Sunday, March 31, 2013
Yesterday I laughed so much, my abdomen hurt. I couldn't stop laughing, at night I woke up and I laughed again. I saw the most awful translation ever. We sat in a restaurant and then E passed me a little brochure. The text that I read was not understandable. With a lot of imagination one could think what the author might have wanted to say. The text ended with "aroma and fragrance". Lol.
I know, it's very likely that not one single blog post here is without mistakes. Nevertheless I hope so much that my posts are most of the time understandable. I think they are.
One cannot look up every word in a dictionary and then form sentences out of them.
Why have they not asked a German guest for a translation? They could have offered a free meal.
Rain alters with sunshine here en Provence. The little hotel where we stay is clean and I can roll out my mat in the room. The hotel has the flair of the south due to the colors (orange, yellow). One wall is painted orange in the room. The pictures on the wall show lavender.
We eat and drink and we try to speak French whenever we have the possibility.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Right now I admire all travelling yogis.
There would be enough space to roll out (Anna!!!!) my yoga mat, but the motivation is not very high. Today is Saturday, your yoga free day, a little voice tries to make me feel good. Hahaha....
Today we'll drive to the south of France. We'll stay at a hotel in a village for 3 nights. The room is booked already. To stay at a place longer than one night makes it easier to practice.
Driving was a nightmare yesterday. It rained all the time. Too much traffic and traffic jams prolonged the driving hours. The estimated 4 hour turned into 6 hours. To arrive is always a joy.
In France if one has special wishes in the restaurants one is considered as expert, as a gourmet, never as a mischief. Also in the not so expensive restaurants the waiters have time to open the bottle of wine at the table. They let taste the wine. Yes, there is always time for this little routine here.
The picture shows Lyon at night.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
"90% of my exercise is nutruition." Attila Hildmann said this, a very popular vegan chef and writer. He himself has lost more than 30 kg since he has changed to a vegan diet. His before- after pictures are convincing. He's exercising, too. Latest picture showed him running. He is in excellent shape.
What is true for all sports is also true for those who practice Ashtanga yoga. What we eat and drink plays an important role, perhaps even 90%.
Today I practiced primary with some extra asanas. It was not an easy practice. It's done and as always I'm glad that I practiced.
My next practice will be in Swiss. In my suitcase are 2 blocks and a strap. Might the hotel rooms be large enough so that can roll out my yoga mat. The conditions for the next 10 days will vary. I do what is possible. The destination is France. Oh, how I love to travel again to one of my favorite countries in Europe.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
It's a possible focus to play with the edges. To get into a pose till discomfort is felt, then waiting till the discomfort fades, and it is fading, then going deeper again is the method to push forward in a conscious way.
Playing with these edges brings success.
It guarantees that the practice remains joyful. It deepens the understanding of our body. How does it react, how long does it last till it adjusts to a position. What happens with my breath?
I'm ready for a practice. To practice is always more satisfying than to write about it. Haha.....
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
That it is so late already, shocks me.
I don't know what to do now.
With what activity shall I start? Yoga? Cleaning? I also wanted to study French. I feel like paralysed.
Where did the time go?
Shall music get me going.
I look up to the ceiling: what next, what next?
The answer: walk around with your camera and take some pictures. You need fresh air.
Monday, March 25, 2013
These are my self-made problems and I love them. I don't care how difficult it is to bring the finger tips to my toes. This is it where I like to work on.
I love the stretching discomfort.
I love to motivate me to do it. Again and again.
It's within reach. I think so. Yes, yes, yes.
The blocks shall help me to relax and to stretch in a passive way.
I'm interested in my big toes. I love to gaze at them.
To make the inhaling as long as the exhaling is my passion.
All the rest gets so on my nerves!
I shall not hide.
I'm up on time to go to a Mysore class yet I fear I'll practice at home. Today I've to renew my monthly fee and on Thursday we'll drive to France. It's cold and white outside, it has snowed again during the night. Ahhhh, my mind is searching for reasons to practice at home.
