Monday, February 28, 2011

Paschimottanasana on the back


Doing paschimottanasana on the back is really enlightening. Being on the back guarantees that the back is straight. The entire truth can be seen. The legs are engaged, so are the bandhas. Feet are parallel. The shoulders are supposed to be on the floor, too, but more doesn't seem possible. Not today.
Yep, the distance between legs and torso is rather large. Hehe.

I have the idea to practice paschimottanasana on the back from the book by Matthew Sweeney "Vinyasa Krama".
I'm learning the first sequence. It's not so exhausting like any of the Ashtanga series. But I was surprised what a challenge it can be to practice simple variations. The first sequence is rather close to the Ashtanga primary. To get differently than usually into a pose can become a challenge.
It's a good awareness exercise, too, to practice a different sequence.

Matthey Sweeney is an Ashtanga yoga practitioner for decades. Much thought and experience flew into creating the sequences.

It can be of great help to have some more modest yoga sequences in mind.
I feel ill and knowing this sequence allowed me to have a nice practice.
Not much is possible today. Time for a nap.

Home practice? If, it will be a modest one.


I remember days where I felt better. No, I'm not complaining, it's a simple statement with a message for myself: take it easy today. A cold is nothing life threatening. Not to have a cold feels simply better.

My nose is clocked, my throat is still a bit sore, my face hurts as if I have fever, but I don't have fever.
A modest home practice is on the schedule, stress on modest. I know that it's good for the body to move.

What a luxury life I have: I know times where I went to work with a cold. Fever was the criteria if I stayed at home or not. For the time being I can give my body the time to heal.

Picture: Wow, such an awesome sunrise. Thank you Mahesh.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Can Ashtanga yoga help when you have a crisis?


First, never forget: crises are self-made fantasies of the mind in most cases. Problems are created by ourselves for ourselves.

When we have now such a self-made problem, can Ashtanga yoga help?
- When you practice Ashtanga yoga for quite some time it's likely that it has became a passion, fun. People who have found a passion in their lives are protected to fall too deeply. I'm convinced of this. To practice Ashtanga yoga is possible at any moment. It's always available. Any passion can have the same rescue potential.
- When we feel so damned lousy, often the energy level is low. When it's not possible to go to a yoga class it might be difficult to practice alone. Any movement helps. To walk has healing power, too.
- Have a list what betters your mood: in my case it's bathing, going to a sauna, surfing the net. Know your likes.
- Writing is a wonderful tool for myself to handle a crisis. Don't write only when you feel bad. Write also about your highlights.
- Back to yoga: When we practice  Asthanga yoga we learn to focus on what's now: I listen to my breath, I observe how I move, where  my limits are. Focusing on the senses helps to become relaxed.
- Mastering the breath also means mastering the feelings and thoughts. To breathe slowly, observing the breath has a calming effect. One must only remember this. Observing a slow inhaling and exhaling is something that can be done 24 hours.

Picture: I cooked dinner yesterday: carrots in white wine sauce with chives.
Eating well is also a little helper to stay optimistic and in good mood.

I've a cold, but this is neither a crises, nor a problem, only a bit bothering. I'll step on my mat today, but my practice will be modest. The body is the boss.

PS: The cure of self-pity is action.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

....it's only a cold.....


It's only a cold that I got. I'm not sure if I had fever yesterday night. I felt good enough to go out for dinner with my E. This was funny as my voice was gone. Totally. Usually it's me who is talking, obviously. Yesterday night I couldn't. Hahahahaha. It was a more silent dinner. I made signs with my hands to him to invite him to talk more. My E prefers to focus on the food. Our table neighbour laughed. It all reminded me of the saying: a man a word, a woman a vocabulary. I don't know what I'm talking all the time. Next time when my voice will be back, I'll listen to myself, too. :) My subji jaipuri was excellent and the Spain red wine Rioja pleased me very well, too. E had a Tali.

Today is my yoga free day, I wouldn't be able to practice. How quickly an organism can get weakened. I respect my body. I'm sure I'll take a nap again this afternoon.

Feel free to visit my shops on the right side of this blog. Thanks.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What if......



I just imagined how it would be if I could learn all the asanas very quickly, let's say within a week. Urdhva dhanurasana, no problem, within a week I could stand up and drop back. Supta kurmasana would also be no problem. Within a week I'd be able to cross the feet behind the neck and I could bind the hands. Quickly I'd be able to practice all the series, one through four. Ah, done.

The practice would become boring. The path is interesting, too, not only the goal, especially in yoga. The path means I get to know myself better, I experience myself in a learning position. I'm confronted with my attitudes. I watch videos to learn, perhaps I communicate with yogis/yoginis about asanas, which can be quite entertaining, too. I read books. I gain knowledge. The path might be much more exciting than the goal itself.

How rewarding, how satisfying it will be when I finally can stand up from urdhva dhanurasana after 6 years of practicing it on an almost daily basis. The Himalaya is conquered then.
Human beings need challenges. Perhaps not everybody, but many many love them.

It's a mercy that the Ashtanga yoga practice is so challenging. This is the kick.
The path is the goal and can be enjoyed, too. From time to time there are oasis to relax, to lean back and to enjoy what has been done already, but then the yoga journey goes on.

