Monday, December 31, 2012

Last day of the year 2012


In 2013 it's 10 years that I practice Ashtanga yoga. It was life changing for me. It made me more optimistic. My strength and flexibility increased. I dedicate a lot of time to this practice, more than ever. My studiousness even made me travel to India within the last decade.

It can be that I learn some more asanas of the third series in 2013. I feel ready for it.
This shall be doable if I maintain a daily practice. To practice daily is more important than to learn more and more asanas. And I know my weak points in primary and second series. Perfection doesn't exist. Or shall one say: imperfection is perfect.

To do anything on a daily basis is easier than to do it once or 3 times a week. Yoga can become a habit. This makes it easier to practice. The path is the goal.

Second series is on the schedule today. My body needs a practice. Will I have time? I will.
My yoga is so time-consuming that I had to learn to be organized well. My pomodoro timer came into my life. To limit an activity helps to focus and to intensify any activity. Things get done that way. It makes me productive.

Dear reader, not every yoga practice is a highlight, nevertheless I kept going. Setbacks are part of this exciting path. I'm conscious that not every blog post's contents is exciting and enlightening. I kept writing, too. Thank you very much for reading and being such a truthful reader.

We're invited tonight at 10pm. A neighbor and friend organized a midnight "Krapfen" meal. We'll be an entertaining group.

Whatever is planned. Enjoy. Till next year.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

Love forever


At home again we opened one of the wedding presents, a bottle of red wine from Israel and then we went through the gifts and cards and good wishes and love-wishes that we got. Amazing how creative all our friends were. Everybody had another idea to make us a joy.

I'm glad to be at home again. 3 times my pomodoro-timer ran, 3 times I tried to eliminate the mess. The washing machine is still running. As soon as the wet clothes are on the hanger to dry I'll finish my word. Soon I'll go to bed today. I want to be well-rested for tomorrow. The to-do list is long.

The days of the old year are counted. A friend is organizing a midnight party at the end of the year again. Hahaha........life must be celebrated............good night.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Start with the asanas


Start with the asanas is a recommendation also by P. Jois.
The asana practice points at the other limbs of the Ashtanga path: non-violence, contentment, pranayama, concentration, withdrawal of senses, meditation. Yet practicing asanas alone brings a lot of avantages in a persons life. To stay healthy, flexible and strong betters every life.

It was still before 12 when I stepped on the mat. G has a coffee machine now, the one from E. I know how to use it so today I could prepare my cup of coffee by myself. G was out buying some bread. To have a cup of coffee and something to eat is important in the morning. A small breakfast wakes up my inner organs. It's a tabu, but I think it's important to empty the bowel before practicing.

Primary was on the schedule, nothing else. The living room was heated. I had perfect conditions. It was not easy, not at all, but I did all the asanas and vinyasas. No breaks. Deep breathing. And I sweated.

I don't know how I've managed it, but it seems as if I haven't gained weight, despite all the sinful food that was offered during Christmas and afterwards. A slim body makes my practice easier.

My motivation to practice got fresh motifs. I don't think that life must aggravate as it does for most elderly people. It shall be possible to put on the socks till the end of the life. I also want to be able to walk around withoug getting out of breath too soon. As long as possible my body shall be a joy and not a burden. This is only one reason why I manage it again and again to step on the mat and to practice Ashtanga yoga.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creating a new identity


It is time-consuming to create a new identity. Hahaha, what is not time-consuming.

Some online pages allow to change the name easily. Some pages create a new account. It's for my own security, I know this, yet every change requires also verification. When a new account is created all the contacts are lost. To start from scratch has advantages and disadvantages.

I know people who walk through life with three different names: the one with whom they were born, the one they took when they got married and the one given by a guru, a spiritual name. For me one name is enough. After one year everybody, inclusivly myself should get used to my new name.

Facebook was easy to adjust. Yet I had to make a decision. My new name has an "ß" in it, a sharp s. Being online means being international. I changed the "ß" to "ss" as not every keyboard shows all the German letters. The correct spelling is in the passport and when I give my signature.

Email: I've now 4 email addresses. I'll keep the one at yahoo, not eveything shall be at google. With my new google address I've also a new google account. I'm still working on importing my contacts. In the long run the old address will dry out, yet I'll keep it. I won't use it anymore and I try to move my friends to the new address.

Flickr is another online account that I have. Here I've 2 accounts now, too. I'll care for both of them for a while as I've projects running.

When at home again I need a new passport. The bank, insurances must get informed.

Funny was that there were bets in my family if changed my name or not after my marriage. Oh, my brother lost a bottle of Prosecco.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In the north


Today was the last big eating day here. Not that I didn't enjoy the dumplings and the Kraut, but now is enough. Christmas is over. I want to move.

Tomorrow is a real practice on the schedule and not just a bit stretching. Thursday is a good day, as I do primary on Thursdays. It's a soft start.

My trick in order to make it easy after the sofa days: I'll practice slowly, really slowly. That way I can be attentive.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The days in 2012 are counted.

6 more days and the year is over.

The time around Christmas is a yearly routine. Every year it's the same.
On the second day after Christmas I'll get the train to the north of Germany. E will pick me up at the station tomorrow, we'll have our last glow wine or tea downtown. The next day we'll go shopping. After Christmas the shops throw out all the stuff that is not yet sold. I cannot imagine that we won't buy scarves.

The weather report doesn't predict snow. On time before New Years Eve we'll be at home. By then my plans for 2013 should be written down.

This afternoon I was out for a walk. I made it till the castle, my camera was around my neck and I took some shots. Walking around warmed me, I even started sweating on my way home when I walked up the hill where my parents live.

Now I sit here, relaxed. Not much is to say.
Once I practiced primary.
It's not ideal here for me to practice. This is also not new. A short practice is better than no practice. This in mind I hope I step on the mat again. My body needs it. My mind, too.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

The parties chase each other. After the wedding 3 days ago, we have Christmas. My parents and E's mother were relieved when they learned that the routine will be the same like every year. I am with my parents and E will be with his mother and his brother.

Like every year we'll have Sauerkraut and potatoes with Ketchup here. My parents will have sausages with it. We'll have a glass of wine with it, a red one from South Africa. Beer would fit, too.
We have presents for each other. Quickly after the meal we'll remove the wrapping to satisfy our curiousity. This curiosity seems to be independant from age.

Then the 2 festive days follow with festive meals. Nobody will starve during the next days.

The days of the year 2012 are counted. I start making plans for the next year. But this is another post.

I wish you all a relaxed Christmas. Don't eat too much. (hahaha).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow is predicted for tomorrow


Today it's cold, too: minus 1° Celsius, but felt minus 8° Celsius. It's because of the wind.

Inside my rooms it's cosy. A hot bath is waiting for me.

