Thursday, May 31, 2012

After one week....


I was on my mat again this morning. I started sweating after the first surya namaskara B already. This told me something, a week off the mat can be felt. Primary was on the schedule, not one single asana more.

Since concentration is a topic, since concentration gets attention it gets better. No breaks today.
It's so much easier to practice daily. I'm very curious how I'll feel tomorrow. After my sweaty session I took a warm bath to relax. This castor oil is not my thing. It's so thick. I put it on my main muscles today before stepping in the bath tub. It's difficult to remove, it rests on the skin and keeps the skin sticky. OK, now I have it. One must try new things and it shall be good in case of sore muscles. I doubt that I use it again.

It felt as if I awoke from the death people, when I opened my eyes 10 min earlier. The timer woke me up. This early afternoon sleep was necessary after that practice.

Time flies. Still yesterday evening I wanted to write a post about the day, yesterday now. Oh, that was a day. The pipeline cleaning man arrived at 10am. He had equipment to clean the pipe. He too spoke about a heart attack. From one minute to the other the hole is closed and nothing flows anymore. He worked with his machine. Suddenly all the stinky thick broth shot out of the blocked pipeline and flooded my kitchen. What a smell. Quickly I opened the balcony door. The man cleaned, yes, but under the built-in-kitchen was so much more of this dirt. I had to clean it myself, when he had left me after 1 hour. He left me not without giving some tips how to remove the fat dark fluid. This was my job then for I'd say minimum 3 hours. To get the smell out of my nose I used my heavy Indian parfume. It helped.
It had to be done. After this hours of crawling on the floor, I was no more in the mood for a practice. I went downtown instead to take some pictures and to have a late lunch there.

I'm happy that I practiced today, after one week. Tomorrow primary again, so on Sunday. And on Monday I'll be back to second series. Strength and flexibility disappear so quickly. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Between 10am and 12am


I called the property management at 8:20am. Ten minutes later I knew the time when the pipe cleaning company will come. In further two hours  my problem will be fixed and the water will run off the sink again. I know I can rely on them. Now I also know that it was good not to go to the Mysore class. Practicing yoga while having chaos at home wouldn't be relaxing. When I'm on the mat I'm usually able to focus on my breath, nevertheless afterwards I'd curse and complain and the issue wouldn't have been fixed yet.

My day starts most prolific. Today I feel like a super manager. Hahahaha........

This flat is a project: I've to delegate a lot here, but a lot I can do on my own or even have to do on my own. This morning I went through parts of my wardrobe. I threw out all the wool rests. Yesterday I also decluttered in the bathroom and I cleaned it. I don't use hair conditioner. I keep it simple with my hair. I wash it daily and the air dries it. I comb it daily, minimum twice, lol. That's it. I don't believe so much in chemistry. I think one has healthy hair if one eats healthy. A conditioner or anything else must have the size that I can throw away the bottle afterwards. Twice a year I go to a hairdresser, a good one. More I don't need. Away with the rest. It's strange how these bottles came into my bathroom.......
I started writing about my flat and soon I write about my hair.
Focus.
I can brainstorm an hour about my flat. Another activity that is on my list is to buy a new mattress. I searched the internet already this morning. The last mattress accompanied me for decades. I could write a book about this mattress, lol. The world seen from the perspective of my mattress. The idea pleases me.
I know the next one will also be quality thing. But I don't want to live on animal products 8 hours a day minimum. I know that here in the West exist  sleeping concepts. What I want is a hard simple mattress that is good for a few years. And I'd like the shop to take away the old one. I'll go to 2 shops and this is it to acquire expertise and to make a decision.

A tiny bit I worked on my picture archive this morning. But I stopped. I'll work on it in the evening when I'm tired.
- It's important to delete blurry pictures within a week from now on.
- To give the best pictures 5 stars is recommended. That way one can look only at the best pictures. In a few years I'll have more than 100 000 pictures if my passion for photography lasts and it's very likely. I have to organize masses then.
So this morning I found this little picture above that is taken about 5 years ago. It tells me that my work is worth doing otherwise those little gems are lost.

Last Thursday was my last yoga practice. I want to practice today, but after 5 days off, I'll do primary to play it safe. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blocked.


Clocked. The water is not running off the sink anymore in the kitchen. In the late afternoon we tried to repair it. E was at home today. In vain. This needs to get fixed fast. Tomorrow I'll work on this. It has priority. Everything else comes later. I have to delegate it. All the boxes that I had stored under the sink are wet. I've to buy new ones.

Since I've discovered this electronic clutter on my PC it seems as if I want to fix this problem in one day, even though I know it will take months rather 1 year. Another 10 000 pictures were found. I remember I shoot digitally since 2005. "Is it worth to do it?" E asked me, but I think yes. To delete everything is not the solution. To store everything as it is, is not the solution either. Even if one wants to look at it seldom, I'm sure I won't go through them when I have to go through all the blurry pictures only to find a few gems. I give 5 stars to the really good ones. Probably one wants to see only those later. But also those must be found once at least. I wasted another day with going through my pictures. My enthusiasm for each and every detail of this world knows no limits. So it seems. Food that I've eaten, places that I've seen, my desk, my everything is documented.

To update this flat here IS a project right now. Deadline: end of the year. That the sink is clocked is just a catalysator. There must be flow. Everything seems stuck, because there are still too many items in the way that need attention. It's too much distraction here, that cannot be ignored. Life must become simpler. I don't get lazy to repeat it: simpler, simple, simpler.

Time to bath and to relax. Tomorrow is a new day.

