Yesterday I practiced second series in the hotel room. I was surprisingly flexible. It was so rainy outside, so I didn't search for C's shala again. Also today I'll practice in the hotel room. It has advantages if one is able to step on the mat alone without the group setting.
I just looked out of the window and it's rainy again. There are so many homeless people here in Portland, I hope they find shelter somewhere.
Time for breakfast: a fruit bowl and black coffee.
1. I refer in this post to what I've seen in India in the shala in Gokulam.
Usually students practice according the Mysore style. This means that a yogini knows the series and she is practicing re her own rhythm.
If someone is totally new, the poses are shown, but only as many as she can remember and as she is possible to perform. The closing sequence might first exist of doing the last poses only (padmasana) and relaxation pose. In the first class it can be that someone is shown the sun salutations and the first pose. After 2 days the next pose might be shown. "Shown" might be already the wrong word because the student is helped physically into the pose. But more about this later.
The huge advantage of this method to learn asana after asana is that every student got help in every pose.
Most people outside of India learn primary in a led class. The teacher cannot take care of everybody and it can be that some poses have never been shown individually. The result: I see yoginis in classes who don't know how virabadhrasana or other poses have to be performed even though they practice Ashtanga yoga for 5 or more years.
In India they offer a led class once a week, too. The yoginis practice till the pose they were shown in a Mysore class, then they stop and go to the back of the room and watch the others. They continue the practice when the closing sequence starts. In India it's warm so the body doesn't get stiff so fast.
The huge advantage of this method is, that every pose is shown and the practice is built up slowly. That way the student has not the feeling that she is overwhelmed and that Ashtanga yoga is too difficult.
In classes I see sometimes yoginis with cheat sheets. They cannot remember the order of the asanas even though they practice second series already. Why? They attended only led classes or they progressed too fast. If they were taught Ashtanga yoga the traditional way they knew the next pose.
2. Another important speciality of how Ashtanga yoga is taught is the hands-on adjustments. Not so many words and explanations are exchanged. The student gets adjusted with the hands. For kinesthetic people this is ideal. For more auditive people it might be more difficult to understand what to do. So it is for people whose preferred sense is the eyes. They need to see something in order to understand. I've observed yoginis who have issues with hands-on adjustments. Then it might be that they feel better when performing another style of yoga.
In my view teacher should know this. I've been in classes where the teacher has given long explanations. Some praise the student. I was told already: Oh, this was great how you did it. Wonderful....and so on. Discussions start. This is not Ashtanga yoga. The teacher shall not interrupt the flow. As less words as possible.....this is it. We focus on the breath and the flow in Ashtanga yoga.
In order to demonstrate that the hands-on adjustments make a difference, I'd like to compare some styles: Bikram: It's for auditive people. One has to listen to the teacher, who pushes the people through a series of asanas. No hands on adjustments, but verbal motivation. Anasura yoga: It's for visual people. The teacher shows what to do, the yoginis have to copy it. Then again. The teacher shows the next pose, and the yoginis might admire it, then they can copy it. Jivamukti yoga: All the senses are bombarded. Music is on. One gets hands on adjustments and explanations. Often even a neck massage is given with a lotion that smells well and flatters the nose. I've seen teacher who showed the poses. One is always led verbally through a class. This is nowadays too much for me, to be honest. Where is the focus, I wonder?
Ashtanga yoga is taught in a way that allows the yogini to practice alone. This is one of the huge advantages.
What to do if no shala is in sight that offers Mysore classes?
I'd build up the series slowly. One asana, then the next. A criteria if one shall move on to the next one can be if one can remember the order of the asanas. Perfection doesn't exist, but an asana shall not be considered so difficult that one likes to omit it.
Instead of hands-on adjustments one can watch videos or read in books if one studies alone. This might be a compromise, but why not. I try to understand the poses via all my senses: I read about poses, I watch videos. In class I prefer hands-on adjustments, comme il faut.
3. In Gokulam props are not seen, neither straps, nor blocks. It's a no no in Ashtanga yoga. I do use props, but I want to get rid of them as fast as possible.
The teaching concept is in my view not for the sake of it. It makes sense. If one practices alone it can be good advice to practice as close to the ideal as possible.
