Sunday, October 31, 2010

Deep inhaling when back bending


1. So far my focus was to make the inhaling equally long as the exhaling. The inhaling tends to be shorter. It's somehow easier to exhale.
2. I'm working now on prolonging my inhaling. To have a deep inhaling is necessary when I practice urdhva dhanurasana. Like in every asana the breath helps to perform it. So far when I try to come up from urdhva dhanurasana my lungs seem to be full of oxygen, but there is still a long way to go up. No more inhaling is possible. I can now either stop breathing or exhaling, but I'm in the middle of the way up. When I exhale I fall back on my hands.

In order to be able to get up from urdhva dhaurasana it is necessary to be able to inhale as long as it lasts to come up from this pose. This is the inner work that must be done.

To breathe deeply when in a relaxed sitting position or lying position and to breathe when the body is in an asana is something different. It's more difficult to inhale when the body is in a back bending position. With deep inhaling the chest opens. It seems as if the gap between the ribs becomes wider, more flexible.

My breathing exercises that I do before every practice: I lie down on a block (sort of back bending) and then I practice uddyaj breathing. I try to prolong the inhaling (see picture). The block can be posed on the sides, then the body must arch a bit more.
I realized already little successes: I have the feeling as if my chest opened, the gap between the ribs must be a tiny bit larger or more flexible. Whatever, I have not so much clue on anatomy (not yet). I have a cold now and I had to sneeze. I always had the feeling that I wanted to inhale more before the air and virus was pushed out. It hurt even a bit. Sneezing was lately less painful. I could fill my lungs with more oxygen. without feeling the limits of my chest. This is so.

I consider this exercise as very important. M gave it to me. M also draw my attention to the fact that my inhaling is done when I'm only half way up to samasthithi when I want to come up from urdhva dhanursana.
I'd never realized this. I'm so thankful to have such an excellent teacher.

Working with the breath is inner work. It cannot be seen. It is so effective.

Yesterday night I read in the book about Guruji again. This time I read what David Swenson said and it was so touching:
I love his definition of Ashtanga yoga (page 85): "In a nutshell, I'd say ashtanga yoga is a universal tool to enhance life.

Some other quotes by David Swenson I really like:
Page 97: "We will have the same kind of problems. But this yoga as a tool somehow gives us strength of character."
Page 98: "A yogi is one who leaves the place a little nicer than when they arrived."
Page 101: " There is a saying of the alchemists: through repetition the magic is forced to arise."
Page 102: "Successful or not, I've done my duty, I've done everything I can. Now I've got to let it go."
Page 106: "In the most simple terms, the best advice I can give anyone is enjoy your yoga practice."

Enough quotes: Get the book: here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Let it flow......


I was already in the tram between my home and main station on my way to the Mysore class when I realized that I had forgotten to put my yoga clothes in my handbag. To return to my home would have meant to lose a lot of time. This morning I had written about Ramesh Balsekar, I mentioned a book title "Let it flow". This was still in my mind. Let it flow, I thought, yoga clothes will come to me on time. Despite the early time one clothes shop had surprisingly open at the station.
"Do you have also sportswear?" I asked. And they had sportswear. Quickly I bought a pair of trousers and a t-shirt without trying it on. 20 Euro cost everything, which is nothing. Next opportunity to get yoga clothes would have been in the studio. But there I had to spend much much more money. Let it flow, I thought. Things get delivered on time.

Let it flow.

.......and eat healthy.....eat vegan.

Healthy at 100:

Thank you for buying your amazon products via this blog.

What's the meaning of free will?


Ramesh giving a Satsang in Mumbai in his home.

I woke up so incredible early today: 4am. I tried to sleep at least till 5am. At 5am I got up and listened to some videos of Ramesh Balsekar.  This was the best I could do.

His videos and teaching makes me feel mercy with others and myself, too. Hahahaha. It's liberating to see that life happens.

Ramesh Balsekar in "Let life flow",  page 40: "One of the first things that happens with the sudden awakening is that the ego realises that its own programming contains a mixture of good and bad traits, positive and negative points. He himself is not perfect, and nor is anyone else. This realisation immediately brings about, along with the sense of brotherhood (or sisterhood, remark of me, hahahaha)a deep sense of tolerance for the human being - both himself and the 'other'."

Yeah.


Ramesh Balsekar - Let life flow

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I have a plan


I regret that I've missed second series on Monday in a Mysore class. Today is Thursday. Now I want to catch up, but this is not possible. There is obviously also mental clutter. 
My plan: I won't practice second series. Over is over. I'll practice primary with a few second series asanas. Leg behind the head I'll practice before supta kurmasana. And I want to practice pincha mayurasana before the headstand. Hanumanasna shall be also part of my exercises today.

First I go out. I like to have my breakfast outside today. It will be the Tresznjewski where I'll sip my second coffee.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Staying cool, yoga gives the tool.


Staying cool, yoga is the tool.
How is that?
Because I focus on the breath when I practice Ashtanga yoga and all the other mainly self-made issues are out of my mind, a mind that likes to worry, that likes to paint a dark future.
Urdhva dhanurasana does not allow me to think of anything else but to lift my body up.
To concentrated on what matters like the breath, like the current moment, is so relaxing. It's so cool, baby.




