Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So it looks.....


....if one is happy with the course of the day......

Busy, busy....


I didn't even nap today, I felt so excited to take pictures.
Photography makes me burn.
I discovered a photographer Cindy Sherman who became famous via her self-portraits. Whatever one does it's possible to find someone who does the same and even more intensively. She inspired me. The afternoon was dedicated to a photo session with myself. All the duties (chores, writing important emails) were neglected. Lol.

How was my yoga practice this morning? yeah yeah, good, good. Nothing special, but good.

If you like to see more, please visit my Google+ page.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today a photographer motivated me to step on the mat


Oh my the book is in my kindle. I don't know yet ho to jump to the beginning and back to where I stopped reading. I'll mention him here for sure as I love his book. One must do something alone he recommends. Just me and myself. I think he's right. Finally one must fly or jump or crawl alone. One must take the own pictures, one must write the own, one must approach people by oneself. Practicing yoga alone on my mat strengthen this muscles. It keeps the fire burning without the need of someone else.

I was happy that I practiced second series alone today. When I'm alone I always take the time to explore the poses. At the latest when one has started practicing third series it becomes clear, it's about the hips. The asanas enlarge the mobility of the legs in all directions.

So writing time is over. Me too I have to see the documentary on yoga. It seems so, it's a yoga day today....:) I could do worse things. Hahahaha......

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pictures like this shock me.


Pictures like this shock me. From one second to the other I'm modest again, I'm down to earth again, with both feet.
When I do this, it feels as if my feet are a few inches away from my head and that in a few weeks or so my toes can scratch my head. The picture tells me another truth.
I console myself: Remember, 2 years ago you were scared to do handstand, now this.
Of course I see now why M tells me to open and to stay open in the upper back when I "fall" into urdhva dhanurasana from there.

Oh, I'm so stiff, lol.

Oh, my Ashtanga practice today was much much better than I thought it would be. I had an excellent start in this week. Doing is everything.
At home I checked the DVD by Richard Freeman.
He said: Keep your sense of humor when you practice.

Keep your sense of humor. :) Off the mat, too. 

Monday morning


I'm sipping the second cup of coffee.
I'm planning the week ahead. Next weekend we'll see my parents. This has an influence on my yoga practice as I won't go to the led class next Sunday: Mo through Wed second series, Thurs, Fri primary.

It's still so early, 7am +. It allows me to wake up slowly. My mind is still sleeping. I hear the noise of the cleaning company on the other side of the street. They woke me up tonight. I look at my picture that I uploaded and I like it. It was a good idea to make a black and white one out of it. The form is dominant. It got some dramatic that way. My belly is warm, the coffee warmed me. I'm yawning.

At about 9:20 I'll start my first sun salutation.......on Mondays I take it easy.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wow....


What a practice! The body was soft and transparent, light, flexible, strong. If this all comes together and when it's in addition afternoon already, a practice is pure joy.

Today I had again the feeling that standing up from urdhva dhanurasana could be possible.
It also seemed to me as if the vinyasas improved.

Above all I think that we can all be happy and content that we discovered such an awesome practice.

Tomorrow the show can go on, please with the same intensity like today. :)

Saturday is a day off


These days off from a yoga practice on Saturdays is to stay motivated. On Sunday mornings I think already that it would be nice to practice Ashtanga yoga again.
I have time for other activities when I don't practice. This relaxes me as well, sometimes more than a yoga practice, because things get done. My bathroom is so much cleaner now. I had time to prepare a salad for dinner. We (my E and myself) were downtown for a coffee which was very nice and relaxing.

Tonight I had nightmares. They are forgotten. Finally I dreamed that I took pictures. The room was too dark and the light from the desk lamp was too weak to give enough light. All pictures were too dark and more or less for the garbage. This was not a nice dream either, but not a nightmare. This is so in photography. Only few pictures are wow-pictures. Other passions come into being. On Friday I met a friend and I talked longer about photography than I talked about yoga.

My yoga practice is a very important part of my life, redundant to say. Nevertheless I limit it. 2 and a half hours of practice 6 times a week is enough. Beside this I write about it, I study Youtube videos and and and. Enough. Dena is coming to Hamburg. She is  one of the yoginis I'd like to study with. To travel to Hamburg, to pay for the trip the hotel, the workshop is too much for me. I'll miss something, yes. A part of me is also sad that I won't go. I cannot do everything. Feed-back is so necessary, but the direction is clear. One has to learn to practice without props, without straps and blocks and blankets, even without a teacher last but not least. It's a challenge but this is the way.

Today my yoga week starts with a led class in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to it.
Primary is on the schedule. Supta parsvasahita is weakest asana of this series. If this pose were better vasisthasana would be better and easier, too. The only idea that I have how to improve this pose is to hold it longer.
In class I'll focus on the vinyasas. I feel it, I get closer and closer, one day I'll manage it to jump forward and backward without touching the floor with my foot when making these transitions.

Self-study is part of the yoga path. It's important to understand the asanas. To understand that all movements begin with the breath of course, but that they also start from the middle of the body, the hips so to say is a great support. Also regarding supta parsvasahita it's much better to think about opening the hips than to think to push the foot down to the floor. This happens when the hips are open.

Time to write my diary. I'll sit on the floor in upavistha konasana. Yoga is part of my life.
Right now I sit in  lotus pose. Poses become more and more comfortably the longer one exercises them. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The interview with Iyengar


Iyengar yoga and Ashtanga yoga are the two main yoga styles that combine the body and the mind in the practice.

Iyengar yoga is very  precise. This he also said in the interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine from 17. Feb 2012. B.K.S. Iyengar tries to understand the poses till the cells.
Here I read again as an example: The position of the feet has an influence of the position of the hips and this guarantees that the lower back remains long. In this direction goes my effort when I practice back bending.

It seems to me that Iyengar students focus on the precise performance of the asanas.
Ashtanga yoga practitioners focus mainly on the breath, dristhis, the bandhas.
I think the details count. They make a practice safe and protect from injuries. 
Both styles try to bring the body and the mind together.

Iyengar was asked what he thinks is the most spreaded issue of the human beings.
His answer: In the West you think you can solve emotional problems intellectually. But you must go where the feelings are: in the body. Most intellectuals have no clue how they can connect feelings and thoughts........

This is in my view a reason why yoga is liberating through the body work. With the flexibility of the body also possibilities in life arise. More seems possible. The character corset becomes loose.