Important: to limit the time for deleting and editing pictures to one hour in the evening when I'm tired already.




Monday, May 28, 2012

Busy on vacation.


Oh, what was I busy yesterday. I have a clear vision and a deadline. I want to go through all my pictures in order to delete the blurry ones and awful ones. Yes, awful ones exist, too. I'm down already to 25,140 and I started with more than 26,300. The year 2009 got cleaned, almost. I'm not yet through. The work is deleting pictures, labeling them, editing them. It's important to set a time limit. Next time.
At the end of the year (deadline) I want to have only nice pictures on my PC or pictures that have value for me because they remember me of people or a time I like to get remembered.

I had yoga holidays. Hahaha.......sometimes this is so. When traveling the routines change. It would have been possible to practice, but it didn't happen. And right now, I think it would be great to walk again round the little lake here with E instead of practicing a quick series.
Tomorrow my yoga weak starts again.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The birthday lunch


For me an extra sausage please: Asparagus only.
Yes, I was strong yesterday. We could eat à la carte what is good in general. On the menu was not one meal without meat. I had to discuss my meal. They were flexible and I got asparagus with a salad. I drank water to it and was very happy.  As a starter they offered a soup. Asparagus in  cream sauce. (cream, cream, cream). I gave mine to E, not with the best feelings, as I know it's not good for him to eat two creamy soups. As dessert they had fruit salad with ice cream. (cream cream cream makes us all happy, isn't it?) Dessert and starter was the same for all the 12 guests.

Later we had coffee and cake. Oh, oh, I had 3 pieces of cake, 2 rhubarb and one strawberry. OK, they were tiny.
At night I felt very good, I was even a bit hungry and ate a banana. So it has to be. I enjoyed the lunch and I had nothing to regret.


It's all about the hips. A few hip stories were exchanged. To walk became difficult for many of the guests. Many had artificial hips already. But hip stories were not the only topics. The one man knew a few jokes and we all had to laugh. We also walked around in the wonderful garden behind the hotel.
All guests were friends, no relatives.....:)
G was very tired in the evening and slept in the chair in the living room.

Time for breakfast.
Hips and food can dominate a life. Hahaha......

Friday, May 25, 2012

Creativity and third series


Creativity and third series:
My new insights and I also remember to have read these two words in combination are, that when starting practicing third series one has to be creative, too. 

I know that I love to learn new poses, but when it's time to practice these first 5 poses of third series I often feel reluctant. They come at the end of first or second series, the available energy is almost used up by then, but then the asanas become again more intensive. It seems to be so difficult. I feel akwardly when I do them. Asanas can only be held very short before I fall out of the asana. How to handle this?
I think another approach is necessary, a more relaxed one, a playful one. Why not doing only preparation asanas on one day? Why not doing an easier form of the asana? Why not imagining it and doing visualization instead? Tiny steps might bring me faster to master the asanas than to have the final goal in mind.
A creative approach might be more fun and that way it might be more likely that I practice these asanas.

The second reason why I think one has to become creative is that it's possible that some poses of this series will never be possible. (I'm not talking about the first 5 asanas here, but about the back bending asanas that will come later.) I remember what M said to me in one of the last classes: "You don't have to be able to do everything. Explore the pose." (mayurasana in this case). When I hear such sentences I feel so happy that I've found such a mature and experienced teacher, who supports me.
I know that more is possible than I ever thought. There are limits and here creativity has it's role. How can I approach these challenging asanas?  Which preparation asanas are helpful? Will I have to do a substitute asana? If yes, which one?

I'm so sure with such a creative approach one day 99% of the asanas are possible.

From now on we're creative. 
(Also on the mat.)

Arrived in the north of Germany


Almost 5 hours I was in the train yesterday, from 5pm to 9:30pm. E picked me up at Hanover. I saw him already standing on the platform when the train rolled into the station. Ah, he's on time I thought and had to smile. It's a difficult exercise for him. He came from Potsdam that day. We love to see each other again. Also when we haven't seen each other only for a few days, we hug each other as if we haven't seen each other for months.

Half an hour with the car and we arrived at home. G was still up, but tired, so was E and me, too.

In bed E asked me: What do you hear?
Me: There is noise?
He: Yes, it's the train.
Me: How awful.
He: Soon it will be silent again.
Me: But another one will come.
He: Yes in 10 min.
Me: I cannot sleep with this noise.
He: It's wonderful fresh here, don't you think so?
Me: Yes, but the noise. (Ah, he wanted to keep the window open.)
He: You will sleep soon and then you won't hear it anymore.
I knew he will sleep soon and then I'll close the window then. That's what I did. I slept and I'm well-rested, which is a bit of a miracle as the mattress are no more so new. E always sleeps well.

This morning G and I were creative. She showed me two outfits and asked me which one I like more. Quickly I could make a decision. I love uni and rose, too. The green one with the tulips on it was also nice, but yeah, I prefer uni. Then we had to find a scarf. G had a huge box of scarves. Finally we found one. This is surely one of the wonderful sides to be a woman, one can really play with clothes, accessories. One can make a gem out of oneself.

I've also brought a nice dress from Munich, a dress that I've found in Lisbon. It reveals my strong arms.
We convinced E that he would look very handsome with a shirt, much much better than with a black t-shirt.

In one hour we'll have lunch. The weather is excellent. I'm in birthday party mood. We celebrate G's 88th birthday. Wow. Congratulations.

