Saturday, September 08, 2018

September challenge





This September challenge by Carmen on Instagram is indeed a challenge. First challenge is the asana. One must also find a location and one must take the picture. It's  great if one is able to do the asana, yet it's better to practice an easier version than to injure oneself if the asana is beyond one's capacity. To respect the own limits is demanding, too.

On picture #1 one can see who I fought with this asana. Today I repeated it but wrapped my arm only around one leg. It's still challenging, but safe. No strap was needed. That's the starting point from now on. If this feels good I can go deeper.

Today's pose (picture #2) was only possible with a prop, my wheel. The challenge is about exploring the limits. I feel them almost every day. Some of the asanas I'll integrate in my daily practice. It must feel good to perform an asana.

First lesson learned: Take care. This challenge is about exploring the limits and not performing a perfect asana.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Leg behind head poses



There are 20 leg behind head poses in Ashtanga yoga. The first series has one: supta kurmasana. The second series has already 4 leg behind head poses. It becomes rather advanced in the forth series. To move into a tripod headstand with the leg behind the head is confusing. I tried it lately. That was it, I guess for a very long time.

I learned supta kurmasana when I practiced second series already. It's so much easier to learn first eka pada sirsasana (one leg behind the head) from the second series. Suddenly I was able to do supta kurmasana after having learned to take one leg behind my head. It became even comfortable with time.

These days I work on that lightness again. I struggle with that asanas. I know now how it feels when it feels good to be in such a pose. All the 20 asanas have some craziness. I'm looking forward to learning them. All.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Stretching requires patience and discipline

No matter if one stretches parts of the back of the body or the front body or the sides in order to see progress one must be patient. To force the body into asanas might lead to injuries. On the other hand one must also feel the stretch. It's sort of discomfort. Even breathing and trusting fades away the discomfort. One might be able to get a tiny bit deeper in a pose.

One must learn to be content about every inch deeper. This can be frustrating sometimes, especially if one is an impatient person. Success doesn't come overnight in yoga.

There are asanas like headstand that can be learned within a few minutes if explained correctly.

Yet stretching follows different laws. The older one is the longer it lasts to see progress.

Hard work and time must flow into the practice.

Somehow it helps if one is in love with the process.

It's possible to learn how to learn if we face difficulties. How can one overcome the obstacles?

Discipline remains a key word. Show up, do the work as best as you can.


This picture was taken in 2009. I practiced in the heat of Mumbai. It took me a decade to take the chin to the floor. There must be faster ways, I always think and I know they exist. One can work smarter. One way is to add more repetition. To hold the poses longer is also crucial. Nevertheless stretching takes time.

Being disciplined and being patience are essential skills.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The heat makes the practice easier


The summer heat makes it so much easier to get into poses that require flexibility. I sweat when I practice.

At 6 pm I was on the mat yesterday. This is so late. Most duties were done, so my mind was free from stress of a long to-do-list. I was able to focus on the practice. I get stronger again. It's a joy to realize this.

Every practice makes the next one easier.

I'm happy with my home practice as I can adjust the practice to my needs. I distinguish between a performance and a practice that is focused on learning.

Time to work on my to-do-list. Also today it's long. Yoga comes later again. It's OK to be that flexible. Rules are just an orientation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

It will be late again


I'll start late again. I guess it will be 6 pm when I step on the mat. What counts is that I practice. To be alone at home has other challenges than going to a yoga class.

My practices are satisfying. I realize that I get stronger and flexible with every practice. This motivates a lot.

Primary is a series that is so familiar,

I ran around all day long. I must rest first. Yet, I'm sure tonight I can write a A1 in my calender. This stands for Ashtanga primary done. The A1 and A2 in my calender become more and more. :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Summer time


To practice when it's got is wonderful. The body is so much more flexible than in winter time.

I'm happy that I can practice.

With all this back pain issues I was not sure if I could go on. But I kept practicing, not often, but I never stopped totally. Now it's time to get back to a more challenging practice. To avoid back pain is the #1 rule.

I even managed it to practice 'on the road'. Yet best is to be at home with all my props and all the time I need.

Keep practicing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Believe in yourself


It's soccer world cup. I love to see the matches. But I also love to listen to the interviews of the players. The world best soccer player (Ronaldo) said that he always believed in himself. In addition he practiced more than all the others. When his colleagues were under the shower already after a match, he still played with the ball.

Believe in yourself is such a precious hint. Doubts plaster the path. I'm glad that I didn't give up my yoga practice. I probably had too many days when I didn't practice, but perhaps these breaks were necessary. I had to avoid inflammation.

This back injury is now 2 years back. I heal in steps. My feeling is that I leaped ahead again. In the beginning of my practice I was not 100% pain free. I exercised variations of some of the standing asanas. But then the pain disappeared. Totally. I could do even supta kurmasana without much preparing asanas.
When I feel pain, it's of short duration. It fades away very quickly. After the practice I feel good. That is I can even take the steps without pain. Yep it has been that awful.

I'll keep believing that one day this back pain belongs to the past again.

What I realize. I love Ashtanga yoga. The huge weakness is that there is no didactic. One is left alone more or less. Best case is that learning of new asanas is very ineffective. Instead of mastering an asana within 6 months, it can last 10 years. Worst case is that this missing reasonable approach to very demanding asanas injures people. That's what I experienced.

This is my new topic here. How to be a good autodidact. How to learn asanas effectively. How to understand asanas.

What was possible today on the mat fulfills me with great joy. I have hope again that I can return to my former strength and flexibility. I can still progress. It will be a lonesome ride. I miss a yoga group, but by now I cannot imagine to get back to any of the groups here in Munich. In the meantime there are even choices. But I have my blog and readers and this keeps me motivated, too.