Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter


Picture: My view this morning when I looked out of the balcony doors. Winter is here.

The consequences:
- Busses and tram were too late this morning. It took me much longer till I arrived at the Mysore class. When I entered the hall, I heard my fellow yoginis already chanting the opening prayer.
- Quickly I went to the changing room. My body was cold till the bones. I had no feeling in my body, legs remained cold much too long. I know I have to put on much more clothes when I don't want to feel so cold so long.

Not only the weather, also that I haven't moved much yesterday made my practice stiff. I sat in restaurants, in the car and in the plane yesterday. This was it. Yeah, I could take my legs behind the head. That's not the point. The body was reluctant, rusty. It didn't feel good today, whatever I exercised. M realized this. This is what makes him to an excellent teacher. He feels in what state the bodies are. Only twice he adjusted me in urdhva dhanuasana, no handstand today and dropping from handstand into urdhva dhanurasana. I was relieved. I had reached my limits today, but they were modest.
I stepped on the scales this morning. I thought I had lost weight, but this was not the case. So this in addition didn't help me to be like a flexible swan.

So many reasons I've found why I wasn't flexible, strong and focused today. This consoles. I'm convinced, these ups and downs are part of the practice. They help me to adjust my life style again and again.

Back to an ascetic life NOW.

A book recommendation: "The collector" bye John Fowles:

Thank you for buying your Christmas presents via my blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nice


Yeah, I want to come back, it's nice in Nice..........

Nice again


The sea is good for me. France in general is good for me......:)

Nice in winter time


Nice in winter time is much warmer than Munich. When I arrived here at the airport I opened my eyes when I saw that snow came down.
Now I sit here in a cosy home. How nice.
The France trip is over.
The suitcase is still open and full of stuff that I needed. Tomorrow daily life is back and by then my suitcase will be unpacked, too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

..and because ships are always beautiful.....



Antibes, Cote d'Azur.

Un restaurant en France, Antibes





A relaxing day in Valbonne


We were the last who went down for breakfast this morning. This is not something special, we are always among the late ones. I enjoyed a tiny croissant, a tiny pain au chocolat and a tiny pain au raisin with black coffee. The hotel is deserted at that time of the year. A few business people are here, but they had left the hotel earlier in the morning.

It's even here in the south of France a bit fresh. Later the slight rain became snow. This happens every 10 years.

Lunch: The tagliatelle with ratatouille was hot and we enjoyed a red wine to it, like everybody in that restaurant close to the market. The French people sit close together, there is not much room. You feel it, to eat is important here. How the meals are offered, how the waiters take care of you, how the bottle of wine is opened and how they perform the tasting ritual, every gestures tells: this is a ceremony, enjoy.

We relaxed. In the afternoon I even napped. It can be that I will stretch my body a bit on my mat. I'm not sure.

Tomorrow we'll drive to Nice, it's my last day here. I'm looking forward to walk up and down the promenade there. A last meal will finish my stay here.

The poll


Here the result of the poll:

I just started, it's my first year. 44 (27%)
Between 2 and 5 years.           53 (33%)
Between 6 and 10 years.         28 (17%)
More than 10 years.                10 (6%)
I practice another yoga style mainly. 31 (19%)
I don't practice yoga, but I like your blog. 5 (3%)


Thank you very much for having voted. The poll that I had uploaded during the last week showed interesting results. It was perhaps predictable that most of my readers practice up to 5 years. This is also how it is in classes. I'm also glad to have readers who practice longer than 10 years.
I am amazed that so many practice another yoga style and not Ashtanga yoga.
Oh and some do not practice yoga at all.

The result of this poll gives me hints how to write:
1. The basics of Ashtanga yoga remain interesting.
2. It makes sense to link when I use a sanskrit name of an asana.
3. It doesn't matter when I publish posts that are not yoga related.

Picture is taken in Antibes.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Antibes


Some places on this earth are so beautiful, they invite me to return again and again. The south of France is such a place. Of course I enjoy observing the French life style.

Unpredictable


When we returned from our trip to Antibes, we turned on the heater. Also in the south of France it's cold now. Having space and time and a warm room invited me to practice. It was already evening, lunch was digested and so I stepped on the mat.

It's Friday today and this is the day where I practice primary. How can my body become so rusty in such a short time? My body felt not only stiff, but weak, too. After navasana I gave up to do full vinyasa. I know very well that a lousy practice is better than no practice at all. I had to vex myself through this primary. Very sloppy I performed the asanas, more was not possible.

It's done. Yeahhhh, yepeeeee. To go through all the asanas when the body is strong and flexible is a piece of cake to practice, but to do it when it's difficult is really good.

So tomorrow is my day off. It would be better to take a day off on Sunday as I will probably have no time to practice on Sunday, the day of my return to Munich. I shall see what will happen. This is not my issue now, really not.