Yesterday was a first spring day. See picture. The puddles came into being as the snow was melting. In the distance a soft green announces the warmer season. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

"When practicing yoga the mind must sweat." B.K.S. Iyengar


Yeah, I enjoy my cup of coffee.
Yesterday's primary was satisfying in the best sense. I had focus. It's easier to focus and to practice concentrated when the exercise is easier. Primary is easier for me than second series.

The quote in the title is by B.K.S. Iyengar who is still practicing yoga at the age of 93. He gave me a kick in the ass yesterday. Quickly I was on my mat after having read this  interview with him in a German magazine.
AT 5am he gets up every day, drinks half a cup of coffee, then he practices one and a half hour pranayama. After this he goes to the post office. Then he practices asanas till 12 o'clock. Wow. He's practicing with his students.

B.K.S. Iyengar about Krichnamacharya: Krichnamacharya the teacher and relative of Iyengar was very controlling. Iyengar was even forbidden to have friends. Iyengar is no more angry with him for a long time. He loved the passion of Krichnamacharya. Also in India Krichnamacharya wasn't taken seriously, but he never gave up. Yoga used to be a spiritual path. To combine the body and mind was not known. One didn't know that manuals (centuries old) for this did exist. Krichnamacharya must have been lonesome with his view on yoga. His light shines till today.

B.K.S also told a story that he was forced to do hanumanasana on stage and he wasn't able to do it. He was injured afterwards. It took years till it was healed.

Krichnamacharya saw how good yoga can be for women and Iyengar was the first teacher of women. He was not yet grown-up and not a true man therefore (lol). Teaching women was a turning point in the life of Iyengar. Later the women were behind him like hell, but he managed it to resist. His thick eyebrows helped him to keep the ladies in distance. Hahaha.........This was also one reason why he looked so seriously on the pictures. I even believe him.
This reminds me: Pulling the face doesn't mean that one is focused. The face is relaxed when practicing yoga.

Iyengar practiced up to 10 hours in his youth.
Are we softies nowadays?

Today I go to a Mysore class. I've too many asanas that need special attention. Might I progress fast. Lol.

Btw, I hope you enjoy my pictures from the zoo. Yesterday I asked what it costs to get the allowance to sell them. They want 50% of the profit. This is too much and too much bureaucracy. They are for private use now, for my blog so to say. They want to protect with this strategy the shop owners in the zoo. The animal pictures on the cups that they sell there are lousy. My view of course.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What personality type practices Ashtanga yoga?


If you're a woman at a certain age (far above 30) it's more likely that you practice Ashtanga yoga as if you're a young man.

When I look around in our classes (this is of course not representative world-wide) we have much more women. I'd say 80% are yoginis.
I'm always amazed about the age. The average age is rather high. We've a man here who is 58. Our youngest yogini is 25 and a student as far as I'm informed.

I regret that we've not more younger men in our classes. Hahaha......

1. Ambition is a word that comes into my mind when I think of Ashtanga practitioners. Sometimes I wonder if Ashtanga yoga is a collecting basin of women who couldn't live out their ambition in a job and now they want to know what's possible on the mat where no boss will stop them. (Till they experience that they are stopped at asanas someone else thinks she cannot perform it comme il faut. Hahaha). I know this, for the time being I don't feel stopped.
2. In order to get a sense of achievement most yogis and yoginis have to show perseverance. Those who want a quick satisfaction and entertainment do something else. It can take up to a decade to learn some poses.
3. Ashtanga yoginis are lonesome wolves, misfits, renegades. They fight alone. Individualists they are and not willing to subordinate to a group. They want to come to a class when they want and they want to practice according to the own rhythm and breath.  Group sports are more for tall people in addition. There are exceptions, but this is the rule.
4. It's not mainly fun that yoginis are seeking, they work on themselves on their body postures, the breath, the thinking. This is all not so obvious attractive like winning a soccer match.
5. Body type doesn't play a role. Not everybody is super slim, some are tall, some not. Neither does the job and relationship status  play a role.
6. I wouldn't say that yoginis are control freaks. Nevertheless the word controlling is not a foreign word. Yoginis/yogis control the breath, the eye movement, the body postures from the little toe to the little finger, they count. At least they control themselves and not others.

Please feel free to complete my list.

I sometimes wonder why someone is practicing Ashtanga yoga. It's a good question. I'm sure I'll get answers.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I feel so cold


I feel so cold. I'm sipping energy tea in the hope it will warm me. My hands embrace the warm cup. They are cold, too. I want to move my fingers even though I have not much to write. The finger ballet on my warm keyboard shall warm, too.

This bear made its rounds. He looked heavy. This was good for this monster these low temperatures. Yep, if I were an ice bear, tralali, tralala.......It makes me smile to go through my pictures from the zoo visit yesterday.


Today I meditated again for 10 min in the late afternoon. I was very calm. Sitting in padmasana for 10 min is no issue at all anymore. Also in the end I didn't feel my legs. The sitting position is very good because I feel I sit stable. My back is upright in that queen asana. To enjoy 10 min of silence every day is a wonderful habit.

Tomorrow morning primary, home practice: the vinyasa and back bending is my focus. I must manage it to come up from urdhva dhanurasana. On my own. One must burn by oneself. From the inside.


No internet connection


So I decided to have lunch round the corner in the Croatian restaurant. They have internet connection there, too. Without my connection I feel like on an island far far away from everything.

I've been too long here, time to go. Most important emails are answered. :) I even conversed a bit. It's funny to chat around the globe. I appreciate modern times and it's technique.

At least a nice picture is up. I've taken so many. To see these animals makes me smile.

.....that was it for today.........hahahaha.........till tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I was in the zoo


It warmed my heart. The entire day I walked around with my Nikon-devil, my 3 lenses (zoom, 50mm and 85mm) and a big smile on my face. I didn't realize that the tips of my fingers got colder and colder. I was so happy to see how these different animals enjoyed the snow and the sun. The light was perfect for pictures.

On my way home I stopped at a bakery to buy some "Krapfen" for E and me. (Krapfen is a cake one eats on carnival and it's E's favorite cake.)
"3 Krapfen please."
"Take 4, then you get 5, one is for free then."
"No, thank you, 3 is more than enough."
(5 Krapfen only to get something for free, I'm not that crazy.I mean to sin a bit is so nice, but to kill oneself with sugar is not a joke anymore.)

More pictures from the zoo you can see on my google+ account already: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113847960209069198389/posts


In a café



This morning my E and myself were in a café.

Me: Tell me a story of your life.
He: I cannot. I'm in the here and now.

LOL. 

The guru


Monday, February 20, 2012

Looking for the summer.....