In one hour we'll have lunch.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

No move more


It was the late afternoon yesterday when I practiced, sun salutations, middle part of second series and closing sequence (no standing asanas). I did no move more than necessary. No repetitions,  no explorations, no preparation asanas.
Since concentration is a focus since some time I got better here. What gets attention grows. Concentration means for me also not to take breaks.
My new old trick helped me also yesterday. It was not a one day fly, it works. I've the book by Matthey Sweeney on my sofa. I calculated how many percentage every row of a series is. It's between 10 and 15. It needn't to be exact. 10 % is each row, I think and 10% are doable.

I give myself time. Slowly I go deeper in the asana. I want to get used slowly to the stretching discomfort. Finally a pose shall be a joy. It shall be cosy to do it. First one has to reach the form as it is supposed to be. There is always a bit more possible, surely. When reached a possible stretch, I focus on breathing and enjoy.

I feel reluctance to do the 5 asanas of third. Not that I don't like to do them mentally, but they are difficult. It's different if one learns a pose or if one practices it.
Perhaps I add these 5 poses today after primary.

Time to move on. It's a travel day today. To the north it goes. There is G's birthday party. 88 is a birthday to  celebrate. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ashtanga yoga doesn't make addictive


Even my doctor said it: Ashtanga yoga can make addicted.
People think that if one does something daily, it's a sign of addiction. I do many things daily, i.e. I shower on a daily basis and it's not a sign that I'm addicted to showering.
So I DON'T AGREE, Ashtanga yoga doesn't make addictive is my statement today.

Alcohol makes addicted, cigarettes, chocolate. Even some sports might have addictive potential, because the body produces adrenaline.
My body doesn't produce adrenaline when I practice yoga, because the breath gives the rhythm, it's slow and even.

Carrots don't make addictive, strawberries don't make addictive.

I think one feels it. When I open a bag of potato chips, I've difficulties to stop eating. This is not the case when I eat strawberries. Half of a box of strawberries I put back in the refrigerator when I've enough.

It's easier not to practice Ashtanga yoga than to practice. It might become easier to step on the mat with the years. This has different reasons.
- First one has learned methods how to bring oneself to the mat.
- The practice itself becomes easier, so it's easier to start.
- A daily routine helps, too. The body is used to it. Practicing daily is not a sign of addiction!
- One knows that it feels good to practice, this feeling might motivate.
- Being a passionate person helps.

Nevertheless also after almost 10 years, it's easier not to practice than to practice, despite the fun and joy it gives.

Time to step on my mat. It's reasonable to do it, I love to do it. I'm convinced it's the best what I can do now.
It would be easier to go to a café with my kindle and to relax there...........(the best sign that I'm not addictive to Ashtanga yoga).

PS: Just thought that some people always see dangers and issues also such that don't exist. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sharath´s demo


I always wanted to see how Sharath's practice is nowadays. The last videos that I've seen are many years back. During a conference in Mysore he must have shown some moves. Oh, he got very intensive. 
Enjoy. 

An old trick in a new dress


From the beginning on: On Friday I didn't practice. No reason is known. Hahaha....Saturday is my yoga free day. And yesterday was such a sadness over the city due to the lost soccer match, it made me lame, too. Oh, how creative I can be when I want to find an excuse.

This morning I counted: 3 days no yoga.
Familiar thoughts came up:
- Oh, it will be difficult today.
-Oh, I will be stiff.
-Oh.........
Not one of the predictions became true. I had an excellent focused practice: Second series and some poses of third were done, one after the other.

The trick: 
I had Matthey Sweeney's book "Astanga yoga as it is" in front of me. I looked at the pictures and rows. Only 10 rows of asanas, I thought. Every row is only 10 % of the hole middle part. 10% only. And so I did 10% ten times. 10 doable steps.

Kapotasana: I put a block between my toes. My finger reached the block. To know how far I'm away from my toes is satisfying for me.

Nothing was really lousy. And because it was so good I added pranayama and 10 min meditation.

Pranayama: I used the timer to check the length of my inhaling and exhaling. I want to maintain this even rhythm during my practice. I counted till 4 (4 sec) and inhaled, 1 sec pause, I counted till 4 and exhaled, 1 sec pause. This rhythm is within my capacity, but not too much.
I did also alternate nostril breathing for some time.

Soccer: 
Today I read a very interesting analysis, why the FC Bayern Munich lost. The coach made wrong decision. Yep. Why. Mr Müller scored, 9 min before the end. What a relief. Now the coach wanted to play it safe. Instead of going on with attacks, he wanted to defend what was already achieved. Mr Müller had to go, a defense player substituted him. Fear was the mother of the decision. Fear is never a good adviser. 9 min before the end the team had to change a strategy that was good so far. Only the goal was missing. Psychologists know that nothing is more successful than success. Mr Müller was still fit and he experienced a high. He could have made a second goal. One must take advantages of such highs.

Haha, just told this analysis E. He laughed. He knew that Mr Müller had issues with his calves and that this was the reason why he wanted to leave the battle field.

Soccer gives topics to endless discussions. So does yoga.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

The results are out of control


Yesterday in the afternoon I was downtown  to capture a few moments of the bombastic atmosphere there due to the soccer match FC Chelsea - FC Bayern München in the evening. The party was in full swing. The subway tunnels spitted out more and more fans. At Marienplatz was public viewing.



My observances:
- It seemed to me that when you want to be a fan you've to dress a T-shirt of the colors of your team. Red is good, I think. It's energy, dominant. It only didn't help much yesterday.
-You can live very unhealthy as a fan. Drinking, smoking, being overweight is absolutely OK.
- Soccer is a team match. Most fans are in teams, too.
- If you like to bawl, go for it.
- It's allowed to show emotions.