Yesterday I read again how important it is to move. To move is a universal remedy. Even when above 60 and if one moves one can gain the fitness of someone in his/her 30s who is not moving. To move is good for the body and the mood. It needn't to be Ashtanga yoga. For me it is this yoga. It's so perfect for me, I get everything what I want. As Iyengar said: he doesn't know anything else that is so holistic but yoga. I can practice alone and in a group. I love to be able to perform crazy asanas like taking the legs behind the head.
It has been a relaxing weekend. On Saturday I cooked. The recipe was for 4 people. I thought perhaps we can eat the rest on Sunday. Just a thought, nothing was left the other day. The meal was Arabic inspired with chickpeas.
On Saturday we were also downtown to get a new phone. Another item on my to do list that I can cross out now. It was cold and all the passengers were dressed in dark colors.
India came into my mind and how colorful it is there.
With all the public discussions that it became dangerous to go to the shala in Gokulam because Indian men bushwack the yoginis who go to the shala in the very early morning, it becomes very unlikely that I plan another trip to the shala. I regret that only bad news about India are spread around the world. It's such a beautiful country. Most people are so incredible friendly to foreigners. This is so unique. Worldwide.
In India one can find everything to the extreme. My life is so influenced by Indian culture, how can I not love this country. I practice yoga and the source of this practice is India. My "guru" Ramesh comes from India. I love Indian food. I became vegetarian 30 years ago when I learned that in India many many people are vegetarian.
The shala in Gokulam shall be full of overflowing these days. It's great to practice there, without doubt. My practice improved while my stay there and I've been there only 6 weeks.
I had time to take some pictures yesterday. Blurriness is the topic of this week. I joined a group of female photographers online. Every week we work on another topic. So many of my pictures are blurry, yet to create a blurry pictures on purpose can be a challenge. This exercise helps to use the camera in a way one likes to use it. Here is my picture. It's my desk.
Yoga: it can make sense to take more time for the asanas that are weak, than to whip oneself through one of the series and more.
Time to prepare a tiny breakfast for myself and my E.
Good start in the week for everybody.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Home practice today, because I got up too late.
I spiced up my practice, and this even though my tolerance to stand the stretching discomfort was rather lousy.
1. After prasarita padottanasana D it's possible to go into a tripod headstand.
2. After Utthita eka padasana one can try the split trivikramasana.
3. After Janu sirsasana C one can add viranchyasana B.
4. After Mariychyasana D one can add marichyasana E and F and purna matsyendrasana.
5. When moving out of marichyasana A and C one con do this via galavasana or eka pada bakasana A.
6. Before supta kurmasana one can eka pada sirsasana as preparation.
7. After Supta parsvasahita one can do hanumanasana.
I did some extras today. It exhausted me. When I lied on my back for urdhva dhanurasana, I started sweating already and I only thought of doing this pose. I wondered if this counts as doing already. Of course it didn't count, so I did three very lame bows. More was not possible.
Yepeeeeee, my yoga week has come to an end. Also this week I missed 2 practices. I've been busy with decluttering, planning, so all is fine.
Spring cleaning is on my schedule today. This is part of yoga to keep, rituals that support the practice. It's an awareness practice. To clean is really a satisfying practice as one can see what is done.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Viswamitrasana can be prepared with parighasana from the second Ashtanga series. This pose improved says the history.
Also hanumanasana (forward split) prepares viswamitrasana.
My goal is to perform a modification of this pose first. For me it's OK when I hold the stretched leg with my hand that is supposed to point to the ceiling. This gives a lot of support. Creativity is asked when one starts practicing third series. And patience.
I'm not sure if I practice today. The morning is over already. I decluttered, cleaned, organized. This is an ongoing task in life, too. It never stops. It's never done. It's like the breath: inhaling, pause, exhaling. It feels always liberating when I let go of things. Creating space feels good. It gives room to move. It gives room to live.
There is only one thing that I discarded and that I miss now: It's my analog camera. I could substitute it, but I won't. It's not that important, but to have one, could be interesting.
Time to move on.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I'm sitting here, enjoying my second cup of coffee. I'm up on time. Yet today organizing the birthday party of E in May as priority to going to a Mysore class. These days these social activities take more room in my life. In my second part of my life I wanted to have more time for friends, this includes organizing parties. :) Since my wedding party I even think that I've a certain talent here.