Still in France


I cannot preach wine and I drink water, I thought yesterday. It was evening when I stepped on my mat. A few sun salutation can be enough from time to time. So often I'v written it, sometimes I must listen to my own words. Only to start was difficult. As soon as I had started I wanted to go on. A most intensive primary happened. I omitted a few asanas at the end (but not urdhva dhanurasana), because E was already waiting for me. We wanted to have a last glass of wine at the reception. It's a nice atmosphere downstairs at night. Comfortable chairs and sofas are there, other hotel guests usually sit there,too and discuss the next day. The majority are men and on a business trip.

Also today the sun is shining. We'll drive to Antibes with our rental car. It's also a most beautiful little village with a lot of tiny shops with delicatesses. One restaurant is next to the other. There is also a market.

Time to move on.........

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wild


Round the corner of this wild place in Trans in France was a cave and there was a restaurant. It's closed now. We wanted to eat there tomorrow. Nothing is forever. We'll discover something new.

A fence


Another picture I cannot resist to publish.....:)

The beach


La plage: It's deserted at that time of the year.

The sea


It was fresh at the coast, only few people walked around. An old couple was sleeping on a bench which entertained us as it was really fresh. They must have been very tired.

On mange en France, bien sur


Yes, it was a vegetarian meal, but not vegan: pasta with ratatouille, red wine and a mousse au chocolat as dessert.

Mais oui, je parle un peu francais.

Downtown Valbonne


We strolled around this afternoon. Valbonne is an old but well-groomed little village. In summer time not so many tourists are here, locals populate the restaurants.

French country style hotel


It's the third time that we are here in that hotel in the south of France, in Valbonne.

In Valbonne


A shuttle took us from the airport building to the plane. I had the smell of garlic in my nose. This told me that we are on our way to France. We landed in Nice that evening, picked up our rental car and drove to Valbonne.
In the lobby of this very well-groomed sweet hotel were some people sitting, having a drink. A sofa was still empty. There we sat half an hour later, celebrating our arrival with a glass of red wine.

I slept well as expected. Pain au chocolat and a black coffee will make my arrival here in the South of France to a very sweet one.

Oh, I'm in a hurry now. Breakfast.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Travelling and practicing


There are many reasons why it is useful to cultivate a solid home practice or self-practice. Travelling is one reason. I do not have to interrupt my practice during travelling when I've learned how to start and how to practice. It is especially much fun to practice at new places.

This evening we'll travel to the South of France, Nice. We have booked a nice hotel room in Valbonne. It's not at the coast, it's a bit inside the country, a most beautiful little village. We've been there already twice. I know what I'm looking forward to: French luxury, French way of living.

My yoga mat, my camera, my PC travel with me.

So, and now I'm in a hurry already. So glad that I have still time to go to a Mysore class: second series today.

If it's more comfortable to you, you can join me on facebook or twitter. Links are found on the right side of this blog.

Picture: Marichyasana B. The right food is not parallel, I was in a hurry, hahahaha, details are important, but sometimes I don't care obviously.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On learning


2 quotes in the beginning before I start with my own Tuesday morning ramblings. Shall the masters speak first.

"Practice and all is coming."  P. Jois
"There is no ceiling to the knowledge available unless we choose to seal our mind from learning." David Swenson in "Ashtanga yoga" (page 129)

Davis's sentence was written in the chapter where he introduced the second series and where he gave tips when to start with it. Not to leave you in the dark, he thinks the yogi/yogini should be able to practice primary without looking into books in order to check which asana comes next. before starting second series. And he/she should be able to practice primary without needing breaks.
When to start second series is not the topic here.

I wanted to write about learning.
1. To practice is so very important, without practice nothing will happen.
2. But in order to improve a practice, we also must learn how to improve our practice. It's possible to maintain a sloppy practice over years. It's possible to perform asanas the wrong way over years.
- A good teacher can help to improve the practice. But we must also be open to the feed-back.
- If there is no teacher available, or if classes are too crowded, so that feed-back is very seldom, we must study ourselves and be critical towards ourselves.
Self-studying can happen in many ways:
1. Important is to observe oneself, being conscious during the practice. Critical mind is needed.
2. Reading relevant books is a possibility.
3. Taking pictures of asanas and comparing these pictures with asanas performed by people who study much longer than we, can help.
4. Youtube also gives a lot of inspiration.
5. Seeing the mistakes of others can give us hints how to improve our own practice. Often we do the same mistakes. Hahahaha.

In my case, I could improve my practice in the last year due to excellent teacher M and my daily practice (3 times Mysore class, 3 times home practice most of the time).
Having a good teacher is the golden way, the fast way to get better.
But yogis/yoginis can make the best out of every situation.