Oh, the Bavarian team played like the Gods. And lost. The coach said after the match: "You cannot imagine what's going on in the changing room." I can. They were crying.
One can give the very best, but the results are out of control.
"So is soccer," my bf would have said, if he would have been here.
"So is life", I'd add," unfair to the bones. A game to be entertained."

Sadness and happiness belong together. There were others on the soccer field who were very very happy. They couldn't believe it either what had happened. The FC Chelsea won the match. Congratulations.


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

Side remark about my own life:
I got a long long letter from the tax adviser. My job is cancelled. I should have supported a team in a company one week every months. He couldn't understand it. The company used to be so reliable, he wrote me. I understand. It shall not be.
Rejection is rejection. Sometimes people don't like me to take pictures of them, sometimes I don't get a job, whatever it is, it's an event that belongs more to the negative side of the scala. I recover soon. It's part of the game. I'm glad already that I can go on with my projects.

I suffer more with the soccer player. For me life and it's events are a  happening, but the soccer player feel responsible, and this makes everything worse. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shopping


I was downtown yesterday. So many British people are in town already due to the soccer match this weekend: Chelsea - FC Bayern Munich.

My reason for going downtown was to get a cover for my iPod. A shop assistant of a telephone shop showed me the way to the Apple store. "I shouldn't tell you", he said, "we've covers for the iPod here, too." He was nice and the Apple store was not far away. There I saw the true enthusiast. Children were there and old people, too and they all played with these gadgets on the tables.
If one doesn't like to get the stamp "date expired", one has to be informed about the latest gadgets. I start integrating my iPad in my life. This means I'll carry it around. In order not to ruin it, I needed a cover.
The prices of these simple yet fancy covers took away my breath. 70,-- Euro shall such a simple cover cost. "This is so at Apple", another client enlightened me, when I expressed my shock.

This was too much for me. I returned to the shop where the sales person showed me the way. The salesperson, another one,  was very friendly and this helped me to make a decision. For 20,-- Euro less I acquired a nice black cover. There is a magnet integrated. When I open it, automatically the iPad is on. I'm impressed.

That's not the only cover that I needed. My kindle also needs protection from the items in my handbag. I refused to buy these leather covers that were recommended. Today I found at amazon a wonderful cover with magnet and light, made of shiny fake leather.

At the Apple store:



I'm so looking forward to the soccer match. I regret it that my bf is not at home. It's always much fun to watch together. It seems to me that most men become emotional when watching soccer. I love to see my E so enthusiastic when the favorite team scores. If the teams are from different countries, it's clear for which team we cheer.....:)



Happy weekend to everybody. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good morning, good morning.....


I'm up, a home practice is on the schedule. It will be primary again, like yesterday. Yesterday's practice was really satisfying, because I was concentrated. I practiced without music on, one asana after the other. The splits are part of every practice at home. I know I've to be patient here. It's possible to force oneself to the floor, but this might cause overstretched legs. Repetition is the secret. I guess I need 2 more years for this pose.
Usually I'm asked by non-yogis when they learn that I practice yoga: Can you do headstand?
The next question is: And can you do the splits?
These two poses are connected with yoga.



Yes, a long way down.




This is marichyasana F. It's part of Advanced B. It fits after the marichyasnas of primary. Currently I love to experiment a bit.  There is also marichyasana G and H. These poses require to put the leg behind the head. I've enough such poses for the time being, hahahaha.......


This is marichyasana E. It's all about the hips.

After primary and intensive back bending I was done. I was no more in the mood to do the asanas of third series. They are so challenging that I seem to avoid them. I plan to practice them today.

Vinyasa: I know what I've to exercise. I must swing backwards and forwards. Are my arms still too weak? Or do I lack technique? Sometimes I feel close to be able to do it. The vinyasas are important. They make Ashtanga yoga to what it is. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Up


I cannot remember anymore to have switched off the alarm clock. I had set it at 6am. At 7am I woke up. Then I started my morning movie: shower, checking my weight (hahaha, a good practice is expected), coffee, checking the net. My sleep was not so good last night. Also here I realize ups and downs......perhaps too many pictures were still in my mind. Yesterday I was in another area of Munich, not without my camera of course. So many interesting frames appeared in front of my lens. At home again I edited my pictures till bedtime.

Back to yoga. It will be a home practice today. Primary and Advanced A. ..

I've no time to lose.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I rediscover primary.....


Upavishta konasana is one of the poses that is not yet as it is supposed to be. I could betray myself and bring the chin to floor. But then I wouldn't have understood the pose. It's about the hips. The flexibility of the hips shall improve, so far till finally the chin touches the floor. This is a side effect then. 
I stretch forward with each inhaling and then I try to use the hip muscle to get a bit deeper in the pose. 
I repeat this pose and I hold it longer than five breaths. The Indonesian chest helps me, too. I can pull my body forward with my hands under the chest. 


Supta parsvasahita is a key pose for the first pose of the third series. Finally the left leg shall touch the floor. It's also a hip opening asana. It helps me to relax into the pose when my foot of the stretched leg presses against the wall. This gives me stability and that way I can avoid that the hip of the stretched leg goes up. 

The vinyasas challenge me. 

Better a short practice than no practice.
Better a lousy practice than no practice.

This morning I had a good practice. Afterwards I had the feeling that it got easier in sum. 

The last few poses are very challenging at the end. I do them, I simply do them. More is not yet possible. Exercising the splits and supta parsvasahita shall bring me closer to the poses of third. 