We got up early: 6am. This should have been plenty of time to get to the yoga studio NE Broadway #206 for a primary. It has been so very sweet of E to drive me. It was dark, it is still dark, it was raining and cold. We couldn't find the #, neither the studio. This was it for me this time with the yoga studio. It's too far away.
The hotel room has a carpet and my travel yoga mat is thin. This means that when I practice it's as if I practice on an air mattress. It's OK. One can find a lot of excuses not to practice. There are the same numbers of good reasons to practice.
It would have been nice if I were there in the studio now, yes, yes. I was so ready to practice there. It didn't happen. Fine. This is not the end of the world.
It shouldn't be. It's a pity, at least I tried it.
Time to have a light breakfast in the hotel. Fruit, coffee. I'll write my journal there. I think I need a coffee now to feel warm. Then I'll practice.
If the sun will come out today, it will be the afternoon. The sky looks very cloudy.
I walked around today and took pictures. I searched the vegan restaurant "Prasad" for lunch and it turned out that it was a yoga studio, too. They offer all sorts of classes, a led Ashtanga class as well. It was crowded there.
The weather was too good and I walked and walked and walked. There are so many homeless people downtown, it cannot be overlooked that quite a lot of people are poor.
From 7 - 11 am Mysore classes are offered at Near East Yoga.I don't know why I'm not motivated to go. It's rather far away from the hotel. I don't know yet how to get there. One can find out. Perhaps jet leg sets in and it makes me lazy. As it comes it's OK. I don't make plans that are in the future.
Traveling means tasting new food. I was not unhappy with my light meal yesterday. It was a starter, BTW. Am I glad that I didn't order anything else. To put lettuce on a plate without doing anything with it, is interesting.
The pictures were taken at Huntington beach. There was still sun.
We arrived in Portland yesterday night. The Thai restaurant is exactly as it was 6 years back, when I've been there the last time.
This morning I preferred to have breakfast with E to running to a shala. I can practice later today. I'm too curious, I want to explore my surrounding. Perhaps I can find out where the bus station 54 is, it will bring me to Casey's shala the next days. Today I'll enjoy tourists` activities: walking around, taking pictures, watching people, shopping....
Umbrella, winter coat, camera, map, my journal everything is ready and.........I'm ready for the day, too.
It feels good to be so fully awake in the morning.
It's easy to wake up in the morning. It's not only that I woke up easily this morning. I felt totally awake and this even though it was still dark at 6am.
The hotel room allows to roll out my mat. It's next to me between bed and wardrobe and desk. I can look out of the window when I practice. View is the picture above.
Yesterday's thoughts: Why not taking it easy when it's difficult to practice during trips. It can be very good already to do some sun salutations and some asanas. It needn't be a full Ashtanga practice each time when I'm on my mat. What a relieving thought.
We drove to Encinitas today. It was sort of yoga tourism. I wanted to visit the Jois shala that was created recently and I saw indeed a very beautiful shala.
It can be that when we return to San Diego that I'll have the time to practice there. This would surely please me. The weather in Encinitas is warm and the shala is beautiful. What else can a yogini wish?
I'm not sure if I need one of the yoga clothes (brand Jois) that are sold in front of the practicing room.
The entertainment program of the airline included "Shine a light", a documentary of 2 gigs of the Rolling Stones. This was it what I wanted to watch. I turned on the volume and the show could begin. I danced in my seat to the songs. There were turbulence in the air. This all so fucking fitted.
At 4am German time we arrived. The captain told us that it still had 28°Cesius in LA. :)
To get into the US is no fun. First we stood in a huge lane to show the passports, then came a huge lane for the customs, then a huge lane to exit. In sum it lasted minimum 2 hours rather 3 till we were through.
In the meantime they take fingerprints of all the fingers of both hands and the pupil. The officers wear blue plastic gloves. All the visitors have to put their hands on the same pad to get their fingers printed. This is indeed not very hygienic. In the plane the sanitary facilities are soon a mess and dirty. The possibility to care for hygiene are limited. People sweat and then everybody has to put the dirty fingers on one pad, that gets never cleaned, while, I mentioned it already, the officers sit there in plastic gloves because they don't want to touch the passports. One shall not think too much, one shall not think to much. We are in.
It all lasted longer, but finally we arrived at Oceanview at the hotel. The night clerk asked us: How are you guys? E: Oh, we are very tired. The night clerk: Do you have a reservation?