After these very cold days 0°Celsius seems rather warm already.

Tomorrow I'll practice at home.
Repetition, repetition, repetition is the method to improve anything.............

Just deleted a sentence. It's not worth the time to write about "moonlight yoga".
Again and again one must focus on what is important like I did today during my 10 min meditation in the evening: Inhaling pause exhaling pause inhaling. This concentration exercise becomes again important to me. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Remarks on the comments to my last post


1. I studied sociology. When I wanted to finish university I had to look for professors who tested my knowledge. I could propose topics. My third subject beside sociology and psychology was theater which included also film. I went to a professor who had focused on theater (stage). I asked him if he could give me a topic on movies. He said to me: "Why do you not go to a professor who is specialized in movies?" And right he was. He was a very confident professor and he suggested a topic: movie on stage. There was a tendency on stage to integrate play and film. Rather interesting. I distract. This was my topic
If someone asks someone who practice Asthanga yoga what to practice, it's very likely that this is what is recommended, don't you think so?
Even though I'm very cautious, but if someone already likes to practice vinyasa yoga he is so close to the source.......I mean.....

2. Ashtanga yoga is safe. Beginners don't injure themselves in general. Beginners in led classes might get frustrated, because they are not able to do the poses. I wouldn't say that this injures the soul. Otherwise they are not able to injure themselves. The injuries start after a few years of practice, when greed sets in. The yogi/yogini starts wanting more and more and he/she becomes impatient. In the meantime the possibility to go too far is given. Then injuries happen. Beginners only play yoga. They are far away from their limits (and with this also far from injuries).
Vinyasa classes are crowded here, no individual teaching happens, injuries are as likely as in a led Ashtanga class.

3. I've practiced all styles of yoga: Bikram injured me the first time seriously on the neck. In this hot room I couldn't feel my body anymore and we were pushed like soldiers in a military camp. I don't need this. My friend was injured, too.  I was very exercised that time back. I wrote about this experience on my blog. I could only stand life with Aspirin for a week.
I saw a lot of people doing their first Ashtanga class. I've never heard about such a story or of any injuries. Most people liked it. It's true, Ashtanga yoga is not so wide-spreaded like these music classes. Often only led classes are offered and not Mysore classes. Best is of course to learn Ashtanga yoga in a Mysore class step by step.
Never expect perfection. Make the best out of the given situation.

4. These invented yoga styles like Bikram, also Jivamukti, Anasura (there is now a scandal in this community because of.........I'm not interested in scandals.) The most important thing is that all these new styles are created because some people wanted to make money or they wanted to create something on their own (big big ego). I've nothing against it. Not at all. But it's good to know.
The old yogis wanted you to become enlightened. They wanted to show you a way out of the misery that you might feel in daily life. If you get a sexy body or not was not important. A sexy body is a great joy, but not a solution for your life issues.
Do you see and feel the difference???? Yoga can just be another distraction, it can set goals like a six pack on your abdomen to impress a potential lover, but it can also be a guide how to live, how to view the world and oneself. This was the intention originally. You get a neck massage perhaps, you listen to some music in these modern yoga classes. Some people even preach: ah, we love each other, ohhhhhhh.....and happiness for everybody.
If it's necessary to practice Ashtanga yoga in order to understand that "life happens" is another topic. Ashtanga and Advaita belong together.

I found the source, I don't need cross training. For what? When I want to listen to music I switch on my Harmon kardon  and I listen to songs that provoke me to dance. When I want a neck massage I go to my boyfriend. When I want to be in a hot room I go to a sauna. I don't need to listen to a philosophy fantasized by a bendy yogi or yogini. I've left the catholic church behind me and will never go back. I don't need someone who tells me how to live my life. Yoga is not a religion, some want to make one out of it. Yoga is a technique. Be curious and listen where it leads you when you practice. Start with the asanas. Listen to yourself.......Nothing else is necessary.

Practice Asthanga yoga and you know the difference! Don't settle for less. I don't. 

"What do you think of vinyasa yoga?"


"What do you think of vinyasa yoga?"  I was asked this by "The Gremlins Hammer" who stumbled upon my blog. He's practicing Bikram yoga already, but is looking for some variety.

First what is vinyasa yoga? 
Yogis/yoginis practice an asana then the next asana, these asanas are connected via movements like a sun salutation or one goes to the next asana via downward facing dog. There is no fixed order of the asanas, so a teacher is necessary who guides the yogis/yoginis through a class. One has to listen what comes next.
Vinyasa yoga is a rather new invention of the yoga community. It seems to be popular. The source and the archetype of this direction of yoga is Ashtanga yoga.

I strongly recommend: Practice Ashtanga yoga. Why buying a copy of a Picasso if you can get the original?
The advantage is:
1. In Ashtanga yoga you know which asana comes next. This allows to practice alone. You don't have to be a choreopraph.
2. You can listen to your breath (uddjay breathing) and you don't need to listen to someone's else voice, which in my opinion is only a distraction from yourself and your practice. Sometimes there is in addition music in classes. A nightmare. As if we are not all overwhelmed already.
3. You can practice re your own rhythm when you practice Ashtanga yoga. Your breath gives you the rhythm.
4. You were looking for variety: Ashtanga yoga has 4 series and the rishi series. First one practices the sun salutations, then the standing sequence, then the middle part, then the closing sequence. The asanas of the middle part change from series to series. In the middle part are always more than 20 asanas which are connected via vinyasas. Usually it takes decades to master these series. Shall this be enough variety.
5. I love the Ashtanga community. I've never heard about a vinyasa community. It's a wonderful support to know people worldwide who practice the same and who share the same passion

Practice the original yoga. Switch to Ashtanga yoga. :)

Forget about these costume jewelery like Bikram and vinyasa yoga and moon yoga and sun yoga and whatever yoga. Wear pearls, practice the original yoga.

Usually I have difficulties to recommend Ashtanga yoga, yoga in general. Why?
- It's not for everybody. People who prefer to do outdoors sports won't be so attracted by indoor activities.
- Some people will miss the playful aspect that one has when doing something in a group like soccer.
- Yoga in general is not competitive. There is no winning and losing like in baseball which can be fun.
But you've already decided that yoga is something for you. Go for Ashtanga yoga, you'll be challenged for the rest of your life.

Ashtanga yoga is not invented originally to create a brand in order to make money. If you go to a class it's not as if you go to a party where you listen to some music. In my view this is more or less a marketing strategy. When you practice Ashtanga yoga you work with yourself. It's not only: "come on, let's have some fun". Why not having fun, I love to practice Ashtanga yoga, but this practice goes deeper. Finally it liberates from old concepts, old stories that are stored in the body. It can lead to inner peace and satisfaction.