A very effective way to get to know oneself is to do something. Actions tell the truth. I discover skills in me that seemed to be not existent. I'm not that bad at organizing, formulated very modestly.

My mind is empty. It's fine. I don't understand why some "spiritual" people think that's the goal and only this. I enjoy my upcoming thoughts. They entertain me. They deliver topics for this blog. Some thoughts lead to actions, even life-changing ones. Right now, the waves in my brain are calm. I'm relaxed and I wish to sleep well tonight.
To know the brain and to use it as a tool, is it. To realize that upcoming thoughts are not THE truth, but just thoughts, one view of the world and things, my view is enlightening. It makes flexible.





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The greatest enemy of women


It's housework. Chores.
They are a bottomless pit.

Currently I'm reading Alice Schwarzer's Lebenslauf (in German language available only). This book is a recommendation. It reveals sides of Alice that are not known in the public. It's a document of the Zeitgeist of the last decades. In addition she knows how to write. The book is full of anecdotes, that make me smile, even laugh. The story how Udo Jürgens was behind her alone is worth reading the book.

Yesterday night I read that in the beginning of the womens liberation movement, housework was a topic. (I remember, I remember). Till now it's the unpaid work women do, worldwide. Me, too. to be honest, it's my job 100%. I don't think that this work is that awful. When I clean I enjoy the work afterwards, because I can see a difference. Housework challenges me to get better in organizing basics of my life. I think everybody should be able to do these tasks. I love to cook my own food, to buy ingredients and to clean is simply part of it.

Nevertheless I see the danger of it. One can do chores up to 5 hours a day or even longer. I clean my windows twice a year, I know women who do it once a week. I want to limit these activities. What I see is that 2 hours are necessary every day with cooking or preparing simple meals.

But why is this the greatest enemy?
Time is limited. If a woman wants to be succesfull in a job she must neglect chores.

I have 2 time-consuming activities: Ashtanga yoga and chores. These are activites beside any jobs that could bring money.
To be conscious of this is a relief. I am happy with this balanced life. Yet I see, from time to time chores or yoga must be neglected to have more time for anyhting else that is worth doing.

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

This morning I was tired. My body was in embryo position. This made it more difficult to get up. Hahaha......
E. woke me up when he left the house. I felt not able to get up and enjoyed another hour in bed. What luxury. I'll practice at home!!!!!!!! This is a calling!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two days no asana practice


I'm so glad that I can go to a Mysore class tomorrow. I only have to get up early and I have to leave my home on time. Then the movie keeps going. Subway, walking to the shala, changing clothes, rolling out the mat, inhaling and the first surya namaskara initiates the practice.

A yogini once told me: I steal this time for the Mysore class.
Sometimes one must rob the time.

There are so many distractions and activities that need to be done. It's like weed. To focus also means to neglect or to omit other not so important activities. Not always this is doable or wished.

Sharat still gets up at 1am to practice. It is possible to practice daily.
I had my 2 days off and it's OK, because things got done and this relaxes me, too.

Tomorrow will be my last Mysore class for this year. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The eyes are open!


It's not a choice, but a rule in Ashtanga yoga.

I remember: years ago I went to a Jivamukti class. We did an exercise for the right side of the body. After having done it, we should close the eyes to feel the difference to the left side. Why not. This can really be an experience. Yet Ashtanga yoga is different.

Inside the body we engage the bandhas. We can feel this. It gives us stability when we practice.
But we don't close the eyes and see what's going on inside. We keep the eyes open. The correct dristi helps to practice the asanas correctly. An example: When I practice paschimottanasana and when I look towards (not "to" because this is often not possible) the toes, my back straightens comme il faut. Having the eyes closed seduces to round the back more than wished.

The eyes are open in Ashtanga yoga and there is a gazing point. This has a reason. The eyes remain stable, they don't move and this calms the mind. Thoughts disappear. Rapid eye movement and thoughts belong together. To calm the mind is wished when we practice yoga. It's relaxing when we don't worry about anything.

Applying dristi also gives the opportunity to learn not to be distracted all the time by whatever moves around us. I exercise to stay focused when I keep my eyes calm and when I stare at a gazing point. This gives my practice intensity.
Things get done when we are able to focus also off the mat.
Being able to concentrate allows us to learn what we want to learn.

In India students practiced yoga to improve their ability to concentrate when studying.

I just returned from a led class. It was so excellent. My vinyasas got to much better. I sweated. My body was so soft, so flexible. Not much resistance was felt. This is it what I want to do on a daily basis I thought. My mind was jumping up and down enthusiastically when I was on my way home. On the mat I don't think so much anymore. I breathe on the mat. I gaze at the given dristi, I engage the bandhas and practice the asanas/vinyasas. This is enough. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Let's talk about nails


This week I was at the manicure, the first time in my life. I always thought I can cut my nails by myself. Yet what I learned from this woman this week will change my grooming habits forever:

1. How to clean the nails? 
By now I used a nail file to remove the dirt under the nail. This is a no no. Why? It injures the nail bed. The skin moves back. The distance from the beginning of the nail till the white part gets shorter and shorter. This makes the fingers look shorter. It's considered as beautiful and elegant to have long fingers. With long nails one can make the fingers look longer optically. If one stops cleaning the nails so aggressively, skin and nail grow together again.
It's recommended to clean the nails with a special brush with soft hair. And let's face it, most people don't get so dirty nails on a daily basis, using a soft brush should be enough.

2. How to treat the nail skin around the nail? I remember a friend who cut this skin with a scissor. This had the effect that the skin was growing faster than ever.
I was recommended to push back the skin with a towel after showering or bathing. After showering the nails and the skin is soft and it's easy to remove the dead cells that way. This is so true and it's such a soft method.
To press not too hard and not too soft is important. On the sides one moves the towel forward.

After showering I stand in the bath tub now and do this little grooming of my nails. It doesn't last long and it has a visible effect.

3. Of course I got also creams and lotions and oils to treat my nails. Applying these oils makes a difference, too. I can see it. I got also white tea hand cream that I shall massage my hands with it till after the ankles of the hand. Even a hand mask for the night was recommended.

4. White spots on the nails. I have not many white spots on my nails, but few. "What do you think, what this is?" she asked. "It's said it's lack of some vitamins or minerals," I said. She: "The doctors still think and spread such stupidity." She looked at me and continued: "I see that you nourish well. The white spots mean that the nail dissolved from the nail bed."

5. "AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa." I screamed. It could be heard in all the business rooms. She treated not only my nail, but also my finger with the file. She:" You must say when I hurt you. For you it's physical pain and for me it's psychological pain. We want to avoid this." Hahaha.
She also showed me how to file alone every 10 days: One puts the finger on a table, one after the other. Then one can file easier than holding the finger in the air.

