Thursday, March 31, 2011

What yogis and yoginis need.

The bottle in the middle is Franzbranntwein, rubbing alcohol. I use it when it's too late already, when the muscles are overstretched. I don't know if it helps, but the psyche likes it when something can be done.

Magnesium is preventive. It prevents the muscles from cramping. Calcium is good for the bones.

I don't take Aspirin before practicing, as I want to feel my body. Awareness substitutes this pill in my case.

There moved something.

I thought this cat was shy and cautious. Slowly I stalked to her. It wasn't necessary. As soon as it realized that I approached her, she came to me.

....these animals are so in the here and now. No future worries.......hahahaha.....the next bird or mouse will come, they seem to know. Not even this, seems to bother them. They simply are.

 And this little cat seemed to need some carressing. So seductive they can be.

There was something that moved. Ah, it was my big toe and quickly my big toe became a toy. 

Thursday means primary...

It's still a bit fresh here. I want to practice, this is out of discussion. No matter if a practice is intensive or not, the body feels better afterwards, so does the mind. To focus for a while on the breath is relaxing. Nothing else is important but the deep inhaling, the little pause and the exhaling.

Picture: The castle round the corner.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Also today I practiced...

My yoga practice always ushers me to a healthy life style. Whenever I get lost, I find the way back to a reasonable, joyful life (in case I practice, what I do).
Yoga makes me get up in the morning on time (not lunch time), because I need time for it. When stress level is too high, I find ways to lower it. It makes me reflect and improve my organisational skills. In case of unhealthy drinking and eating my practice becomes so exhausting that I voluntarily get back to healthy drinking and eating habits.

I practiced today, one asana after the other. It was not such an exhilarating practice. I don't mind, I practiced. Tomorrow and on Friday primary is on the schedule. Friday afternoon I'll be on my way home to Munich.

Oh, the days here at my parents home are wonderful. Not only because I'm pampered. Every day we have a plan. Today we saw my brother, his wife and his hens. We had coffee and cakes first and then we visited the hens in the garden. They are so sweet. They like it to be caressed and carried around. And they are sooooo beautiful, the feathers shine in the sun. Pictures will follow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thinking positive....

It's easy to say: think positive. Believe that the impossible can become true.

To be really convinced that more is possible than one might think, comes with practice.
Also the mind is changing with practice, not only the body.

After 8 years of Ashtanga yoga practice I can list quite some asanas I was convinced I'd  never be able to do them. Practice proofed me something else. My positive attitude towards the possibilities on the mat is nowadays much more convincing (mainly for myself) as I have examples.

Practice and all is coming is true for the body and the mind.

I practiced this morning second series. It was an average practice, perhaps even below. Not every day is the same, that was it, nothing else, nothing to be concerned. I'm not. What's worth doing, is worth doing lousy.
And perhaps I'm only a bit too critical today. I wanted to practice without breaks, and this I did.

Pictures: I forgot my cable to upload my new pictures from my home town. I found a spring photo from 2007 where I was in France. Shall this one decorate my blog today.

Don't forget to buy your amazon products via my blog. Thank you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Concentration, an exercise for the mind.

I can do it, and I want to practice all the asanas and vinyasas in a row. This is my new mantra. Each time when I feel the impulse to leave my mat for a bit distraction, I say silently this sentence to myself. It's effective.
The performance of the asanas was a bit neglected today. I practiced second series. I know that being focused needs energy, too. Only once I tried kapotasana, not twice, I felt it, it would have exhausted me. From one asana I went to the other without judging. I wanted to stay on the mat during these 2 hours and I stayed. This alone was the goal (and not to improve the asanas).

The mind is like a source, it's bubbling all the time. Every second a new exciting idea comes into mind: leave the mat to take a break, check your mails, perhaps someone has written to you, look what your neighbours are doing. I enjoy all these ideas, but when I practice yoga they are not supportive.
The mind can be exercised as well. It's part of the yoga practice. These bubbles can be directed in one direction: I can do it, and I want to practice all the asanas and vinyasas in a row. I discipline my thoughts for 2 hours. Please realize that I don't use the word "break" in that mantra. The mind understand only positive messages. "No break" gets translated into "break".