And if you like it hot from time to time. I love it hot, too from time to time, then go to a sauna and relax.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

One of my first pictures of myself doing yoga


It's taken in 2006 in the Airyoga studio in Munich. I had to ask people to take a picture.
How glad I'm now that I have a self-timer.

Dristi is not upwards, but the third eye or the nose when bending backwards. 

What has changed during the last 8 years?


1. During my first years of Ashtanga yoga I omitted asanas because I didn't like them, i.e. bhuja pidasana.
2. I looked for variations if an asana seemed to be too difficult, i.e. marichyasana A. I did a twist, but a modest one and I thought I stick to that variation. Also garbha pindasana was an asana I thought I'd never be able to do. I could mention many asanas that seemed to be not doable for me.



My daily practice taught me that more is possible than I might think first.
1. I don't omit asanas anymore because I don't like them. Perhaps one day I like them. This happened already with the headstands at the end of second series i.e. and many other asanas, too
2. If an asana seems impossible I exercise variations only as an interim solution.
3. My body became more flexible over the time. I could also push the limits of my mind.

Will I be able to do ganda bherundasana during this life time? I just flipped through all the asanas of the Ashtanga series. I'm not sure. I cannot imagine how to practice it alone. If the opportunity is given, I'll practice what is possible.........breath by breath.......I'll approach this goal at the horizon. The path is as important as the goal. Only if one does nothing, also not much can happen. To visualize something is already a first step. I see it so.

In the meantime my kitchen is clean. Yepeeeeee.
I'll do some grocery shopping. On Saturdays I love to cook for my E and myself. It starts with going to my fruit and vegetable dealer.

Pictures: Munich during winter time.

What influences our Ashtanga yoga practice.


1. Anatomy: We work with our bodies when we practice Ashtanga yoga. It has an influence on our practice if we've long arms and legs or short arms or legs. Some poses are easier to perform for some bodies. To have it easy needn't be an advantage. One can be bored too fast, i.e.
2. Age: I always did yoga (classic hatha yoga, 12 poses) and  Aikido for 5 years. I used to practice on a daily basis. I know the difference. I'll turn 53 this year. I still experience that my practice progresses. I still get stronger and more flexible. The difference: it's a much slower process, much slower. I compensate this via a daily practice and a lot of passion for this exercise. Nevertheless age is a given factor. Not every person at the same age has the same conditions, some are biologically older, some younger.
3. Attitude: We all have learned how to approach new things. We all have formed an opinion about ourselves (consciously or unconsciously). If I think something is possible or not has an influence. It seems to me that an attitude is easier to change than the anatomy. lol. In some cases this might not be true.
4. Past: It plays a role if I have experience in sports or not. Some people have developed body feeling others not.

The daily ups and downs might be influenced by what we eat, our stress level, our moods, our other activities (sitting in an office all day long, doing marathons).
Other more stable factors like age, attitude, anatomy, past are always an influence, too. 

Why this list?
It's helpful to face these factors when we're on the mat. Not as a limiting factor, but as a factor to consider:
- When the arms are not so long it can lead to the understanding that patience is necessary.
- At an advanced age it's recommended to be especially attentive to the limits in order not to injure oneself. Repetition, visualization can compensate the slower progression.
- A positive attitude is more supporting whatever one does. Observing our thoughts, writing them down is a first step to find out how and what we think. Yoga gives the opportunity to get to know oneself. Don't miss it. An intensive yoga practice over the years can change the body for the better, but also our thoughts.
- The past is over. The future cannot be seen through a rear mirror. On the mat we exercise to be in the present and to make the best out of it. Let go of old concepts.

Being attentive helps to find the limits on a give day. 

The genes, the conditioning, the environment are abstract formulated given. They shall not serve as an excuse to think some poses are not possible i.e., but they can help to understand what happens on the mat. It's not necessary to ask "why" all the time.
Why was I flexible today? Why was I stiff today? An answer might give us hints what to change. Questioning everything and thinking all the time is not an Ashtanga method, but practicing.
Focusing on the breath (one method of Ashtanga yoga) teaches us to be attentive, now. It teaches to respect and to accept the given moment. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not. So what.

I just remember the new yogi in our Mysore class. After the practice he was asked if everything was OK, as he has scoliosis. Everything was OK. He added that he can omit asanas. I interfered (smiling): "We Asthangis don't like to omit anything." Not my best sentence ever, I admit. I might have sounded like a know-it-all. I realized  how the atmosphere turned frozen, blocked.
He probably didn't feel respected with his scoliosis."  Of course my sentence cannot be understood by someone who has just made his first sun salutation. He lacks the experience that more is possible than one might think first. On the other hand my sentence could have made him curious, too.
It would have been better not to have said anything, but a "Hello, pleased to meet you.". Too late, this one sentence was spoken. In the evening in an Indian restaurant I told the story to my bf.  He must have seen that I'm not a bloody beginner during the class as he practiced in the opposite row. Why did he felt perhaps even attacked by me?
My view in the future: I won't see him often.

I'm always amazed how quickly we have opinions. I'm ready to change mine quickly, too.

There are many excuses not to practice. There are even more reasons to practice.

Picture: It's vasisthasana, another variation.

One of my next posts will be: Beauty sells, also Ashtanga yoga.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Be here now......


Nothing else is possible but to be here now. No exercise, no Ashtanga yoga, no effort is necessary. One can only be here now. Also when I get angry about the past, I'm here now. Also when I worry about the future I'm here now. I cannot disappear in the future. Jumping into the future is a story for movies like "star war".

To focus on the senses, what do I hear now, what do I see now, what do I feel now is an ability of the mind among other abilities. Other abilities are indeed remembering things. It can be important for jobs. Another ability is to visualize, i.e. how I perform the next pose. This can be an important step towards being able to do it.

Being present (focusing on the senses) can be very important, for sure. There are situations where it can be life threatening if I'm not present, i.e. when I cross a street and I don't look if cars are coming. Sometimes it's simply impolite when I'm in a conversation and when I dream myself away. It can provoke the impression that the dreamer is bored.

Be here now is often an attempt of spiritual seekers with the impossible goal to be here now all the time. First, as written, nothing else is possible. Secondly, the mind is producing thoughts, even when we are sleeping and in bed. To stop this can only be temporarily. It's very frustrating to try something that is not possible. In addition I don't see the reason why this shall be a goal. Also dreaming can be interesting from time to time.

