is simply also too time consuming.

To practice 90 min every day shall be enough time, that I spend on my yoga practice.

Oh, I have some mosquito bites that force me to focus on the breath even off the mat. Deep inhaling, deep exhaling........

Picture: marichyasana B

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Currently reading:

Lost in translation


Pictures: A typical meal. Salad (in one of the restaurants), followed by mousse maracuj (in another restaurant called Rio) and a caiphifrutta (had the first one yesterday, but I'm sure it won't remain the last one).

OK I tell the story out of the life of a vegetarian person: Yesterday we were at a restaurant. I showed my vegan passpart with a smile to the waiter who came to us. He read page 50 of my vegan passpart, it is in Portuguese and tells exactly what I eat and what I don't eat as a vegan person (I am usually happy with vegetarian food when I travel, I am not so 100% either). People usually smile when they read it, while I feel a bit like an analphabet. He should recommend me something: Salad. It's mainly salad. But the waiter must have had the feeling that the waiter with some English knowledge should take our orders. Another waiter came. But it was salad too, that he recommended and I ordered salad. He has also read the Portuguese page. I repeated seriously and shook my head while talking: no meat, no fish. The question came: chicken? Me: no chicken. (very serious face now) I had a very good feeling that everything was clear. The salad came with a lot of sausage, cheese, eggs....What to say, hahahahaha. E put the sausage on another plate. He ate the eggs and I had my salad. The salad on the picture was before the real salad came. Or was it E's salad? Who knows. Who cares.

Ahhhh, the dessert, ahhhhh the caipphifrutta.

Cocktails:

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Beach life in Brazil (part 9)


Drinks at the beach: Today I had caiphifrutta. Caiphis come with almost everything. Wow was there much alcohol in it. I loved it, but one was enough.

We are glad that we are in the hotel room now. We have the door open and we can listen to the rain that drops on the plants. It's a heavy rain. It makes atmosphere. It's a bit fresher now, but still very warm. Ah, the sound of the rain..........

Magnesium:

Yep, I take it as a food supplement. It cannot be wrong.

Beach life in Brazil (part 8)