Exercises of the mind:
1. Focusing on the breath.
2. When the impulse comes up to take a break, I say my mantra, see above.
3. When thoughts come up like "it's not possible", I change this thought into: "practice and all is coming".

I can do it, is a positive message, a positive thought. Yes, I can do it, I thought and it became true.

Thinking starts here: Take any event and try to see the positive aspects and the negative ones. It's all there. The question is which thought is useful to achieve any goal.

Great practice today. When I had finished my practice, lunch was ready. It was 12:00 by then.

My mother had prepared Sauerkraut and potatoes. I ate too much. A mantra for tomorrow could be: I can live from air and love alone.

Picture is taken by Mahesh. Thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ah, sofa time....

I convinced myself to drive a bit. We were on our way to my parents this afternoon and I'll stay here for a week. It must be exercised to drive a car. It gives me independance, I thought. I'm always a bit scared when I drive. As soon as I sat behind the wheel, I became self-confident again. E laughed because I drove fast (150 km/h).

It's sofa time. E is on his way to the north.

I want to practice Ashtanga yoga tomorrow and I needn't to be too sensitive. It's much fresher here than at my home. No excuses, I think, if I want to practice I can!!!

Oh, we've a lot of plans here. I'm looking forward to it.

Picture: Rote Bluse by Egon Schiele

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quick decision.......

I'll travel to my parents tomorrow, with my yoga mat, my PC and my journals. This was a quick decision, which is considered as a joyful surprise by all participants of this event.

This is really so wonderful when practicing yoga, I need nothing but my mat to live my passion. My breath is always with me. I don't need mountains to climb up. I don't need any tools to play with. I need a mat and clothes that stretch. That's it. I'm independent. I will miss the Mysore classes a lot. And I'm working on the ability to be at several places at the same time. I learned from the book Autobiography of a yogi that this shall be possible for advanced yogis. For now my body can only be at one place, only the mind wanders around. This is OK, too. I can practice where ever I am. And I will.

The robber baron is coming, I use to say to my parents.
I'll live off the fat of the land when with my parents. "Consider what I can do for you", I said on the phone to my mother. It will be nothing but eating and talking, that is expected from me.

Out of my daily routine again. I must change all my plans for the week. This keeps the mind flexible.

Thank you for buying your amazon stuff via my blog. Links are on the right side of this blog.
Happy weekend.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Habits and how to change them.

This post was inspired by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. I have the book "The power of focus" in hand and what they wrote about changing habits convinced me.

I applied the method to one of my yoga habits that I like to change: taking too many breaks when practicing at home.

Here is the 3-step method:
1. Identify a bad habit and then think about the future consequences.
2. Define your new successful habit.
3. Create a three part action step. Means take action and focus on the three immediate action steps.

Let's see how I apply these steps:

1. I still take too many breaks when I practice at home. This is clearly a bad habit. I have enough strength to practice primary or second series in one session. The future consequences: These breaks need perhaps 20 min every day when I practice alone. This is minimum one hour and 20 min every week. This is five hours and 20 min every month. This makes several days in a year. What a waste of time. My breaks add up. Instead of dawdling around I could spend a few days in Paris.

2. I want to get into the habit to start my practice and to finish it on my mat, without walking around, changing music, reading emails. Now dawdling between setu bandhasana and urdhva dhanurasana anymore.

3. Action steps:
- I will set a timer. Within 2 hours my practice shall be finished. This does not allow me to take breaks.
- I will tell myself that I'm able to do it as I don't make breaks during classes as soon as I feel the impulse to dawdle.
- I will focus on my breath for several deep breath and then I'll go on.

And what is your habit you want to change for the better?
Perhaps you omit vinyasas?
Perhaps you forget to do uddjay breathing?
Perhaps you push too much and you're therefore too often injured?

Your comments are welcomed.

Picture: My breakfast. I add soy yogurt to it. What luxury in the morning already.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The influence of Ashtanga yoga......