6. She sold me the file. Next time I shall bring it. She only uses a file for the same person. "You don't use the tooth brush of another person, do you? With the file it's the same. It's disgusting to use one file for all clients."
This might be a good business strategy, too. Nevertheless she convinced me: hygiene is important in the nail business.

In sum this woman was enthusiastic about my nails. 
1. I think I've good nails because I eat healthy.
2. I think I've beautiful hands because I practice Ashtanga yoga. My fingers are strong, I can stretch them.
3. I don't go under the sun anymore, so I don't have any spots on my skin either.
Despite all this, I can see the difference after the treatment.

7. One more thing: I googled about nails before I started writing. Many articles on nails are about colors and forms. Which color shall the nail polish have this year to be up to date? How to file the nails, round or pointed.

This was the difference to what I've learned from this experienced manicure woman. I learned how to clean and groom my nails in a healthy way. Fashion is of second importance.

8. And what about my feet? BTW, the nail cells under the skin below the nails are very soft there. Aggressive treatment disturbs them. When these bruised cells grow out they often form a mound on the nail. Right now I have this on one of my toes. I know now the reason. I removed the nail skin with an electric nail set. This must have been too aggressive for the baby cells. I consider to treat my toe nails the same way like my finger nails.

In every yogi and yogini  is a hand and foot fetishist, isn't it?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy happy birthday, Mr B.K.S. Iyengar. You rock.


Today is his 94th birthday. Happy happy birthday B.K.S. Iyengar. 


I admire his practice. He is a role model. Every day he is still practicing for hours. It is said that he did 108 drop backs on his 80th birthday. 


 He was one of the first yogis, if not the first to come to Europe, to England. What a luck for us all.




Thursday, December 13, 2012

The music was too loud


This morning I had difficulties to get out of the bed. At night I had taken an Aspirin already. It's a yearly ritual to accompany E to the Christmas party. I enjoy meeting the colleagues and the spouses and the interns. It's international, people come from all corners of the world. I could speak English. After the buffet there was the opportunity to dance. The music was too loud for us. The rhythm pleased more the people 3 decades younger than us. Hahaha. We sat in the other room, there it was fresh. The music was still too loud there for me, even though I had put tissue in my ears. It is said that loud music has the same effect like alcohol. So I felt this morning as if I had drunk too much which wasn't the case at all.
The cold shower was so refreshing and woke me up. The black coffee brought me to an almost normal state then. I need another one.


After 4 intensive practices in a row I'm glad that today is Thursday. Primary is on the schedule. Since I even exercise asanas of the third series I understand the asanas of primary better. The poses became easier, yet I can go deeper. Because the performance of the asanas got easier I can focus even more on the breath, dristi and the bandhas. Being able to apply these basic tools might be a choice when practicing primary, it's more and more necessary in order to being able to practice the more advanced poses to come. Knowing this makes primary interesting again.

Pictures: I took them on the way to the yoga shala. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Perseverance



My yoga practice was intensive yesterday, I felt my hips this morning. They were a bit sore. This is a good sign. Something moves.

This morning I went to a Mysore class. I was able to exercise (translates: I do what is possible) second series and the few asanas of third series, too. Only through the practice one learns which muscles to engage, where to shift the weight and and and.......

For the poses to come I do need perseverance. In the meantime I know the way: practicing, studying the poses, reading about it, learning from those who know how to do it and practicing again. Focus is on doing not on studying. After years one can see progress. Sometimes one leaps ahead. In my case it's difficult to make out daily success, but I know it comes when I do my homework.

It became hectic here in Munich. It reminds me of one of the purposes of yoga. It's staying relaxed no matter what's happening around. To observe al the energy in movement can be entertaining. In December Christmas is coming and this makes the people run around like wild ones. Busyness can be seen everywhere.

When I practice I forget everything. Only the next movement, the next breath enters my consciousness and what is around me.

Inhaling, pause, exhaling, pause, inhaling..........

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Third series is hard


However I turn it, it's hard. When I add the third series asana after second series I'm exhausted already. When I start third series after the standing sequence the body is not yet so flexible.

Yesterday night I watched YouTube videos. I saw how to enter into the pose on the pictures. It's Astavakrasana BTW. Sometimes to know how to get into an asana is what one has to know.

Getting into Astavakrasana has 4 steps:
1. Taking one leg behind the shoulder. The leg is bent.
2. Then one puts the ankle of the other leg on the ankle of the leg behind the shoulder.
3. Then one stretches the legs, hooked as they are
4. One moves forward, till the weight is on the hands.

I played today, I tried this pose and that and I found out: Patience is necessary if I want to learn all the poses of third series. The poses look easy, but not a single pose is easy. I have it hard, but I don't care, because I have perseverance.

I sweated. This was a sign that I put energy in my practice.
Taking pictures spoils a practice, but it also motivates. I don't know how long I practiced. The moment came when I had enough. The level was too high. I stretched and stretched and I got modest. These poses can only be mastered step by step. There is no shortcut for me, which is absolutely OK. Ashtanga yoga is also a mental exercise. To think, it's possible is the first mental step to master any asana.
This was it for today. It counts as a practice even though it had a lot of free style elements.


To live is time-consuming


Whatever I do, it is time-consuming.

My Ashtanga yoga-practice is time-consuming with minumum 2 hours every day, rather more.
Blogging is time-consuming, too. Cummuting to the shala is time-consuming.
The daily chores are time-consuming.
Reading a book from page first to the end is time-consuming.

If everything is time-consuming, the entire life is time-consuming. This made me laugh yesterday.

Time to step on my mat for my time-consuming practice, hahaha........
Today is my focus the third series.  

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mysore class


This morning I profited from the group. When I practice at home I'm more playful. I add asanas, I do more pre-exercises before the challenging ones like kapotasana and karandavasana. In a Mysore class I'm more concentrated. Breaks don't exist. I keep going. This intensifies the experience.

It was clear for me today that I wanted to do second series, nothing more. On Wednesday I can practice third series asanas again, or tomorrow, when I'll practice at home. I didn't like to exaggerate today.

This is such a luxury that we've now in Munich: 3 times a week a Mysore class and once a led class. We're led through the entire primary and not only till navasana, the boat pose. I'm very thankful for this.
The week is perfect when I practice in addition Tuesday and Thursday on my own.

It's cold here now in Germany. Our shala is very warm. It's so good. I sweated a lot today. The body was so soft at the end. Today I felt that I've progressed within the last 2 years.


The mental effects of the asanas practice are often underestimated.
1. Dristi is important. It teaches us to focus on the outside, too. Laser-like we focus on a gazing point that makes sense for an asana. In life we can also focus on something that makes sense for us.
2. To engage the bandhas is the inner work, we're strong from the inside, too.
3. We stay calm and keep the breath even when it gets tough, when we feel the discomfort when we've reached our limits when practicing asanas. Attention is now important, not avoidance. This enlarges our experiences. Focusing on an even breath is a technique to stay calm.
Having an even breath when it gets tough, having an even breath when something is easy teaches us finally peace of mind.