 Pictures help me so much. They show me what I've to exercise. On the picture is chakorasana, one of 5 asanas I currently exercise. The leg behind the head must be much more down on my back. This is not something I see and then I do it. I've to exercise it. Again and again.

My bf is still at home, we'll have lunch together today. This pleases me. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home practice


Good was that I was concentrated till after the standing sequence.

My creative part was nice, I missed the flow. Next time I'll stick to the series again with some extra poses. I'm not such a good choreograph. I took some pictures and this interrupts my practice, too.

I was on the mat and I'm ready for an intensive Mysore class tomorrow. 

Soccer and yoga


Last week was a soccer match, the Bavarian played with/against Dortmund. Next week the final match of the Champions League will take place, also with the Bavarian team. The soccer players are all high end players, talented and exercised. I love to listen to the comments and compare it with yoga.

The physical and mental state of the day plays an important role. The soccer player, all talented and exercised also experience ups and downs on a daily basis. I know this too well.

The coach is important. When I look back how my practice developed in the last 2 years I can only say: 2 thumbs up for M. I usually ask E if the coach was a good soccer player, too and they always were.

I'm always astonished how important psychology is in soccer. Self-confidence plays a role. The team that scores first gains self-confidence. Nothing is more successful than success. For yoga I'd say, to be optimistic is very helpful.

Focus is a necessary skill, too. Last week the Bavarian team lost, the next match is this week. They quickly have to forget their defeat and they must focus on the next match. I'm sure they are masters here, too. Oh, I'm looking forward to the next match.

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

I remember my plan from yesterday.
To have one day for experimenting is good. I'll focus on the new asanas. They need more attention, just doing it and to move on to the next is not enough to learn them. Repetition shall be the method to improve them.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Always the same blues...


I started renewing my oaths when I had difficulties to bind in pashasana this morning. I was glad that M adjusted me on the right side at least. He must have seen me struggling with this pose. Monday is difficult usually these days. The led class is on Saturday afternoon. Then I have dinner with E, and sometimes too much food and wine. One night is only  between two practices. My body feels this.
Just do it, I told me. I focused on my breath.
To do the headstands after the 5 poses of the second series is so much better. It allows me to do urdhva dhanurasana without feeling resistance of the body and the mind.
I had not the courage to drop back from one of the headstands. I'll work on this tomorrow.

My body feels excellent right now. The effort was again worth doing.

I plan my home session: 
I think I'll focus on Advanced A only. Shall it be a more relaxed practice.
Repetition might be good. I'm not able to hold the poses for a long time. Repetition and focusing on the breathing might help.
I'll do preparation asanas. When I start third series after the standing sequence I'll be still fit. To have more energy might help, too.
When I practice third series after second series I reach my limits.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Being creative.


At a certain point of the Ashtanga yoga practice one has to be creative, because it makes sense. One has to find poses that can be considered as steps towards a pose. Sometimes also the order or the asanas needs to be changed. I'm happy that M has such insights and a lot of ideas.

My practice in Mysore classes:
- I don't do the standing asanas.
- After supta urdhva pada vajrasana I exercise the 5 poses of the third series.
- Then I do the handstands, the last asanas of second series.
- M recommended me to add another pose. It's to do mukta hasta sirsasana A and to go from the backwards, so that the feet will be behind the head on the floor. This shall open the upper back.
- Then I exercise urdhva dhanurasana with all the variations that I usually do. I lift me up from the floor. I cross my arms in front of my chest and bend back and come up three times to get into the correct breathing. Then I drop back against the wall till I feel open enough for dropping back on my mat. Then I usually get an adjustment.

Why all this?
After the 5 asanas of the third series it was almost impossible for me to bend backwards. The asanas of third  (leg behind head in different poses) didn't prepare back bending, exactly the opposite was the case.
That I drop back from mukta hasta sirsasana A is also good. This can take away my fear when I practice pincha mayurasana. I still need the wall.

This is the program for the next months.

Currently I'm reading a rather interesting yoga book: "The Science of Yoga" by William J. Broad. A fellow yogini gave it to me.

Today is my yoga free day.
Happy weekend.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Concentration, please (on the text!)


When practicing yoga we exercise the body and the mind. The mind has the task to concentrate on the breath, i.e.. It can also be anything else. One learns to expand the time of concentration.

In classes it's easier to work focused. Easier, not easy. When I see yoginis walking around, talking to others, cleaning the feet, adjusting the hair more often than necessary or the clothes, I know concentration is gone, momentum is lost. The flow is interrupted.

At home it's even more challenging to focus. I worked on my concentration. It's absolutely doable for me now to practice till after the standing sequence. Then I often feel as if I need a rest. It's not that the body is exhausted, it's the mind that is distracted. Thoughts come up. Ideas come up, what I could do. It's as if I need a break, but I know I don't need it, I'd be able to go on.

Also concentration can be learned in moderate steps. I built up the time of concentration. First I set the goal to practice the sun salutations without interruption. Then I added the standing sequence, first with the help of Sharath's CD. It's possible to add one asana after the other before taking a mental break.

Concentration has 2 aspects:
- What's my object of concentration
- How long can I concentrate.

The outer and inner circumstances influence this ability. For me it's easier to concentrate in a crowded room than at home. My inner life, my soul life is rather balanced for the time being. There are not so many disturbances from here. Of course life events might add a challenge to the practice. But this is the reason why we exercise. Exercising yoga teaches us in general how to focus on things we like to focus and not to be distracted by everything.

I had a focused practice yesterday at home. It was primary with some extras, like forward split. At the end my body and my mind became tired.