Mysore class is on my schedule this morning. I had an excellent practice yesterday, slow with some breaks to relax, but excellent. The past never repeats. It can be even better today.

Don't forget to buy your amazon stuff via my blog. Links are on the right side of this blog. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can I really recommend Ashtanga yoga?


Lately a friend asked me to recommend a yoga class to her colleague. Till now I have not answered, because I really wondered if I can recommend Ashtanga yoga? Ashtanga yoga is the yoga I like most. Wouldn't it be too demanding that newcomers feel overwhelmed, I wonder?
Wouldn't it be so that this person would run away with the opinion: Ashtanga yoga is awful, because it's too much at once?

I tended to recommend something with music, as music is almost uplifting: Jimamukti yoga.
I tended to recommend something soft: Sivananda yoga.
Perhaps even Anasura yoga would be a good start, because it is taught in a most beatiful yoga studio here.
I wouldn't mention Bikram yoga. I injured my neck the first time I did it. The heat (sauna like room) didn't allow me to feel my body and my limits. The teacher pushed and pushed like in a military camp. I cannot recommend such a style.

How can I be so convinced about Ashtanga yoga, but recommend something else?

Before our last led class last time we discussed this topic and I must agree:
Ashtanga yoga seems to be so demanding because we usually learn it in led classes. We have to practice all the asanas at once, if we have done anything with our body or not.
But Ashtanga yoga is supposed to be learned in Mysore classes, step by step, asana by asana. I wondered if it isn't a bit boring to do only the surya namaskara A and B and one or two poses perhaps? It won't last 1 hour in addition. But it seems not to be boring. I asked newcomers and I saw how they sweated and how they  reached their limits. Surya namaskaras are also not a piece of cake. I still have to improve them after 8 years of practicing.
It needn't to be how it is often here in the Western world: People are stopped when not able to do an asana almost perfectly. In India in THE shala I saw that yogis progressed rather fast. Every week new poses were shown, if a pose was mastered or not. But this also means that there is a progression, and not how it is in a led class, that every demanding pose has to be practiced on the first day already.

Can I recommend Ashtanga yoga after this discussion? I think it's important to know the expectations. Nice to see that there is something for everybody on the market. :)

Time to start my own practice. It will be second series. I'll start with the CD by Sharath, it's an easy start.


The picture reflects my mood: dark, dark, dark. At least I made the picture as small as possible. Hahahaha.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's endless....

Clutter, again this topic is on top. It has to be. I feel as if I'm always behind of everything. There are even a few things where I've missed deadlines. It is not a good feeling, that my taxes are not yet done.

I have to make difficult decisions right now: Do I really need this yogurt machine? Do I really need two blenders. The one I've bought from my first salary 30 years ago. How romantic. I have also 2 kitchen scales. One has a bowl the other not. I could use the bowl, I think, but I have also too many bowls, I guess up to 10. They are of different sizes of course and of different beauty. This all adds up.

I just returned from the dressmaker. This jacket that slept in my wardrobe for years (5 or so) either had to go or I had to get the sleeves shortened. Sleeves shorter is the better idea, I thought. I'm very curious now if I'll dress this jacket once the sleeves are shorter.

Big issue still is the goods that I bought for my online business in 2005. All the bags and carpets that are in my storage room, but also in my living room, because the storage room was too small. This stuff needs space, but serves for nothing. I must buy something so that I have something to sell, I remember, I thought when I wanted to make money with EBay and my own online shop. One day huge parcels came and then my rooms smelled of these new cotton bags and carpets. I found jobs again, my business was sleeping, I had no time. Always this lack of time. The carpets are still here and I'm so sure they won't walk away. When I don' t do anything with it, they will accompany me till my last hour here on earth. I know a shop that sells similar goods, perhaps I can sell them. Action. Tomorrow. Today it's too late.
In addition, this shop reminds me of a not so successful enterprise. Better to get rid of it.

I NEED SPACE. I NEED ROOM for new things.

There is also clutter on the PC. A few days ago I deleted all emails that I've sent on yahoo and google. Of course I have two accounts. Lately I learned how automatically the yahoo mails are directed to the google account. What progress. Yep a start is done here, too.

I'm currently reading a book: Stop clutter from stealing your life by Mike Nelson. A good book btw. I have of course more than one book on that topic here. But this one is good, too. This man knows what he is talking about. And stuff is stealing my life, too. Today I didn't go to the Mysore class, I knew I had to attack this stuff problem. Stuff. I attach feelings to stuff. I know better targets.

And now I know: the yogurt machine has to go. I don't think that I will ever replace it. One blender has to go, too.

How many salad servers do I need? I will reduce it to two: the one from South Africa I will keep and the silver ones. Sigh.

I'm so glad that I do not live in a house, but in a rather small flat. This alone sets limits already.

How is it with you? Have you too many things?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go deeper.....


Yesterday I went to an Anasura class. I was so inspired afterwards that I didn't know what to write down first.