To beat the path through the jungle is what is exciting.

I'm ill, my voice disappeared. I cannot speak. This is like a punishment for me but I don't know for what. I cannot go to the led class, too. OMG. But I can write and I hear my inner voice and I can practice at home. Life is good despite the little obstacles that are only there to give me an opportunity to be strong.

Feeling weak I know that it can be good to do soft pranayama exercises and meditation. Yoga offers so much.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wrong expectations....


When I clean my rooms they are clean after the session.
When I learn new words, I hopefully remember them after the learning session.

But there was a time where I stepped on the mat and expected to be flexible right from the beginning on.
Letting go of this expectation makes a practice more joyful. I know, I'll feel flexible after the session.

To enjoy the poses is it what I wish for myself today. Primary is on the schedule.

Extra love I'll give for jumping forward and backwards.
Extra attention will get supta kurmasana and of course urdhva dhanurasana.
Additional asanas when I practice at home are the split poses.

Yesterday I watched YouTube videos to learn from my fellow yogis and yoginis. OMG, YouTube seems to be a meeting point for narcissists and exhibitionists of all levels. I WAS entertained. The voyeurs decide what is considered funny, worth the time. I'm amazed how fast the yogini and yogi community has grown. No end is in sight. :)

I'm ready to focus and to concentrate on my breath.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A can attitude.


Tomorrow is primary on the schedule. I'm learning to jump forward and backward. It improved already, but I'm not yet there. Sometimes I watch youtube videos to learn. Today I found a rather helpful yogi.

There are a lot of talents on youtube. OMG. Hahahahaha.

Perhaps the above video helps you, too.

My personal tip:
Start as as soon as possible to exercise it. I started much to late.
I agrre with the yogis above: a positive attitude, a can attitude helps a lot.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I should be content..


I should be content. I'm not. The poses are too volatile. 2nd series is a challenge.

I started my Asthanga yoga  practice with the CD by Sharath. This is always a good start and gives rhythm to my practices at home. When I switch off the CD the surya namaskara A and B and the standing sequence is already done. The body is prepared by then for the filling of the sandwich.

What counts is that I practiced, I know this too well. There are not every day highlights. This is so.

Concentration was good. I practiced without music on and I didn't make so many breaks. The trick is to postpone the breaks and to set a limit to the practice. Nevertheless I'm glad that I can go to a Mysore class tomorrow. I so got used to it, to the energy of the group.

Time to move on.

A challenge is also my new self-timer for my Nikkon.......Perhaps I can deepen my understanding of this technique today. This would be good. It would allow me to take pictures of the asanas that take me longer than 20 sec to do them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Say never "never".


Say never "never". I can scarcely believe it myself: today I was in mayurasana and I could hold this pose for several breaths. Wow. This impossible pose become possible.

I wanted to write about technique. Our bodies are perfect. The body protects itself. When I want to stretch muscles the body must feel safe. The body feels safe when muscles are engaged. To every muscle is an antagonist. This antagonist usually gets stretched.
During my practice I wonder:
1. Which is the muscle that I have to engage in a pose?
2. Which is the muscles that I want to stretch in that pose?

There is always a front side and a back side.

A simple example is the arm. When I bend the arm, one muscle the biceps is active, the other muscle on the opposite side of  the arm gets stretched.

This is all so important as this helps to stretch and I play it safe. It protects me from injuries.

Sometimes I saw yoginis  swing the knees up and down in order to open the hips i.es and to go deeper into baddha konasana. This is a stretching method of 40 years ago, when I was 10 years old. And this method didn't work! Attention here, no swinging, if you want to see results and if you want to play it safe. If you want to swing, go dancing.

I've deepened this knowledge with the books by Ray Long. To have his books in hand reminded me how important it is to apply these techniques.

Another  author who explains this techniques is Bob Anderson. But he doesn't apply the stretching technique to yoga. It was my first book where I learned how the nerve system reacts to certain movements. And how important it is to stay calmly in this pose. It's also important to smile, to RELAX when in that pose.

Why were you so soft, I was asked today. I'm stiff by nature. I apply the correct stretching technique and this made my body softer. I'm resilient, (I love the German word zäh) by nature.

The opposites belong together: Engaging the legs and relaxing into a pose. Being strong and letting go is possible at the same time.

Picture: It's the Suez channel. Thank you Mahesh for this picture. I'll probably never be there, so this picture is unique. Wink, I manipulated it a bit.....:).

Oh, snow outside....


Mixed feelings: It's not possible to describe the feelings of a yoga practice with one or two feelings. Each asana brings new surprises. Suddenly supta kurmasana is fantastic which is experienced as an absolute high. Then the feet touch the floor again and again when jumping through, which reminds me of my fuck-it therapy. Other asanas are like they were for the last months, nothing moves. Feelings come and go during a session. At the end I feel always excellent.

Is it so that one of the few truth can be observed when I practice yoga: everything changes. All the time?