What is true for practicing yoga is also true for writing. In fact today's topic came up while I read an article on writing. Often the tip is given: write, write, write. But this is not enough. In order to write well, it's necessary to know grammar, spelling to name the basic tools. It's also necessary to learn how to write so that the reader gets curious and remains on the side. The next blog is a click away only.
An exciting beginning is necessary, I read.  An interesting end is evenly important . A good end in a blog post can be a question, a request. Here it is:

What's your favourite learning method? What helps you most in improving your practice? Your teacher, filming yourself, observing yourself, reading, going to workshops, seeing the mistakes of others?

Picture: paschimottanasana. My paschimottanasana looks more modest these days. I learned that it is important to have active legs, a straight back, engaged bandhas. The shoulders move back and not forward to the feet. The feet are like in standing position and don't drift outwards. The elbows point outwards, too. Not important is to bring the head to the legs if the price is to round the back or to bend the knees. See my personal paschimottanasana history. The longer I practice the more modest this pose looks like, but I think my understanding of this asana has improved these days.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Strategies for some asanas


Pashasana: I'm happy that I can hook the fingers when I twist into this pose. It needn't to be the wrist that I hold. But I'd like to have the feet on the floor without the blanket under my heels. The ankle between upper feet and shin bones must become smaller.
My strategy: I'll make downward facing dog a bit larger.

Krounchasana: One day the shin shall touch the leg that points to the sky.
My strategy: I'll hold this pose a bit longer. Positive thoughts will accompany this pose. One day this shall be possible.

Laghu vajrasana: To come up is the challenge.
My strategy: I really remember to have active legs during my practice. This pose needs strong legs. To repeat it twice at least is a good idea. Not to stay in that pose, but to come up as soon as the head has touched the floor can be a good idea, too.

Repetition, staying longer in certain poses, remaining optimistic are the strategies that always help to improve a pose.


A kindle can be a good Christmas present. Thanks for buying it via my blog.














Picture: Munich on a Sunday morning

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yoginis and art


This picture is painted by Bettina Anner.
It's so beautiful that I wanted to share it here in my blog.
I shall add that she was "inspired by suzi Blu". This is done herewith.

Again I'm amazed how many yoginis are true artists.
Happy Sunday to everybody.

Have I ever thought to give it up during the last 8 years?


It???
My Ashtanga yoga practice.
Have I ever thought to give up my Ashtanga yoga practice? Not seriously.

Oh yes, there are these days where I want to stay in bed for the rest of my life, doing nothing else but reading one exciting novel after the other. Even lunch and dinner can take place in bed on these days. My window sill can serve as a table. Then I have enough from all the running around and activities I think I have to do. But these days do not happen so often.
Usually I like to get up when I'm well-rested and I love to be active.

Why have I not pondered seriously to give up this exhausting Ashtanga yoga practice?
Because I think there is no alternative to move. We have to move to feel good.

A negative approach:
Not in a month or so, but soon my body would become weaker again when I do nothing else but sitting at my desk. This has consequences for my daily life. It will soon become an effort to take the steps in the underground. I will get (even more) lazier to do all the chores that have to be done. Doing grocery shopping will become an effort.
I will become stiffer, which will have also consequences for my daily life. It will become difficult to turn around when driving a car to check if another car is passing by. I know a lot of people who have difficulties to put on their socks. Older people often have fear that they cannot stand up anymore when they fall.
But this is so because they do not exercise.

Danny Paradise once said in a workshop that we believe that life aggravates with age. This has not to be so. We can get older and we can stay fit but we have to do something. Practicing Ashtanga yoga is a possibility to stay fit.

A positive approach:
My Ashtanga practice enriches my life in many ways.
- The obvious result is that I got strong and flexible. It's fun to sit in lotus pose and to do all these wonderful crazy asanas.
- I got to know so many nice people via that activity and this around the globe.  The Ashtanga community is a community of interesting individuals, who like to share pics, videos, blogs.
- Whereever I am when I travel I can go to a studio and practice there.
- I always feel good after my practice. After Mysore classes I often have to smile so happily when I walk to the S-Bahn, that people turn their heads looking at me. They probably think I'm fallen in love and I am fallen in love - I'm in love with my Ashtanga yoga practice.

There is no alternative to move: My body needs it. I don't want that my life aggravates, but I also don't want to miss this daily joy that brings my practice into my life.

It needn't to be Ashtanga yoga. Why I love Ashtanga yoga is worth to write in my next post.

Picture: Dandasana.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why daily?


Why daily?
Because it's easier to practice daily than here and then.

Sometimes I'm admired that I practice daily. I swear you it's so much easier daily than to practice not daily.

- To practice once in a week is in my opinion rather frustrating. Progress is slow, or scarcely seen. Every week it's a struggle. The danger to get injured is high. Ashtanga yoga is a challenging practice, it requires more practice.