My Ashtanga yoga practice is time-consuming. It takes 2 hours every day minimum without commuting time and without showering and blogging afterwards.

This requires that life is organised very well. It must be as simple as possible.

Beside this general direction of simplicity, I'm learning and applying other techniques that help to be effective. To see the end of any action helps me to be focused and to work fast. 25 min work, break for five minutes, 25 min work and so on gives structure to any activity. It improves my feeling for time.

I also set a time limit  to my yoga practice. More than 2 hours I don't want to practice. About. A bit more, a bit less is OK. My yoga practice is finished after savasana.

Time to step on my mat. When I'm able to practice without breaks in a Mysore class, it should also be possible to do it at home. These little breaks are in sum a lot of time. Not being strong enough cannot be an excuse for breaks. To stay focused is a task of the mind. It's possible to go on, I will say to myself, when I feel the impulse to run away from the mat.
With a clear time limit, there is always an end in sight, something that can be achieved.

Time to practice. Primary today.

PS: Feel free to join me on facebook. You can find a link on the right side of this blog.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A cowboy.......

An old cowboy enters a bar and orders a whisky. He sits down and sips at his drink. Soon after a young woman comes in and takes place at the stool next to him. She looks at him for a while and then she asks: "Are you a true cowboy?"
"Well," he answers, "I've spent all my life at a ranch and half of it on the backs of horses. I've repaired fences, I've herd animals and I've marked cows with the branding iron, thus I'm no doubt a cowboy."

She says: "And myself, I'm a lesbian. I think the entire day of nothing else but of women. When I wake up in the morning I think of women. All, what I do, if I shower or watch TV makes me thinking of women."

A bit later an old couple comes in and sits down next to the old cowboy and asks: "Are you a true cowboy?"
"Well," he answers, "I've always been thinking I were one, but I just found out, that I'm a lesbian."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I wanted to bring it behind me.....

I wanted to bring it behind me. This was a good approach, as I didn't hesitate to step on my mat yesterday and I didn't practice with breaks. Without dawdling I went from one asana to the next. In the yoga blogosphere it's discussed again how long one shall practice and how often. For me 2 hours is enough, but for second series I need so much time, perhas a bit more even. I prefer to add a more relaxed practice in the evening to a super long practice that exceeds 2 hours. So far I practice once a day and it is OK and ENOUGH. I have other things to do as well. Really!

Mental exercise: There are asanas that drive me crazy: kapotasana is i.e. one of them. It was very weak yesterday. I'll never be able to do this pose, I thought and realized at once that this thought won't make the pose better. Now it's the time to exercise the mind and to think in a supporting direction, I thought. What aspects do I like at kapotasana is the question and task. Something can be found. I really like how this pose looks like. Frustrating thoughts are an opportunity to exercise the mind. To focus on the breath can be enough, to shoo away not so supporting thoughts. Yoga is also an exercise  for the mind. Yoga is controlling of the body and the mind.

My legs are still overstretched and this hurts. It's better, but not really good. I had to practice with a lot of care. Also for the future it's a reminder not to force anything. A daily practice is what improves the poses. Pushing too much has often the opposite result.

It's nice to be back home. To prepare my own healthy food is a joy,

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm not yet arrived.

I'm not yet arrived. I sit here indecisive if I shall go to my beloved Mysore class or not. I tend to practice at home. Tiredness is still in my bones. I arrived at 11pm yesterday. My bf sat there already at the airport waiting for me. His flight arrived earlier. He flew via Madrid a few hours earlier than me. We took a taxi home. Buh is it cold here in comparison to Lisbon. I realized at once that I was at home again in good old Germany when I left the plane.

E wanted to go out yesterday night. As soon as we've put down our suitcases in the flat, we went out again to the bar round the corner. The Croatian man, the owner greeted us when we arrived at midnight, ready to for a drink. He was on his way to close the door, but changed his mind when we arrived.
(The longer I write the more likely it is that I'll practice at home).
We chatted with him. He has not read a lot of books in his life, he told us. What book he has read I wanted to know, beside the telephone book. I try to rememeber, but I don't know. Perhaps I was a lousy listener. I've read 4 books in the last 10 days. It makes me smile when someone is not reading. Reading is my daily bread for the mind. It seems to be possible to live without books.