I played with a new muscles yesterday during the led class that I discovered because I read the books by Ray Long. Between leg and torso (on the inner side of the hips so to say), are muscles and they can help to bring the torso closer to the upper legs. They are surprisingly rather strong and they were undiscovered so far. Hahahaha. Find them, they are nice and improve the forward bending asanas.

The sinful weekend spoiled my weight: 47,8 kg this morning. Cruzifix (a German curse).
Yoga is to explore the limits during every session and not to perform the perfect pose and to be disappointed when the perfect form cannot be practiced. Let's see where my limits are today.....(Just a reminder for myself.)

I'll go to a Mysore class. The world is white here again. Who cares.......

Saturday, February 19, 2011

To understand helps...


There was a time where I didn't really understand some asanas. I wondered: What is the aim of this asana. I could imitate the form, but it was a superficial form.

We struggle first to bind in marichyasna A i.e. But is it really the goal simply to bind? When it's possible to bind, what then? There is much more in that asana. The bended leg moves backwards and enlarges the flexibility of the hip. It's even a preparation pose for the "leg behind the head pose". The hamstrings of the stretched leg shall be stretched. The flexibility of the hip here shall improve, too. And not to forget the chest opens. This allows a deeper inhaling. It's not to round the back to force the nose to the chin. The body moves forward, dristi is the foot. I was told from a reader that it's enough to look in that direction. The face remains relaxed.

Yesterday I deepened my understanding and I learned a systematic how to understand the asanas. I studied the book Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses by Ray Long.

Here is the systematic described in the above mentioned book page 20 ff:
1. There are always joints involved in every asana. The first step is to identify them. It's often the hips of course.
2. There are muscles that stabilize the form and help to precise the asana when engaged.
3. There is always an antagonist. This is the muscle that is stretched. (Bend your arm and you understand: one muscle on the backside of the arm is stretched the biceps is shortened and engaged.)
4. The chest always expands. This is also something I discovered rather late. Also in all the forward bending asanas the chest opens. Here it becomes also clear that the binded arms that move backwards or even upwards if possible give an adjustment to that goal, they are not the goal itself.  I also learned from the above book how to support to open the chest. To move the shoulder blades together supports this.  There is always a front side and a back side of the body. If they work together, it's possible to deepen into a pose.
5. The next step is to engage the bandhas. This helps a lot to go deeper inot poses, or to balance.

This knowledge also helped me to improve and understand such simple poses like uttanasana. It's not only to move the chest to the floor only. The important joint is the hip, The trunk moves to the legs. There are muscles that support this and there is an antagonist. Go into the pose and test it. I discovered new muscles that way. I didn't know that there are so strong muscles on my hips (front side) so to say with so much power.

I'm enthusiastic about the book. It's amazing how knowledge can help to improve your yoga practice. This book helps to understand future asanas on my own.

Today is my yoga free day. Yepeeeeeeeeee. :)

Picture is taken by Mahesh in the Indian ocean. I love these ocean pictures. Thx a lot.

If you like my blog feel free to suggest it to friens. They might like it, too. Thank you. And, before I forget it: I'm on facebook, too. A link is on the right side of this blog. Happy weekend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday is reserved for primary


Primary became so much better since I practice second Ashtanga yoga series.

Sweating is part of the practice. It is said that it detoxifies. I had to learn it. Usually I don't sweat much, but Ashtanga yoga taught me this body function. Also today my yoga clothes were wet after the practice.

I had an excellent practice in a Mysore class this morning, which means I had focus and I could go deeply into the asanas. Urdhva dhanurasana? It can be that it takes another 2 years till I'll be able to stand up alone. I don't care.

My goals have changed. I don't try to perform the perfect asana. Every time I practice I try to find my limits on that day, at that hour and then I try to push it a bit.

My practice wouldn't have been so good if I weren't in a group of committed yogis and yoginis. They give me so much power. Unconsciously. I'd go so far to say: If you have issues with anything to do it on your own, look for like-minded people who like to do the same. It's so supportive to have a group.

I went home after my practice. My bf is at home today and we had lunch together outside. He never forgets to say  that I'm beautiful. He says it so often that I start believing it. He looks at me as if he has seen me the first time in his life. He seems to be delighted to see me and he says: You are SO beautiful. He is so sweet.

I do have plans for the weekend. Work (which is actually fun) and cooking shall happen.
So before I go on here, I'll take a nap. The Gods seem to love me. Life is good.

Don't forget to visit my shops on the right side of this blog and happy Friday evening.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My life philosophy expressed in an haiku


Spring comes

And the grass

Grows by itself





 
 
PS: Wayne Liquorman forwarded this Haiku in his last Advaita newsletter.
 
Picture is taken by Mahesh. WOW and thx. :)
 

Morning has broken.


Morning has broken.
I'm planning my yoga session. It will be primary Ashtanga series today. The focus will also be the vinyasas. They are equally important like the asanas. They exercise the cardiovascular system.
Vinyasa is not vinyasa. There are a lot of variations.

New insights: When I jump forward I shift the body weight on my hands, the thighs move close to the torso. When I bring the calves closer to the upper legs, too, it seems to be easier to jump through without touching the floor with the feet. The general picture is that I have to make my body as small as possible. Imagination helps me a lot when I practice vinyasa.