I admit I had expected to be asked, where do you come from or anything else to pretend a tiny bit of interest. But questions in the US re the own well-being are nothing else but polite phrases. They never show the slightest interest. I know, but experiencing it is something else.
And I would have so loved to start a conversation about my night in the plane simply to speak English. Lol. He might have felt this.
During the last miles from LA to Oceanview I had to tell one story after the other to keep E awake. He opened the window every 2 minutes to get fresh air in order not to sleep in.
We arrived. The picture above shows the view out of the window this morning. A smile miracled on my face, I knew it was again worth the effort.
The flight out of the bed was delayed this morning: I got up later as wished. It's OK as it will be a long day. At 12 I'll leave my home to pick up E at the office. Then it'll go to the airport. Los Angeles is the destination. At 7pm we'll arrive. Oh, what was he glad when he checked us in yesterday and we could get a seat next to each other. I'm in demand these days as a seat neighbour in planes. Tiny people are rare. And I don't snore.
I swung my legs out of the bed this morning to start my beloved and fine-tuned morning routine. Coffee and water is next to me. I sip the coffee and drink the water, too. The mood is above average. I'm excited and curious.
LA is only a short interim station. The next day we'll fly to Portland.
In Portland I'll be on my own alot. Casey's yoga studio still exists. 6 years ago I've been there the first time.
I'll practice primary there. Nothing else. Too many asanas of second series are under construction. I'm so sure that primary can improve, too.
Time to greet the sun.
He: Do you have a shaving cream.
Me: Of course, I show you where I have a reserve for you.
1. Then I wrote at once in my calender under the category "to buy": shaving cream. When I'll be back I've a list of things I need to buy. Having it written down keeps my mind free for other more important things than to-buy-lists. It also guarantees that I won't forget to buy one. And next time when he'll ask me: Do you have a shaving cream, I'll answer: Of course, I have one for you.
2. In my calender is also a travel checklist: With this list I can pack my suitcase fast and I won't forget anything. This saves time and annoyances.
As a yogini with a daily yoga practice that lasts minimum 2 hours, I have to be organised well. Ashtanga yoga bettered my life in many ways. Beside being able to do fancy asanas I got skills in being organized well.
I hold my toes when I move my foot down. I even separate the toes and pose them carefully on the floor next to each other with a bit distance and as close as possible to the body.
On picture 2 one can see how this looks like. The knee is in the air and it shall be on the floor.
Then comes the next important step: lift the body and move forward till the knee is on the floor. You shall feel discomfort at the toes, not the knee. Important. Stop when the knee hurts. I don't feel my knee at all. If you practice this pose actively you ground the foot, your leg muscles are engaged and this reduces the discomfort. Engage the bandhas when you move forward.
Lengthen the body, stretch forward. Then the body will move down again a bit, perhaps not 100%, but this comes with time.
Here we have Janu sirsasana C. The back is a bit bent. I checked Mr Sweeney's pose. His back is also more bent than in Janu sirsasana A or B. The heel is now a bit below the navel. It shall give a massage there. I think it's a bit exaggerated. Massage is something else for me.
This is one of the poses that reminds me that in Ashtanga yoga not even the feet are forgotten. The feet and toes are exercised. This pose guarantees beautiful feet till old age. :)
Of course it's also a hip opener.
Attila Hildmann has published a book: "Vegan for fit". He challenges people to eat 30 days vegan. I accepted this challenge and was surprised what I experienced.
1. It's crucial to cook the own meals. It can become a routine. One gets fast with daily practice. Recipes can be found in the book. My cooking got new directions: no noodles, no rice, no potatoes, but almond mash and avocado made me full. This was indeed the surprise, I felt so full after having had vegetables and a almond mash sauce. Almond mash is healthier than noodles.
One can eat vegan and live and eat unhealthy.
I tried new things like popped Amaranth and I love it in my soy yogurt for breakfast.
2. Like most of the others I lost weight, too. I started with 48,3 kg and today I had 46,6, even though I ate a lot. The goal is not to lose weight, but to eat healthy. It's a side effect to get in shape.
3. Difficult were the visits in restaurants. But here I can do a lot, too. Nobody forces me to eat the creamy desserts. A solution for me can be to have a vegan dessert at home, too. Nevertheless in restaurants one never knows what the waiter brings: eggs on the salad or cheese. Noodles can be egg noodles. Perhaps there is butter in the sauce. But if these are the only animal products that I eat, it shall be OK as I've done everything that was in my hands.