I need a breakfast. I've nothing at home. One excuse after the other comes into my mind.

OK, I'll practice at home, decision made. It might not be the best one, but a relaxed one.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

...and the sun is shining in Lisbon. :)

We strolled around in Lisbon yesterday. We had no goal. Upwards it went onto one of the mountains there. The sun was shining and we could sit outside with view to the sea and over the city in the afternoon, after having had lunch in one of the local restaurants.
Lisbon is built in a valley and onto 2 mountains. On one of the mountains is the castle. On both heights are a lot of cafés with terraces that allow a survey over the city and to the sea.
Lisbon was not destroyed during the WWII and so everywhere are the old houses sometimes renovated with tiny restaurants and stores in it. The streets are made of cobblestones. Laundry hangs outside everywhere, but there is no wind.

In the evening I stepped on my mat. My backside of my legs are still overstretched. (This drives me crazy.) I practiced till the end of the standing asanas, then I gave up. It's better to practice second series with all the back bending asanas. The forward bending asanas of the second series do not require stretched legs.
I must practice with much more care. Nothing can be forced.

Breakfast time!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another sunny day in Lisbon.

Lazy times not only for us. Lisbon is such a beautiful city. We stroll around and we enjoy the spring time.

Another day in Lisbon

I especially love these tiny cafés here where the locals meet. The coffee and the sweets on the pic cost me 1.80 Euro which is indeed not much. There are many of these little cafés, some even offer something for lunch in that limited room.

I'm on yoga holidays.....hahahaha, which means no yoga in my case. Perhaps I've time today to role out my mat. Who knows. I take it easy.
Lisbon is such a beautiful city, I have to stroll around. Today E has not so much to do, so we can stroll around together.
I had no goal yesterday. I looked around and my feet ushered me somewhere. When I saw one of these little cafés I stopped for a coffee.
And I was shopping. The Portuguese people are indeed not that long like people in Germany in the meantime. It's a shopping paradise for me here. The sizes fit, nothing must be altered or shortened.

We should go to the sea today.

Time to have breakfast.

PS: yoga posts will come soon again.......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lisbon - downtown

Oh yes, this picture must be on my blog.

The little restaurants

Especially the little restaurants invite to have dinner there. It's where the Portuguese people meet.


Spring is in the air here in Lisbon, Portugal.

I got lost.....

.....and I found the way back to the hotel.
I wanted to find the small streets away from the castles where the tourists are and I found them. I strolled around for hours. A café invited me to sit down and to write my journal. Later I had lunch somewhere in a more posh restaurant. Then I strolled around again with open eyes not to miss anything.

On my own.....

Mentally I arrived yesterday already. I was still alone, but hungry. E should arrive from Madrid after 10pm. The restaurant in the hotel was empty, I didn't care. I got a salad, noodles and a red wine. Life must be celebrated.

Today I checked the net if there is an Ashtanga yoga studio here. There is one. In the meantime I expect that there is an Ashtanga yoga studio in every big city worldwide. Amazing how the Ashtanga community grew. On Saturday the studio here offers one class. I don't think that I'll go. Commuting time would be too long, I want to spend time with E. How good that I've established a home or hotel practice. This makes me independent. Yoga is something for myself. An ego-trip? I could do worse things, for sure.

So, how to spend my day here? The hotel is  downtown. I'll walk around, I'll find a café where I'll write my journal. I always travel with books. I'll read as well. In the early afternoon I'll practice. Then the bed is probably made and this brings more calmness, more zen in the room. This is the plan, but who knows what will happen.

To work for 2 hours is on my schedule, too. Yep.
Perhaps I can take some nice pictures, too.