First Barbra Noh ,the teacher, told some words about yoga and why we practice:  going deeper (in our asanas, in our knowledge about ourselves, in our relationships) is the perhaps even unconscious wish that we all have when we practice yoga. Going deeper with sensitivity and a relaxed attitude (later more to the last point - my own ramblings) is what we want when practicing yoga.

The class started with chanting, I didn't know the text, so I listened.

The structure of Anasura classes are very different to Ashtanga classes. The very talented teacher Barbra  Noh (B) showed us asanas and gave explanations to them. I say talented because B could really show which body parts to move in which direction. She was able to show the correct way and the wrong way. She could express how to get the result we wish to have. This requires an excellent body feeling. Class was taught in English and German which I liked very much. After having seen her doing the pose, we repeated it.

In Ashtanga yoga we get hands-on adjustments, ideal for  kinesthetic people like me. Anasura seems ideal for visual and auditive people. We understand through our senses, all of them. For some yoginis it's easier to learn from seeing (videos, watching others), other yoginis learn best from reading and hearing explanations. A mixture of everything is perhaps the most effective way to learn.
We did a few partner exercises which was nice as I had a nice partner. We gave each other support in dhanurasana , the back bending. Deeper and deeper we went into this pose. The class was recommended for advanced yoga practitioner, for those who were able to do vrksasana (handstand) against the wall and urdhva dhanursana with straight arms. We did a lot of asanas that I did not know.
We also worked on urdhva dhanurasana, pincha mayurasana (forearm stand) and hanumanasana (forward split) and eka pada sirsasana (leg behind the head). (I will surely mention some details in coming posts).

We worked very detailed. To understand the pose, to know what it means to go deeper was a topic. When the pose was demanding the yogis and yoginis moaned. "When I hear how you breathe I know that you went deeper", B said. This is true, surely. In our Ashtanga classes we have also yoginis that moan a lot. "Now it's difficult for them, now the limits are reached", I think, "they fight".
But please, my humble opinion, my conviction,  this is the moment, where you can show that you can stay relaxed. Go deeper with a relaxed attitude, but how??? The breath helps. The breath helps, I must repeat this. Go on breathing evenly deeply, breathe into the body parts that feel discomfort. Stay attentive.
- Don't  moan as if you have sex, this is no sex.
- Don't hold your breath. We hold our breath when we feel fear. If it's not possible to inhale and to exhale relatively normal, then stop, remain in the asana at that point, this is your personal limit. After a while the body gets used to the pose, then go deeper. This protects you as well from injuries. Respect your current limits.

Be relaxed is so easily said. How to do it, is the important question. I stay relaxed while I keep my breath relaxed. Another possibility to stay relaxed is to smile, to have a relaxed face. Oh, I know how difficult this is, but these are the methods to stay relaxed. A deep and even breath helps to stay relaxed in yoga classes and in life.

When the body is in an asana it can become more difficult to breathe as deeply as in a relaxed pose like lying on the floor. I'm currently working on keeping my breath as deep as usual in poses like pashasana and urdhva dhanurasana. This allows me to deepen my poses enormously. I distract.

Back to Anasura: I was intrigued. To work on the details pleases me. To learn the principles how to do a back bending, a forward bending asana, a twist is so important. It helps to perform the asanas correctly. When the basics are understood even advanced asanas become easier. To have a bit more time to study the asanas in detail is very supportive.
An example: When doing chaturanga dandasana the shoulders go backwards. When this is exercised correctly it finally will become easier to keep the shoulders open when doing pincha mayurasana.

We held the asanas rather long, which surely also helps to go deeper into an asana.

My love is Ashtanga yoga. 
You ask me if I'd recommend an Anasura class with Barbra Noh: Yes, yes, yes.
To look from time to time over the rim of the own plate is very interesting. Yep, to be adventurous, to try new things is fun.

Picture: Munich, Hofgarten downtown.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On inhaling.....


A few days ago I sat on my Indian blanket, ready for pranayama and meditation. Usually I use a timer, 10 min meditation is enough for me. Suddenly I had the idea to measure how long exactly my breaths are, inhaling and exhaling. What a surprise. My inhaling was still shorter than my exhaling.
It's so easy to prolong the exhaling.
It's so difficult to prolong the inhaling.
The end of my capacity is quickly reached when I inhale. To inhale a bit more than usual, opens the chest. It is possible.

I will repeat this exercise: Meditation clocks don't lie. Inhaling shall have the same length than exhaling. And I want to prolong the breaths. First I will try it with 5 sec, 1 sec pause, then with 6 sec and so on. The breath is so important. It's worth to have a closer look.

Perhaps it's also the breath that improved my urdhva dhanurasana. I'm very optimistic today, that I'll be able to come up one day. My practice was awesome today, really awesome. I sweated a lot. I did full vinyasa. I didn't forget to engage my muscles. So many yogis and yoginis showed up. This is so much energy. What a morning.
I will find a solution that I can go on with that luxury life style. I will!!!!!!!!!!!!

A hot bath shall relax my muscles now. The right leg is still not 100% OK.