4. These 30 days made me more aware of my eating and drinking habits. My nutruition became healthier. As I tried new recipes it was also exciting. Not every new recipe I liked, but this I had to find out. I'm more often in the kitchen and cook my own meals. This saves money, hahaha......
4. I experimented a lot in the kitchen during the last 30 days, it was an adventure and fun. I go on. The book motivates to stick to this healthy life style. On my last day I prepared a vegan chocolate and it tastes like real chocolate.
Q. commented on my last post that he likes my blog because I'm not political here. In the US are the elections. But I think to eat vegan has also political aspects. If we want that everybody has enough to eat on this globe to eat vegan is a step in this direction. The fields can be used for planting vegetables and not to feed animals. With this more people can be fed.
A vegan life style helps yourself to stay healthy, it helps the animals and the humanity.
When I started yoga 30 years ago, it was clear, being a yogini is a life style and eating vegetarian food is a must.
Try it, life is an experiment.
Invalid hostname again. What happened? During the last days I tried to open ashtangi.net, but I got always the mentioned error message. I wrote J. I knew that she had created this page. She answered me at once even though she lives on another continent. She had cancelled the page. She had paid a fee every month and she had the feeling that only few use this page. She's right. As with everything, people start with something and stop. So it was with the blogger that gathered there. Many stopped Ashtanga yoga and blogging, too. It got calmer on ashtangi.net during the years.
First a big thank you to Julie, who created (and paid) for this wonderful page that connected the Ashtanga yogis and yoginis during many many years. For me this page meant a lot:
- About 7 years ago I found the first bloggers. It inspired me to start a blog, too.
- I met yogis/yoginis via that page, even friendships developed. Some of the yogis/yoginis I even met on this globe.
- Precious were all the tips re the practice that I could read there.
- Many yogis traveled to Gokulam to the shala. I cannot imagine better travel guides than the blog posts of the yoginis who shared there experiences.
Nothing exists for ever. Many yogis/yoginis connect on facebook, some are also on Google+.
...deeply when it was time to get up. I overslept. When I woke up it was too late to go to the Mysore class. It seems as if I'm still weaned from it after the summer break. I must lick blood again to see how much the Mysore classes help me in my practice.
It will be a home practice today. Primary. I'm greedy for it.
My mind is blank. Shall this be enough for a first post.
Picture: It's the cauliflower-curry-crunch meal from Atilla's book "Vegan for fit". I learned that one can prepare interesting sauces with almond mush. It's filling and delicious. I mixed it with herbs or citron or curry.
It's not an injury, but I feel the backside of my legs. To do kurmasana after 5 days off is doable as usual, but and this cannot be felt, the hamstrings have already shortened. I know this all, this is why I get nervous when I don't step on the mat for a long time. Long time means more than 3 days off. 3 days is still OK, 5 days is too much.
Yesterday I relaxed. The day was dedicated to arriving at home and finding my center. I took a bath, I read a lot, I cooked a vegan lunch for myself. Doing some chores was relaxing, too. Today I was busy with a lot of things that need to be done. I'm always glad when I do tasks that I like to postpone like filing papers or corresponding with the health insurance. With every months on this earth I get better in organizing myself. I'm more disciplined or should I say that I know more tools than ever to get me going and more often than ever I apply this knowledge?
The day is not yet over.
There is time for a few sun salutations. This is better than nothing.
Tomorrow I'll go to a Mysore class and practice primary. That's at least a plan, a good one.
The first critical moment that requires energy is the beginning of any action. No matter what it is, if the first step is done, it's very likely that the show goes on.
Yesterday I brought myself again to drive the car. Traffic became worse and worse. It was dark already when we left my parents. I fear to drive. As soon as I sat behind the steering wheel, as soon as I had adjusted the seat, I knew there is no way back. I drove the BMW. E was even enthusiastic how fast I drove (150 km/h). I drive that fast only when the autobahn allows it and only for a short time. I wanted to get home.
Knowing that the beginning is the first hurdle, helps to overcome it. For daily chores I set my timer to get me going. This gives me the necessary energy to start. For my yoga practice I do some easy passive asanas.