One of the books that I've in my suitcase is by Amélie Nothomb. She is a hot tip and writes about her life in Japan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Arrived in Lisbon, Portugal

My E is more excited than myself when I travel alone. Three times he called me this morning to make sure if I have everything, the hotel vouchers, the passport, money for the taxi and and and. He is a frequent traveller. When I fly with him I only walk beside him not paying so much attention. When alone I suddenly gain unknown power and energy. Those who travel to India can also travel to Portugal, I think and manage all the challenges best. And here I am,  in best mood. The sun is shining in Lisbon, downtown.

The Portuguese eat late.
I'm a bit hungry. Of course I didn't eat the sausage in the plane.I got sick when I saw it. Passengers would also eat plastic on planes. It seems to me as if they gulp everything that is offered.
It's a nice body feeling to be hungry when sitting down at a dinner table. And I am hungry now.

Time to go hunting: salad and red wine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Home practice.

The obstacles: weight and overstretched legs (left leg more than right leg).

With 48 kg pashasana is not possible. I role on my back. I knew this and accepted it.
Kapotasana is a nightmare with each gram too much. Without adjustments I can practice this pose only modest. Will it ever improve, I wonder. (But it improved already.)
My overstretched leg told me to practice with a lot of care. I started with the CD by Sharath. This gave me again a perfect rhythm when I continued alone, without the CD.

Second series is better to practice with overstretched legs. It has less forward bending asanas.

I practiced all the poses. Few breaks happened, very few and my practice is finished before noon. This means, I've time for so many other activities that are on my list.

Such a yoga practice is never only good or bad, it has a lot of shades.

Practicing yoga means to control the body, the breath, the thoughts and with this also the feelings.
Being aware of this is sort of detachment.

10 min relaxation finished my practice.

The sun is shining. My body needs a bath to relax, before I go out to walk a bit.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Best intentions.....

I had best intentions. I left my home on time.

Oh, I could have known it, it was on the radio. Smoke at Karlsplatz Stacchus stopped the public transportation. But I thought when I come, everything must be over already. It wasn't.

My legs didn't bring me to an U-Bahn station. Instead I walked around and observed how the city awakes on a Monday morning. It was fresh, which was nice. Some people stopped at some open cafés to get a coffee. I sat down somewhere, where I could get a cappuccino with soy milk and read in the book that was in my handbag.

This week is a week of home practices. Shall this be OK. I'm flexible.
It's possible to practice alone, without the energy of a group.

I felt like walking today. Not that I think one should follow each and every mood. But today my legs decided what to do and I was shopping, too. This is instant gratification. Perhaps I needed this.

Picture: Dolphins. A very special picture taken by Mahesh. Enjoy. I've never seen so many dolphins next to each other. It reminds me of the Mysore classes in India.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lazy Saturday is over...

Lazy Saturday is over, even though it was not so lazy, when I look back. An intensive cleaning session happened.

The day off is good for my body. The 6 practices during the week are intensive. Shall this be enough.

The topic today: How to approach yoga? goal-oriented or process-oriented.

Surely to set goals might help to achieve them. Deadlines, a plan how to exercise might all be very supportive. Having achieved a goal might create joy of accomplishment. But when we don't like the daily practice, we are more likely to give up the practice totally and then we'll never accomplish a goal.

I like daily life, perhaps even a bit more than the highlights. I also like the daily practice. I like to practice in a way that I'm exhausted at the end. I like to have an orientation, I like to know where this shall all lead, but this was it. This moment counts. This. This.

I enjoy my daily practice. It's calming to focus on the breath. To sense the given limits of the body every day new is a joy. To experience the possibilities of the body on a daily basis are my daily highlights. More is not necessary.

I'll go to a led class today. What luxury we have in Munich these days.

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm in love, I'm still in love....

I practice it, I talk about it, I dream about it, I write about it in my journal, in my blog, in letters, I draw it.
I'm fallen in love with yoga 30 years ago.

The love, the passion is growing with every year. Yes, this is possible.

The picture is drawn by me when I was 20 something.
My love to yoga lasts so long already, no end in sight.

Words from my friend P about the above pics:
I love it.

It's wild.
Somehow primitive.
And a little naïv, too.