Feel free to share your experiences with your breath. Comments are always welcomed.


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Have a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It belongs to yoga.....


It belongs to yoga....

1. It's healthy food. Yep. I never do a diet, a fast or a cleansing. I always get back to eat healthy food. Then it might take a bit longer till I have my favourite weight again, but it also lasts. Birthday parties, restaurant visits, monthly cycles are part of my life. What can I do? I don't want to live in the caves of the Himalaya. Yesterday I prepared a healthy salad for myself, something lively, something raw. Rooooaaaaaar.
My practices shall become easier again, they are easier with a bit less kilos on my ribs.

2. It's space clearing. Yoga as I do it now is time-consuming (90 min a day and commuting and bathing afterwards). I don't think that it is too much to move the body 90 min every day. Our modern life is unhealthy. We sit in chairs at desks often longer than 8 hours. Nevertheless this time for the body and the mind must be created. I work on it for years, it's an ongoing process. My life shall become easier, I need less stuff. This surely will help me not to have the feeling all the time that there is time pressue. Yesterday I threw away perhaps 20 pens. I didn't test if they still write or not. To have more than 100 pens is too much. Point. The video player that I haven't used in years is back at my parents home. Sigh. This space clearing process goes on today. New things shall happen in my life. I create the space first.

Primary today. I'll practice full vinyasa, I need strength.
In the "Yoga mala" by P. Jois is described what full vinyasa is. Thanks for buying via my blog.

A simple and healthy life, that's it. No, this is not boring.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too much partying.....


Oh, oh, not that I complain, not at all. It was an entertaining evening with E and his mother in this posh Chinese restaurant. Through our talks our relatives became lively again. The food was also interesting, so interesting that I cannot even describe what it was that I ate as a starter. It's for sure that there was ginger in it and carrots. As main course I had sweet potatoes with vegetables in coconut milk. Yepee, I still can eat with sticks.
I stop here, it's clear already. My practice will be difficult this morning. I go, yes I go. It's better to practice in a group. Oh, I just convinced myself to go to the beloved Mysore class. Simply doing it, shall be enough.

Soon my E will be on a business trip, then I can return to a more modest life, to bread and water and tomatoes. Hahahaha. Oh, I'm late already. I must move.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Second series, this was new to me......


This was new to me: When practicing second series, one can stop the standing sequence after utthita parsvottanasana. M told me this yesterday. This makes second series a bit shorter. I need 2 hours when I practice everything. Second series has 7 asanas more in the middle part than primary.

Yesterday I read what Matthew Sweeney wrote about it. He said the same, but recommended to do all the standing poses, because the next three standing asanas after utthita parsottanasana are demanding.

- In Mysore class class I prefer to have more energy for the demanding asanas of the middle part. I'll do the short version from now now.
- At home I'll go on as usual, as I mainly practice with the CD by Sharath. I won't switch it off in the middle of the standing asanas. At home I also don't wobble so much because I'm not surrounded by fellow yoginis who move. Then it's more fun to do all the balancing asanas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The new airport.....


The new airport was found quickly. Within 10 min more than 5 birds checked the new place, had some lunch there and flew away, only to return very soon. Or were these relatives who showed up? I wonder if these little birds have Internet access, so quickly the message was spread that a new restaurant at the airport has opened. Also black birds were seen. The party was soon in full swing.

In full swing was also the birthday party inside. My father celebrated. Everybody was happy. Much laughing and eating happened.

This morning I couldn't resist and I stepped on the scales. I haven't done this for a long time. I wasn't interested and I also know my weight when I touch my belly. The result didn't surprise me this morning. One meal followed the next at my parents home: first breakfast, then lunch, then coffee and cakes, then dinner. It was all so delicious. I got seduced.
Back to tomatoes and apples now. Those who want to be slim must start loving tomatoes.
Oh my pashasana will be difficult today. So good that I have the time to move my body.
The attitude "it's all doable and pure joy" will help me and bring me through the second series at the Mysore class.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ashtanga yoga has six series


The first three series can be seen online on the pages of Arjuna.

The fourth series (and the first three of course, too) can be seen in the book by Matthew Sweeney "Ashtanga yoga as it is".

The fifth and sixth series can be seen here.
Quentin, a 61 year old very committed Ashtanga practitioner sent me this link. Thank you.


Picture: The last asana of the closing sequence. Then relaxation follows. Done.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Primary - foot postion


The wall or a block can help to get a feeling of the correct foot position in the asanas of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. Often the foot of the stretched leg tends to move outwards or the toes point forward.  When the stretched leg is engaged it's easier to keep the foot in the upright position.

There are so many forward bending asanas that it's worth to take care of this "detail".

Equally important are the shoulders. They are supposed to be parallel.

There are no special hand positions. One hand holds the wrist of the other. The fingers touch each other, also the thumb. The hand is straight and in one line with the arm.

I think the chin is supposed to be on the shin. More is not yet possible for me. I'm glad that I can move my body forward so far. I remember a time when I was already happy when my arms could bind.