I wish you: Peace of mind

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday - led class


I had forgotten how slowly a led class can be. A led primary was exactly what I needed this evening. It was fantastic.

Ashtanga yoga makes modest in a positive was. Our limits are shown to us during this practice. It's sort of feed-back. One will probably never be able to say: I know how to do it, it's a piece of cake. The practice gets easier, yet it remains a challenge.

After the class a snow storm blew through the streets. A few houses further E waited for me in a restaurant. Soon we changed the place and had an Indian dinner. I feel very well fed now, hahaha. Soon I'll go to bed to be fit for second series tomorrow. My yoga practice is my axis. Mostly it supports me. When too much is to do, it must be tamed this time-consuming practice. One cannot predict the future, nevertheless it can be that the next week will be an intensive yoga week. Wow, how good. I need it.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

A life like a yoga practice


It's difficult to describe a yoga practice with a few words.
Each practice consists of so many different parts:
- There is the beginning. To start must be mastered first before the show can begin. Sometimes it's easy to start, sometimes it seems impossible to schlepp the body to the mat.
- Everybody has asanas that are easy to perform, others might be a challenge. Feelings vary from being frustrated till being proud and satisfied.
- At the end comes the relaxation pose. To be able to relax is a skill. It can be exercised.
The goal is to focus on the breath. The breath is the master of the mind, B.K.S. Iyengar once said. With an even breath we calm the mind. It's  recommended to observe. With the next breath, with the next movement the situation is new again.

For me life is like a yoga practice. One asana follows after the other. Some are easy to master, some not. Feelings change fast during the course of a day. Also the energy level changes. I observe and focus on the breath.

I got up at 6am. I woke up before the alarm clock could wake me up. First I turn on the heater these winter days. It's so cold here in Germany. Our flat is rather warm what I appreciate. Nevertheless during the night the temperature drops. My second cup of coffee is next to me. It warms me from inside. I stare holes in the air. I remind myself: things happen. Nothing must be done, nothing can be done. It's all a happening.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Stuff....


The picture shows a shop at the Tollwood, the other Christmas market. Friday night is not the best day to stroll around there. Too many people have the same idea. It was crowded. Finally we found a little space in the tent with life music. They played Austrian songs. We moved our body to the rhythm of the music and took care that nobody stepped on our feet. After a few songs the music band took a break and the crowd left the tent. So did we.

A glow wine in an other tent warmed us.

It has minus degrees here. I wear boots and a cap, too.

Tomorrow is a new day. I go to bed to be well-rested tomorrow. When well-rested everything is more fun.


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Primary done.



I was so sure that the appointment was at 12 o'clock. Short after 11am I stood fully dressed in front of my door, ready to leave the house. Then the phone rang and I picked it up. I was told that the appointment should have been at 11am. Oh. This was obviously a misunderstanding. The woman on the phone was so professional. She was not a bit angry, but polite and she moved the appointment without an unfriendly comment. Now I get my nails done next Thursday. The first time. I always had the opinion that Ican cut my nails myself. Hahaha...but why not trying out something new from time to time.

As soon as the reciever was in the cradle,I undressed and dressed again. This time I put on my yoga clothes. Thursday, this means primary is on the schedule.

It was a good practice. All poses were possible, also this legs behind head pose supta kurmasana. The vinyasas were not better, not worse as usual. Stillstand. Not a single asana was added. It was so good to practice.

I'm sipping coffee.
I'm listening to music. I'm dancing.

Tralali tralala....

What!!!! Almost 3pm already. I must dress. I must be downtown at 4pm.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Napping, savasana or bathing?


Behind the yoga practice stands the hidden goal to learn to relax: the mind and the body. We practice to stay relaxed on the mat. With time we learn to have a relaxed attitude also off the mat.

In the course of a day I realize that I need time to relax. I remember the times when I worked  in offices. When people needed a couple of minutes off they ran to the coffee kitchen to kill the fatigue with caffeine. Some ran to the front of the door to have a cigarette. These are the allowed "relaxation" techniques in the corporate world. Never ever close the eyes for a nap. One could think you come tired to work and you sleep there.

Napping: Having 8 hours of sleep is OK I think. Some need more, some less. Eight hours of sleep within 24 hours seems to be an average time of sleep that human beings need. If one can sleep 7 hours at night and 1 hour in the afternoon it's great. Sometimes 30 min of sleeping in the afternoon is even enough for me. Afterwards I wake up and I'm ready for the next actions.

Savasana: Savasana is a technique that we learn after the asana practice. Sometimes when I want to relax in the middle of the day, the mind is still active and it is difficult to fall asleep, then savasana comes into play. I lie on the back, covered with a blanket and scan the body: Little toes relaxes, the toes next to the little toes relaxes. The more precise one scans the body the more relaxed it becomes. This exercise focus the mind and distracts from daily issues, so that this exercise is relaxing for the mind, too. I set the timer for 25 min usually.

Bathing: If napping and savasana are not possible, I bath. I wash my hair in the bath tub, scrub my feet. A bathing oil might spread some fragrance that might bewitch the senses.

The asana practices teaches me to relax. The body is in a challenging asana. My task is to keep the breath even and deep. This is the technique that teaches to face challenges in life, too with a relaxed attitude.

My yoga practice made me conscious on relaxation. Of course I know the unhealthy techniques, too. Too much food, alcoholic beverages, watching TV are such techniques.

Being able to relax is a skill that can be learned. The more often one practices, the better one becomes.

It's good to have a choice.

What is your favourite relaxation technique?
Your comments are welcomed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Above the roofs of Munich


Sleep is a good invention. This doesn't mean that I slept well tonight. Not at all. Even a lousy sleep relaxes and often the next day the world looks totally differently. I feel full of energy again and I'm ready to work on the first item on my to do list.

Breaking down any tasks, projects, practices to tiny steps is a method that one cannot become consciously often enough.

I'm up. E just left the home. The bed is made, I had a shower and breakfast already. This means my morning routine is in full swing.

Hahaha, 25 min are over and I've written a few sentences only. My alarm clock woke me up. Thoughts wander around untamed.
Focus!

Shall this be enough. To set an end is as important as to set a beginning.

Picture: Above the roofs of Munich.

Monday, December 03, 2012

It will be a home practice


7:00 am: I have a plan. Yes, yes. Today I want to work on.............

15:23, after lunch: And now???? A stomach filled with broccoli doesn't like to twist. Practicing back bending is also not such a joy with a full stomach. This vegetable is easy to digest. I shall wait. I had a good practice yesterday and if I shall have a day off from yoga, it's not the end of the world.

The mornings are dark already these days. One gets the feeling as if one gets up in the middle of the night. At 6am I want to get up, often it's 7am.