Yoga: Back bending can be a focus. Just doing it. Repeating the back bending asanas, staying longer in the pose is a good idea.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
This asana is the basis for vasisthasana, the first asana of Advanced A series of Ashtanga yoga.
The gazing point is different. In vasisthasana the gazing point is the toe.
And one has to balance this pose on the hand and the outside of the foot of the stretched leg.
It becomes very difficult to balance the pose when the leg is not parallel with the body. Then one has to compensate the lack of flexibility with strength.
This is the pose I exercise every day. I usually hold the outer side of the feet. That way I think I can better adjust myself. Somtimes I set a timer for 1 min. And I repeat this pose.
This asana exists also as a standing position. Many yoginis move the one hip backwards to have the foot parallel to the head. Yet this is not what the pose is about. Like most asanas also this one aims at increasing the ability of movements of the hips. It's all about the hips, so to say.
It was not a long intensive practice today. Rather the opposite. Next week I don't take pictures. I learn a lot via my pictures. Sometimes taking pictures spoils my practice.
It's still cold outside. I ate at the yam vegan deli today. That's why I know it. What was I glad when I was at home again.
During the week I work on the third series asanas. Some of them looked doable, before I tried them. The practice of them told me another story.
Third series asanas make me modest again. It is as if I've done nothing by now. Nothing.
For each asana I've to find the first tiniest step.
I've to find out which vinyasa is doable. The arm balancing poses can be done from a sitting position or standing position, from tripod headstand or from handstand. Sometimes it's easier to perform an asana when coming from headstand.
On the picture is purna matsyendrasana, the first step. It's a twist with an additional challenge. It's also a balancing pose.
First I put my left leg in lotus pose and move the knee to the middle. Then I put the right foot next beside the knee. Then I fall out of the pose already. I use a blanket under my body to stabilize the asanas. Then I turn around and feel the edge. One day my hand shall reach the inner part of the foot. It will take time and patience till my body will be able to do it. Yet the first tiny step is done.
With these tiny steps I've the feeling that I've found access to the third series. It's good to know where the journey goes. It's good to have a goal. Yet a goal can be frustrating if it seems reachable too far in the future. To find out what is the next tiny step and to practice this step on a daily basis till one can imagine and try the next step brings joy to the practice.
I even think that this is also one of the insights learned on the mat that are helpful in other areas of life, too.
What's the next tiny step and let's do it.
Monday, March 18, 2013
My post this morning was written and published and I knew already that I'd practice something totally different than planned. Hahaha......
I focused only on third series today. I trust that the two first series become easier the more I progress in third series. It goes all deeper.
Primary is mainly forward bending and building strength.
Second series in in my view is a rather balanced series. Back bending is added.
Third series has the focus on balancing.
All poses even the twists have an additional challenge. It's to balance and not to fall out of the pose. Also the one on the picture is a balancing pose.
I don't want to omit an asana. I tried to find out what the next tiniest step is in order to perform an asana that seems undoable for me. Brrrrhhhhh this series is a challenge. I've M. Sweeney's book on the sofa. After the first line of asanas I felt the first exhaustion. I moved on and this was good.
Modification for tomorrow: I have to do also back bending asanas and those of the second series that are still too weak. This is pincha mayurasana i.e.
Only when doing an asana one can get better. This might sound banal. Yet it's so true.
I feel 'lädschert'. There is no translation for this feeling.
Due to "Homeland" I have to stay up till after midnight. I should have enough sleep till the next morning. This TV programme cannot be the only reason why I felt so slow and heavy this morning. The why is not important.
It's rainy and cold outside in addition.
I shall practice at home. Hahaha......
Monday: This means that I also want to work on asanas of the third series. I've to blend them in. After the leg behind head asanas of second series, I can add the leg behind head asanas of third series. It's easier than to exercise them at the end of second series.
The music wakes me up. I'm ready to move on.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
I wasn't bored at all today.