The advantages when being able to focus:
- Things get done.
- One has more time.
- It can make life easier as one is able to focus on the bright side of life.
- Being able to concentrate speeds up learning.
- Not taking breaks during a yoga practice keeps my body warm and this allows me to go deeper into the asanas.



Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's all about the hips


A good question if one wants to understand a pose: What effect shall it have on the hips. Every asana influences the flexibility of the hip joint if done correctly, the question is in which direction shall the flexibility increase.

Having the hips in mind the performance of  the asanas improve at once. It's not about reaching the toes when practicing paschimottanasana i.e., this happens almost alone. It's about stretching and it's about the hips (and the hamstrings).
More than ever I realize how important the hips are when I exercise the poses of third series. The hip muscle needs to be strong and the hips need to be flexible.

Today I'll practice primary. I stick to my schedule. Hanumanasana (forward split) will be part of it. And I want to try to lift myself up into handstand after prasarita padottanasana.
I could add another twist (purna matsyendrasana i.e.) after the marichyasana C and D. It's easy to dress up primary in a reasonable way.
I also realized that there is marichyasana E and F and G and H. :) Hahaha,............just in case when I feel bored.

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

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

On Mr Swenson's workshop in Munich by Yoga Bee.

Yoga Bee is my guest blogger today. I'm very happy that she had found the time to write about the workshop with Mr Swenson here in Munich. Enjoy: 

"Activate where necessary, relax where possible."-- David Swenson

For 10 days, David Swenson was here in Munich giving workshops and a teaching intensive. I was fortunate to be able to attend both. Years before I had even heard of Ashtanga yoga, a friend lent me David´s practice manual, so getting to met him in person was almost like meeting Santa Claus himself.

David is light-hearted and easy-going, a great comedian and story-teller. He has an incredible amount of knowledge and experience and shares this openly with his students. He has a way of speaking in images, making what he is trying to convey easy to understand.

One of the images that comes to mind, is David´s comparison of a cat verses a dog in flight. During the first workshop which focused upon "Flying, Floating and Handstands" David discussed the issue of Bandhas in jumping back and jumping through. The problem, he said, is not with flying, but rather landing. Often we place too much focus on activation of Bandhas, as if this will miraculously enable us to jump through or jump back. While the use of Bandhas may help to give some control, they don´t actually make you lighter. To drive home his point, David compared the image of a falling cat with that of a falling dog. Simple observation of a cat being dropped with its feet in the air, shows that the cat remains supple and relaxed during the flight. The cat activates only the bare minimum of muscles, turning the legs towards the earth just at the exact moment. Timing. Breath. And a focus on the moment of landing. Dogs in comparison, freak out. They panic and as a result tighten every muscle in the body. My guess is that they also stop breathing. When practicing jump throughs, jump backs, or any other form of handstands, the hands become the feet, the finger become the toes. David´s advice: activate where necessary, relax where possible and put your awareness on the part of your body on the ground. (ie, focus on hands and arms, not feet and legs.) From personal experience in dealing with the fear of handstands, although it may be natural to tighten the legs, getting them to relax is the key. During this workshop David also pointed out a remarkable anatomical fact: the legs are attached to the hips(!) Jump from the hips and allow the legs to relax. The legs will follow. Try to find the balance between too much and too little energy when practicing yoga, (or any thing else in your life.) Do it like a cat:-)

David plans to return to Munich in 2014. If you have the opportunity to attend, I can highly recommend it.

www.yogabee.de 

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

It's all about the hips.


This morning I explored Advanced A series, at least the beginning. I wanted to understand which poses support these first advanced asanas. They don't come out of the blue, they go a bit further than what already was exercised.

Vasisthasana: This pose has roots in the standing sequence and in primary. The root asanas are utthita parsvasahita and supta parsvasahita. Exactly this hip opening is needed also when practicing vasisthasana. In addition one has to balance. Today I practiced first supta parsvasahita to open the hips while lying on the floor. I held the pose longer and repeated it. It was a good preparation.

Viswamitrasana is much more difficult. I tried the leg position without balancing on my hand and then I realized that parighasana is the pose that I can intensify in order to prepare viswamitrasana. But how?  I used my Indonasian chest to give me support (see picture). I prefer to repeat this and to do it regularly than to exaggerate and to risk injury.
In order to exit the pose, forward split (hanumanasna) must be able. I practiced also this. I must be patient, viswamitrasana requires a lot of time and attention.

The next variations of leg behind head poses kasyapasana and chakorasana improve slowly. So it is with bhairavasana. My experience: the leg cannot be far enough behind the back.

Skandasana is a wonderful pose, durvasana I omitted. I considered it as too intensive.

Urdhva kukkutasana A is possible for me, I exercised it as preparation for karandavasana when I practiced alone. I wanted to do an advanced balancing pose to approach karandavasana.

Then I played around a bit and realized, there is no easy pose to come. Hahaha, what have I thougth?


I can imagine that I'll do further session like this morning. To work more intensively on few poses instead of going from one asana to the next might be a good approach to those asanas who seem difficult. To focus on them and to start with them has the advantage that I'm warmed up, but rather fresh and still full of energy.

For me life is an experiment. I love to explore what is possible for me again and again in different areas of my life. I try to find out my limits, sometimes they are modest, sometimes astonishing. It's possible to push limits. What I don't practice I can neither explore nor improve nor  can I enjoy it. Giving my available energy (not only half of it) to matters or people I love makes my life spicy and passionate. (PS, it also gives me young aura, psssssst.)