Back to the plan: I want to focus on third series during the week when I practice at home. Why not. I can repeat the asanas, I can do pre-exercises. I'm not at all worried if my practice lasts 90 min only instead of over 2 hours.

Time to rest for 30 min. I feel, I need it.
Things get done, when I don't practice. This can be so relaxing.......:)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Second series


I started at 14:45 and at 17:00 I was through second Ashtanga series. This was more than 2 hours of practice without a break, but including the 10 min relaxation at the end. At 15:45 I thought of the yoginis whose led class started at this moment. I felt connected and it helped me to go on with second series. Everything was done. I even added back bending asanas to make kapotasana easier.

This practice is time-consuming. I realize it again and again. Pranayama, meditation, showering is missing and I practiced already more than 2 hours. Writing this post requires also about 25 min. I shake my head. I don't want to give it up. Hahaha......

The book by Tim Ferris is in my mind, especially the question "how to learn". It's not that I want to learn super fast. The feeling of stagnation doesn't please me either. It becomes clear for me that if an asana or vinyasa is difficult I won't progress if I practice it once during one of the series just to see how it is on that day. Less than 1 min spent on an asana that is difficult, perhaps 3 times a week is not enough. Difficult asanas need repetition, they might develop faster if held longer. It might also help to do some exercises beside the regular practice.

I was not in the mood to go out today. Saving the commuting time to the shala is a bit like winning 1 hour.

It's time to cook something for us. The ingredients for an Indian lentil soup are at home. I'll make it spicy. My practice made me hungry.

PS: If you don't have a kindle yet. It's such a nice present also for yourself. Buy it. It saves money and space. It's worth the flees.
Thank you for buying your Christmas presents via my blog. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Saturday.....


Yesterday I enjoyed the luxury not to have to do anything, not even yoga. It's always amazing how much gets done when I don't practice. As long as I practice 3 times a week my world is still OK. Nothing is to worrying about then.

One of my goals of the year 2012 has been to learn the moon sequence by M. Sweeney. This is what I could imagine for today. I love to know asana sequences that are challenging, I also love to know asanas sequences that are not so challenging for the days when the energy level is not so high.

Me too I'm reading Tim Ferris book "The 4-hour chef". (Thank you for buying it via my blog.) I'm not that fast to finish this brick. I love the question that stands behind the book: How to learn anything fast.

First insight: The method is more important than the recipes.
I try to apply this insight to Ashtanga yoga and I agree. The correct breathing, dristi, engaging the bandhas is more important than to learn the 70th asana. The method allows to do the asanas much better and easier than if someone doesn't apply the method. Balancing without engaging the bandhas is so much more difficult to give one example.

Second insight: A few tools are needed, no matter if you cook or what ever one wants to learn.
Most cooking tools that are mentioned I have. I think he forgot to mention a rice cooker, one of my favorite kitchen tools. I bought a grater for ginger that he recommended.
For Ashtanga yoga I think it's necessary to have the best mat. On the picture is my travel mat, it's lighter as my regular one and therefore also useful. Nevertheless this mat doesn't stay flat on the floor. This makes a practice, especially the vinyasas more than difficult.
Ashtanga yoga is without props. Nevertheless in order to improve fast, some props might help. I'm not willing to buy a back bending bridge for about 700 USD. No. Some more blocks could also help to bend backwards passively.

Third insight: How to get going? How to accomplish anything? Insights are only one part. Practice is important no matter what one wants to learn. To set reasonable goals and deadlines are important. To focus on the 20% important things makes progress fast.

Tim is not vegan. Nevertheless I learn a lot about cooking, too. I have a collection of cooking books here. Hundreds of cooking books to be honest and often the recipes are useless, because there are too many ingredients. Sometimes the preparation needs hours. I don't have so much time. Also vegan cooking book writers make the mistake that they ignore the season. Broccoli and asparagus don't fit together. Broccoli is a winter vegetable, asparagus is available in spring. Many recipes in cooking books are never tested. One must learn to cook and not to follow recipes.

Buying and eating vegetables and fruit of the season has advantages: it's cheaper and tastes better.

Here is my list what to eat in winter:
Fruit:
Apples, pears, mandarins, kiwi, avocado all citrus fruit, banana, pineapple, pomegranate, khaki, grapefruit.
Vegetables:
Cauliflower, broccoli. Brussels sprouts, carrots, chicory, red beet, sunchoke, field salad. fennel , black salsify, pumpkin.
The list is not complete. Ask your fruit and vegetable dealer for more ideas.

If you don't have a kindle, you can buy it via my blog. Here. They developed it in the last year. I link my book recommendations to the kindle download these days. A kindle was the best buy of last year. Most books are cheaper. When I travel, I have my library in my handbag. It saves space. It saves time. In a minute I have the book on my kindle, I don't have to pick it up at a post office station.
Thank you for buying it via my blog. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ashtanga yoga as it was

I reread an article by Nancy Gilgoff. She was one of the first who practiced with P. Jois. The series were taught a bit differently than today. As they were with less vinyasas it's not so exhausting. It can make sense to practice that way. I realize that when I've practiced even primary with all the vinyasas also between sides, I'm often done after one series and I feel too exhausted to learn new asanas.

My plan for today is to practice primary like Nancy described it in the article. 
This might allow me to exercise some of the third series asanas, because I'm still fit at the end.

Here is the full article by Nancy Gilgoff (link to her page is above):

Ashtanga Yoga As It Was
(The Long and Short of It)

The following is the way in which Guruji taught me, Nancy Gilgoff, the Primary and Intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga during my first trip to Mysore, in 1973. David Williams and I stayed for four months that trip, and had two classes per day (excluding Saturdays and Moon days).

In the first class, I was taught to do five Surya Namaskara A, plus the three finishing postures - Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana. The second class, later that day, was five Surya Namaskara A and five Surya Namaskara B, plus the three finishing. In the next class, Guruji told me to only do three each of Surya Namaskara A and B, and to keep it that way in my practice, and then began adding on at least two postures per class, always with the three finishing at the end.

Guruji taught me the standing postures through Parsvottanasana, with no Parivritta Trikonasana or Parivritta Parsvakonasana. After Parsvottanasana he had me jump through to Dandasana.

In the seated postures, there were a minimal number of vinyasas. There were no vinyasas between sides. Moreover, there were no vinyasas between variations - so all of Janu Sirsasana A, B, and C were done together (right side, left side of A, right, left of B, right, left of C), then a vinyasa before Marichyasana. Then all of the Marichyasana variations, A, B, C, and D, were done together, without vinyasas between sides or variations; then a vinyasa before three Navasana. Baddha Konasana, Upavishta Konasana, and Supta Konasana were also grouped together without vinyasas between them. Ubhaya Padangusthasana and Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana were also done together, with no vinyasa between - we were taught to simply change the hand position after Ubhaya Padangusthasana and go right into Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana.