A tip: Give attention to the vinyasa right from the beginning on. Vinyasas build strength. Bandhas and the correct breathing are crucial. To use visualisation helped me, too. Patience is necessary, for sure. The very first step is to lift up the body while sitting with crossed leg.

Habits that help me to be productive:
- I plan the next day the evening before (in writing).
- I work according to the pomodore technique means I use a timer: 25 min work, 5 min break and again.
- Everything that needs to be done is a project. I have a list of my projects and I go through the list on a daily basis.
- The very next step of every project must be clear. It must be written down as well.
- Breaks are also important.
- I'm reading positive litterature to motivate myself.

Picture: A sunrise can be seen in the middle of the Indian ocean. This is something special. Thank you very much Mahesh for this wonderful picture.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ray Long


It's called gluteus medius. Usually advanced yoginis have a beautiful well-trained strong gluteus medius. Some call it backside, buttocks or even ass. I'll use the term gluteus medius for this huge muscle during this post. That's what it is, a huge muscle and it can be very helpful to engage it when practicing yoga.

How does it come that I know such vocabulary?

During Christmas time was a Mysore class break. It was time to study yoga books. I wanted to know more about anatomy and my bf gave me a book present for Christmas: Ray Long - Yoga Anatomie 3D. It's a book with a lot of pictures. On every page one or more skeletons can be seen with muscles or muscle parts. These illustrations are so helpful to understand what has to be done when exercising asanas.

I saw in the above mentioned book (page 73) that it is important to engage the gluteus medius when exercising urdhva dhanurasana. Usually it is said "push the hips forward". But how to do it. It can be done when squeezing gluteus medius as hard as possible. This muscle is strong and loves to work.
When Mysore classes started again M gave me an adjustment in urdhva dhanurasana. He realized that my ud improved and I had only practiced alone. I got better by applying my knowledge about my muscles. Knowledge can help to improve an asana.

My studies re anatomy will surely go on.

Last week I found an email in my inbox by a Ray Long. Quickly I wrote back. Are you THE Ray Long, who wrote these fantastic yoga anatomy books, I asked him. And he was it.
He send me another book: Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses. I'm sure I need the entire collection.
Also this vinyasa flow and standing poses book is fantastic. It will improve my yoga practice. Why? To see how the muscles work is enlightening, He also shows how the muscles rotate. The descriptions are very profound, but easy to understand.

For series yoga students, Ray Long's book can be of great help. A link to his website is on the right side of this blog or here.

Enjoy his books: On every page are color illustrations. Ray Long's  books take your knowledge about your body to a higher level. It also helps you to avoid injuries when you practice yoga. His books are full of tips, it's pure joy to hold them in hands.

To have books by Ray Long in your book shelf is a must for a serious yogini or yogi.
Go to his side and have a look.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh, it's late today for my daily soap.....


It's time to publish this wonderful sunset taken by Mahesh in the middle of the ocean.
Thank you for sharing such beauty with me.
Here it's  evening, too. Time flies.

Nothing needs more concentration than balancing poses. Balancing poses exercise the mind to stay at the current moment. I can dream when I do the sitting poses. When I dream while in one of the headstands it can happen easily that I fall or role out of the pose. It happened to me lately.

Second series has a few balancing poses. In my opinion when practicing second series much more concentration is needed than in primary as there are much more balancing asanas. At once I stop dreaming when I do karandavasana. It's impossible to dream when I do forearm stand, fold my legs into lotus pose, go down, put my legs on my upper arms and then up again.
It's the same with the other balancing poses like mayurasana and vatayanasana.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why second series is more challenging. I needed sleep again when I arrived at home after a very satisfying second series in a Mysore class.

The conclusion: If you want to get an empty mind, do balancing poses.

Ashtanga yoga exercises the body AND the mind.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm a pedant.


I'm a pendant and I've a foible for the perfect form. Details count, because also these details are important. The tiniest dirt on a white blouse totally gives a different image of the person who wears this blouse than a totally white blouse.
What a joy came up yesterday when I saw a picture of my friend Cara practicing trikonasana. She performed a simply perfect trikonasana. Please have a look! Here is the link to her blog btw. The lines of the body are perfect, the position of the head, the feet, the hands cannot be any better.

On the hand position: The hand that points upward is in line with the arm. The palm shows in the right direction. The fingers are closed (also the thumb).
Often I see that yoginis/yogis spreads the fingers. To do this needs energy. It's much easier to keep the fingers together than to spread them wide apart. The hand is not imitating a sparkler that shall  burn there at the rim of the event. There is supposed to be fire, but it's in the core of the body. It makes a difference if I give energy to a hand or to my bandhas. Here at the latest it's clear that these details count, a lot. Burning inside, in the core of the body makes an asana stable. With focus at the core of the body the asana becomes powerful. No knick-knack distracts.
To act from the middle of the body is important for almost every sports or dance. It was so when I practiced Aikido, but also when dancing it's so.
(But please test yourself: try the different hand position and realize the difference.)

There are "mistakes", such and such. Some can be avoided. The poses must be studied, explored. To observe precisely is surely also a skill.