Does it make sense to learn to focus on the sense as one of the possibilities of the mind? I think yes. It's relaxing. It can bring a lot of joy. Eating a meal and tasting the food consciously is surely more joy than being mentally absent.

Even when focusing on the senses it's not the truth that we experience. It's also fiction. A dog hears and sees different than a human being.

I like the distinction about working mind and thinking mind by Ramesh Balsekar. Usually the mind is thinking. To use it for work is even important for survival. Work can be anything.
The thinking mind is what we all experience on a daily basis. Stories appear in our consciousness. Fiction. To realize that this is fiction makes life easier. To realize that the worries about the future are nothing but a thought can be a relief, possibly with the consequence to stop worrying as it allows to put away the thought like we put away a book. It's all fiction, sometimes entertaining in a most positive sense, sometimes not.

I've a book title here "Awakening to the dream". This describes what is meant by it.

Currently I read a very captivating book by the German author Andreas Altmann "Triffst du Buddha, töte ihn". (If you meet buddha, kill him.) The story: Andreas travels to India and participates in a vipasana retreat. Silence and meditation is on the schedule the entire day. The group tries to focus on the breath first.......to stay concentrated on anything for a long time is very difficult task, oh I know this too well. 10 min meditation and I've enough. It can be exercised to be concentrated.

On the picture is an easier form of the asana vasisthasana than we practice it in Ashtanga yoga. When I'm thinking I guarantee that I wobble and that I fall out of the pose. Balancing poses forces me to calm the mind.

The mind can be used in many ways. I appreciate all the abilities.

I'm looking forward to today: First I'll go to a Mysore class to practice Ashtanga yoga. A visit with my camera and my lenses to the zoo is planned. In the evening I'll go out with E. Ahhhhhh........


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vasisthasana


I was too curious. I wanted to see how vasisthasana, the new pose looks like.

What I see is that my leg and my hand could be closer together. This might allow me to bring the hips higher, so that my body forms a banana. The position of the head is the last I care about. More important is to stay for 5 breaths in that pose.

I'm not sure if I breathed. I'll check this the next time. 

And now?


Finally a home practice again. I practiced primary.
My opinion is that this is the final goal to be able to practice alone.

Vinyasa: I swing my legs through my arms when it goes backwards. Instead of touching the floor with one foot I tried to keep the feet of the floor. With success. Now I "only" have to make my legs fly backwards. I think a tiny step is done again. Strength is needed for sure.

Urdhva dhanurasana: I dropped back again, also at home. How to come up, how to come up?

It was not sure if I practiced or not. It's seldom easy to start. I'm happy that it's done now and I really practiced without breaks. The music was on, it helped me to go on. I enjoyed my flexibility and my strength.

It's still rather early which is perfect. Perhaps I'm happy tonight how much is done. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Night walks


It's most of the time me who is the driving force to convince us to go out for a night walk. I know it's good for him (E) and I always like to move. In 99% it's really relaxing to be out and to walk and to see the beauty of the environment also at night, also when it's cold and snowy or wet. Sometimes I wonder if these walks are really so healthy when we stop at the Croatian restaurant on our way home. Healthy or not, it's a wonderful ritual.

I prepare myself for a home practice tomorrow morning: primary is on the schedule. It's a piece of cake. I must laugh, because if it's done comme il faut it's challenging and not a piece of cake. I search my limits, only this satisfies me. I don't want to betray myself. I want to find out what is possible. I want to be concentrated.  And I want to add some extra exercises like handstand and vasisthasana. I'm curious what will happen, I'll observe.

The picture here has some dramatic, don't you think so? It's the view out of my window. There was a snow storm today. Only my 50mm lens can produce such an atmosphere. 

Wednesday


The snow monster on the picture spoiled my sleep tonight. During winter when snow is everywhere, they start working after midnight. I wake up, I hear it when the engines of this orange vehicles howl. In addition I had awful dreams. At 7am I got up and saw the snow storm outside. I showered, I had a tiny breakfast, dressed and left my cosy home. On the way to the tram I thought: weather can never be an excuse not to go to a Mysore class. I repeated this sentence for myself. My scarf warmed my ears and my head. My fingers got cold despite the gloves. The last piece of way from the subway to the shala I trudged through the snow.

I practiced. It was an average practice. I felt a bit stiff. No highlights come into my mind. my focus was rather to have flow, which is difficult enough when I practice second series and one pose of third series, hahaha. This wobbling vasisthasana I must mention. Almost two and a half hours I exercised the body and the mind. What a lovely morning. So good I felt when I put on one layer of warm clothes after the other.

Have you ever talked with someone and have you felt that he/she was absent, thinking of anything else, but not following the conversation with you? I realize this at once. Being present on the own mat is the goal. This is the mental exercise, it's a concentration exercise. This intensifies the practice. These mental exercises are as important as the performance of an asana.


Tomorrow yoga comes first.
Tomorrow my home practice has priority, before I do anything else. I intend to start early. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"You must be super-cool now."



When I told my friend A yesterday evening that I practice more than 2 hours yoga every day her reaction was: "Then you must be super cool." :)

I wonder: Am I cool? or even super cool? I mean I practice Ashtanga yoga since 9 years now on a daily basis.
I came to the conclusion that I don't mind if I'm cool, cooler, the coolest or the opposite. Perhaps this is it. How cool.

My kindle arrived.


Yeah, so it looks like when I stretch my head out of the window. It snowed overnight. It's still snowing. We've a very active winter service here. Everywhere are these little stones  to make it safe to walk. It's inevitable that one brings these little stones home. When I walked barefoot here this morning I realized it the unpleasant way.  My soft pampered feet stepped on these tiny but hard stones. I vacuumed them and did some chores first. It was necessary.
I don't like to skip yoga today because my to do list is long. Best is I write down what I want to do. Most things I love to do:
1. Preparing a selections of pictures I want to show the woman who wants to exhibit them is on my list. She shall have a choice. Nevertheless I don't want to show her 100 pictures or more.
I want to produce some black and white pictures, because right now black and white pictures are on her wall and I don't know if she prefers this style. I'm not such an artist who ignores the wishes of the potential clients, lol. Yesterday I found out what it costs to have the pictures on a material so that one can hang them on a wall. It's all new territory for me. It seems to be affordable either for her or for me. When I go through my old pictures I realize how my pictures have changed. One reason is that I've better equipment now (3 lenses for my Nikon devil). This is so. It's possible to take a nice shot with a mobile phone. More possibilities are given with better tools, one must only learn to use them.
Here is a link to my smug mug page. I want to use this side to show her the pictures. I hope she has wifi.
Feed back to the selection is welcomed.
2. I've a shopping list.
3..........and and and....



