Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I wish it were easier......

Right now I wish it (= the new pose called vasisthasana) were easier, but it isn't.
I had to try it today, of course. To bring the one foot up to the hand is the challenge.
In order to stay optimistic I practiced after a while the pose without lifting the one leg. It's still a balancing pose, but so much easier. It will take some months till it's a joy to lift up the leg. It seems doable.

It was not so my day today. I practiced the sun salutation, the standing sequence and some asanas. This is sometimes so. It goes either up or down, always, I know this already. Sometimes energy is slow and heavy. It doesn't shatter me. I observe and wait for tomorrow. Lol.

Tomorrow I'll go to a Mysore class again. We start at 8am now on Wednesdays. I'll be very early in bed today. 

Third series?!

I knew that he would start teaching me third series this year. That it would be so early in 2012 surprised me.

Yesterday M showed me vasisthasana, the first asana of the third series. :)
First he wanted to show me the next two asanas. lol. No matter what asana it is, I start very stiff and perhpas even akwardly. So he must have thought, one new asana is enough when he saw me performing it because after having seen me and I also repeated it he said: Enough. And it is enough. Something new is on my plate, I love it. It's a balancing pose that requires a lot of strength. and flexibility, too.

I searched the internet yesterday and I found some additional tips how to do it: hands need to be very firm on the floor. The derrière is supposed to be engaged so that the hips don't move backward when lifting the leg to grasp the big toe.
Laruga has published a video to vasisthasana. Yeah, as always this is inspiring to see how she is doing it. For me it's absolutely OK to lift the leg bended and to stretch it when I hold the big toe. This is the easier version to get into the pose.

Today a home practice is on the schedule. The heater is on already. It has minus degrees outside. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


A pictures says more than thousand words. It was a lovely evening in a Thai restaurant with my E. 

Up, but tired

Yes, tired, but from today on I'll go to bed on time again: 10pm. It was boring this time this program: "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here", so boring.

My week starts with speed: 
- Second series in the morning in a Mysore class.
- In the afternoon I want to see the movie on yoga.
- In the evening I'll meet E downtown.

It's cold here now, they talk even about Siberian weather.

Oh, I must hurry........

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A title?

Yesterday was my day off from yoga.
I planned a practice, but I plan a lot, hahaha, this does not necessary mean that it also happens. It was a relaxing Saturday. It started with a late breakfast with E. In the evening we met a friend for dinner at Happy Fildjan. The program  "I'm a celebrity get me out of here" ended the day or should I better write it ended the night? I was in bed after midnight. I'm so glad that this "jungle camp" how we call it here is over. It was broadcasted too late and often I was in bed after midnight during the last 14 days. I prefer to get up early, which also means that I have to go to bed earlier. To get up at 6am is good for me.

Today I'll go to a led class in the late afternoon. Primary is on the schedule. My focus will be the vinyasas. I'll try to lift my body up as high as possible when floating backwards. The abdomen have a lot to do here. Then it's shifting the weight. How? This I've to explore. This is the point where I'm stuck. One needs momentum. But it's not only momentum.......

My yoga week starts today. :)

Shall I also write about deleting blogs? 
I blog now since more than 6 years. I've seen a lot of blogs coming and going. In the beginning I was very disappointed when someone stopped writing. It felt as if someone was leaving the community. It was as if the community was not appreciated. A gap appeared. I missed this person.
Some yoginis/yogis delete their blogs after a while, others simply don't write anymore or they write a few times a year only. Then there are those yoginis who threaten: I stop writing. They get comments that they should go on writing. A few posts follow sometimes then. Then they want to stop writing again. These are the moody yoginis/yogis who also express their moods. Some also stopped practicing yoga.
It's like in real life, too. Everything has an end one day. I'm relaxed now if someone stops blogging. Shall she, I think. Perhaps he/she has better things to do.
I go on, because my writing supports my yoga practice and my English (sorry for my mistakes). I enjoy to be part of the Ashtanga yoga community. I got friends around the globe via my blog. My readers give me even advice and push me in a direction they think it's good for me to go.They seem to know me very well, hahaha. I'm a reliable person. Not every day I've  something to say, but I write anyway. Not all my practices are so awesome, but I practice. This is in my opinion a secret to progress.
Readers like to read a blog regularly, it's perhaps a habit in the morning to check blogs. They miss it if nothing is written.
It's on the other hand one of the big mistakes  to write too often. I've learned this from a very successful blogger Darren Rowse. Too many posts every day shoos subscribers away. Too many posts is the main reason why readers stop reading. This is one of the reasons why I wrote only 499 posts last year. lol. The proceeding years I had over 1000 posts every year. I feel that I want to publish more often. Something comes into my mind and then I want to express it. A day later some thoughts are seen in a different light or I've forgotten about a topic. I consider to get back to write more often. This is a warning and please feel mercy with me if I seem to be too intrusive.