...not everybody is a pedant. The reasons why someone practices yoga are different. Some might  want some fun. Others might want to meet some people. Others like to be creative. I don't judge. For me the details count, they are more important than it seems at first sight.

Thomas Gottschalk withdraws. This is an event. His family show "Wetten das?" accompanies me through the decades and this is so for many people in Germany. Everybody watched his show. Our sunny boy has style and depth. Wow, I'm impressed. He is mastering the art of letting go. After the accident last month where one man had an accident that paralyzed him, Thommy cannot get back to the familiar merriness. He sat down on his famous sofa to announce his end. It was difficult for him, oh yes. Thommy you are the best. Your blond curls, your smile and your sunny mind will be missed. The sometimes superficial acting entertainer shows greatness with this last act. Respect.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

FOCUS!!!!!!!!!!!


The day is over.
These Saturday phone calls exhaust me. Totally. They last less than 4 min.

No, I don't envy anybody who has a car. I don't want a car, neither a small one nor a big one!!!!!!
I might have a lot of shortcomings, but I don't envy anybody who buys himself/herself a car. My wishes go in totally different direction. Was I not yet able to communicate this. I will be. I can be very clear!

Focus, focus, focus. The current moment offers me so much beauty.
The past is over, also the past of the last hour.

If Gottschalk won't moderate anymore the show "Wetten das?", I'll be sad. There was this accident 3 weeks ago. The man who wanted to perform a stunt, fell, and he is now paralyzed. A nightmare. The show will since then never be the same. I know this. The issue was not the stunt, the jumping over driving cars but the distraction of the mind. To perform anything in front of a huge audience makes a difference. This was it what made him fall. To have a laser like concentration, to blind out everything else but the one thing, one wants to focus on is enormous power. In most lives being distracted only weakens. In the last show "Wetten das?" someone was not focused 100% and this became a disaster.

Sharath said  in one of the conferences when I was in India 2 years that alone dristhi (gazing at one point, focusing the eyes so to say) changed his entire life. I know how profound this yoga technique can be.

Focus!!!!!!!
(Was there a phone call?)

What is a gift: I even know what is my focus. It's my new life style, that allows me to practice Ashtanga yoga in the morning , that allows me to live according to my talents and wishes and so much more (wink).

Friday, February 11, 2011

A sadhu


A few days ago I found the above picture online and at once I fell in love with this sadhu. What a picture. That the sadhu holds his right hand up means that he is fearless.

I found out who was the photographer. It's Thomas L. Kelly. I emailed him and asked  for permission to publish his picture. Today I got the OK. Smiling.

Thomas L. Kelly has 2 websites:
www.thomaskellyphotos.com/ and www.wildearthjourney.com/.

It's worth to click on the links and check the sites of this committed photographer.

Thank you Thomas for allowing me to publish your picture.


PS: It motivates me to work on my own practice when I see such intensive yoga pictures.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Primary today....


After 3 days of practicing second series, I'm glad to practice primary. It became easier.
What's nice to see: my concentration improved. I don't need so many breaks anymore when I practice at home.
Primary seems doable.

Yesterday I watched soccer. In Germany we have a lot of talented very young players (18 sometimes only). I like to listen to the comments on soccer. Talent seems to be important. But it's not everything and the only formula for success. How to handle crises is also important. Success  is almost never stable. Ups and downs are everywhere.

I just heard in the radio that a young man (16) committed suicide because of a bad mark in English.

To be prepared that setbacks will come how talented or how good one might be at anything is good.
Simply going on and enjoying the breath, the little things that are available for everybody is my tip for today. Success is not everything.
Humor, staying healthy, having time for myself, knowing people whom I love is nowadays much more important to me.

Back to the basics. Inhaling, exhaling, inhaling, exhaling.

Time to greet the sun. It's even shining here today. What a day!!!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What bloody beginners and advanced beginners have in common.


No matter how long you practice Asthanga yoga, there is always something to learn.
If someone does not like to learn or to work on the practice, this yoga style will become a burden.
Ashtanga yogis/yoginis usually like challenges. The first motive to do Ashtanga yoga is not: "I want to relax". Ashtanga yoginis think: "Where is the next horse to ride."

What changes with time:
- I think I can get closer to my limits without injuring myself.
- It's easier to stick to the correct technique during a practice. Mainly it's practicing uddjay breathing, but also engaging the bandhas/muscles. The correct vinyasa count also says something to me nowadays (after 8 years of practicing).
- Of course I also know better how an asana is supposed to look like.
- The attitude has changed: I'm no more so careless to think: I'll never ever be able to do this pose. Too often I experienced the opposite. More is possible than I thought would be.

Today I practiced second series in a Mysore class.
- I don't  like the seven headstands at the end. A thought came up: Pretend to have forgotten them. But that would be lousy. It's also my practice, I've not to prove anything.
- The mind works so: It always has preferences. This can make it easier to make decisions.
When I do my yoga practice I observe my preferences and I do the asanas or vinyasa, if I like it or not. So headstands were done. This is where the mind gets trained. This is where I think of the definition of yoga by Mr Swenson: yoga is a tool to enhance life. Yoga can teach methods that I can apply in daily life, too. My laundry is waiting for me to get ironed. I do the headstands, ähhh I iron my clothes of course. Yes. Hahahahaha.