Dristi is the foot. To look forward with a relaxed front shall be OK. Once a reader commented that it's not necessary to see the foot, but to look in that direction. This makes sense for me. (Again I learn from my picture, I cannot see that I look forward, mmhhhhhh).

It's Saturday, but I want to practice today and might it be for half an hour. We drive to my parents today and this means we'll enjoy very good food. Very quickly it's a bit too much. Hahahaha. So, I think to move my body also on Saturday is not such a bad idea. On Sunday I won't have time to practice.


One of my favourite Ashtanga books:














In the book pictures of 4 series can be seen. Ashtanga yoga has 6 series. Does anybody know where I could see the other series? I'm simply curious.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water




Water
Sweat
tears
rain
waterfalls
"Bottled water, please."
sauna
...buh, and now a hot bath with sandal wood salt
Espresso with a glass of water
fountains
with gaz
soft water
hard water
salty water
rivers, lakes, the sea
still water with a slice of citron
the body
water cut
swimming pool
watering flowers and trees
to live from water and bread
it's diluted
drinking water
water games
being thirsty
cleaning the floors with water
washing clothes
hot sources
snow
ice
ice-skating
swimming

singing in the rain
desert
under water therapy
showering
splish splash
Water

Thank you

Clean water for everybody!





(Picture: a rainy day in Mumbai, India, Sept 2009)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The body.....


I had an excellent second series yesterday. Nevertheless I will practice primary today.
*I usually add a few asanas of the second series like eka pada sirsasana (before supta kurmasana).
*And I add pincha mayurasana before sirsasana.
*Side split is also an asana that I add.

I will also practice full vinyasa, because it feels good.

It feels so good to have a strong and flexible body. Yesterday I was downtown. All the people had to take some steps because the escalator was out of order. I liked to take the steps. I see how people crawl up the steps. A step is not an effort for me. I feel strong. My body can also move freely, because my body is flexible. This gives me a feeling of liberty. I like to move.
My body is not a burden, but a source of pleasure.
Let's move.

Time to practice: I'll start again with the CD by Sharath. That way it's easier for me to start.

Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog. It's always a joy for me to see when I sold something.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time and Ashtanga yoga


We all have the same amount of time available. Nobody gets an hour more or less, also not the holy ones among us, neither the hypocrites.

I got up at 7am this morning. I remember a time when I got up at 6am. Now it's 7am. At 8:30 I will leave my cosy home. Till then I have updated my blog, I have checked Emails and what my fb-friends and twitter-people have done over the night. I have showered, had my coffee and a little breakfast. I write my private journal often later nowadays. It's often the afternoon.

A bit after 9am I start my yoga practice 3 times a week. I have the opportunity (so thankful for this) to go to a Mysore class. I need 90 min minimum for my practice. Also when we yoginis don't go for lunch together afterwards, I'm usually at home after 12. Hungry and tired I'm by then. I have to do grocery shopping and I have to eat. Often I buy a sandwich for myself, sometimes I have lunch outside, sometimes I prepare something for myself. I have to eat, I cannot omit this. Time flies, time flies. I'm alwys shocked when I look at my watch. What have I done so far, I wonder. Not much is often the answer that I have to give myself.

Sometimes I am tired after the yoga practice and the lunch, then I take a nap. No chores are done so far.
I'm up at 3am again, when I nap. I sleep very deeply. I need some time to arrive mentally on this earth.

Then I could start being prolific. 4 hours are left till E will come home. I'm glad now to see that I have at least 4 hours. I have always the feeling that I do not have time at all. Nevertheless I want to have 6 hours.

I wondered if Ashtanga yoga is too time-consuming. I don't think that it is too time-consuming to do a good work-out 90 min every day. Cummuting time must be added. Yes. When I practice at home I usually need some time till I'm on my mat. This is part of it.

Oh, oh, when I worked for companies. I got up at 5am in order to have time for a yoga practice before work. It was never 90 min. It was perhaps 1 hour that I was on my mat. I omitted asanas, vinyasas, but I practiced. I had no commuting time, but of course less intensive practices, because I was alone always.

To get back to the habit to get up at 6 could be a good idea. At 12 my "spiritual" practices should be finished. I so don't want to give up my current life style. Something must happen. Time is precious.

Time to shower, time to wake up E, time to move on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Becoming essential


To enjoy the weather, that's it. It's a wonderful autumn here. One day is more beautiful than the other day. It's cold and sunny here, simply perfect.

I'm busy decluttering. Stuff is coming in, it also has to go. Life must become easier. What I do not use must go. This morning it was a lipstick that had to go. A good start. I hope that E allows me to throw away this orange soccer ball without air. The skier have to go, too. I never used them and it's likely that I won't use them in the future. I like to walk, I like to do Ashtanga yoga, I like to sweat in the sauna, but I won't walk on skiers. I even like to go by bicycle. I must be consequent.

A year is over now. A wonderful year. I only did what I wanted to do. Hahaha, it's even true. Now I become nervous. Money must come in again. I've not earned 100 USD so far in one year. No lack was felt. But now I'm getting nervous. Very nervous. This gives me energy.
I know that it is always good to create a vacuum. I need clarity. My decluttering activities make sense.