Enough now. It's time for a late breakfast.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

We were out yesterday

It was a good-bye party of one of E's colleagues where we were invited yesterday night. Location: cocktail bar. I cannot remember anymore when I was together with so many beautiful and smart people. We were the oldest ones there, I believe. What an honor that we were invited.

Each generation is different. When I was in my early twenties I wouldn't have dressed up like the ladies did at that party. I preferred to be dressed in dirty jeans and a t-shirt. It was simple and an understatement, even though I wouldn't have used this word that time back. I also wouldn't have had the money to buy clothes. No lipstick of course tried to draw the attention to my lips. It was also a life concept not to focus on beauty, especially not as a woman. This has changed, haha. I'm glad now that I had this time where I enjoyed not to care at all.
A former friend of mine, a fashion designer used to say that young people always look beautifully. After 50 one has to well-groom oneself, she was convinced. I thought to start with 40 is better. Colors in the face pleased me a lot very soon. Once a lover gave me a pink lipstick as a present. Oh, I appreciated it a lot. Most people won't start caring for their appearance with 50 if they haven't cared by then, I think. But who knows. I've changed, too.
It was amazing how these young people had already developed such a good taste. I enjoyed it a lot to see these lovely faces and fancy clothes.
It was a very international party. I could speak English, yepeee.

Water was my drink yesterday night. I enjoyed it twice: yesterday and this morning. I feel good, well-rested. After midnight we took a taxi to get home.

Here I sit now with my second cup of coffee..........what next, I wonder. First I'll pamper my bf with a breakfast........

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday evening

This morning E and I took a taxi to E's car. It was parked close to the restaurant where we've been yesterday night with colleagues of E. "I'm still tired", I said when I leaned back in the taxi. This was the sentence the taxi driver seemed to have waited for. "Since I started swimming again I need only 6 hours of sleep", she said. Enthusiastically she described how well she feels since she's moving again. I know, I know, baby, I thought.

Yeah it feels good to move. No matter what it is.

In my last post I've forgotten to mention 2 points that I realized while going through the poses of primary.
1. When I want that my neck is in line with my spine I have to move the chin towards the chest, actively.
2. Having a slight smile on the face would be good.

Time to dress. We're invited to a party in a bar downtown. I've never been there. It starts at 10pm, a bit late for yoginis like me, lol. I shoo away the thought that I hope to be in my bed before midnight. Am I my own grandma or what??????.........and my grandma would have danced till the morning hours. 

Primary series, a summary and setu bandhasana

Let's look back. This month, the first month of 2012 I took  pictures of all the asanas of primary Ashtanga series.
Have I learned anything?

I think I know now what are the next steps here:

1. Most asanas look rather beautifully, don't you think so? Hahaha.....Some need still a bit more love, like upavistha konasana, urdhva dhanurasana, supta parsvasahita.
2. Much more attention need the vinyasas. I saw the importance of it much too late. I think I'll do extra sessions to learn finally to jump through, back and forward.
3. The breath: I realized that I get out of the pose in the middle of the last exhaling. Am I in a hurry or what? hahaha. Yeah, I can eliminate this sloppiness. Good that I realized this.

4. What I'll do next time is to put a block in front of my feet when practicing the forward bending asanas. I realized that it's not parallel to the wall. I must get a feeling again how it is when it's 100% parallel. These are details, but details count.
5. Dristhi? I will surely pay more attention to it. Sometimes I don't even know it.
6. I studied again the book by Lino Miele and P. Jois "Astanga yoga. I learned that the practice can be practiced with full vinyasa from the beginning to the end. I use this book as a bible when it comes to full vinyasa.