This time I didn't practice during the trip. It was too cold. The situation was not inviting. Today I start with primary. Very carefully of course. I know how easy I can overstretch myself today after a break of 5 days.
Chatting, eating, drinking, chilling out, wishing better weather (hopeless wish), napping, eating, looking out of the window, sitting on the sofa, going through old pictures, watching TV, reading mails.......I feel like moving.......I miss it when I cannot move. Perhaps I go out alone despite of the rain. Rain is just water. I'm so used to have time for myself, that it became a need. Solitude is relaxing for me (and this even though I love to be among people).
Traveling means always to adjust to a new situation. And I love this also. Life flows. As it is it shall be, I think.
I cannot blame the tofu.
I cannot blame the broccoli.
Also the little peas are innocent.
My practice today was the worst ever. My body felt like poisoned. I cannot say that I had pain, no, but I was far below my level. That kapotasana is lost is a tragedy. But today everything was hard (HARD), also the legs behind head poses which I love. I couldn't do chaturanga anymore, my body fell on the floor. Half-hearted was the upward facing dog. I wanted to stop after tittibhasana C. Then I looked around. The yoginis/yogis were either distracted (staring holes in the air) or they were fighting with asanas. It almost made me smile and I kept moving. I did what was possible today and finished my practice. I know that it was good that I finished it. Now I've lost everything forever, was a thought that came up. I know that this is not true.
This practice makes me so damned modest.
Tomorrow primary. I'm looking forward to it. The future cannot be seen in the back mirror.
On my way home I stopped at Yam deli. I had a cappuccino there and a mango dessert. It was so nice to meet the lovely ladies there.
The green warrior is such an easy meal and tastes so good and it's prepared super fast. I ate it 3 times already. Today I try something new from Attila's "Vegan for fit".
The challenge is to keep this space as it is now. An empty carpet can be vacuumed easily. To move piles of book is not inviting to clean this area. I'm happy with my work of the last weeks. The direction is clear: simplicity. Not having more than one needs is the goal. Most of us in the Western world have more.
Ashtanga yoga: Second series again with the third series asanas. I'm looking forward to my practice. It will be a home practice.......
Before chanting I do these three exercises. It's an easy start, it warms up my body. It's passive, so even on low energy days this is doable and most of the time I keep going then.
- The first 2 poses I got from M.. It prepares my body for back bending. I breathe deeply, especially the inhaling shall be deep.
- Afterwards I hang forward. This feels good for my legs. I stretch slowly and when I feel good and flexible, I start chanting. Then the show can begin....:)
For me today the Ashtanga yoga season has started. M is back. So many yoginis/yogis practiced in the shala. It fulfilled me with joy to see them all back for the next round. I had forgotten how much energy I can get from practicing in a group. I'm indeed thankful that I can do this all.
Not one single book is on the floor anymore. This makes cleaning so much easier. A simple life fits to a yogic lifestyle. Ashtanga yoga is time-consuming. The rest of the life must be simple therefore. I worked hard during the last days. The result is beautiful. Less things, less chores, more time for the essential things....
PS: This morning I woke up and thought: something is wrong with the pose I posted yesterday. Due to lack of space I didn't stretch the arms over the head. But this is it what I do. This deepens the back bending and stretches the parts of the shoulders.
I slept very long. Eight hours or even a bit longer. Can be that I needed it. But now I'm present. Eyes are open. Energy can be felt. This energy is much needed to finish my tasks. Will we need another day to put the books back into the shelves? I hope not.
My skills to organize things, to get things done improved. I think I can need this in order to accomplish all the projects that are in my mind. I know how to motivate myself. Concentration improved. To sum it up, I feel good. Action now.
Tonight I'll prepare the green warrior (a vegan meal from the book by Attila: Vegan for fit) for omnivores. I'm so curious if they will like it. These days I love 2 course menues. I'm still searching a vegan dessert. I'm sure I'll find one in one of the books of my cooking books collection.........
Your life is only a series of automatically conditioned reflexes very far removed from
the deliberate and purposeful action of free-will that you suppose it to be.
OH, I was busy with life today.