Nice observance today in the Mysore class. A yogi appeared. I haven't seen him so far. His warrior pose was great, he stood deep.
We only betray ourselves when we practice sloppily.

What else made me happy: Manfred made again kapotasana with my body. It's such a great feeling to touch my little toes with my fingers. Yepeeeeeee I want to scream each time this happens.

Mysore class this morning


What a joy that I can go to a Mysore class this morning again.

The attitude has influence on the practice:
It is possible to give the available energy to the practice and to think at the same time "let it happen", "let go".
The thoughts that accompany a practice have influence on the character of the practice. Thoughts manifest in the body. They make a practice look soft and easy (or the opposite).

More than ever I want to express lightness, despite the effort I have to put into the practice.

My practice is much more to feel the edges and to push them with awareness.
It's not to know the perfect form and to imitate it. 

Second series means learning and exploring the asanas. The poses are still volatile.
I need a lot of adjustments.
The path is the goal.

Do you think of an attitude before you start practicing?

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

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Hero poses


Virabadhrasana B: Last time in the led class M showed us a possibility to adjust this hero pose. Fold the fingers and move the arms to the bended leg. This helps to bring the chest parallel to the wall. See picture.

Here is a check list for virabhadrasana B:
1. Is the rim of the foot of the stretched leg parallel? It has to be on the floor.
2. Feet position: the verse of the forward pointing foot is in the middle of the parallel foot. Both feet are in line. It can be helpful to put a scarf on the floor to check this.
3. The legs are engaged, the feet press against the floor.
4. The spine is long. This pose won't expose the backside.
5. The lower side of the bended leg is parallel to the floor!!!!!
6. The arms are relaxed and parallel.
7. The hands and arms are in line, fingers are closed.
8. Dristhi is the side.
9. Bandhas are engaged.
10. Hips are parallel.

To hold this pose for 5 breaths can be exhausting. It's a pose that builds strength.
There is a clear distinction between virabhadrasana A and virabhadrasana B.

My mistake in the first years: I stood too high. Nowadays I tend to stand a bit too low. Both mistakes make the pose easier. The body is upright (and not moving forward).
Pictures can help to improve this pose.

Virabadhrasana is considered as a beginners pose. When done correctly, it can be a challenge. What I see in classes is that most people stand too high and the feet are not in line.

I think it is important to take care of details. Be a hero. Stand deeply.




Oh, my joy was great tody. Someone has bought a t-shirt via my spreadshirt shop. THANK YOU!!!!!!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Accept what is. Yes, I do.


The Mysore class this morning was excellent again. M managed it to take my hands to my feet in kapotasana. This IS a highlight. Always. My toes are so sweet to touch.
All the other poses were great, too.

Afterwards I was at the post office to mail a letter from E. I bought some salads for myself in one of these luxury grocery shops. All was good, I liked my lunch.
Half an hour I wanted to rest on the bed afterwards. When I woke up I didn't know anymore where I was, what the time was. I knew nothing. First thought: Damned I've missed my yoga practice. Hahahaha. How could I think this. Slowly I arrived in the dreamland where we dream with open eyes.
I accept that this Monday was not so prolific as I wished. What else makes sense.
Yoga pictures I can also take tomorrow. It's too dark now here. Shall the picture of my salad decorate this post.

Tomorrow I set a timer when I feel like being horizontal. Haha.

How shall I spend the evening? I'll probably read a book on yoga, a novel. It was send to me from a publisher to review it. I've started reading it already and it seems to be interesting. Modern life is described in an entertaining way.

At least I've some good habits. My kitchen is clean. When I'll prepare a cup of coffee for myself tomorrow morning I'll enjoy this. A fresh day has started, I'll think. A new day and I'll be ready for new adventures, for fresh experiences when I do yoga poses. Second series tomorrow. :)

Accept what is!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday evening and I want to write again.


I want to write again. I don't care about the recommendation of prof blogger not to write and publish posts too often. It's one of the main critics from readers. I'm so in the mood to throw some words on the paper (PC). Who shall stop me, hahahaha......

I worked at my desk. The pile of paper that was growing again is now small again. It's still there, but smaller. I could file a lot of papers and some papers had to go. In addition I went through my magazines. Half of them are now in the backyard. It's a relief to let go. I feel it when I've created space, I feel it when my life gets easier.

Further, further, further......I think, and I know that there is still a lot to do.

My practice in the led class was very intensive this afternoon. The body was so flexible, I had focus. Focus has a lot of power. The mind was busy to observe the breath and the performance of the asanas. Everything else was absent, all the rest of my life didn't exist anymore so to say.

At home again, I bathed to relax my body. I'm ready now for second series tomorrow.

Let go, I shall think tomorrow on the mat when I exhale, let go, let go, let go, let go.......

....and don't forget to buy something via my blog. There are a lot of shops on the right side. This is the next post: my blog a shop???????

What motivates you?



What gets you going?
What ignites the fire within you?
It's a good question to ask yourself what motivates you to do anything.
It's an even better question to ask yourself what motivates you to practice yoga.