7. Astanga yoga is a life style. In the book by Lino Miele and P. Jois I read sentences like this near almost every asana (this quote is from page 26): "This group of asanas (prasarita padottanasana, remark of the author of this blog) reduce the accumulation of fat deposits around the waist and increase the strength and tone of the mucles of the legs and back."
For me this is more a pointer to eat healthy. A slim body makes things, at least the asanas and vinyasas, easier.

Setu bandhasana (see picture): When the body is weak or not engaged all the weight is on the neck and this can cause neck pain. If the body is engaged the weight is everywhere and this pose can become even relaxing. Being strong and flexible is the secret to perform these crazy asanas and to love them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Once is not enough.

I tried to practice primary and second Ashtanga series in a row, but with not so many vinyasas. I wanted to practice like the first yogis practiced when they were in Mysore. After having done primary I had enough. I was not yet sweaty. It can of course also be that my practice was spoiled due to my taking pictures. However. For the time being I think it's better for me to practice primary on one day and second series the other day. I still need strength and I want to work on the vinyasas.

Once is not enough, but for the time being it shall be enough.

Purvottanasana (see picture): To myself: Not to give up too early is always worth it. I found a solution to take a picture of this asana in my tiny yoga room.
Press the index finger in the floor, M uses to say. This helps to lift up the body, it opens the chest. This pose is a counter pose to paschimottanasana. Strength is needed. It's one of the few back bending asanas of primary.

Yeah, it was a bit disappointing today. I prefer the shorter, but more intensive practice. Next time I'll practice again primary with full vinyasa from the beginning to the end.

Janu sirsasana C is another asana I've not yet talked about in 2012. The position of the foot is important. In the meantime my leg touches the floor. When the balls of my foot is in position, I shift my weight forward and to the knee. The heel is a bit below the navel. It shall massage the inner organs. I think this pose keeps the toes flexible. It's also a not so loved pose. It's a pose that prepares another pose of 3rd or 4th series. In that pose the toes even show backward. Many poses of primary prepare of asanas to come. If one knows this one is more motivated to practice intensively.

So time to move on............

Supta hasta padangusthasana

Supta hasta padangusthasana is another important pose of primary. It's a forward split, only that one lies on the back. I add forward split, upright, when I practice at home. Being able to go deep into the pose helps later for pincha mayurasana i.e. It's not necessary to swing so much which has always the danger that one swings too much. If being able to do a good forward split, one can simply lift the one leg and the other can join. Hahaha.......

When practicing full vinyasa, this is a pose on it's own.

When practicing half vinyasa supta parsvasahita follows immediately after supta hasta padangusthasana. It's a neglected pose for me. It's important that the hips remain on the floor. The one hip tends to lift up when the leg is stretched to the side. This pose prepares the first pose of third series.

It's interesting that the last shots of this asana goes back to 2009. It's a pose that needs room, this might be the reason. Sometimes I've to be creative when I want to take nice pictures.

What do I want to practice today? 
Oh, primary is on the schedule, it's Thursday. So I want to practice primary and second series in a row, but how the yoginis and yogis were taught in the old years (with not so much vinyasas, but both series). Perhaps I take pictures of the missing asanas of primary. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to navigate through life?

A car has a break, windshield wiper, safety belt, back mirror, seat heater, accelerator pedal, route guidance system, parking help, blinker, different lights and and and......

And what tools has a human being to navigate safely, but relaxed and with fun through life?

I have my writing (journal and blog). It's like a windshield wiper. It cleans the sight, it clears the view and I can see the next steps. My writing can also serve as a back mirror. Seeing clearly helps me to speed up my life as if I push down the accelerator pedal. It guides me. It makes me stop every day only in order to adjust the direction I want to go.

My yoga practice speeds up life. It gives orientation like a route guidance system. It's also like a seat heater, it relaxes me enormously. It keeps me healthy and warm and I stay interested in life. It shows me new dimensions.

Of course I fill my body with healthy stuff so that it can be at it's best. We don't fill vinegar in a car, it won't move. A body needs vegetables, fruit and water to give it's best.