The feeling arose to have time. Saturday is my day off from yoga. If I don't practice, I think it's 100% OK. No "I should" or "It would have been better if..." comes into my mind. I know this day off from yoga allows me to work on all the other projects that are in my mind. My body can relax one day and the mind, too. Time flies. I'm busy on Saturdays, too, only that I don't practice asanas.
And: I had time for my E. Today we went to a fruit and vegetable market. I bought what I think is necessary to survive for the next 2 days. Then we sat down at the beer garden there. Outside. It was cold, who cares. The sun enticed us to sit outside. Blankets were available.
Tomorrow I'll either practice second series in the morning at home, or I'll go to a led class, primary. What a choice we have these days in Munich.
Enough for today. Time to sleep.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Sometimes I stare at my pictures in the hope a thought comes up that could help me to improve my asanas. The splits are key asanas in my view. It's not that easy to exercise them. Sometimes there is too much pressure on the knee. When I feel any discomfort in my knees I take care.
Yesterday I had the idea to practice hanuanasana on the bed.
The bed helped me already when I started taking my leg behind the head. The soft mattress made the pose easier as it would have been if I were lying on a floor.
With hanumanasana it's the same. Feeling no pressure on the knee makes it easier to relax into the pose.
I just returned from a Mysore class. Sundays and Fridays I do nothing else but 1 series, either primary or second series. During the week I add asanas and I exercise also third series asanas. One cannot give every day 100%.
The shala was crowded today. Seeing all the yogis and yoginis allows me to refine my practice. Elegance is a key word. I want that my practice looks easy. I prefer daily tiny steps in the right direction than forcing my body into asanas. The face is important: It shall be relaxed. Yet the eyes are open.
I feel good.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I started with primary Ashtanga series. After the twists I switched to asanas of third series. And I took pictures and this finally spoilt my practice that had started so promising.
Janu sirsasnana C form first Ashtanga series and bharadvajasana from second series prepare viranchyasana B. The challenge here is that the toes shoe backwards. The foot is in a 45° ankle to the leg. It's possible for me to do this, yet it doesn't feel so good. I did it the second time perhaps.
I like to see connections between the asanas. This knowledge intensifies my practice. It makes first and second series even more interesting.
I feel cold now and stiff. To continue with my practice would be too risky.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Today I managed it to get out of bed on time. I went to a Mysore class and practiced second series. The class starts at 8am. My body is stiffer at 8am than later.
Frustration came up. After so many years I must be able to do pincha mayurasana in the middle of the room and not against the wall, I thought. I need the wall mainly for psychological reasons. I tried the pose in the middle of the room, yet the result was lousy. I was too scary.
Then I remembered one of the view rules. This rule is an exercise for the mind and it sounds: be content.
Minds are creative by nature and quickly reasons were found why I can be content. I am able to practice all these asanas. When I remember how I practiced 10 years back, then I must admit, I progressed.
Being content is important.
For me this is the exercise for the mind.
I had not enough sleep tonight. Time to nap.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Headstand is rather easy to learn. It's a classic pose. When I tell people that I do yoga it's very likely that I'm asked: "Can you do headstand?" Beside headstand non-yogis know the splits.
What do I see on my picture: It's the classic headstand, not one of the variations. I'm not really straight. The straighter one is, the easier it is to stay longer in that pose as less strength is needed to balance.
When I look at the picture I have an Aha moment. I know why it's so difficult to lift the head. This is my next step here.
Each pose has easy variations and challenging ones.
The steps to learn headstand: Headstand can be learned very fast when explained well. In a week it should be doable.
1.First step is to get into the pose. Most common mistake: the elbows are too far away from each other. The closer they are, the better. I always measure the distance. When I can hold with my one hand the upper arm I've the correct distance. The ankles get pressed into the floor. Helpful are also the index finger. They support to balance when pressed against the head. All balancing poses get easier when the bandhas are engaged and when the breath is even.
Take position. Pose the head between the folded hands. Then walk the feet to the body till the back is straight. Then slightly jump and bring the legs to the body, legs are bent. Then move the legs up. The movement starts from the hips. Voilà.
Tip: Never start learning headstand against a wall.