I cannot describe my love better: wild, primitive and a little naiv.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Forward bending, an analysis.

Before reading this post, look at the picture and think of 3 important points when bending forward.

1. The movement forward comes from the pelvis (not from the lower back).
2. The spine is supposed to be lenghtened. (It's not about rounding the back.)
3. The leg muscles are engaged, the backside of the legs get stretched. (Knees are not bended).

To engage the bandhas (pelvis floor and abdomen) when exhaling, when going deeper into the asana helps enormously. The breath of course plays a key role: inhaling means stretching forward, exhaling means going deeper into a pose.

The yogi/yogini  shall relax when in that pose, but this shall not lead to an inactivity of the muscles. It's possible to keep the muscles engaged (let's say 50% ) and to be relaxed at the same time. In order to relax, relax your face.

To bend forward is experienced as calming. To fold forward  reduces our sensations. The focus is the silence in our own middle.

This post was inspired by an article that I found in Yoga aktuell Feb/March about adjustments. It got so to the point that I had to summarize it here. The authors have a yoga studio in Hamburg. Here is the link.

PS: A correct done forward bending asana, even when it's modest, looks much more beautifully than when it's forced. I know it's difficult. When done correctly progress comes fast and it protects from injuries.

And for me it's time now to practice again: Primary is on the schedule. Oh yes, I'll practice with awareness. After my last injury, overstretched hamstrings, I know, nothing can be forced.

PS: I'm also on facebook and twitter. Links are on the right side of this blog.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

...and he is right.....

Back bending: Before I start my yoga practice I usually lie on my back with a block under my upper back. First I have it a bit lower and after a while when my back is used to the height, I make the height higher. (Hahahaha, difficult to explain, but the picture tells everything).

M gave me this exercise. It opens my upper back. The main intention was to prolong the inhaling in a position when pressure is on the chest. The ribs have to open.

I need a deep inhaling when I want to come up from urdhva dhanurasana. I'm too fast out of breath. M is so right.
I admit, I used to be in that pose and enjoyed how my back rounded more and more, but the exercise was to make the inhaling longer. Being in this pose is the extra challenge. It imitates how I am in urdhva dhanurasana.

It's a long way up from urdhva dhanurasana to standing position. The breath must be sooooooo loooooooog. Time to focus on this.

My plan is to exercise this in an extra session in the evening. Pranayama!

I had an excellent practice. I'm happy now, no, not in peace, not content, happy I am. Full of energy. Time to work. I do have a plan, I must update my accounting. I'm ready. Tralali, tralala, here comes the summer sun.....dubidubidu.......yeah the summer sun....

My shops are open 24 hours a day: enjoy buying. You deserve it. Wink.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

I counted.....

Yep, I counted and I gave second series that way a structure:
After supta vajrasana a bit more than one-third is done.
After karandavasana the second-third is done.
....then only the last third has to be done to finish the middle part and at home I omit the headstands as I lack room.

After ardha matsyendrasana half of the middle part of the second series is done.

This knowledge keeps me on my mat. Only 10 asanas are doable, 14 asanas are doable, too, and then half of my practice is done. The rest is a piece of cake, I think and I go on.

I had a very committed, yet relaxed practice today.
The highlight was that I could balance in dwi pada sirsasana. This is the pose where both legs are behind the neck and one is in a sitting position. The hands are in prayer position in front of the chest. I can only go into the pose with the sofa in my back as support. This is the next step to manage it to do it without the sofa.

In order to learn a pose it can make sense to break it down in tiny steps.

Carnival today: I go downtown with E to party a bit. I couldn't convince him to paint hearts on our cheeks. Hehehehe. No masquerade for us. Be yourself.......hahahaha.

Picture: a vegan dessert consisting of fresh pineapple, vanilla soy pudding and wild cow berries.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Habits, habits, habits......

My yoga place is occupied by another yogi now. It used to be me who placed the mat next to the heater. I got up later, left later my home, arrived later at the studio, and my yoga place was taken. A challenge, I had to be flexible. I have now another fav place,which I even like better.