Ah and not to forget friends, knowing what pleases me and to give time for it are tools that make life a joy. Encounters with people I love, my interests are my seat heater in life, for sure. It makes me burn.

Do you know your tools that bring you through life - healthy and with a good portion of humor? 
It's worth thinking about it. 

Upavishta konasana B, the vinyasas are important

Yeap a wonderful pose at the end of primary. One moves from upavishta konasana A to upavishta konasana B as elegantly as possible, that means one swings the stretched legs up. For this the hands leave the toes and grap them again when they are up.
Again and again I realize how important the vinyasas are and not "only" the asanas. The movements between the asanas, these little knots between the pearls count. They require strength.

Yesterday night I tried a very soft version of the rishi series. I started with a few handstand against the wall to warm my body up. It's better to do the sun salutations. Then I set the timer for 4 minutes and did dandasana, then a sun salutation, then paschimottanasana. Oh, oh, to hold this pose that long was a challenge.  It's concentration that is needed. The 3 min seemed to be an eternity. I think it's important to practice this with care as it was indeed possible to go deep into the asana with the potential to overstretch. That was just a feeling. The sun salutation after having hold paschimottansana that long was weak. For me this rishi series is good.
It is a possiblilty to improve the asanas and to exercise concentration with this rishi series. And it's such a calm practice.

My yoga practice was a photo session yesterday. I'm glad that I go to a Mysore class today. Second series is on the schedule.

Oh time to shower, in half an hour I must go........

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dandasana and my rishi series variation

It started very well  this morning. After the standing asanas my Ashtanga yoga practice became a photo session. It is as it is. Asanas happened.  Balancing, forward bending, twists, back bending, I had put my body in all these asanas. I didn't work on my strength. 

Dandasana: During the first years I was so happy when I was finally in dandasana after the sun salutations and the standing asanas. Finally I can sit, I thought. But also dandasana is an active asana. Legs and abdomen are engaged. Heels lift up from the floor. Feet are parallel. Hands push slightly into the floor. One should appreciate these "easy" asanas, too. They allow to focus on the breath without being too much distracted with performing the asana. 
If it's possible to lift the heels also the vinyasa of supta kurmasana should be possible.

On the rishi series: To be honest I don't want to count all the time. I usually feel it how long 5 breaths is. It seems even a bit neurotic to me to count and to count and to count 1 2 3 4 5 till 50 and again.It seems to be compulsive. 
I just counted once how many breaths (inhaling  pause exhaling) I take in one minute. It's 10 breaths. I'm sure I need more when I'm in a challenging asana. 5 minutes would equal 50 breaths, about. To set my timer for 3 minutes could be a good start. With time I can prolong this. If 10 asanas are too much, 5 will do, too. Afterwards I can add pranayama and 10 min meditation. 

Being a yogini is a life style. I was not too lazy today and I prepared  a healthy salad for myself.

My 50mm lens arrived. :)
I'm very curious how this one is. :)
Hehe, picture will follow, tomorrow when I'll have light again.

Nauli wakes me up

Nauli wakes me up in the morning. Like in trance I usually get up early. Blindly I find my way to the kitchen. On my way to the kitchen I switch on my PC. Coffee first. I take this small cup from my grandma with the golden and light blue rim, fill it with water and pour the water in the water cooker. Then I take a paper filter and put it in the plastic filter that fits exactly on the cup. 2 teaspoons of coffee are enough. Quickly the water is boiling, I pour it over the coffee. Nauli now, came into my mind, till the water is through the filter. I bended my knees, leaned forward, my hands on my knees. Exhaling, then I locked  the throat and then inhaling. My belly moves inward so much that I think the ribs move inward, too. It's better to start it slowly, after one round only I had to cough. I moved the knees one after the other forward and backward in order to role my abdomen 5 times clockwise and 5 times the other way round. Imagination is possible. The belly was in, but nothing moved clockwise. I didn't want to cough after each round, so I did it modest. This felt better. Is it that I hold the breath that wakes me up?