My kindle arrived yesterday. I'm glad that I bought it and I hesitated for so long. Space for books is limited here is the main reason why I need such a thing. In addition I see that one has to use the new gadgets in order to be up to date. It's easy to use, but it's not a book. First I had to set up the connection to our wifi network. It's locked. So E had to open it first. To navigate, to highlight, to write down notes, all this is possible. How to do it can become a routine. Using a kindle the first time requires time to learn how to use it. I set it up for English language as I always want to improve my English. What happened is that I can buy my books now via amazon.com, not amazon.de. This has a disadvantage because I've to pay in USD. This means I've additional bank fees. Now I want to switch to the German kindle. How? It's all easy to use, but not that easy. Not for me.
I love the kindle, because it's so light. I can put it on my legs when I sit in lotus pose without holding it and I can read very comfortably.
In the long run I'm sure I'll save money as the books are cheaper when I download them on my kindle. In the meantime some books are only available as a download on kindle.
I won't have to carry around books in my handbag. My kindle will be enough. I need a condom for it to protect it, this is for sure. I could create one on zazzle...........mmmmmmmm.

Time to step on my mat. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mondays seem to be difficult


I feel it in the bones on Mondays. Not that I'm astonished. On Sunday evening I've a led class. E picks me up afterwards for dinner. Yesterday I had the full program inclusively a glass of red wine. For my sensitive body it's enough to show reactions the morning after. When I practiced second series this morning it was as if I had sable in the blood and joints. Simply doing it without expectations is it. It's the best what I can do, to be on the mat and to focus on my breath. I know this. New resolutions are made. I know this game already. There will always be contradictions in my life. To be a bit more holy would be good. This week will be a healthy week, I swear.

Time to nap. A break feels good, before jumping around again.


Today it's not so sunny like yesterday, but cold and dark and grey. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

As always...


First I felt reluctance to go out. It's so cold outside, minus degrees. To change clothes is like work. But I went, because I remembered how much I love the led class on Sundays. When the first inhaling is done it all goes it's way. Yeah, and now I'm so happy that I went. I'm relaxed despite everything.

I took the picture of this blog post this morning. I love it. This is the direction I want to go in life and in the things I produce - becoming simple, clear, minimalist, focused. This is it for me. Title of the picture: winter. 

The good, the bad and the ordinary


I'm a fan of ordinary life. It's a great joy for me to prepare my cup of coffee in the morning.

On Saturdays I usually go to the bakery to get minimum a fresh bread. The light was good and I went out with my Nikon devil. First motif for a picture was a woman who had her so cute dog in her arms. I asked her if she'd mind if I took a picture. She was not at all convinced. Then not, I thought. Rejection is part of life. Me too, I wouldn't accept always to be captured on a picture.
At the bakery the owner asked me if I were a photographer. I cannot remember anymore exactly what I stuttered. She asked me if I liked to exhibit my pictures on her wall. Of course I do. Next week, I'll meet her to show her something. I already made a choice of pictures that I can imagine there. :) I love it when things move also when it's only a tiny bit.

Time flies. When I want to be led through primary, I must hurry. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It felt good.


Vasisthana felt good last time in the Mysore class. R held my hips high and this was it. This stabilized me of course, too. "It's a difficult pose for me," I said to M. He: "It's a piece of cake for you." Your words in God's ears I thought and I was entertained. Vasisthasana is a pose that is not so difficult for me like kapotasana. This back bending pose drives me crazy. It's as if I don't progress at all. When it's done, I'm always relieved. It shall be the shoulder  that hold me back. I fear it's everything. I divide my practice into two parts, before kapotasana and after kapotasana.
One shall not omit anything. I don't. Looking back I'm glad that I didn't negotiate with M to leave out mayurasana. He also wouldn't agreed here. It's so good now. I can hold it for 5 breaths. Only how I get into the pose is still a bit different as it's supposed to be. Pincha mayurasana is coming, too. This pose I didn't like to omit, haha. Dislikes and likes are always there, they have not always the influence to decide if something is done or not. I want to confront myself with the fear to fall in the middle of the room when doing this pose. This is the focus of February. So far not so much happened in this direction. When practicing this pose against the wall I take away what this pose is about: a balancing pose and most balancing poses come with the "danger" of falling out of the pose.
Karandavasana gets better, too. What I exercise in addition is doing a headstand. Then I fold my legs into padmasana. Then I lift my body up and stand only on my forearms. This little movement usually makes me wobbling and I fall against the wall or in the other direction. It happens more often now that I don't wobble and that I can balance.

In sum I'm happy how second series developed. There is still a lot to do till it has this rhythm I'm aiming at. It will still take some time till it's a practice and not a learning exercise. Of course learning never stops, but I think you practitioner of Ashtanga yoga know what I mean.

Today is Saturday. I want to spend some time on the mat, either for a rishi series or for the moon sequence by Sweeney. Something calm for me today.

Yesterday I watched and listened to Rolling Stones songs. Mick Jagger is a rather small man, he has my length. All members of the group remained thin. They all are bones and skin and a few muscles. I love this. The faces gained contour. The softness of their young years disappeared, the face of Mick is expressive.
No more aiming to be beautiful, but being oneself, is it.

Time for a tiny healthy breakfast. I intend to cook today. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

I shall decide......


Yeah, I shall decide where to eat tonight.

Ha ha, I just had an idea: Japanese, the Kyoto round the corner.

Now I can rest a bit, wonderful, that's it. 

For Claudia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WezmIpKWDcI&feature=related

This song is for you Claudia, bye-bye.

You should have rebelled. But this, one has to find out by oneself, probably.
56 is too young to leave this world.

I was searching a picture with you on it to upload it here. I know I have some. They are somewhere.

"People like you don't exist anymore", you used to say to me. I've still some clothes from you from your boutique that you closed last year. You remembered this sexy silver silk top that I got from you a few years back. This I'll dress tonight. In honor of your life. You'll be missed.

Up. Tired. Still winter.



Yep. It's still cold. How good for me that Mysore classes are offered. This gives my life a clear structure. Yesterday I didn't practice. I thought to do some other important activities. One of these activities was a phone call. It turned out that I had provoked the young man on the other side. From one second to the other he got furious. I was present. The rhythm of my speaking got faster, too, but only to adjust to him and to describe my point of view in a way he was able to understand. Even though this is not important to be understood. 
After my 2 activities I had the feeling as if the work of the day is done. 