- It's all examined nowadays, tested, compared. If one wants to learn anything 3 times a week minimum must be invested in this sports, language or other skill or knowledge. Then progress can be seen. Here it starts to be an interest, a hobby. It can be the beginning of a passion. It's still yeah moderate.

- When I started a daily practice I knew: Ashtanga yoga is for me. As soon as it is a habit to step daily on the mat it's easier to do this. A habit is built, I've learned when you do something 30 days in a row. This might be the difficult phase. Afterwards it's easier, never a piece of cake.

The advantages of a daily practice are:
1. I get up every day at the same time. I wake up alone, the body is used to it.
2. I don't have these inner discussion: Shall I practice today, or better tomorrow? Today I'm busy, moody. These self-talks can last so long that the time that was reserved for the practice  is over. Today I might be tired, but tomorrow the situation has not changed. The discussion can begin again. When I have scheduled a daily practice I avoid these redundant self-talk. This does not mean that every practice is as intensive as we wish it were. Sometimes sun salutations might happen, nothing else. This is good, too. Sun salutations are wonderful movements. The psychological factors are very important, too. I sticked to a routine, that I wanted to do.
3. To practice Ashtanga yoga on a daily basis avoids injuries. Ashtanga yoga is the most intensive yoga practice I saw on the market. Even in first series we put the legs behind the head in supta kurmasana. Nobody does this in daily life. It's demanding. To be able to do this one has to practice daily for years often. Surely there are these young talented people who see this pose and can do it. But this is not true for the average Ashtanga practitioner.

On the picture is krounchasana. The chin shall move to the shin finally. The leg is supposed to be stretched. One could think that if one is able to reach the leg with the head when practicing tirieng mukha eka pada paschimottanasana,  this pose should be possible, too. This is not the case. Hahahaha. Yep, this krounchasana is also a pose, I'd say, it's work on progress. Attention: construction ahead. It requires a lot of practice.

Kindle:  Sooner or later we all have such a kindle. It's a perfect Christmas present. It saves place. Books are usually cheaper when you buy them for your kindle. It's also possible to underline important sentences. Thank you for buying your kindle via my blog.

PS: What "daily" means differs: Usually it's 6 days a week with a day off. Some Ashtangis have additional days off because they do not practice on full moons and half moons. Then there are the "ladies holidays".

For me daily means 6 days a week. I don't care so much about the moon. But yeah, sometimes the Gods don't want me to practice, then it's less. Accept what is, I think then, and I practice detachement, being cool.

The day off usually is very supportive. The body can relax, also the mind feels refreshed after a day off once in a week.

Friday, November 19, 2010

First help - how to start practicing at home


This post is for Francisca (and for all those who like to practice at home and don't know how to start):

Dear Francisca,
On my way home from grocery shopping I had a few ideas how you can start easily with a home practice:

1. Go to bed at a decent time, so that you have 7 or 8 hours sleep.
2. Get up in the morning so that you have enough time for a practice. 30 min can be enough in the beginning, but make sure that you get up every morning at the same time.

3. I read on twitter that a yogini is sleeping in her yoga clothes to make it easier to get on the mat the next morning, perhaps this is something for you. You can also roll your mat on the floor so that everything is ready for your practice the next morining.
4. Get up, drink something and get into the habit to empty your bowel before you step on the mat.

5. Plan to do 5 sun salutations A and 3 sun salutations B and a closing sequence. Relax 5 min minimum afterwards. When you get into the mood to do more, go ahead, but start modest. Remember: It's important to focus on the breath. More important than a long exhausting practice is to start a daily habit that seems doable.
6. If you can "only" sit on your mat, then sit and observe your breath. This counts as a practice, too. But be on your mat for the planned time. Don't discuss with yourself in the morning if you practice or not.
7. Buy yourself a journal or start blogging. Your writing needn't to be public. Plan time to write in your journal/blog afterwards. To write about my yoga practice supports me immensely. Write what you have done. Write what for a great yogini you are. Write how you felt and what you loved. Plan your next practice.

8. Do your yoga practice (including writing) for a week and then let me know how it was. Please. Wink. Ha, I like my little trick. I'm also proud of you when you only sat on your mat enjoying your breath.

Happy home practice.

Btw, I'm on facebook, too and on twitter. A link can be found on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ashtanga yoga, primary today


I wonder if it's possible to be committed, to be ambitious and to be relaxed at the same time.

It was possible to give a lot of energy to my practice today. As so often the CD by Sharath helped me to start. After the standing asanas I switched it off. I prefer doing full vinyasas these days.

I look at my picture and wonder if it's possible to stretch the chin a bit more forward? I will try this the next time. Yes, my leg muscles are engaged, I don't want to cheat. The shoulders seem to be parallel. The position of the foot is excellent. The pose is called janu sirsasana A.