Thinking, thinking, thinking........what shall I practice today? Second series is on the schedule. I also wanted to try to practice primary and second in a row without so many vinyasas, like in the old days. But I need some more pictures, too. In sum this would be all too long. I'll practice second series. Point.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Monday practice

Oh, it was difficult this morning. I know the reasons. To have only one night between two practices is felt by my body. I just remember the first yogis and yoginis who practiced with P. Jois. They practiced twice every day, in the morning and in the evening. So it seems to be possible. Perhaps I'm a weak sister.

The practice yesterday was wonderful. I tried to lift up my body higher when I did lolasana. This helped me to swing my legs through my arms a bit further than I usually am able to do. This is the direction. Higher, higher, higher, the abdomen have to do this work. Also the other asanas of primary were great. I even had the thought that it might be possible to come up from urdhva dhanurasana. I was very otimistic. This usually gives energy.

My E had picked me up after yoga. He waited for me at the bar in the café Voilà. He invited me in his fav Italian restaurant. We shared our starter. The waiter brought us 2 plates with similar portions on it. I prefer the variation when we get 2 empty plates and the starter on an extra plate in the middle. Then I usually take less and eat less. Then the duet pasta and the dessert and the glasses of wine. Lol. We went to bed late in addition as we wanted to see another day of "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here". In the morning we had to get up early.

So I was a bit later on my mat as usually in the Mysore class. I suffered. I only wanted to bring it behind me, not sloppy, but I knew it would be difficult to practice. It was. Humiliating it was. Of course I had forgotten to have a slight smile on my face. The breath was not forgotten.

The nap was needed this afternoon. It's 4pm now. Must I hurry again to take some pictures during day light?????

The herbal tea is delicious. I sip it with awe and make new vows that only I know. lol.

Tomorrow I'll practice second series at home.
Next months I'll give it a try and I'll practice first and second in a row how they did it the old days.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yoga-expo, planning my first rishi session

Today is the yoga-expo in Munich. I won't go. It's about 2 hours commuting time in sum.
I wonder what I can expect?
- It's surely great to meet all the yogis and yoginis who come to Munich also from other towns.
- Let's face it: A fair is very interesting for people who are new to yoga and who want to find their yoga style. In my case I can say I've found already. I focus.

For me it makes more sense to practice the rishi series i.e. than to spend time and money on a fair. Of course, if I want that events like this exist, me too I have to go. But I've been there already. Perhaps next year again. But then I plan it and I'll make appointments with yogis, yoginis I know.

My plan for today is cleaning and going to a led class. I want to take some pictures.

Watching the program "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here", makes me stay up late. It's after midnight when I'm horizontal finally. It was the last time that I watched it. The excitement is no more there.

Here my plan for my first rishi series practice. These 10 poses I want to hold for 50 breaths or 4 min:
1. dandasana (lol)
2. paschimottanasana A
3. ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana
4. Janu sirsasana A
5. marichyasana A
6. marichyasana C
7. baddha konasana A
8. upavishta konasana A
9. supta hasta padangusthasana
10. supta parsvasahita

This is something for next week, something for a calm evening. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The rishi series

I found this on Anthony's blog. Finally I've the information what the rishi series is. It sounds very interesting. I must try it. To hold an asana for 50 breaths equals about 4 min in my case. I don't like to count so much. I'll set a timer. 

Dear Adrian,
Nice to hear from you and I am glad that you enjoyed the workshop...so did I.
Doing a practice of 10 postures for up to 50 breaths is a method of preparing for "advanced series" after one has learned 1st and 2nd.  It can be done once or twice a week.  One does the "salutations" and then starts going thru the series, holding each posture for as long as comfortably possible.  Notice which postures could be held for 50 breaths.  The next time you practice this way, the postures which you could hold for 50 are omitted and new ones are added at the end.  One gradually works thru the series, dropping and adding asanas, still doing 10 asanas per session.  I have gone all the way thru 1st and 2nd this way several times over the years and have found it beneficial.
Then, once one has mastered all of the asanas, one can practice "the rishi series", the most advanced practice.  One does the 10 postures that one intuits will be the most beneficial and appropriate for that day, holding each posture for up to 50 comfortable breaths.  
I hope this is clear.  Please feel free to ask further questions.  
All the best to you.
Yours in Yoga,
David (Williams)

I went.....