I went out for lunch with my book by Annie Leibowitz. I'm through now. The waiter wanted to see what I was reading. I showed him some pictures. Like me, he knew them, but he didn't know that Annie had taken them. Now I know a lot of picture of her of course. After a while the handsome waiter removed the plate. I had finished my Thai inspired meal. 
"Give me a little break," I said to him "then I'd love to have something sweet." 
"Myself?" he answered.  
I laughed, a deep laughter. Haha. 

I can hear how someone is shoveling the snow that is fallen over night. Snow is light......(and soon dirty mud).

It's ordered now. The kindle. As a book lover I need it. There are always new material wishes that arise on the horizon. 

Oh, I must hurry.........






Thursday, February 09, 2012

Slightly trembling


The cold weather will still last. Overnight I turn off the heater. It's the first action in the morning to turn it on. My flat never gets very cold, but I'm thin and then one feels low temperatures very fast. Then I head to the kitchen to prepare a cup of coffee for myself. While the water is running through the filter I exercise nauli. It wakes me up.

My yoga plan for today: primary with first pose of third series and some extra asanas like split pose (forward and sideward). Vasisthasana is a challenge.
It could be good to start with the CD by Sharath till the end of the standing sequence.

"The Descendants" with Mr Clooney were very nice. I didn't understand everything, it was not so important. Especially the cursing of the daughters I'd have loved to understand. I got the gist of the story, shall this be enough.  It was very nice to see the places of Hawaii where we've been last November.

So, I'm dressed very nicely now. For special days, special clothes. I even dress my pearls. I have to go. It's a Champagne day today, for sure. But I won't drink, as I like to balance in yoga poses later.

Picture: Munich during winter times. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Vasisthasana, a link

Vasisthasana , a link.

Yep, I need the link here on my blog. A friend from India sent it because she has read that I'm learning this pose. It's so helpful. I will surely do the preparation asanas, too, to get more familiar with this balancing pose.

Tomorrow is primary on the schedule, home practice, but I can add this pose at the end. A balancing pose always fits in.

Tonight I'll go to the movies with my E: The descendants. We'll watch the original version. I'll understand only half of it, I know it. I must try. If I don't understand so much, I can enjoy the pictures of Hawaii, where the movie plays.


Fantastic


That I had a yoga free day yesterday; this had no negative influence on my practice this morning. It was an excellent practice. Also when I practice second series I experience flow these days. Not so many breaks are needed anymore. This means I must have become stronger. I gave special attention to the asanas like karandavasana and kapotasana. Vashistasana I repeated. I feel it, it looks awfully. Hahahaha.....

I look at my clock. It's almost 2pm. Nothing but yoga and chores are done. I did nothing by now which was not absolutely necessary. Time runs too fast.
Shall my morning now be over.
I'll nap a bit before starting the second part of the day, the afternoon. A to do list exists.

Picture: The park round the corner.


Soon I'll go to work


Haha, yoga is my work. Mysore class starts one hour earlier since February. I was even one of those yoginis who voted for an earlier start. Right now I'd prefer to be still in bed. The world is white here. And cold. In my bed it's warm under the many blankets that I put on it. I left this place already, I won't go back. lol.

Yesterday I didn't practice. It felt so good. Why not. I go with the flow. Sometimes I need an extra day off. And I wasn't lazy. I didn't even nap. I read the book by Annie Leibowitz. Wow, it captures me.

Time flies, I must go on here..................

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I prefer summer time


It's cold outside and I dress as many clothes as possible when I go out. I want to feel warm. But the clothes must still allow me to move, a bit at least.

In order to get things done I've to change priorities. Not always practicing one of the Ashtanga series is my no 1 priority. Today it was cleaning and reading (Annie Leibowitz at work).

Google+, facebook, googlemail was open when a window popped up on facebook. A friend from Canada was on his way to work. "Shall I go out for dinner?" I asked him. I couldn't make a decision. He adviced to go and I went to the Italian restaurant round the corner. I must see people, I thought. I'm so often at home, I must go out. I'm enough of a misfit. I want to confront myself with other creatures. The owner of the restaurant remembered my fav lunch: penne al'arrabiata. Something hot for me today. The restaurant was already empty. Lunch time was over. My life rhythm is different from the masses. I follow my own rhythm, what a luxury.

I'm back. I'm at home again. The book by Annie Leibowitz captures me. I must go on reading. 

Well-rested


I'm well rested. I heard the alarm clock, but I slept as long as I wished. It's no more early now, who cares.
I dreamed of cats last night. One slept even in my bed. Perhaps because the photographers on Google+ like Caturday and every Saturday they post pictures of cats. No, I 'm not fallen in love with one of them, I'm in love with all of them. lol. My bed was empty yesterday. Monster E is in Switzerland, so there was room for other creatures. My E is rather a bear than a cat. Mainly hairy, I think and I enjoyed the company of the cat.

I dedicated my time to my second time-intensive passion last night: photography. I discovered a photographer from Prague: Martin Stranka. In a German magazine he explained his success: be yourself, be loved by few and not understood by many.
Soon I took pictures, I experimented, I was inspired. I'm not sure how I find the results. Deletion is also important here. A photographer friend of mine wrote: be bold. This can mean a lot. For me it can mean working with colors, an uncommon perspective, accessories. What else? It's a path and a good question: what is bold for me? What stories do I like to tell? Like Ashtanga yoga, photography is a tool to get to know oneself. Being bold is for me not being naked. I've seen so many naked people. It's rather the game of showing and hiding, making curious, being oneself. These ramblings fit more to my blog on photography.

Back to my yoga practice: Second series plus one pose of third series is on my schedule. Hahaha. Home practice is the final goal, I think. On Sunday I had an excellent primary (led class). Yesterday I had a lousy second series. What comes today? I observe and become more and more relaxed towards the daily ups and downs. This has to be so, I think. It goes either up or down. Likes alter with dislikes and so on.....Wishes come and go. lol. Not that I'm so relaxed always. Right now I am, I enjoy my second cup of coffee............
I'm ready for the day and it's surprises. 

Monday, February 06, 2012

I was dressed in red


I got up early this morning. Soon I got tired again. My bed was already made (by myself). Still in my pyjama I lied on my bed again and I covered myself with a warm blanket. I seriously considered not to go to the Mysore class, but I went.