Next time I will think each time when I exhale: let go, let it happen.

The leg muscles are engaged, the face is always relaxed.

Life was never meant to be a struggle:

4 poems and a glass of red wine


With E I'm always a bit late. We arrived at the wine shop when it was already rather crowded. A few days ago I got an invitation via email: An actor should read 4 poems and a glass of red wine should be offered there. We got our glass of red wine, a fruity one already at the entrance.

Soon a man with white hair started talking to the guests: We learned that he painted 100 water colors. He went from shop to shop in the region where I live and asked shop owners to exhibit one picture. He had to negotiate with 400 business people. Finally he found 100 shops that showed his art. Applause.

Ah, I saw the woman who owns the Indian shop where I buy my sandal wood salt bath. I started talking to her. She was one of the 100 people who shows a picture in her shop.
In the meantime the actor was introduced. He started reading the poems with a loud clear voice. Very nice. Oh, the German language can be beautiful, too, I thought, and enjoyed the play with words.
The Indian shop owner woman has turned the back to us. I saw that her pullover had a lot of holes.
I moved close to E's ear: "Have you seen the holes in the pullover?"
He: "Yes."
Me: "Either she has no money at all, or she does not care at all."
He: "She probably does not care."

Oh and then I discovered a man (I've forgotten his name) on the other side of the huge table. I knew him from 2 parties at a common friend R. I waved to him, he seemed not to remember me. This happens really seldom, people simply remember me. This is not arrogant from my side, this is so. "Rita (name is changed)", I said over the table, "Rita". He didn't understand, so he came to us with his red jacket and red shirt. I remember this man very well. I have a good memory for people. Also at the second party at R he couldn't remember me. It was a New Year's Eve party. "Oh," I said to him at this New Years Eve party, "I remember you very well. Last time you came with your trumpet." Everybody was laughing. This was true, he started playing his trumpet as soon as he had entered R's flat at the first party. "Yes," a woman said," you were playing your shiny trumpet." More laughing. The round was frisky and everybody thought of his trumpet in his pair of trousers. You will remember me the next time, I thought that evening. But he didn't. This tells me that this man is only interested in himself and his message. He handed us a little brochure about alternative energy sources. This was the third time now, I love passionate people. Yeah, I love to see him at the next party, because with him E has a common topic: physics. We will push R a bit, she has room enough. The people who are invited at her parties are extroverted interesting people with so eccentric opinions, it's fun to be together.

Everybody who thought who was important was at that wine tasting/poem/art evening. The average age was rather old. Many people had grey hair, not everybody looked well-groomed. "We become an old society," I said to E. My grandma had the reputation to love young men. I fear I'll join her. Youth is always good-looking and sexy even when neglected. This changes with age.

But also E met someone he knew, a former colleague. We exchanged the story how it came that we were invited. Later E whispered in my ear: "He will wonder now how it comes that I have such a beautiful girl-friend."  Hehe.

Soon we left the society. On our way home we stopped at the Croatian restaurant to have a last drink there. We couldn't see a water color there.

I'm through


"I'm through now," I said to my yogini friends yesterday during lunch after our Mysore class. I had practiced second series and M had shown me the last 4 headstands. These were the last missing asanas. This was my goal in the beginning of the year to practice the entire second series. One of my goal is achieved, the only one. Hahaha.
M, who had lunch with us said: "Now the work begins." This is exactly how I feel. The asanas are introduced to me now. We greeted each other, shook hands. The body got a first feeling of them, now the work can begin. And I'm looking forward to it.

Picture: Ardha matsyendrasana - again I learn via my pictures. I think the shoulders are supposed to be horizontal. On the pic the one shoulder is higher than the other. The foot that stands on the floor must be posed  a bit closer to the body to do this. I'll try this the next time.

Never eat alone - Keith Ferrazzi

A very good book. Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Angst



Bakasana B is one of the asanas of the second Ashtanga series that provokes fear. Bakasana B is a dynamic asana, one shall jump into this pose from downward dog. I fear to fall on my face and break my beautiful nose.
Lately I saw a youtube movie by Kino MacGreggor. She showed what can happen when we fall, see second picture. I must try this, I thought. I put a cushion in front of me, got into bakasana and fell forward. Great, I survived this. Then I tried again to get into the pose with a small distance that forced me to jump a bit. And? Angst again.

Usually I try this pose against a wall. I jump and balance on my hands first, torso is vertical. In order to get into that asana I have to move the shoulders forward, the knees must move to the upper arms. M told me to move the shoulders forward and he is right. This is the challenge. He demonstrated it and I saw that it is possible. It IS possible to get into this pose controlled.