I went to the dance and yoga shala downtown. And I'm glad now that I went. Of course. Hahaha....
The shala is indeed the most beautiful one in Munich. It's in the fifth floor, above the roofs of Munich. One wall is a mirror. Two walls consist of huge windows. Snow fell down and rested on the roofs there. The view at the towers of the churches is special. Light was in the room. What a space. We looked towards the one wall that was painted. That way the mirror didn't seduce to look at oneself again and again. This would have spoiled the practice.

The teacher and owner of the studio is such a friendly person. I loved to be there. Of course I was curious about the feed-back and the adjustments she would give me.

1. Lolasana: "Why do you not lift up your body higher. It's a pity, because you're able to do it", she said to me. I should engage my abdomen more. It was possible to lift myself up higher. This might be another tiny step closer to the jumping through.
2. I did navasana 3 times. As always. It's enough for me, I think. I was recommended to practice it 5 times, because these 2 last navasanas might bring the necessary strength. Dristhi is a bit higher as I do it. Looking a bit higher makes it easier to keep the chest open. I love it if someone takes care of the details. Dristhis are important.
3. I added two more navasanas and got the friendly feed-back to keep the face relaxed. This is one of my intentions to stay cool, with a tiny smile on my face. It seems to be forgotten quickly during a practice where I try to get to my limits.  It's important in my view to have a relaxed face. It shows joy. Being relaxed supports the practice. It supports the attitude "let it happen".

Because of these points it was worth already to go. 

4. I got an adjustment in urdhva mukha paschimottanasana, see picture above. I could go very deep in that pose. Then she left me alone and I could balance. It felt great.

I enjoyed my practice in this shala above the roofs of Munich. I also got some ideas how to take pictures of the missing asanas of primary. The mirror gave me inspirations. A few times I saw myself. What a tiny person I am. And so resilient. :)

Then I left the shala: What came from heaven was very wet snow. My umbrella was at home. I was too optimistic re the weather, I had hoped it wouldn't snow again. Nevertheless I stopped at the French bakery on my way home to get a breakfast for E and myself. I wanted to pamper him.

If money wouldn't play a role I'd go regular on Saturdays to that awesome shala. But money counts. From time to time I'll show up there for sure.

What next? I must clean, I want it. Yes!


I feel tired and reluctant to leave the house. The plan was to go to that yoga and dance studio downtown. They offer a Mysore class at 10am. The practice room shall be more than beautiful. I wanted to have seen this at least once. I also want to know what's going on Ashtanga yoga related here in Munich.

I feel lazy and not motivated. Or is it only that it needs more energy to do something new. I just gave my mind a task: Find out why I love it to go to that class!!! lol

I did nauli in the kitchen. Wow, this warms the whole body, but so quickly. T role the abdomen is more imagination. Many things start first as a thought and later they manifest.

My tiny breakfast is eaten. When I shower now, I can leave my home on time....................

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baddha konasana, it's Friday evening.....

It's one of my favorite poses. I wonder why this pose is so easy for me. My explanation: I usually sit in half lotus pose on every chair. My knees fall to the side and this is very comfortable to me. This might be the reason.

It's a core pose of the first Ashtanga series. I enjoy that I've at least one pose that is easy for me. It's cosy for me to do it.

There is baddha konasana A, B and C. The picture shows A, B is with a rounded back and the top of the head is close to the feet. C is sitting upright.

The 12th man and kukkutasana

When soccer player speak of the 12th man they talk about the spectators. The spectators can indeed give power.
In yoga the other yogis and yoginis are like the 12th man for me. I was in a Mysore class this morning. I was thankful for all the yoginis who had schlepped themselves to the shala. It was a cold and rainy morning here. To practice in a group allows me to have access to my strength. My focus is so much better, too.

Kukkutasana (see picture): 
I want to start with a quote from the book by P. Jois and Lino Miele with Sharath as a yoga model, page 62:
When practicing this asana Mulabandha andd Uddiyanabandha should be released. The rectrum (Guda Nala) must be relaxed and the practice of Nauli performed. Nauli is the movement of the rectus abdominus muscles, firstly in a circular clockwise and then anticlockwise direction, while the lungs are empty. This cures constipation (Malabaddata). Additionally urine problems are allieviated and the urethra cleansed. The muscles of the arms and shoulders are strengthened.