2. The next step for me was to stay longer in that pose.
3. Then I wanted to come up with straight legs. It looks more elegantly.This pose is called "urdhva dandasna".
4. These days I try to lift up the head. I press the lower arms into the floor. By now I fell out of the pose each time I tried this. The picture tells me that I must stretch my body more to be straight. This might make it easier.
Before writing this pose I read what I've written yesterday. The hips are important, I read. And I feel them today. I'm a bit sore. This must have been an intensive practice yesterday. This is why I can only decide on the mat what I'll practice. It can be that I practice second series today (not third series asanas). I shall see......
Monday, March 11, 2013
I've always excuses not to practice third series. I feel too weak. I'm too heavy. My break between 2 practices was too long. On another day I want to take it easy.
Today I stepped on the mat and I practiced first the surya namaskaras, then the standing sequence. Then I started third series. I know which asanas of the first two series support the asanas of the third series. I practiced them first as a warm up.
Precisly this means:
- before vasisthasana I practiced supta parsvasahita and hanumanasana (the splits).
- before viswamitrasana I practiced parighasana.
It has been some time that I've exercised kasyapasana and the following leg behind head poses. It felt good today.
I tried some new poses and felt like a bloody beginner. No way to do urdhva kukkutasana B.
My next step will be to watch videos of yoginis who're able to do the poses.
After almost 2 hours I stopped. Finishing sequence and done.
Tomorrow I'll do the same. I've the feeling that second series gets better when I exercise third series asanas. Primary got better when I started second series. I expect the same effect now with third series.
When shall one start practicing third series?
Precondition is that the leg stays behind the back without holding it. If this is not possible, third series makes no sense.
And now I allow me the feeling that I wish to be so much better at the asanas. After 10 years so many asanas are still not possible. What do I wrong? Do I betray myself? Do I not exercise passionately enough? Who knows. Tomorrow I'll see again what is possible with this U.- thing.
PS: It's all about the hips.
I felt the kisses of my E on my face and I knew at once: I must have overslept. It's me usually who wakes up earlier.
"What's the time?" I asked.
It was too late to go to a Mysore class.
Cursing I sleepwalked to the bathroom to have a shower.
When I came back I asked E who was still in bed: "Have YOU switched off the alarm clock?"
"Now I want to blame you that I got up too late," I told him and we both laughed.
No, I'm not amused. I'm angry about myself. "Homeland" ends after midnight. I can get enough sleep till the next morning when I get up at 7am or 8am. It shouldn't be.
Now I'll practice alone in solitude and liberty. No choice.
Second series is on the schedule. Yes!!!!
I'll pick me up where I am. The breath will be my focus.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Yesterday 5 people schlepped their bodies to the shala, me included. I was astonished how few we were. The last times the shala was so crowded that M had to tell the yoginis to move their mats to make room for those who came later.
Yet yesterday our teacher was absent. We could use the room for a self-practice. Of course for the bloody beginners it's difficult to practice alone. They don't know yet what to do. But where were all the others?
Discipline is another mental skill that can be learned when practicing Ashtanga yoga. To step on the mat when alone is much more challenging than to go to a led class or to a Mysore class with a teacher.
Finally this is the goal. Mysore classes prepare the student of Ashtanga yoga to practice also alone. This makes independent from classes.
We 5 yoginis had a very intensive yoga practice. Again I thought that exercising the asanas is the golden path, yet if one looks a bit deeper beside the asanas other skills are learned, too. Discipline is one of them.
Being disciplined is a mental exercise.
Today I'll do no yoga or Sweeney's moon series. I shall see. It's Saturday.
Yesterday we were out with 2 friends. It was a funny evening. We laughed a lot. I don't remember anymore, why.
I MUST refine my eating strategy. We shared a starter. To eat bread to it wasn't really necessary. I left food on the plate of the main course which was very good. I had no dessert. In sum it was too much and too fat. In the beginning and at the end we got Ouzo. It's not necessary at all. My body needs almost nothing to survive.
Today we'll go out with friends again. Let's see if I'll be disciplined enough to eat like a bird. It should be possible to eat out and not to gain weight. It's difficult.
If one wants to stay slim one must cook.