After Setu Bandhasana, Guruji added in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana - but to be put in the series back in the standing sequence, after Parsvottanasana. (Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana were not in the series at this point, nor were Parivritta Trikonasana or Parivritta Parsvakonasana, all of which were added in later.

Once Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana were taught and added into their place in the standing sequence, after Setu Bandhasana, Intermediate began immediately with Pashasana. In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day. While we had been with him in Mysore, we had learned both Primary and Intermediate series in the first two months. He had us practice both series, together, in entirety, twice a day.

Intermediate Series also contained fewer vinyasas back then. There were no vinyasas between sides (in Krounchasana, Bharadvajasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Eka Pada Sirsasana, Parighasana, and Gomukhasana). From Shalabhasana through Parsva Dhanurasana, the asanas were done in a group, with a vinyasa only at the end. Ushtrasana through Kapotasana also were done all together, with a vinyasa only after Kapotasana. The same went for Eka Pada Sirsasana through Yoganidrasana - there were no vinyasas until the Chakrasana after Yoganidrasana.

The Intermediate series, as Guruji taught it to us during that first trip, included Vrishchikasana after Karandavasana. We were taught to hold Pincha Mayurasana for five breaths, bring the legs into lotus and lower down into Karandavasana, hold five breaths, inhale up, and then exhale right into Vrishchikasana for five breaths. The series ended with Gomukhasana. David asked for more, and so, per his request, Guruji added Supta Urdhva Pada Vajrasana as well as the seven headstands - Baddha Hasta Sirsasana A, B, C, and D were taught first, with Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A, B, and C following. Guruji said these were from Fourth Series.

Backbends from both the floor (Urdhva Dhanurasana) and standing ("drop-backs") were taught after Intermediate Series, as was the rest of the finishing sequence (Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana, Urdhva Padmasana, Pindasana, Matsyasana, Uttana Padasana, and Sirsasana). Up until this point, we had just been doing Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, and Tolasana at the end of our practice.

Guruji taught us Pranayama after we had learned the entire Intermediate Series (at the end of our third month in Mysore, about a month after learning all of Intermediate).

I think it was when Guruji came to teach on Maui in 1980 (in Paia) that he added in so many vinyasas, while teaching led classes. When I asked him whether or not to do them in my own practice, as I had been practicing without Ð as he had taught me, he told me to add in the vinyasas to build my strength. By that trip in 1980 there was still no Parivritta Trikonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana, Utkatasana, or Virabhadrasana in the practice. (During another, later trip to the States, Guruji added in Parivritta Trikonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana. The next time he came back to Maui to teach, he saw us doing Parivritta Parsvakonasana, asked why we were doing it, and said that this was "crazy posture" and that we should take it out. But the whole Maui crew loved it so much that he said we could leave it in. (Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana were perhaps added in at some point in the late 1980's.)

Originally there were five series: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B, and the fifth was the "rishi" series.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I overslept


I overslept. At 8am I woke up, the alarm clock did its best at 6am. Have I switched it off? I cannot remember anymore.

It's a mental exercise to find good points: 
- jet lag is over. This is sure now, hahaha....
- no commuting to the shala
- I can practiced at home, it allows me to add some asanas
- finally it's luxury to be so flexible, not to have apologize for sleeping a bit longer.

It is as it is: My life motto: make the best out of it. The washing machine is running. 25 min chores are done. Tonight I'll probably be satisfied with the things that I could accomplish.

Yoga: Second series is on the schedule. I add hanumanasana. This pose shall improve. I set a deadline. By next April I want to be able to do forward split and side split. Good to have a plan.

The word deadline doesn't really fit. For me a dead line is not a line and after that line or date the goal has died or I give up. The word reflection line would be better. It the date to look back. What went well, what not? What can be done better?

Time to move on.







Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday evening....


It's always good when things get done.
My to-do list got shorter. I ran around the last 2 days.

Christmas shopping has started, it's crowded downtown. Most people are dressed dark. This is so when it's winter.

I feel stiff. What a luxury that I can go to a Mysore class tomorrow. My minimum goal is to practice 3 times a week. This shall be doable also this week. I feel relaxed. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I need this one day off


It's not because the body needs a day off from yoga, one needs a day off to get other things done. There is a life off the mat, too. Saturday is my yoga free day. Now is Sunday morning. Morning? It's 9:20am already. I went to bed after midnight. Photography absorbed me.

I sit here, still a bit tired, hahaha, jet lag is gone. Second cup of coffee is next to me.

Again and again I discover the power of focus. It can be even good to pick one asana that I want to improve and to work on that one single asana, whenever I think of it. Three asanas might be already too much. The splits could be a focus. They help to perform backbending and forward bending, too. Wanting too much often means not to accomplish anything at all.

Right now I try to squeeze my brain like a citron and no juice is coming out. Brain cells are empty. I never understood why some spiritual seekers love not to think at all, never. To enjoy silence from time to time is very relaxing. Not to worry has the same effect. Yet the nature of our brain cells is to think, to produce thougths, pictures and it's very entertaining. I don't want to miss this.

Deadline of hanumanasana and sanumasana: end of April, my birthday. What a glorious idea.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Goals


I labeled my posts on goals that I had written in the beginning of the year: goals 2012, I read and I tried to remember what exactly I had written. I couldn't remember anymore, I could only guess. This is in my view one of the main mistakes with setting goals. One writes them down and then one forgets about it. It's indeed good advice to  remember oneself on a daily basis. In one of the business books that I have, I read: "Write down your goals daily with a smile." To be reminded daily means that one can adjust the goals if necessary. And it's more likely that one does the necessary steps to accomplish this goal.

I opened the 2 posts: 

1. In one I wrote that I wanted to learn the moon series by M. Sweeney for the days when I'm low in energy. It's not yet too late to learn it by heart.
2. Another goal related to my weight. Here I think it's more important to stick to a healthy vegan diet, than to focus on the weight. I got so much better here.

And there were the goals regarding the practice:
1. I wanted to keep up a daily practice. Done.
2. What I wrote about the asanas was too long and too much. To focus on back bending and hanumanasana and jumping through is more than enough.


On my practice today:
Today M worked with me on back bending. It got worse, I experience indeed a setback. Doing it, deepening the breath, staying optimistic comes into my mind.

I went to my limits today. After viswamitrasana I had enough and did urdhva dhanurasana and the closing sequence.

Today I worked on a main goal, for sure: back bending. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Focus


I remember how effective focus is. Having too much on the plate can be overwhelming and in consequence it's more likely that nothing gets done.

Re my yoga practice, I'll focus on back bending till the end of the year.

Kapotasana frustrated me so often. I found out that I need more preparation. I know a lot of back bending poses and I add them before this big asana. This allows me finally to get deeper into kapotasana.