So far I haven't practiced nauli, but I will. I simply didn't know that this is part of this asana. A reader commented and sent me a link to nauli. Thank you.
Only one yogini in our class is practicing it. She's doing it very well. I will ask her how she learned it and how long it lasted till she was able to do it.

I'll practice nauli in the morning when my water is running through my filter with coffee. I want to have an empty stomach for this exercise. This morning already I realized that this tiny exercise can wake me up and it can warm the entire body.

There is a lot to learn re the primary.

When practicing full vinyasa, kukkutasana is practiced on it's own.

I'm curious. Who is practicing nauli when practicing kukkutasana?????????


Oh, the heels are up. This is achievement from last year. The trick is to point the feet and to press the arms to the floor. It might also help to role the thighs inward. If a pose is difficult one has to exercise patience.
By now this pose doesn't feel so good. There is a lot of pressure on the chin. With time this will become better hopefully. 5 breaths is not so long either.

After kurmasana, without vanyasa comes supta kurmasana, this core pose. This is the first leg behind head pose. Usually one gets an adjustment here. One shall go into the pose via dwi pada sirsasana. These are all poses that usually need some years of practice. Those with long legs and arms might learn it faster.

I'm up and tired. We watch every night "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here". It's late when we're in bed. This program still lasts 8 days. I want to go to bed at 10am again. I enjoy the mornings. My coffee shall wake me up. I'm so happy that the Mysore classes have started again. I'll practice second series again.

My plan for the next days:
1. Today second series.
2. On Saturday I want to go to a studio downtown. They offer a Mysore class there, too. I'm curious. I'll practice primary, half vinyasa.
3. On Sunday I could try Nancy's version (see last post). I want to see how long it lasts and how it feels.
4. Monday second series again in a Mysore class.

Ha, I remembered to do nauli before having my breakfast. Oh, oh, this woke me up. It's best to do it with an empty stomach. I stood in the kitchen, hands on my bended knees and exercised this breathing technique, lol.

My intention for my practice today: Not making a fuss out of the poses, just doing them, breath by breath.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


This afternoon I read Anthony's blog. He quoted Nancy Gilgoff who was one of the first students of P. Jois. She described how she learned the first 2 series and how she was taught to practice. With this I've the third version of how to practice.

The different versions of Ashtanga yoga:
1. In classes usually yoginis practice half vinyasa, but vinyasa between sides and between different poses. It's in my view the most boring version as the first series has sooooo many rather similar forward bending asanas.
2. I usually practice full vinyasa, that is I practice full vinyasa during the middle part, when I practice on my own or in Mysore classes. Lately I studied the book by P.Jois and Lino Miele again. I realized that full vinyasa is supposed to be done during the standing sequence and the closing sequence, too. I tried this and it makes sense. It feels so much better. It requires more time. This might have been the reason why one switched to version 1.
3. The third version is now the one that Nancy described in her article. Here it is. I want to have it on my blog, too. I will try it.  It makes it possible to practice primary and second series in a row.

Especially the 5th series is very interesting, see below.

Urdhva dhanurasana came after the second series. Again I'm reminded of all the nonsense in the community to stop people when they are not able to come up from urdhva dhanurasana and this pose is done after all the forward bending asanas of primary.
In my view one has only a balanced practice if one practices primary AND second series. To practice means to exercise.

Finally I'm glad that I found this information. It gives me a lot of ideas how I can vary my practice.

Ashtanga yoga how it was taught in the old days to Nancy Gilgof and David Williams

Three each of Surya Namaskara A and B, 
Standing postures through to Parsvottanasana,
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana etc. and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (added after learning all primary).
(Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana added in 1980s).