Oh no, I was not dawdling and enjoying laziness, I also wasn't hanging on the phone (I scarcely do), I was also not conversing (happens more often those times). First I defined my goals. 3 rooms should be clean by the end of the day. 1 is cleaned, 1 is almost done and 1 I haven't touched. And 1 room is a mess. This renovation was time intensive. I repeat myself, but it was worth the time and effort that I've put into this task already. I've discovered talents on me that I've not yet seen so far. The organisation of all this was so smooth. I'm enthusiastic about myself. I guess we need 2 more days and then I can get back to a "normal" life.
What gets me going:
1. When I do chores like described above, my pomodoro (a timer) helps me. 25 min it makes tic tac and I work with this rhythm.
1. When I want to start my yoga practice I roll out my mat and bend forward till I get bored and till I want to practice.
It's individual what makes people move. My tip: observe yourself and find out what gets you going.
Yoga: I cannot imagine that I'll step on the mat today. It was a yoga free day. I'll practice tomorrow. Might it happen.
I refuse to lift another book today. I managed it to carry all the shelves into the other room. Before I could do this, I had to get all the books off the shelves. This is hard work and it tightens the body. The hands became like shovels. By now it's difficult to straighten the fingers.
After these hours of carrying books to the place where they were, and the work is not yet finished, I knew I HAD TO PRACTICE afterwords. This work stiffened my body and I wanted to be soft again.
I practiced primary. It was a focused, not too flexible practice. I had my legs behind my head, but back bending was more than lousy. I expected this. Then I bathed to relax even a bit more.
Brrhhh, my fingers are still stiff. I realize this when I type. So slow they are.
So happy that I practiced.
In sum it took me minimum 8 days to get this tiny room renovated. When I look around I see a sea of books. Or does it look rather like the centre of a city with a lot of high rises? This will be my work tomorrow to destroy the high rises. It looks as if there is not enough room in the shelves for them. I'll find a solution. Key word is: tomorrow. For today I'm done.
I prepared the meal of Attila's book: the green warrior. I loved it. During the day I was so wildly working on my goal to make the room as it looked like a week ago, I only ate desserts when I felt hungry. One after the other disappeared in my stomach.
The floor is good. All is so cleaner now and a yogini needs a clean environment.
It's 8:30pm and I feel like going to bed.
Picture: The Isar. Every time when I'm there I wonder why I'm not more often there. It's a nice place in Munich.
It's already rather fresh here and when I got up a bit earlier it was still dark. I'm sipping a hot black coffee. The day is still so young, one cannot predict what it will bring. Plans are made. The books must return to their shelves. I've time to have a closer look and hopefully I can let go of a few more things.
Yesterday's primary was good. I could easily take my legs behind my head.
Today is Thursday and I stick to my plan to practice primary again. There are still a lot constructions. The vinyasas mainly. Urdhva dhanurasana: I've an idea when I'll be able to stand up. I must see my heels when in this position. Then my hands are close enought to the feet and it should be possible to shift the weight forward and to come up. (Still a dream, I'm curious if it will manifest one day)
Topc 1, the renovation: It's done. What remains is to bring back all the books. The clothes are already in the wardrobe. I sit at my desk. There is still a lot to discard. The washing machine is running and helps me to clean the clothes. My goal yesterday was to create a place where I can role out my mat. This I accomplished. I'm so happy about this improvement here where I spend most of my time.
Topic 2, the 30 day vegan challenge: I can define the challenge better and better. In my case it's to get from 90% vegan to 98% vegan. If one eats in restaurants one never knows what is in the food. But it's not necessary to order one of the creamy desserts. The challenge also means to get into the kitchen and to cook. It's possible to eat vegan and to eat unhealthy or boring. Away from white rice, noodles, and white flour is the challenge. Indeed I learn new recipes during these 30 days that will become favorites.
Topic 3, Ashtanga yoga: I'm happy that I can start again. Sometimes a few days off happen. Sometimes it's caused from inside, sometimes from outside. I'll start with primary today, with no expectations. Goal is to be very attentive towards the limit's of today. The breath shall be the focus.
It seems that my next Mysore class will be next Monday.
I feel so much better when I've my daily dose of Ashtanga yoga.........it guides me, it keeps me flexible, it calms me........it challenges me.....
I look around and I realize that I'm in chaos. I sit here on a chair like in an airplane. No room to move. That I can do nothing drives me crazy. I'll do a night shift to empty my place here. Tomorrow I'll be back on the mat. Might it be so.