Oh, this bakasana will remain a challenge for some time.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sirsasana, coming up with straight legs



There was a time when I was able to get into sirsasana with straight legs. The fear to fall returned and from one day to the other I was no more able to come up with straight legs.

The trick: I walk with my feet as close as possible. Finally the legs lift from alone. I must have forgotten this.

Yoga is controlling I wrote a few days ago. This also means that we move into an asana controlled. I should be able to stop my movements any time I want, no matter if I get into the pose or out of it. What is true for sirsasana is also true for salamba sarvangasana (and for other asanas, too). It's not letting go and falling out of a pose. It's a controlled movement.

The breath initiates the movement. Re sirsasana I inhale, inhaling matches with the movement.

Picture 3: Oh, the legs are parallel, as it is supposed to be when doing sirsasana in the closing sequence.

An analysis......


Where does the time go?
This is the question of all questions.
Yesterday I got up early, between 6am and 7am.
As usual I switched on my PC, checked my emails, conversed a bit. This is what I like to do. One reason why I didn't like to have a 9 to 5 job anymore was (and 9 to 5 is never true as it is without commuting time and without the extra hours that are expected) because I had no time for friends anymore. Lately I heard from a friend who also gave up his job, that due to a very demanding job he lost his wife (divorced), but also his friends, because there was no time anymore to meet or to exchange emails or to chat. I know what he was talking about. Now he works independently, gained a bit of weight (hahaha) is happy and stays in contact with his friends worldwide.

At 8:30 I left my home for yoga. Yepeee. Yoga is another reason why I don't want to have fixed working hours. I looked at my watch, yesterday I didn't talk much before yoga, but of course to change clothes takes some time. The next time when I looked at the watch it was after second series before navasana and it was 11am. That's how it is. From arriving to the studio till leaving it 2 hours go away, 2 wonderful hours. Navasana, changing clothes again, walking to the S-Bahn, getting home without delay of course and quickly it was almost 12. On my way home I stopped at a grocery store to get some food for E and me.
At home chores had to be done. E had left the home after me, so I had to make the bed first, put some things at the right places, prepared lunch for myself, ate healthy stuff and unhealthy stuff too. It's a good habit to clean the dishes afterwards, so I did that, too, brushed my teeth, and then I felt tired.

Yes, then I felt tired and I went to bed for a nap

I slept perhaps 30 min when the phone rang. First I thought this can only be E. I don't make so many phone calls anymore, but Monday is his very busy day. I was glad that I said my full name when I picked up the phone. I got a job offer. So I sent my updated cv. I was glad that I said I only wanted to work 30 hours per week. To work form 12 to 5 should be possible. Let's see what will happen, I'm indifferent as tax/law offices are the worst places to work for an accountant. I prefer companies. I'm always willing to get surprised, the yes is closer to me than the no. It's not necessary to make a decision at such an early phase. I was still tired and went to bed again. I didn't like to think, soon I slept again so incredible deep. I woke up at 4:30pm. OMG.

Black coffee brought me back into this world. I checked my mails, ha and met a friend online, conversed a bit, answered emails. The postman brought a parcel for one of my neighbours. Before I could do much E arrived at home.
I see there is a gap between 4:30pm and 7pm. I took a bath, this I can remember. The afternoon is the time where I must be prolific, 5 hours minimum. I strolled around with E after his dinner. I appreciate this time with him very much. This was it.

What I have not done was taking some yoga pictures of myself. I need those for my blog, this blog.
I haven't written anything. There is nothing really relevant I've done.

I told E during our walk how it happens that I have no time. He said I should enjoy it. Somehow I also do it. To feel pressure is something else. I'm relaxed which amazes me a lot. Life happens, I think. More prolific times will come. Please shall they come.
But there is also this part of me, that wants to create something, do something. I also have to!!! There is this little nagging part in me, that tells me again and again not to waste so much time doing nothing.

A possible structure of my day: Up at 6, on my mat for yoga at 9. Working hours from 3pm to 7pm. Reading time in the evening. I will set my alarm clock today. This schedule only has to become a habit, then it's easy to follow it.

I'm not lazy, the course not,  my days only need some modifications.

Self-discipline:

This is a good book. Thanks for buying your amazon stuff via my blog.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm ready for the day


I'm ready for the day. It will start with yoga. I'm so happy that I can go to a Mysore class. Second series is on the schedule. Practicing with other yogis/yoginis intensifies my own practice. I'm so convinced of the importance to establish a home practice, but Mysore classes speed up my progress. My practice is more focused. Oh, and of course the adjustments are more than helpful.

Today I will give energy to the back bending asanas, for sure.
Perhaps the last missing 4 headstands will be added. M told me this already. It's funny but I don't care if I do them or not. To fall on the balls of the feet is not such a nice feeling. But these headstand belong to the series and so I will do them all.

Practicing the first and the second series I have the feeling that I do real balanced body work.