When I want to know if yogini xy is in the shala today, I know exactly where to look. They all have fav places, regular places. To practice every time at the same place is a habit. Quickly people form habits. This might facilitate life. We feel safe. We eat every morning the same breakfast, or we don't eat at all. We have all routines in all areas of lives. Some are healthy, some can even destroy us.

Also re yoga we have habits. It can make sense to have a closer look at them.
It's unimportant where I practice. It can be an exercise re flexibility to change the place from time to time.

My best yoga habits are:
- I practice on an almost daily basis
- I write about my yoga practice. This reflection helps to improve my practice.

My habits that could need modification:
- At home I omit often the 10 min relaxation at the end. This I definitely will change.

From time to time it makes sense to go through the routines and habits in all areas of life: yoga, eating, relationships, work.

And what are your good yoga habits?

PS: More and more cafés offer cappuccino with soy milk. It makes sense to ask for it.


Sunday, March 06, 2011

I enjoyed my practice like a glas of red wine.

There was pain felt during my last practice a few days ago. Real pain. The hamstrings were overstretched. And when I write pain, it really hurt, I can bear a lot. It was clear this has to heal first before I can accelerate again.

I stepped on my mat again with reasonable intention. As soon as the first discomfort was felt I wanted to stop moving further and I sticked to it. This meant that I could reach my toe with my hands in all these forward bending asana of the first series, but this was it. My chin didn't touch the shin bone. It might have looked modest, but I was happy.
My practice was an act of self-love.
Ambitious intention were absent. I practiced because I wanted to enjoy it, nothing I wanted to accomplish today, but to imitate the asanas that I used to practice. Lousy imitations, but it makes me laugh.

Wow, to be injured that painful deepened my understanding for my fellow yoginis, who have always something and everywhere (knees, hips, hamstrings, shoulders). I'm so lucky, this is not my accomplishment, but it is so, that I'm resilient. This health is a gift.

I got also reminded, that in former times ill people went to yogis for help. This is in my opinion also one reason why a teacher - student relationship was much more important than nowadays. The practices had to be adjusted to the needs to the ill person. Nowadays people are healthy and even exercised and they want to get even better at it, they want to get stronger and more flexible.
When we get injured or ill, we have to adjust our practice ourselves. And this was it, what I did today.
My focus was the vinyasa, the breathing and being content with what is. The first discomfort that was felt was like an alarm clock, telling me to stop. I was content and focused. It needn't to be a super good practice every day. To be able to practice can be a lot already.

How wonderful that this all happened.

I start again, with primary

It's Sunday and I'm ready for an Ashtanga yoga practice. Primary!
After having overstretched my hamstring, I know I have to practice very carefully. How can I do this?

1. Firstly I will practice slowly. This makes every practice easier. It also allows me to be more attentive. It allows the body to stretch slower.
2. My focus will be the breath, the sound of the breath. I'll observe if inhaling equals exhaling. The tiny pause between inhaling and exhaling shall refresh me.
3. Special attention I will give to applying the correct technique: The correct breathing I've already mentioned. Equally important is to engage the muscles and bandhas. This is a protection for the muscles to stretch.
5. Limits: I'd say I can bear pain, stretching pain rather well. Today I don't want to go till my limits. It shall feel good today. I was injured and I had a break of a few days. This must be respected. Sometimes less is more.
6. More important than anything is that the practice remains fun. This remembers me how important it is to relax the face.
7. I will also focus on being focused, this means I don't want to follow the impulse to take a break here and then. To stay on my mat is my goal during my practice. This IS an exercise for the mind. I set a time limit: 2 hours.

I'm amazed myself, how many aspect yoga has.

Don't forget to smile. An inner smile counts, too.

Sometimes less is more.

Picture: My dinner yesterday.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

It's Saturday, another day off

It's Saturday and another day off from my Ashtanga yoga practice. Shall my overstretched hamstrings heal in peace. It's already much much better. I bowed forward this morning. I feel good, I only feel pain when I stretch, practicing yoga means stretching.