To watch videos of people doing yoga is for me a trigger for sure. I can scarcely sit anymore when I see postures that I haven't seen yet, but should be doable for me. I want to try it.
It also motivates me to look at yoga pictures of fellow yoginis/yogis. It's so amazing what we can do with our bodies.

My yoga week starts today with primary. It's late already and the later it becomes the more likely it is that I'll go to the led class with M at 4pm.

What motivates you to step on your mat?

PS: My desk looks already much better. And today I'll work in that area again, it will be even better on Monday.



Saturday, February 05, 2011

Saturday is my yoga free day.......

Saturday is my yoga free day. This shall be good for the body. The body can relax. Sometimes I feel that a day off is also good for staying motivated. The body is a bit stiffer after a day off, but not much. Instead of practising yoga, I watched yoginis practicing yoga. Via Linda's blog I found a link to Kathryn Budig. Amazing videos. It's very inspiring to see yoginis practicing.

Another advantage from a day off from yoga is that I have time for all the other activities that need to be done. I didn't like to stop my decluttering project in the middle. I felt strong today. This is important, the stronger I feel the more things I can throw out. Today I went through my files. Three huge files had to go. The yoga journals are still here. I see that I've to throw them out bit by bit. I worked with my pomodore timer: 25 min work, 5 min rest and then again. It's so important to limit an activity. More things must be done. Chores are the basic tasks. My home is still like a swamp. Once I dive into it, it's difficult to get out of it. When the feeling comes up that I'm overwhelmed, I know I have to make my life simpler. Another step was done, today. Sigh.




Laundry, laundry, laundry.
Before enlightenment laundry, after enlightenment laundry.
Hahahaha.
Greek restaurant this evening.
Life must be enjoyed.



Friday, February 04, 2011

Yoga for liberation?


"I am glad you have found a love for yoga. However, you may want to make sure that your practice is blaanced, IE not just the ashtanga asnana, but rather practicing Ashtnaga yoga in the classical sense.


Have you explored the other branches/ limbs of yoga?

I think that ahtanga can create in some people a kind of addiction to the physicality of the practice and a stronger attachment to one's body.

Enjoy the practice, but be mindful and focus on the other 7 branches of yoga as well.

Namaste

Susan Martinez, Director

Healing Lotus Yoga & Reiki"
 
Thank you very much Susan for your comment. It inspires me to write a post.
 
Here are the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga.
1. Yama (being non-violent towards others, living vegan i.e.)

2. Niyama (being content)
3. Asanas (the practice of physical postures)
4. Pranayama (controling the breath)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
6. Dharana  (focusing the attention in one direction)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi ("enlightenment")

I think it shows much understanding that you mentioned 7 branches of the yoga system. It's true Nr 1 through Nr 7 can be exercised, Nr 8 "enlightenment" is a mercy.

Again I start loving this practice even more (this is possible). Ashtanga yoga practice combines the different limbs in one practice. How wonderful is that:
When I practice the asanas and vinyasa (limb3), I also do pranayama (uddjay breathing, limb4), I withdraw the senses (limb5/6), because I focus on the breath. Finally I sit in meditation pose (limb7). It's one of the last asanas.
Yama: The practice also teaches me to eat well, to eat consciously, not to do harm to animals. This is surely not a necessary consequence of the practice.
Niyama: Am I content? I'm much more, I feel thankful to have found this practice, very thankful.

Ashtanga yoga is made for the average housholder and not only for sanyasins, who dedicate the whole life to yoga practices. Ashtanga yoga shall allow the practitioner of this style to have a family and a job beside the daily yoga practice. This is why different practices like asanas, pranayama, meditation are practiced within one practice. Of course they can be practiced separately in addition. Then the practice can easily prolong to 5 or 6 hours.


Limb Nr 8:
I want to finish with a quote by David Carse in "perfect brilliant stillness": " 'You' don't 'do' things; nor does anyone else; events happen, and they happen through mind/body organisms as instruments, including the one you call yourself." (page 292)

This is the true liberation.

Same book, page 292: "'You' are no more responsible for what occurs through the mind/body you call your'self' than the flute is responsible for the music played on it by the musician."

And this one from page 360: And yet. Yet if only once for a  moment, there could be letting go, if there could be that pop of the shift in focus and the individual self seen beyond, seen for what it is, "an echo, a rainbow, a phantom, and a dream," then there is something. Then the individual self was simply a thought, and idea; a 'false imagination' that cried out for comforting. When the true nature of things is seen, apperceived, then there comes something far beyond comfort, though there is nothing any longer that needs it."

Does it require to do yoga with all the limbs to understand this? My answer: No.
Then why to practice yoga? Because it's fun for me. I love it. And who can explain love?

By the way: You can order the book by David Carse "perfect brilliant stillness":







 David Carse visited the satsangs by Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai.
The book is excellent.
 
 
 
 
 
 
All words and concepts and opinions lead only to more discussions, more words, more misunderstanding. Much storm for nothing.  I've  heard that this was one of the reasons why P. Jois said "99% practice and 1 % theory". Good so.
(This does not mean that I don't love to discuss this topic. I do!) 
 