Also hanumanasna helps to stretch the front side of the body.
I try to enlarge the flexibilty of the shoulders: I hold a strap in my hands and with straight arms I bring my arms behind the back.
Pigeon pose helps, too. Pictures of the asanas that I do as preparation will follow.

All the extra poses make the body get used to back bending. Each time it gets easier.

Today primary is on the schedule, a home practice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Third series


It has been some time that I've practiced third series asanas.
I know that if I try to practice them at the end of second series I'm likely not to practice them, at least not when I'm alone at home.
Back bending must be practiced, too. To do only third series was not an alternative. The third series poses (most of them) fit after yoga nidrasana. This was, what I did yesterday and it was hard enough.

Today I feel my hips. It was very intensive to do them again after a break. Especially durvasana was difficult. The group will help me today to add the asanas at the end. If I'm done after the headstands I stop.

I'm again so motivated. One practice is over and I'm looking forward to the next one. What is possible with me, I wonder. What am I able to do today.

I repeat myself, but nothing supports my practice more than a healthy vegan diet and water as main beverage.

Picture: Chakorasana can be seen. To apply the basics helps: Hands firmly on the floor, bandhas engaged, focus is the breath.

PS: Don't forget to order your amazon products via my blog. Links are on the right side of this blog. Thank you so much. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Playful and very motivated.


I was so motivated this morning to work on back bending. What ever I do in this direction is welcomed. The pose on the first picture might help if held long enough, so that the body can sink deeper. It can stretch the front side of the hips.


Also this pose is more challenging as it looks at  first sight. I saw this pose a hundred times, but when I tried it I didn't know in which direction I should look. It's forward not backward. I checked it afterwards. Next time.


This was my kapotasana today after all these additional back bending exercises. I should be able to close the gap between fingers and toes in the next year. This pose needs more attention than I give it by now. There is still potential.

After yoga nidrasana I added the asanas of the third series. I even tried new ones only to find out that I've enough on my plate. More would be too much. What comes isn't easy, but challenging. 

Flow and my new hair-do.


I have a new hair-do during my Ashtanga yoga practice. Flow is a keyword in our practice. The flow can be interrupted due to several things:
1.  Being exhausted and needing a break
2. It's not Ashanga typical, but we use blocks from time to time as a support. To use them interrupts the flow.
3. Being distracted, because concentration is difficult in general or on that day.

4. Another main reason why I interrupted my flow was my hair-do. I bound it on the back of my head. When an asana required  to lie on the back or to do chakorasana to get out of the pose, I had to open my hair. Then I bound it again. This usually happened several times during a practice. I didn't like it, but was attached to my knot on the back of my head. The new yoga season has started and with this I changed my style. With the braids I don't have to adjust my hair a single time during a practice. This is great. I'm very likely to stick to it.

With this simple change I've improved  my flow a lot. :) Sometimes it's easy to leap ahead.

Blog list:
Ashtangi.net doesn't exist anymore. I admit I read only few blogs. Lack of time is surely one reason. One must make decisions and focus. I prefer to write. Nevertheless I find it good that the Ashtanga yoginis form such a great community who love to exchange tips, experiences. On the right side of my blog I created a blog list.
My criteria for adding you:
- Your blog shall be updated frequently.
- Topic is Ashtanga yoga. Mainly.
- It's not necessary to have the same view on things like me. I enjoy the energy that is created due to differences.

If you like your blog on the list, let me know. Thanks.




Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Do A Scorpion


I love these youngsters. :)

How good.....


....I slept till 5:30. This is wonderful. And I feared already that jet lag would never disappear. To be in rhythm with day and night feels so good.

Robyn left an interesting comment on back bending on my last post. In sum: some can do it, others have difficulties with it. I belong to the last group. I'm in peace with it. I exercise it. The path is as important as the goal. That I exercise it allowed me to progress. Slowly I progress, but I do. My age plays a role here, too.
What I do when I practice I try to reach my limits and I try to push them a bit. Sometimes I'm close to that goal, sometimes far away. That's how the ride is.
I only regret that I haven't started earlier with second series and back bending. May I let go of this thought. It's not helpful.

I'm so happy that I'm able to do this Ashtanga yoga practice. And I even progress. How long will I be able to progress and when comes the turning point? When comes the time where I practice just to keep the status quo? I think till the age of 70 I can progress if I take my daily magnesium. Lol. Optimistic I am, so it is.

So thankful that my yoga teacher has not the concept that he must stop me at kapotasana only because I'm not able to do it. So thankful.

I've seen wonderful videos of yogis and yoginis at the age of 90 with a lively practice. Legs behind head - no problem. Mayurasana - no problem.

Finally what also counts is:
How is my concentration?
How is my breath?
Do I practice daily?
Am I attentive?

I'm ready for the day. It will start with a Mysore class. I shall see at the end if energy is there for the third series asanas. I shall see........

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Classic rock.


Another possible title that came into my mind was: my stiffness. 

This shall be a back bending? This is nothing. Ambitious as I was this morning I wanted to do some more back bending asanas as this is my weak point. Kapotasana shall improve. I added raja kapotasana. I know the head shall touch the feet one day, or the other way round. Right now I doubt that this will happen one day, but this thought needn't to be thought. Hello and good-bye. To practice is my focus not to think.
I'm not sure if raja kapotasana will help me to improve kapotasana. I see it so: important is to back bend whatever it is.

I lied on the floor on my back and looked at the ceiling. Procrastination. After a while I did urdhva dhanurasana. I even dropped back. Once.

My yoga practice has started this week with a classic rock: second series. It's good to sandwich the yoga week with second series in the beginning and primary in the end. It's a guide through the week.

It has been so good  to practice this morning. As always. My yoga place is wonderful. I'm prepared for the Mysore class tomorrow. Mission accomplished. 

Now!


A few days back I ironed. The vacation laundry had arrived the last step before I could put it back into the wardrobe. Ironing doesn't need all my attention, so I switched on the TV to listen to the latest news. Conflicts and troubles are everywhere, I wanted to be informed what's going on on this globe. I switched the channels, CNN and n-tv come really late. I got stuck at "Frauentausch". It's a reality soap where 2 women live in the home of the other one for 10 days.

The one woman was very diligent and cleaned the entire day. While the other woman couldn't pick up herself to do much. Her husband wasn't able to do anything. He slept and hang around. The baby got pizza, because no food was at home.

Why do I write this?
I think it's a good question if someone does something very good to find out how she is doing it.

What was the diligent woman doing or thinking that allowed her to be so diligent?
What motivated her?