What I've learnt: The hamstrings are most sensitive part of the body and easily overstretched. Too much pushing is not a step forward, but a step backward re stretching results.
Applying the correct stretching technique, engaging the leg muscles and the bandhas is important.
I got reminded: yoga is about breathing and being aware and not an acrobatic thing. What makes a yoga practice to a good one  is not  being able to perform crazy poses. It's about focus and awareness and relaxing the mind. It's about finding the middle and staying there.
People who practice Ashtanga yoga are often ambitious people. It can make sense to take the practice a lot  easier than we usually do. It's fun, baby. It's better to do an additional evening session if the need for practicing is not fulfilled, but to push too much.

We watched Heidi Klum's search for a super model the day before yesterday. The young beauties should walk on a catwalk that was wobbling. The results varied. Those who acted from the middle, those who looked straight and smiled, those who had focus on walking, walked beautifully. The others who feared to fall into the water wobbled and it was much more likely that they would fall.

To have focus is very helpful in life. To have focus, to concentrate on one action, object (whatever) over a certain period of time is as much a goal as to be able to perform a crazy asana. I want to get back to my 10 min meditation every day.

I found a nice blog post about positive attitude: It's here.

Thanks for visiting my shops on the right side of the blog.

Friday, March 04, 2011

I was hunting today.

I was hunting today.
A beautiful mango tree bowl was my victim. To fill it I chased walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, hazel nuts and raisins. Vegan pleasures......ahhhhhhhhhh.

Happy Friday to everybody.

The hamstrings are overstretched! What to do?

It's out of question: To do nothing is not the resolution. Yesterday my practice was so painful that I wondered  what I can do today to make my practice a pleasant experience. I know that many of the yogis and yoginis suffer from overstretched hamstrings from time to time. 

It's  time for a brainstorming what can be done till the body is healed:
1. Instead of practicing primary it's possible to practice second series. This is one more reason to learn the second series as soon as possible like it was the customs in Mysore before the Ashtanga boom began. The second series has many balancing asanas and back bending asanas. Some of the deep forward bending asanas are with bended knees, this does not stretch the hamstrings.
2. It's possible to focus on other aspects of the practice, like the vinyasas.
3. Why not practicing the sun salutations and then learning something new, like pranayama in the middle part, before the closing sequence.
4. One can be creative and chose to practice those asanas that can be done without stretching the hamstrings. One rule to consider is:
- after a forward bending asana follows a counter pose, a slighter back bending (upward facing dog i.e.)
- after a backbending asana follows a counter pose, a slighter forward bending asana (downward facing dot i.e.)
- When you want to switch from back bending to forward bending asanas, separate them with twist asanas.
5. Exercising visualization can be an alterntative:  imagining oneself doing asanas is a possibility, or imagining a beautiful tree or a flower or any other object.
6. Chant Aum in the middle part as meditation.
7. Light a candle and look at it, expand your concentration abilities and stay positive.

What will I do today?
1. I'll start again with the CD by Sharath till the end of the standing sequence.
2. Then I'll practice second series.

What do you do when your hamstrings are overstretched?
Thanks for sharing your secrets!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A most painful practice

It was a most painful practice.
I haven't practiced for a couple of days due to my cold.
Today I stepped on my mat again. My hamstrings are overstretched. This caused the pain. I must have this already a few days. I wondered all the time why. It can only be that I pushed too much during my evening sessions when I exercise side split.

I practiced the beginning with the CD by Sharath, then I practiced on my own. To stretch forward hurt me each time to my limits. After a modest try of kurmasana, I gave up. It hurt to much. I did baddha konasana as this is easy for me. Urdhva dhanurasana I practiced, too as the hamstrings are not stretched when doing this pose, but psychologically I was exhausted by then. The closing seqences was OK again.

Some practice  yoga only to learn to relax: I did savasana for10 min and it was great.
Why not deepen the ability to relax. Yoga has so many aspects.

My backside of the legs must heal. I'll bath now, my legs need it. My experience is that a bath is relaxing for everything. Buh, injuries are a pain in the ass.

I must do the side splits with much more patience!!!!!!!