Yesterday I went to the steps in front of the Glypthotek. Many people were sitting there, mainly students. A man was playing his guitar. Some were playing with their mobile phones. The sun warmed my face, I leaned my head against the step behind me. Thoughts came up. These are nothing nothing but thoughts, I thought. Thoughts are thoughts and not the truth. Knowing this, is such a relief. Everything will happen, I don't have to do anything. Stress is not necessary.
Ah, it's not easy to think this in a convincing way.


I will practice in the afternoon second series. Ashtanga yoga IS time-consuming. It's for my health and my beauty. But it is so time-consuming. As I do it now, it's a life-style. How long can I afford to spend so much time with it. Or is it, that I cannot afford not to do it?


Currently reading a book by Mike Nelson.

There is a blog action day: See ad on the right side of this blog. On Friday bloggers write about water. Every blogger can participate. Last year more than 13 606 participated.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday


It's better to have a lousy practice than no practice at all.
It's better to jot down some sentences even though there is not much to say than writing not at all.

It is Monday today also for yoginis. Between my led class yesterday in the evening and the morning Mysore class today is only the night. This is perhaps a bit short for the body to recover. I felt stiff today. Second series is also so much more demanding.
When it's difficult to move I change my approach. Instead of trying to improve a pose, I'm simply happy when I do it. I focus even more on my breath. I stop judging. Sometimes this is better than to have any intentions. Only when I do urdhva dhanurasana all my available energy is used to do it.

When I arrived at home I felt like taking a nap. I couldn't resist and I slept, it was the sleep of an exhausting body. And I so want to feel refreshed after my practices, but I often feel like sleeping. The savasana pose shall refresh the body after a yoga practice I read in the book by B.K.S. Iyengar. I seldom feel refreshed, I often feel like sleeping.

To practice a few asanas in the evening in addition to the morning practice is still in my mind. Perhaps it happens today. Practicing a few asanas, pranayama and 10 min meditation is my idea. This would be a nice evening routine.

Picture is taken in the English Garden in Munich. It's a most beautiful autumn here, cold and sunny.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Led class this evening


My yoga week has begun. It started with a led class this evening.

Focus was the breath and the other yoginis (just a little joke). Focus was the breath of course.
- Inhaling is as long as exhaling.
- The breath initiates the next movement.
- There is this little pause between inhaling and exhaling.
- I also try to prolong the inhaling. Much deeper inhaling is possible than I thought. A deep breath is necessary to come up from urdhva dhanurasa.
- To have a long deep inhaling is in some asanas easier in other asanas more demanding. The challenge is to inhale also deeply when the upper body is twisted or when the upper body is bent backwards. I have still potential to make the breath longer. I'm working on prolonging the breath. This will probably make my practice longer. Good that I have time. What a luxury.

My body is prepared for second series tomorrow morning.

Picture: This afternoon we were in front of the Glypthotek again to enjoy the sun. Music was there and we watched the runners (marathon). It's amazing how many people even older than me do marathon.
I'm happy with my Ashtanga yoga, very happy. Each year that I practice it, I like it more.

Have a relaxed evening. Peace out for today.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A day off?


Oh, I have a lot of plans.
The mind is fast and jumps from one action to the other.
The body is slower and hesitant.
It's already afternoon.
And soon it will be late afternoon and then evening. I know already how fast this can go.

We took a taxi to get home yesterday from the Italian restaurant. What a glorious decision.
It's amazing what a bath with Jasmine salt can do. It relaxed every cell of my body this morning. It rebuilt me.

To stroll around is what we will do this afternoon. The English garden is waiting for us with all these orange, red and green leaves that can be seen during autumn.
Fresh air for my lungs - what a gift for a breathing junkie like me.

And this evening I will say again. Nothing was done, but I had a fantastic day.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Inhaling......


Today I got so important feed-back by M. It will help me a lot. It's about the breathing, mainly inhaling. When the body is in a relaxed position, it's relatively easy to breathe deeply. When pressure is on the body mainly on the chest as it is in many asanas (back bending asanas i.e.), deep  inhaling can become a challenge. A deep breath is always a support. I'm working now on my inhaling (deep and even) when I'm in a back bending position. I try to prolong it (counting till 7, so far I count till 5). It means that I have to start slower with the inhaling. I already realized that  the breath becomes softer then. It's difficult. It will take some time.....

Perhaps I have time to take some pictures of the exercises that I will do.
Time for pranayama has come.
This shall help me to come up from urdhva dhanurasana.

The breath is the secret.

PS: It's weekend. I saw the movie "Social network". It's worth seeing it.

Pranayama:

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Baddha konasana A, B and C


Dark, dark, dark as always. Watching me practicing baddha konasana A, B and C was a wish of a subscriber of my modest videos. So, hahahaha, here it is.