Matthew Sweeney:

Thank you for buying your amazon stuff via my blog.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Yoga is controlling


1. When I practice yoga I control the breath. I practice uddjjay breathing that allows me to hear my own breathing. Breath is supposed to be evenly and it is supposed to match with the movements. The breaths are even counted. Manipulating the breath had an influence on our feelings. Breathing calmly is calming.

Controlling and counting seems to belong together. Each asana is held for 5 breaths. It's fixed.

2. The movement of the eyes are controlled. A gazing point is given. It is known that when thinking happens, the eyes move. This is called RAM, rapid eye movement. When the eyes are kept motionless, the thinking is influenced, controlled, it should become less.

3. The movements of the body are controlled. Yoga is not free style dancing. I do not swing my arms wildly around my body. I do not jump around. There are series, the asanas are in a certain order and this has to be respected, it is said. The position of the feet, the position of the hands the position of the head, the torso everything is fixed.

Practicing yoga is practicing discipline.

Perhaps this is one of the reason why I find so many artists among Ashtanga yoginis. A balance is needed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh this world is small.....

Impossible, I forgot to take a picture. So impossible, and I had my camera in my red handbag.

Tim from the US and his son were in Munich and we (E, T, O and me) went out to have dinner together.

O was strong. He stayed awake. At the end of the evening it could be seen that he was tired. Tim was used to jet lag. Tim and me know each other from blogging and now we met in real life. Not one second was boring. We met and started talking (not only about yoga, hahaha) as if we knew forever. E loved the evening, too.

This is modern world. Connections can begin on a PC site and suddenly one looks in the face of this person, that one first met online "only". This time is great, full of opportunities to meet interesting nice people around the globe.

Who knows, perhaps we meet again. This would be awesome.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Plans, hahahaha.....


Let life flow, I think, let life flow....
Busy, busy,.....with everything but not my yoga practice.....
It will be an afternoon practice. This has the huge advantage that the body is softer usually.

Ah, lunch with P now, I must hurry,........


Ramesh Balsekar "Who cares":

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yeah. Time.


Time flies, me in awe of nature, 10 years younger. OMG. Me....oh, oh........:),

Expectations


I wanted to step on the mat and I wanted to be flexible at once a few years ago. I learned: it is not so.
It's work each time I step on my mat to heat the body and to bend it, to make it flexible with the help of the breath, the bandhas and with applying the correct technique: engaging the muscles and stretching.
My first sun salutations are always weak, stiff, I don't care anymore. Sometimes only my finger tips touch the floor. Then this is my limit. I'm sure that after 8 sun salutations my flat hand can touch the floor. The development pleases me.
With realistic expectations the practice becomes more joyful. Last but not least it's only necessary to give the best at every given moment. That's it.

My attentiveness has moved. I want to feel my limits (and push them a bit). I want to observe the breath. I don't compare anymore how my practice was yesterday or the day before yesterday. This makes every position, every practice to a unique experience.

After the practice my body is more flexible than in the beginning.
After each breath my body is more flexible. And then comes the night and the body becomes stiff again. Hahaha.

Guruji:

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Phillip Askew & Lydia Walker - Variations On Surya Namaskara (Music by J...


Wow, enjoy this sun salutation.
Many yogis and yoginis are true artists.
So beautiful.

Supportive actions off the mat


Ashtanga yogini, blogger and fb-friend (:)) Claudia wrote an interesting blog post about unusual ways to improve your Ashtanga yoga practice. It inspired me to make my own list.

1. Food and beverages: What I eat and drink has a lot of influence on my practice. Some asanas like pashasana are not possible at a weight above 48 kg. I feel it in my joints when I had red wine the night before a practice. For me a vegan life style is best support for my yoga practice. Water IS delicious beverage.
2. Time management: In order to stay healthy we have to move our body on a daily basis. It needn't to be yoga. In my case I've found my passion, it's Ashtanga yoga. I need 2 hours approximately on a daily basis. With a daily job it was difficult to find time. This is often a point discussed in workshops: I have no time, aspirants say. If something is important we find time for it. When we fall in love we have time for this lover, i.e. In my case  I started going to bed early, at 10pm, I reduced my sleeping time to 7 hours and I got up at 5am. That's not all. I'm busy to simplify my life. Space clearing, reducing things i.e. makes my life easier and gives me time back.
3. Attitude: An optimistic attitude is supportive in life and also in yoga. It's worth to observe our self-talks.
4. Writing: It can be a journal or a blog, but writing on my yoga adventure helps me to stay motivated.
5. Pranayama: To exercise breathing separately supports my asana/vinyasa practice.
6. Medias: Reading yoga related books, watching youtube videos, writing and reading blogs are activities off the mat that are very supportive.
7. Yoga community: To meet yoginis in real life or online, to feel part of a community is very motivating.
8. A day off: Oh, this is a very important point. Sometimes the body needs a day of rest, the mind too. After a day off motivation is lively again.
9. Others: To sleep well, to take a bath or going to the sauna is supportive.