The picture is taken a few days back. It shows tiny gardens. The snow is melted in the meantime.
Thursday, March 07, 2013
When practicing Ashtanga yoga we learn crazy asanas, yet we shall also learn to do them in a relaxed way. What ever pose we do we shall breathe evenly. The eyes shall gaze at a point and not move around or be closed. These are techniques to calm the mind.
It's challenging when there is pressure on the chest when the body is back bending. The first reaction often is to hold the breath. Another reaction is to breathe loudly and uneven. The job is to go with the body as far as possible yet to stay relaxed.
In a lying position it's easy to stay cool.
When practicing long enough to put the body in a stressful position and to stay calm this can become a mental habit.
When life gets tough one can use the same habits like on the mat: deep even breathing, calm eyes, being optimistic.
If we practice as it is supposed to be, we can learn an approach to life that is relaxing.
Finally Ashtanga yoga is an exercise for the mind as it is for the body. Becoming conscious of it is a huge step forward.
I just came home from grocery shopping. A driver of a car drove so aggressively. I went over the street and the light showed green. I thought he'd kill me. He came around the corner with high speed. A woman turned around and asked me if the car has hit me, it was so close.
Inhaling, pause, exhaling. I'm glad that I can write this blog post.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
A few days back I googled "Indian yogis". Many images came up. I looked at them and they spoke to me. The poses that the yogis performed were advanced, yet there was a stillness in the picture, too.
It reminded me to approach the asanas light-hearted, calm, content.
Today I learned how to roll out of pincha mayurasana. This is a step forward.
The after-yoga-effect can be still felt. Mood is excellent. Perhaps it's also the good weather and that a friend showed me a super good place round the corner, a terrace on one of the buildings. Ah, so good.
Tomorrow I wanted to go to an Iyengar studio.
I'm not sure if I'll go. I don't have to make a decision now.
Monday, March 04, 2013
I got up on time, packed my handbag. I was looking forward to my yoga practice in a Mysore class. The Straßenbahn stopped already after one stop. It was said that the driver couldn't keep driving due to an ambulance. Usually this means that someone has committed suicide.Someone jumped in front of a Straßenbahn or a subway.
After some time we arrived at the station where I usually change the vehicles. Yet the same issues were there. Nobody knew when the next subway would come. It was late already and I decided to practice at home. It shouldn't be.
On my way home I stopped at the biggest photography shop: Foto Sauter. The men are very helpful there and I got an answer for a question re my camera.
It was freezing cold and sunny outside. Best weather. I bought some tulips. The topic of this week of my women photography group is "spring feeling". Spring is perfect for me. My feelings are rather on the better side. I feel the energy, the liveliness. All is a dream that gets faster during spring.
Time to step on the mat. I'm ready now!
Sunday, March 03, 2013
Saturday, March 02, 2013
And Saturday is this day off from yoga.
When a practice happens it's OK, if not, it's OK, too.
This is indeed a yogic approach. Very cool. Very relaxed.
To have this day off from an Ashtanga yoga practice relaxes me more than an additional practice.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Today is Friday. Friday is primary day. On Friday the last practice of the week takes place regarding the Ashtanga concept. It makes sense. After an intensive week with 5 practices, the body is tired. This makes injuries more likely. To practice "easy" primary on Friday makes the practice safe.
I used to practice second series on Friday because I can profit from my excellent teacher in a Mysore class. I need more help in second series.
There are always good points and not so good points.
What a gift that once a week a led class is offered. Yet it's in the afternoon and on a Sunday. I want to practice in the morning (not early morning) but before 1pm. And I like to start the week with second series as it is recommended. To practice in the afternoon fragments my day. To have only one night between 2 practices is difficult. On Monday I felt usually weak and pressed out like a citron.
I'm a bit finicking right now, I'm conscious of it.
Yet I'm ready any time to change this rigid structure again.
For the time being, I feel that this structure makes it easier for me to step on the mat.
I hope that M will offer Ashtanga classes 6 days a week one day.
It's so amazing how Ashtanga yoga influences my life for the better. I feel good and I've energy.
Plan for tomorrow: Moon sequence by Sweeney. Right it down, let it happen. :)