I comment (the perfectionist in me is already awake):
- What can be seen is full vinyasa (for the readers, who ask here and then what it is. I start an asana in samasthithi and I return to this pose.
- upward dog:  The distance between upper leg and floor could be larger. This happens when the legs are engaged, when the entire body is strong.
- downdog: when the back and the shoulders becomes more flexible there is the tendency that the back is no more straight (as it is supposed to be), but it is arched. This can be seen in this video, too.
- jumping forward: My feet still touch the floor. Important is that the toes point forward and not sidewards. I have still potential to jump higher and balance when up. I won't fall, I can clearly see this. Then I will have more time to bring the crossed legs closer to the body. Next time I will check if I breathe correctly and if I engage the bandhas (mula bandha and uddyjana bandha).
- jumping backward: It was neglected by me (too difficult). Lately I saw a video by Kino MacGregor. This motivated me to give more attention to the jump back. With an inhaling I lift the body up. Strength is needed to do this, I know, I need even more strength. With the next exhaling I swing my legs through my arms. What is new is that the ball of my one leg is touching the floor and no more the side of the foot. This forces me to bring my crossed legs closer to the body and this creates more room to the floor. This space is needed in order to stretch the legs back. This jumping through will surely be a focus today, too.
baddha konasana A, B and C is not such a problem for me. The chin touches the floor in baddha konasana A even though this cannot be seen due to the darkness. I still see a lot of additional movements that are not really necessary to perform the asanas, like adjusting my hair. Yeah. Whatever, Asthanga yoga is energy work and I think we learn to focus this energy and not to waste it. This is why I mention it here.
- The arms are close to the body when in the poses and not somewhere on the legs. I discovered this lately when I saw pictures of advanced yoginis.
- The movement is supposed to be even (not fast or slow and the beginning or the end of a movement).

I'm not unhappy with the performance of these poses, not at all. A pose can always be improved. And yes, I also work on the details.  

To jump forward and backward shall be my focus today. I so want to be able to do it.
Time to practice.

Important addition: I just watched some videos. Then I checked the book by Matthew Sweeney "Ashtanga yoga as it is". One does not come up after baddha konasana A like in my video. With an exhaling one goes direct into baddha konasana B. In the book by Sweeney is said that baddha konasana B is optional.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mukta hasta sirsasana B


The second headstand of the second series can be seen in this little YouTube video. Dark, dark, yes, I know. Two days ago I learned it and I could do it a once. It was exciting to try it, for sure. I could convince myself to do it. These headstands are rather fast to learn. So far I was introduced to three of them. Some are more challenging.

The toes: They don't like it so much, but no harm is done to them. Janu sirsasana C has prepared them. My toes are flexible.

I have to clear if I have to stretch the arms or if they shall be bowed when my toes are on the floor.

Amazing is that I have more time than I thought. To get from sirsasana to chaturanga dandasana takes some time. The long way down can be experienced consciously.

The headstands are balancing exercises. It is also an exercise to show me how courageous I am.
I'm not greedy to learn them all today. I know I will practice them all, I'm not in a hurry anymore.

Today I'll go to a Mysore class again. I'm enjoying my luxurious life for the time being. I have time as much as I want for my yoga practice. This is so  good.

Gregor Maehle:

Gregor has written a book full of information. Each pose can be seen in a picture. It's very helpful for yoginis/yogis who are also autodidacts. Thank you for buying via my blog.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Headstand



Thank you for your comment, Denise. I fear my answer would be too long, so I make a post out of it.

Headstands: The first headstand appears in the closing sequence in the Asthanga series. It is held for 25 breaths according to the book by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois (and Lino Miele) "Astanga Yoga". In the earlier years it was held up to 1 hour by one yogini. I have this information from the book Guruji. You can get it, click on the link.


Is doing headstand dangerous? Can I injure myself (mainly the neck)? I cannot imagine.
Please have a look at the picture above. Sharath is the model.
- In the left picture you see that more or less the front is touching the floor. This is btw a trick to get into this pose and to hold it more easily. It can also take away the fear to try headstand. With the front on the floor  it is almost impossible to fall backwards (just thinking of Debra). More important is that the weight is on the arms and not on the head.
- Sharath even lifts the head, see right picture. Then there is no pressure at all on the neck. This requires  more strength.
When I do headstand the main weight is on the arms, not on the head. The head is touching the floor, that's it. Lately I tried to lift the head, which is a challenge.

I'm 51 and I intend to do headstand till 90 or so.

Fear: Here and then we are confronted with our fears when practicing Ashtanga yoga: we fear to fall, we fear to break our bones, we fear to get injured and what ever. This is often rather unlikely. Also when we fall it needn't mean that we get injured. To face the fear and to overcome it is in my opinion part of the practice. It helps us to grow, to become courageous. I know  fear as well when I practice. It's now no more the fear to do headstand, but other poses cause fear. Urdhva dhanurasana is a classic fear pose, at least to drop back from standing position.
Respect your fear. Don't let your fearful thoughts decide what to do and what not to do. Get information, try to perform the asanas safely. Practice, approach the fearful pose step by step, and headstand (like most other poses) is doable at (almost) every age.

When doing Ashtanga yoga we are confronted with our personalities. Some have more fears, some less.

I asked my bf if he has ever experienced fear when he was playing soccer. I mean there are so many injuries that happen when even young people play soccer. He never felt fear. Fear has not always something to do with reality. Oh my and yesterday I read that our Mr Schweinsteiger is injured and that he won't be able to play the next times.