And what supports your practice off the mat, beside practicing one of the series?
Comments are welcomed.

Yoga Mala:

This book is a classic. Thanks for buying it via my blog.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Healed


Healed. Yoginis know this sensitive place. Exactly where the legs meet the sit bones is a connection that is easily overstretched.

I overstretched it twice during my Ashtanga yoga journey of about 8 years.
It's so awful because:
1. It is painful.
2. It takes months to heal, in my case 5 months. But it heals.

These injuries happen. Point.

What helped me when it was too late already:
1. I practiced but with  a lot of care. Pain was my guide. When I felt pain I stopped, breathed deeply and stretched again a bit when the pain disappeared. I engaged my leg muscles and the bandhas. Very slowly I did the asanas.
2. A day off from time to time was good.
3. I started taking hot baths. This relaxed my entire body.
4. Staying positive helps also, not to become impatient.

What to do before anything happens:
1. A daily practice helps not to injure oneself.
2. I'm especially attentive after  a break of 2 days or when I attend workshops. I don't want to impress anybody.
3. Engaging the relevant muscles, mainly leg muscles during the first series and engaging the bandhas protects the body.
4. I approach new asanas with respect.

I sit here on a chair, I sit in half lotus pose. My body is soft and flexible, relaxed. My body is a joy and not a burden. I love to move. What a gift. My injury on the backside of my right leg is gone. Sigh. it's so good.

An exercise off the mat: Dress or undress consciously. How do you put your socks on? Do you balance? How do you put your t-shirt on and your coat? How is the breath? Have fun.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Hip opening?


A subscriber to my youtube videos, a young nice lady, a yogini had a wish:
Hey do you think you can do a video on Hip Openers like in your yoga blog or the section with "Hips" in it

And might I suggest but you don't have to, wear the exact outfit along with it.
I would love to see all that please!
Thank you!

This wish made me think about the hips: I came to the conclusion that "hip opening" is a confusing word. When I practice yoga I enlarge the flexibility of my hips in all possible directions.
More precise:
The hips last but not least are a bone formed as a joint or better two joints. These joints connect the legs with the torso.
- The legs need to move freely in all possible directions. In daily life we mainly walk, we put on our socks, we have to twist from time to time, we scarcely bend backwards.
- When I practice yoga I bring my body in all possible positions: I bend forward, I bend backwards, I twist and always the hips play an important role. Always I go so far that I feel my limits and I push them a bit, with care and attentiveness. That way the flexibility to move the legs or torso becomes greater. For me it's easy to do baddha konasana.  Back bending and upavishta konasana i.e. is more challenging.
In classes I see that the flexibility of the hips of yoginis is different: Some are talented back benders, some have no difficulties to take the leg behind the head. 

To make a video on hip opening is insofar difficult as in almost every pose the hips play a key role.

It's really time to study anatomy.  

The idea with the clothes is great. To dress red clothes when back bending, green clothes when forward bending is funny, but too much organizing.

Yoga and anatomy:

This will be my next book on yoga. It seems to be a good one.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Primary - an analysis


Of course, perfection does not exist and every asana can be developped.
Nevertheless I sit here now with the booklet by Matthew Sweeney "Ashtanga yoga as it is" on my left side and I go through the asanas of the first series of Ashtanga yoga.

I'm searching the asanas and vinyasas that need additional attention, additional love:

The asanas:
1. Marichyasana D: I can hold the wrist, but it takes too much time to get into this pose. Not only too much time is needed, also too many breaths are done.
2. Kurmasana: Till now I cannot lift up the heels.
3. Supta kurmasana: I can hook the fingers very well, the toes can touch, but I cannot cross the ankles. Best would be if I could take the legs behind the head in sitting position, before I go into this asana.
4. Upavishta konasana: I try to keep the back straight. The chin does not touch the floor that way.
5. Supta hasta padangusthasana, supta parsvasahita need improvement. In first asana the leg is not really stretched when the head touches the leg. In second asana is the leg that is on the side far away from the floor.
6. Urdhva dhanurasana: It's improving a lot. The legs need to get closer to the hands or the other way round.

Vinyasas:
Jumping foward: The feet still touch the floor when I swing through my arms, progress can be seen here.
Jumping backwards: Oh, oh, oh, more strength and probably also more technique is required to do it.
Going from tittibhasana to bakasana when doing bhuja pidasana, kurmasana or supta kurmasana: I do not even try it and I don't want to try it. Hahaha.  Good is that tittibhasana has improved.

Picture is taken on my way home from the main station.