It was a lousy practice. After each and every asana I wanted to stop. "Stop" an inner voice said," it's strength to stop." But I knew it would have been avoidance. I went on, I tried to take it easy.
I thought I'd be over the hill already. Such lousy difficult practices can happen again and again even after 9 years of practice. I so know that it was good that I practiced till the end. My red outfit didn't help me much. There was no energy in the body. I was weak. Ah, it's over. Tomorrow I'll be ready for the next practice.
(Lousy is of course relative. Of course I could take my legs behind my head, of course, lol.)

I was asked by  dtw how to open the hips more: 
(Special posts on eka pada sirsasana will come this year).
Here are some general guidelines:
1. Imagine yourself doing the pose.
2. Hold the pose longer, but always with a slight smile on your face. This is not a joke, a smile helps to relax and this allows to go deeper in a pose.
3. Repeat the pose, 3 times, 5 times.
4. Enjoy the path, learn to become patient. Ashtanga yoga is also an exercise for the mind.
5. Try to understand the pose and intensify those asanas that prepare a pose.
6. Breathe deeply.
7. Re eka pada sirsasana I also recommend to do it while lying on the back. This is a trick for every pose. If paschimottanasana is difficult, try it while lying on the back. That way I learned supta kurmasana.
8. Don't fight, let it happen.

On my way home I bought all the necessary ingredients that I need to survive till Wednesday morning, when I intend to go to the next Mysore class. It's good to know that I don't have to go out again, because it's so cold. My bf is in Switzerland.

Wow and I've time for myself.
Currently I'm reading "Annie Leibovitz at work" written by herself. It's mainly about the making of her pictures. It's not so focused on the technical stuff, but also. Annie was carrying around 3 cameras with 3 different lenses. It would have taken too much time for her to change the lenses. One has to be fast to catch THE moment, the only moment that was worth catching. I know this already. The book is full of interesting stories. I recommend it if you're interested in photography.

Up before sunrise


What? I saw the temperature. It's minus 19° Celsius here. This means I've to dress very warmly. The weather is not a reason not to go to a Mysore class.

I've much more flow in second series than I had some months ago. I got stronger perhaps.
If there is time I'll repeat the first pose of third series.
Two and a half hours lasts my practice, I can scarcely believe it, but it is so. My practice is like my work, a work that I love.

I got up early, but I'm still tired. My mind is empty. This happens from time to time.............

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Brrhhhhhhhhhh.......


Brrrhhhhhhh, minus 13 degrees here. The yoga shala was warm. How good. I went to a led class today. Daily practice is what brings progress. I trust this rule. In addition I try not to cheat. I search my limits. I hold the leg high in utthita eka padasana till it burns. You must burn to shine, I read lately. So true.
I press firmly hands and feet against the mat when I'm in urdhva dhanursana. Shall this help me too, to come up on my own finally. I'm patient here, but I give my best.

My body has changed in the last years. My body became like a strong rubber strap. I can feel the stretch. It's not only an inch that I can go further when I feel the limit. I can stretch my body into a pose more and more. It feels even good. I realize the softness, resistance is fading. This gives me the feeling of being liberated. As if I've cleaned my body from all the clutter that it has gathered and that prevented me from moving. The pain and injuries that were stored in my muscles in my body is stretched away. I can move again. My possibilities became larger.

E picked me up after yoga. He invited me for dinner in the Indian restaurant close to the shala. It entertains me how many alcoholic beverages they have there. It's adjustment to Western life style, I think.


What would I do without my yoga practice? It's such a joy in my life. To start is never easy. I felt reluctance to go. "I think you like it", E said to me. Me: "Yeah, I like it when I've done the first inhaling."

One night between two practices. It's short, but doable. I'll go to bed on time.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

My work on a late afternoon


It's a necessity, but one can make a cult out of it: preparing the own food and enjoying it.

No, my colorful salads that taste awesome in addition  is not the only reason why my bf loves me. Hahahaha.........

Ladies, gents, eating healthy needn't to be boring. Be creative. :)

Minus degrees here


We were out. E has parked his car in a no parking zone. He couldn't find another space yesterday on a Friday evening. There are too many restaurants round the corner. A sports center has opened a street away and during winter time some might take the car instead of the bicycle to get there.
First we went to the French bakery. When we arrived there our noses were red, our cheeks were red and the eyes blue. This makes us look very fresh. Lol.
The battery of the car seems to be almost empty. E had difficulties to start the car. It's the second time now. To keep the car in a no parking zone wasn't possible. Finally the engine was making the familiar noise and E could start driving. This was the highlight of the morning. Hahaha....

Today is my yoga free day. I enjoy. If a practice happens it's OK, if not it's perfect, too on my Saturdays. My yoga practices last 2 and a half hours every day, without commuting, without extra bathing, without reading about yoga, without blogging about it. A day off gives me the feeling of having time.

I'm through the book "Ashtanga yoga - stories from beyond the mat" by Jason Stein. It was an ispiring book. It's not necessary to have the same opinions in each and every point.
- Crossfit or adding other sports is surely an interesting topic. There are activities that fit better to yoga than running or lifting weights in sports centers is my opinion. Yoga is surely missing the playful aspect. One doesn't get this playful aspect when working on sports machines. Swimming fits best to yoga a friend told me once in Mysore, I think she's right. I would add dancing if I added anything, but I don't.
- Another ongoing topic in the community is why and when are people stopped. I want to quote Jason Stein here from his book "Ashtanga yoga - Stories from beyond the mat", page 99: "My pure speculation on part of the reasoning behind the way poses are given (or not) in Mysore is that Sharath can see a student's avoidance of a pose; for the most part, he's very practiced in reading a student's body and listening for the student's breath to determine their sthira and sukkham while they're in a pose."
I also think it can be seen if someone is present, concentrated or not. About actors we say and we can feel it sometimes: he/she is present. Someone can be on a huge stage, but the stage is already full of energy by the presence of a person. This is focus.
I see it if someone has understood a pose or not and if someone is focused.

I was given pashasana in Mysore and I was not able to drop back into urdhva dhanurasana. Also if this had not happened I'd be happy. I had no expectations. Perhaps it was mercy, perhaps it was seen how dedicated I am, perhaps it was only because I was so long in Mysore (6 weeks). I loved to read in the book "Guruji" how quickly poses were given in the early years. There is no tradition that stopped people early in one of the series how some people want to make believe us. Only forward bending (primary) is not a balanced practice.

Working on focus, concentration is as important as working on the asanas. It can be seen if someone has focus. Focus, concentration is a topic for me. Being focused is more challenging at home, for sure.

PS:
sthira is strength
sukham is equanimity