The headstands of the second series are held only for 5 breaths. I asked M, my yoga teacher if they are dangerous. He emphasized that they are held for 5 breaths only. The weight is only for a fracture of a second  on the head alone. We use a blanket under the head and this gives stability. It's always a personal decision if one wants to do it or not. I want it.

PS: I once got a bruise on my upper leg, because I fell against the wall. My yoga room is rather small. I survived. I was a bit shocked, that was it.

Your experiences re headstands are surely appreciated. Please comment.

Monday, October 04, 2010

"Headstands are easy."


"Headstands are easy," yogi M told me the last time after the Mysore class. That's good, I thought, if M thinks they are easy, they must be easy. This approach helped me today to have the courage to do at least 3 of the headstands of the second series: mukta hasta sirsasana A and B and baddha hasta sirsasana B.

The challenge is to go out of these positions: I had to go from mukta hasta sirsasana B to A and then direct into chaturanga dandasana. This means that I stand on my head only for a fracture of a second. M recommended to put a blanket under my head because of this. It helps to make it all a bit softer.  The headstands aren't easy. I have to bring the hands in the correct position (mukta hasta sirsasana A) very very fast.
Strength in the arms can always compensate lack of balance when doing headstands. I work on both. Oh, I felt challenged this morning. Most interesting was how my first approach "headstands are easy" helped me to do it. Yes, these headstands are doable (but not easy). Best is to think they are easy, this makes them easier.
Thursday I want to film a bit again........I want to see myself doing them.

Ashtanga yoga as it is:

Ashtanga yoga and its potential


Ashtanga yoga can have the potential to influence also other parts of our lives, but doing body exercises.
The last days I ate healthy food, means fresh food, vegetables, fruit. I drank water. My body felt excellent this morning.
Healthy food has not only a positive influence on my weight, it influences my joints, my energy level, my muscles, my mood.
My practices become easier. Despite a break of 2 days my body felt flexible this morning in the Mysore class.

I'm very motivated to prepare something for dinner more often than I did in the past. Restaurant visits are very nice, too, Healthier it is to eat at home. As beverage I recommend water. Oh, how sophisticated.

Healthy at 100:

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It's time to bend....


2 days in a row I didn't practice. It was relaxing. Yesterday I stretched myself a bit in front of the TV. Usually I sit on the floor when I watch TV, so it's easy to stretch forward into paschimottanasana and other forward bending asanas. Lotus pose can be done easily as well. Yeah, but this is not a decent yoga practice. This does not count.

I'm curious how my body will feel today. Second series is on the schedule.

Yesterday the weather was so good, so sunny and warm. I wanted to go out as soon as possible. E and me went to the Nymphenburger Schlosspark. One practice a day shall be enough I thought. Then I missed the led class in the evening. I thought it would start at 5pm, but it is 4pm. This tells me that I must improve my organizational skills. Important.
It's over. Today is a new day.

Picture is taken in the Nymphenburger Schlosspark in Munich. It's a place that I like a lot.

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Sunday, October 03, 2010

It's twelve breaths in one minute


I counted the number of breaths (inhaling-exhaling equals one breath) that I do in a minute.
(Ram wanted to know this.)
I remember that I've counted my number of breaths years ago and I found out that I needed 15 breaths in a min. This morning I counted 12 breaths. It's possible that my breaths became deeper over the year.
- Perhaps it's a few less breaths because I was sitting in a calm position, it was half an hour after I left my bed. 
- After an exhausting practice it's likely that my body needs more than only 12 breaths in a min.
Nevertheless I think it can be an orientation.

Two minutes headstand is recommended as the minimum time. It's possible to set a timer, it's also possible to count. I'm quickly bored when I'm in sirsasana. To count the breaths helps me to stay in this position. It's sort of concentration exercise. I have the feeling that my breaths are shorter when I'm upside down. But I'll test this the next time.

How often do you breathe in a minute?

Pranayama:

Friday, October 01, 2010

Full vinyasa also in Mysore classes.....



Mysore class this morning: I suggested that I'd do full vinyasas when I practice primary. M was open to it. And it's true, he also had suggested this to me when I started learning second series. It simply feels better to start again and again from samasthiti and I need strength. Why not take advantage from the energy of the group and to practice a bit more difficult variations of the series. So, my practice was rather intensive this morning.
The jumping forward and backwards didn't convince me. I need a mat that allows me to slide a bit, mine stops me.
How I appreciate the adjustments in urdhva dhanurasana: Time will come and I stand up, alone.

Next Monday I'll learn the headstands of the second series:
I'm already learning the sanskrit names:
- Mukta hasta sirsasana A, B and C
- Baddha hasta sirsasana A, B and C

To learn the sanskrit names of these asanas by heart is an exercise of the mind.
When I practice these headstands, I'm through second series. Then I can practice all the asanas of this series.
Staying positive and optimistic that the asans are doable is another exercise of the mind.

Time to move on. It's late again. To get organized is a topic for the rest of the year.

Matthew Sweeney:

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