Time to take a bath, to feel the hot water around my body, to smell the essences that I usually pour into the water, I'll see my feet coming out of the foam and I'll be entertained. Ah............
Yep, I'm very attached to my body. I love my body. Life happens through it.
 
Friday has come: happy weekend to everybody.

Vinyasa.....


I practiced yesterday at home. The vinyasas were my focus. They need extra attention, some extra love. Oh and it's so difficult to stay calm and relaxed and patient and not getting angry. Each time when I jump forward the feet touch the floor or the arm, rather the floor. The jumping backwards (or floating backwards) isn't better either. I feel stuck here. Probably I need more strength and more technique, too.

This is yoga: it has also challenges for the mind. My practice gives me also instant gratification. It feels good to be in the asanas. But many asanas or vinyasas need years of practice till they satisfy me. To stay patient, not to give up, to learn, to handle set-backs, to do the daily work without grumbling and snarling are skills my yoga practices teach me.

What a joy, that I can go to a Mysore class today: I will give my best in every moment and I will hear how my feet touch the floor. I wil jump through again and again. One day the feet won't touch the floor anymore, I'll think.

And when this is achieved the next challenge arises at the horizon. Hahahaha, this keeps me lively.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Am I a hero of daily life?


Home practice is on the schedule today. I woke up early and I got up early. This is a good sign. It seems as if I've a lot of energy today.

The difference between home practice and my practice in a Mysore class is that I explore the asanas when at home. I also add asanas like hanumanasana (split pose). When I practice in a Mysore class I practice as close as possible to the given series. I enjoy the flow then. My extra explorations interrupt my practice from time to time. Today primary is on the schedule, and this is good so. It became so much easier since I practice second series. This is another reason to start second series as soon as possible.

I know it will frustrate me, but focus will be the vinyasa, jumping forward and jumping backwards. Perhaps floating is a better word. Even this dynamic part shall happen controlled.

The whole day lies in front of me. Shall it be a prolific one. I want to be a hero today, a hero of daily life.

Picture: It's 13 years old. Redundant to say this was pre-Ashtanga time. The Labrador Jenny doesn't exist anymore. She is dead, she was such a dear dog. I was in love with this dog. Honestly.

PS: On the right side sight of this blog, you find links to different shops. Enjoy shopping.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm seriously infected.


I'm infected. I've the Ashtanga yoga infection and every year it gets worse.......

The current diagnosis: A daily yoga practice of about 2 hours is a must. Bathing, commutting to Mysore classes, blogging about the practice, complement the infection. This means that the mornings are dedicated to this passion. All the other necessary activities, like making some money, meeting friends must take place in the remaining time.

This Ashtanga yoga has the potential to change your whole life. As this practice is rather time-consuming, the other activities must be done very smart. To organise the rest of my life is a challenge. Working alone means to be a sun, to shine on oneself. To dawdle is a great seduction. It's so nice to loaf on the bed. Energy is needed, and some organisation skills in order to be prolific. Thanks to the recommendation of Paz I have a tomato here now, it's a timer. I know so well from my yoga home practice how helpful it can be to know how to start, but also to limit the time for an activity is helpful. The tomato technique recommends to work 25 min on a topic, then 5 min rest are recommended. Within 25 min a lot can be done. Then the game starts again. With the tomato timer this technique becomes fun. Shall this method help me to become more prolific.

Hope is not a strategy, I read on Tim Ferriss t-shirt. Action now. January is already over.......OMG.

PS: Your comments on the new blog design are welcomed.
I have to get used to it myself. I'm curious about your impression.

Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Simplicity.....


Oh, I can add pictures again. I had to test it. Smiling.......
Pampered my bf with a simple dinner during the weekend. See picture.

And for me it's time to hurry. I'm having lunch with a friend whom I know for more than 2 decades.

For those who like to lose weight: It's not that easy to start a vegan life-style. If you do, it's easy to lose weight. I'm almost back to my fav weight.
Instead of panna cotta (cream) I'll order an espresso as dessert.



Pictures

Thanks to my friend Arturo I know now that I have to buy storage. I'm glad now that I know that it's not a criminal company that stands behind this demand. This was my fear. 5 USD are affordable. Within 24 hours I'll have new storage. Hahahahaha. I know my readers appreciate my pictures, so do I.

Btw, it's worth to click on Arturo.  The link leads  to his blog with many many pictures of places everywhere on this globe. His pictures from China are very special. Enjoy.

I got up too late, much too late. I have an ill man at home, my bf, this confuses my routines. Hahahaha, good that I can blame someone. Please realize how strong my immune system is. I don't get ill even though he is around me 24 hours. I blame yoga for this, hahahaha, and my cold shower every morning.

Second series is intensive. I slept a lot yesterday. The body needs it. I will get used to the intensive Mysore classes again. Oh yes, it's a huge difference if I practice alone or in a Mysore class with fantastic adjustments.

I'm looking forward to meet C for lunch. I love my life.

My constructions keep me busy and alive. Good that I can see this so, today.....:)

PS: Of course it pleases me when I see that you buy your amazon products via my blog. Links are on the right side of this blog.