She had a mantra: NOW. 
In German we've 2 words for "now": "gleich" and "jetzt". Both means now, yet gleich allows a tiny bit of procrastination. "Jetzt" means everything else must be stopped and the task must be performed.
Perhaps one can translate "gleich" with "in a moment" and "jetzt" with "now" or "at once".
If you listen to the sound of the words you realize already from the sound alone that "jetzt" doesn't allow any discussion. It's short, to the point, the sound is almost aggressive.

When the husband returned from work, the woman told him: "Go have a shower."
He undressed and put his pullover on the washing machine.
She saw this and insulted him: "Put it in the laundry basket."
He: "Gleich (in a moment)."
She: "No, sofort (at once)."

This was her mantra: Now, at once.
I heard it all the time. Now, now, now.
With this thinking pattern she accomplished a lot. Perhaps I may say that this woman was rather a simple woman with not so a high education. It's not necessary to have a university degree to accomplish things.

Now is a formula. Everybody can use. One can think it or one can say it aloud. It works.

Of course there are other ways to motivate oneself. I know several tools. It was so nice to see how effective this one single tool worked for this woman. Now, she repeated, now.

Rules: Interesting also was that after 5 days the women were allowed to change the rules in the family. It made me laugh to see the reluctance of the family members. Not only for 5 days they liked to change the rules. The grandpa of the one family was cooperative. The others were not able to change anything in their behaviour.

Now.
NOW.
I step on the mat for second series.




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Travel tips - part 3


1. Leave at home your imagination how everything has to be. Don't expect anything. Concepts - throw them out of your mind for a while. Don't judge. Use your senses to experience the world: smell, see, hear, feel, taste. Write down what you experience.
(A few days back I met a friend. He had traveled to India and he has been disappointed. He expected that all the fantastic art treasures of India were renovated. And he found so many of the beautiful buildings in a bad state. "I had too many expectations", he told me. The comparing what he was thinking with reality formed his opinion. Another approach could have made the trip to a real great adventure and not to a disappointment.)

When at home you can complain and judge, if you think it's necessary. During the trip be in awe. Make the best out of the given situation. Be entertained.

2. Talk to people. If possible meet locals. During the last US trip we met friends we've seen 12 years back. This is fun. It can be part of your preparation to find places where you meet like-minded people to talk to: a yoga shala perhaps? Hahaha......I also talk to people at the reception in the hotel. When I stand in line to buy a cup of tea, I talk to the people in line. Quickly people realize that I've an accent and a conversation starts more often than not. Ask for directions in the street. When you're in a bar, talk. I even talk to people in the elevator. That way I improve my English. Sometimes we get tips what to see. And you learn a lot more about the country.
PS: Learn one foreign language. We view the world differently in another language. Words in another country mean often different things.

3. Smile. Smile. Smile. A smile opens doors. It's good for your own soul, too. One cannot know all the rules of another country. It's easy to misbehave in a foreign country. People forgive you easily, if you smile. Being friendly makes the communication in most cases easier.

For me there are two journeys, the journey within and the journey into the world. Get to know the world, get to know yourself. Both journeys are interwoven with each other.

My trips to so many places on this globe made me rich.

Travel and see yourself. 

The end. 

Picture: It's taken at the amusement park at Mission Bay. I cannot other but smile. It deeply satisfies me that I've been there.





Friday, November 16, 2012

A healthy diet




Nothing supports a yoga practice more than a healthy vegan diet. Since I'm back from the US I love to cook again. Despite huge portions I rather lose weight. The kilos on the weight are not the only reasons for a good practice. The joints feel like oiled when I drink and eat properly.

I had 2 excellent practices in a row since I'm back. Once I practiced primary and once second series. Today is Friday and I'll practice primary again.

New is that I feel more and more attracted to the more subtle yoga practices after my asana practice: pranayama and meditation. The interest comes and go. Perhaps I stick to it for a while, perhaps I'm ready now for these practices. It felt good to do it. Of course this makes my practice again longer. What I realize is and it shocks me, I'm almost a full time yogini. My day yesterday reminded me of the life of Krichnamacharys's daughters. In the morning they did asana practice, then they relaxed and in the afternoon they did pranayama and meditation. The difference: I love to have a shower after my asana practice, but then I did pranayama for about 10 minutes and I sat for 10 minutes. K's daughter probably had a chef while I have to prepare my meals by myself.
At 2pm I was ready to work on my projects.

Jet lag update: Yesterday I didn't nap. At midnight I had ravenous appetite and I gave in: An apple with soy yogurt, nuts and raisin should calm my stomach. After midnight I was in bed and at 4:30am I woke up. This is about 4 hours of sleep. Jet lag disappear, you devil. I have enough now. It's so much better already, I shall not complain. Yesterday was my best day.

Plans for my practice today: 
Vinyasas  shall get extra attention.
I will hold those asanas that need improvement longer and I'll even repeat them.
To add hanumanasana became a habit when I practice at home
Back bending got lousy. What can  do here? Repetition comes into my mind. That's it.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

My travel tips - part 2


Have comfortable clothes in your suitcase for the time you spend in the hotel. One cannot walk around all the time. When we've vacation we also relax. To run from one sightseeing to the next is not our way to travel. So there is always time to stay at the hotel. Sometimes they are cleaner sometimes not. In order to feel comfortable I have warm clothes with me that allow me to do lotus pose. To sit on the bed with street clothes is not what I do. Also when you're out a lot, there is always time in the hotel.

Be organized also in the hotel. Don't be a messy only because you travel, because during travel time these hotel rooms are your home.
- I put back my cosmetics and tooth brush in the morning, so that the room mate can clean easily the bath room.
- I usually don't unpack my suitcase. A few clothes I might put on a hanger, this can be the coat or an elegant dress for a nice evening. The rest remains in the suitcase. In the meantime every item has a place and I find blindly what I'm looking for. The wardrobes in hotels smell awfully most of the time, I don't want to put my clothes there.
- Of course I put off my shoes when I enter the room.
- It can be good to have flip flops in the suitcase for such cases that the floor is not inviting to walk barefoot.
- When leaving the room, I put my PC back in the bag, too. This I do also for safety reasons.

Hahaha, when we were in Brazil the lady who cleaned the room wanted to say good-bye to us because we were the cleanest and best organized people she has ever seen in the hotel. This astonished me. I think she exaggerated a bit. I felt a bit embarrassed about her enthusiasm about our hotel behaviour.



The following tip rather belongs to my last post: Order vegan food in the plane when you buy the ticket. It's so much better than all the other food. At least you've some fruits during the flight because the dessert mainly consists of fruit.
Our observance during the last years is that the food that is offered in airports got better, the food on the plane worse. If you can afford it eat in the airport. It's healthier. 


Most people take pictures during vacation. If you're not yet in the habit to write a journal, do it on vacation. It's so unique to travel and who knows how long this will be possible that we can travel as we do it now. It might become too expensive one day due to the limited resources. One forgets so quickly. To keep a journal during vacation sharpens the senses and doubles the fun.