It was a lumbago


A last post about my back pain: Yesterday I was at my family doctor to get a prescription. Of course I had to tell him my back pain story. "I had this case 3 times last week", he told me, "it's a lumbago. It often happens in spring and fall, when it's dump. You can be lucky that it disappeared so quickly. Usually it takes a week."

I felt deep satisfaction when I heard this. Yoga was not the cause. My strong flexible body might have helped me to adjust all the cells again so quickly.

To have a name for this happening calms me. Now I can put it away.
My doctor also assured me that yoga is very good for my hips.

This was it to that topic.

Yesterday I worked on my project no 1. I worked on my home here. Also today I want to spend 2 hours to make it more beautifully, to weed, to clean. It's a relief when things got done. As less possession as possible is the goal. Life must become simpler and simpler. My pomodoro, my timer that gets me going 25 min, again and again is very helpful.

At 2pm I'll meet G downtown. By now I want to have finished my yoga practice. Time to move on. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Monday and everthing is OK


Monday. I like Mondays as I like daily life.
I'm on my own today. This is good as I want to practice very slow and carefully. Being alone I've time to explore the asanas and to do some extras. Second series is on my schedule.

What helped me most to progress in Ashtanga yoga:
1. It's indeed a daily practice.
2. It's a good! teacher.
3. To have a role model. Yesterday I watched again the videos of Laruga. I learn a lot from her practice. Yesterday I watched her practicing the standing sequence. Enjoy.
4. It's my pictures. To see myself on pictures doing an asana helped me a lot to improve.

I just counted the asanas of Advanced A: 32. This is a lot. Today I want to do second series, the standing sequence included to warm up the body.

I've a lot of projects to handle for the time being. Time to move on. The beginning of the year had drive. I want to keep this momentum.

One of the project is my villa motley. This is a life project as it seems. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

A sweaty primary


Nobody knows what caused this back pain 2 days back. A nerve was jammed. How this happened is inexplicable. It can be that I slept in a bad position. It can be that I moved awkwardly while cleaning, even though I cannot remember if I cleaned.

I felt excellent this morning and in the early afternoon I was on the mat for a primary. My back feels better than ever. This is true. I remember the sentence of Sharath. It went somehow like this: pain in life is bad pain, pain in yoga is good pain. Again I don't know if this jammed nerve was caused by yoga, but I've the feeling after this practice today as if on a deeper level something loosened. It was easy to put the legs behind the head for supta kurmasana. It was and this is indeed a surprise easy to lift me up in urdhva dhanurasana. My body felt transparent and stretchy. I didn't procrastinate. How good.

Tomorrow second series and now a hot bath.

A side mark: I added pranayama and meditation at the end.


Saturday was a day off, almost.


In the late afternoon we made it to the Straßenbahn to see G, who stays somewhere else. We've no car for the time being. The engine has given up it's spirit. We wanted to pick up G for a little walk and dinner.

Arrived at her house I was ready. I sat down on the carpet for testing some asanas. It felt good, I could twist and forward bend. Even though I didn't practice yesterday, these little exercises told me that I'm fully recovered.

Soon we were ready to leave the house. E closed the door and then we realized that the key was still in the lock from the inside. Not good. First we went to dinner, then we called someone to open the door. It's usually rather expensive. Prices go up till 300,- Euro if the door needs to get opened on a Saturday after closing hours i.e.. The internet is great. The business had comments how good they work. We found a man who arrived fast and the price was reasonable.

We are advanced in living, I told. Such a tiny mishap won't have the power to influence our good mood and joy of living.
I realized how relieved G was when we were finally again in the house sitting on the sofa. She offered us wine. This was a clear sign of being happy again.

Then E and myself got home again.

Also mishaps let us experience energy. That's all. Just an event, like any other event, too, that let's us experience life. 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I fear the next practice


I'm fully recovered from back pain. That day (the day before yesterday) where I had that awful back pain is so unreal. A nerve was jammed. This can happen. A wrong movement and voilà.

Nevertheless I fear the next practice. Today is Saturday but I want to test the sun salutations. I want to do a soft practice. Something new is perhaps not a good idea. Sweeney's series is too new to me. I can be creative today: I can practice some forward bending asanas, some twists and some backbending asanas. Then there are the balancing poses and inversions. When I do a few asanas of each category I'll have a balanced practice and I'll regain confidence.

Life can change from one second to the other. Planning life and events is a game, I love to play it. The outcome of anything is not in one's hand. This makes life so exciting. Life always comes with surprises.

Stay modest was the message of the pain for me. I am.

Meditation and pranayama  shall become part of my practice. 
It is already. I do udjyaj breathing during my practice. The whole practice is meditation.
To do pranayama seperately and to meditate without moving is a step further with it's own experiences.

I shake my head, while enjoying my cup of coffee. What was that for an adventure two days back. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

As if I were a simulator


I myself don't believe it. I feel like new-born. Pain disappeared is it appeared. Fast. Was it that bad that I had to go to the hospital yesterday, I wonder? It was that bad. Somehow unreal now.

If you walk and you fall, do you consider to question walking in general? Nobody does this.
And I don't start questioning Ashtanga yoga in general. Things like this happen. I must have made a wrong movement. I don't believe that something was overstretched, I must have jammed a nerve on both sides of my back.

I've ordered castor oil via amazon. I've heard only best of this oil. It has the potential to relax the muscles, what is always good.

The show can go on.
Today is a rest day and tomorrow I'll take it easy. Yes, I can take it easy. 

Ah, the difference


Ah, the difference to yesterday is like the difference between heaven and hell.
As long as I've to take pain killers I won't put my body in asanas.
Pranayama and meditation is possible. To work on my even breath is a good idea. I'll measure it.

The hot bath was great, too, yesterday. Floating in warm water helps to relax.

What a hell day yesterday.
I try to survive without pills today. If pain returns, I take one of the miracle medicine. Why suffer?

Unbelievable.

It's a sunny day today. Fantastic.
The day yesterday told me again not to postpone anything, not the tiny things and not the big events in life. From one second to the other it might be possible that nothing is possible anymore.

Pain is part of most lives, not permanently but here and then it's there. Ashtanga yoga teaches techniques how to handle it. To learn how to focus is the method.

Oh my, I was a Himalaya of misery yesterday. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Pain!


This morning I was in hospital.
I had so much back pain, that I couldn't stand it anymore. Every movement hurt. It started yesterday. My yoga practice, a modest primary wasn't good and I felt my back. Then the discomfort disappeared. In the afternoon I slept and then it got worse. In the evening the discomfort turned into pain, and I was no more sure how to make it through the night. This was nothing in comparison to this morning. Each time when I moved a sound of pain slipped out of my mouth. "It's worse than yesterday", E commented.

I thought it's renal colic as I don't drink enough. First I thought I go to my doctor. The pain got worse and worse. I was recommeded to go to a hospital. This is what I did. I couldn't wait till my doctor would open his doors at 9. What could he do? I called a taxi and the driver drove me to the hospital Schwabing to the emergency ward. This was indeed the first time that I did this.

There I could lie down on a rolling bed. Soon a group of people stood around me and one of them, one of the doctors probably knocked hard on my back. Then it was quickly clear it couldn't be the kidney as they are higher. The urine test must have said the same. They rolled me to the surgery. Here they X-rayed me. I had to put off all my clothes for that. Every movement hurt, nevertheless I realized the eyes of the young man and the eyes of the experienced nurse on my body. Yeah, this is part of their job to see people naked, I thought. At least they see a beautiful one, this time, a slim, exercised body. I can imagine a nicer setting for being naked. Then they brought be back to the surgery department. I had to wait and I slept. They had given me a pain killer already and I had the feeling it all got better. It was almost lunch when we got the results. The result was "no result". I had pulled my back muscles, probably during yoga. The overweight doctor knew at once that this was the cause. I'm insolent, he was very nice, but his life style I could see from first sight will not become mine, too. First I didn't like to say that I practice yoga. It makes no sense not to say the truth.

In the conversation later the one woman told me that I can go on with yoga. I shall not think so much. A huge stone fell off my heart.
Nevertheless, it can be that one day I'll have to stop with yoga. The more I'll enjoy every day where I can do this practice. It will be a huge exercise of letting go. I also know now that I'll focus more on the mental aspects of the practice like focusing on the breath. The pain was so awful, my breath also reflected this. I could scarcely breathe.

Time for another pain killer.
And a hot bath.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

And how was it today?


If I wouldn't have practiced with the yoginis here, I gave up. It was hard, everything, the asanas and the vinyasas even though I practiced only primary. I practiced without procrastination, nothing was added and I needed 90 min. It would have been good to have a bit more time. We rented the room for 90 min. However. I practiced. It's always good.

It's easier to give  up this intensive yoga practice, than to go on. But it's a thousand times better to do it. I will. As long as I can crawl I'll put my body in asanas and I'll try to connect the asanas with vinyasas.

 Till next Wednesday I'll be on my own. I'll focus on second and third.

The weather is good here. Sunshine. It's time for dresses. Colors. Sandals.

I want to do a lot today, but I'll first nap. 

..and then it made tuk tuk tuk.....


....it was the exhaust. The lights turned to red and this was it. The engine went off and it was impossible to start it again. The sound when trying to start the engine again told even me, this was a sound nothing moves anymore. We stood in the middle of the street and realized that the old BMW had enough. What to do? We had to push the car to the side. A calm street was on the right. I'm astonished how quickly people appear, people who like to help. A young man asked us: Can I help? He came from nowhere, so it seemed.
This is Germany: There is a sign on the front shield with a phone number of BMW service. We called and within 15 mn a technician arrived. Nothing could be done. The towing service had to be called.
All this was even luck. We had made an excursion to the Tegernsee with E's mother and his brother. It would have been much more inconvenient to have this trouble outside of Munich.

In Munich it was hot.
At the Tegernsee it was cloudy and fresh.

Back to now. It's Wednesday and a yogini has organized a room in a shala. We yoginis can practice together. This is so wonderful. We know we profit from each other when we practice together. Time is limited to 90 min and so I'll practice primary.

My new year has started. I'm full of energy. I've a lot of projects that I want to work on. Good that I feel so powerful today. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

First May


Komm, lass deinen Drachen steigen.......very freely translation of this song title: Come, fly.....it fits to the picture of today.

It's warm, this is good. An excursion is planned.

90% of Diabetes could be healed if people would change their life style. This illness is caused by an unhealthy life style, no movement, bad food. So it is with many heart issues.

So I had a healthy breakfast this morning: a banana, some nuts, soy yogurt. To start the day with a healthy meal is already a good start of my personal new year.

I spend every day 3 hours for my personal well-being, for being balanced. I write a private journal. It lasts 30 minutes. I practice in the meantime more than 2 hours yoga on a daily basis. It's for my body and my mind. With blogging and bathing it's 3 hours. This is enough. I don't go to yoga workshops, also not to the big animals. One learns always something. It's nice to see the committed yoginis. Nevertheless.........I don't go. Might some yoginis report the highlights. That would be great.

Time to move on.