Jump through to Dandasana.
Vinyasa (?)
Ardha baddha padma Paschimottanasana ( No vinyasa between sides).
Vinyasa (?)
Tireng Mukkha Eka pada Paschimottanasana (No vinyasa between sides).
Vinyasa (?)
Janu Sirsasana A, B, and C (Done together, no vinyasa between sides or variations right side, left side of A, right, left of B, right, left of C).
Marichyasana A, B, C, and D (done together no vinyasas between sides or variations).
Navasana x 3
Bhuja pindasana
Vinyasa (?)
Supta kurmasana
vinyasa (?)
garbha pindasana 
Vinyasa (?)
Baddha Konasana, Upavishta Konasana, and Supta Konasana (No vinyasas between sides).
Supta hasta pasdangustasana
Supta parsvasahita
Ubhaya Padangusthasana and Urdhva Mukha
Paschimottanasana (done together, simply change the hand position).
Setu Bandhasana,

(continue on in to..) 
Pashasana. (No vinyasa between sides).

Shalabhasana through Parsva Dhanurasana, (Done together no vinyasa in between sides).
Ushtrasana through Kapotasana (Done together no vinyasa in between)
Suptavajrasana x 5 , (no hold on the last one just the first)
Bharadvajasana, (no vinyasas between sides).
Ardha Matsyendrasana, (no vinyasas  between sides).
Eka Pada Sirsasana to Yoganidrasana, (no vinyasas until Chakrasana after Yoganidrasana).
Tittibhasana A B C
Pincha Mayurasana, Karandavasana, Vrishchikasana (done together).

Parighasana, (no vinyasa between sides).
Krounchasana, (No vinyasa between sides).
Gomukhasana (no Vinyasa between sides). 
Urdhva Dhanurasana

Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana,
Urdhva Padmasana, Pindasana, Matsyasana,
Yoga Mudrasana, Padmasana, Tolasana 

Originally there were five series: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B, and the fifth was the “rishi" series (Choose 10 postures and stay for fifty breaths in each). 

Bhuja pidasana, the underestimated asana of the first Ashtanga series

Finally something new, hahaha: the vinyasa is totally different. The feet jump around the arms. Best is when they don't touch the floor.
When I remember well, during the first years, I put my hands behind my feet that were still on the floor. This is  surely also a possibility. The earlier one challenges oneself, the earlier progress can be seen.

Also in the book by Lino Miele 2 versions are described. It's easier, but possible to put the front on the floor (feet are high), or and this is the advanced version, one tries to bring the chin to or towards the floor. It's easy to blame the proportions of the body that it won't be possible. Most of the time one can compensate.

The exit is via tittibasana A. It's not held, it's a transition. In second series it's a pose on it's own. To give it some energy is recommended.

To go from tittibasana to bakasana is something I'm still working on. I found out that the hands need to be close together. The heels move outward, the thighs inward, the hole body forward. To engage the abdomen helps. It's within reach, perhaps even this year. This transition comes later again.

So the first series has a lot of stuff that is needed for further series, too.

Ah, taking pictures spoils my practice. But I'm also learning from my pictures. 
I started with the CD by Sharath and practiced with it till navasana. Oh, I've not yet gained back the strength that I had at the end of the last year. I will regain it.
I stop now. I've other things to do, too. This counts as a practice. Yes. 

Thursday already, primary is on the schedule, nauli

It's still dark here, hahaha......

Today I'll practice primary.

Was it worth to reflect on  the asanas of the primary series again so far. Have I learned something already?
1. I realized that when I want to have my head in line with the back, I have to move actively the chin to the chest. It's not only letting the head hang down when doing the standing forward bending asanas, i.e.
2. In my case my focus of learning can shift more and more to the vinyasas (connection between the asanas and correct number of breaths).
3. I studied again the book by P. Jois and Lino Miele and discovered full vinyasa. Also the standing sequence and the closing sequence can be practiced so. And it feels very good. The advantage if one practices full vinyasa till the end also when practicing second series is, that one can exercise jumping forward as it is done in the first series. 

My plan for my practice today:
1. Before starting my practice I'll exercise nauli. You shall see why very soon. Nauli is a cleaning technique. Here is a link for more information.
2. I'll practice with the CD by Sharath till buja pidasana to exercise this even rhythm. Then I'll take some pictures as I'm only have through of the series. Buja pidasana is underestimated. It's the next pose I'd like to have a closer look at.
3. Will I have time for pranayama and meditation?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Navasana and first Mysore class this year

I had in mind that the first Mysore class for this year should be in the middle of February. This was obviously wrong as we received an email by M yesterday that the first Mysore class starts today.
E and I had an appointment in the morning, so I couldn't be on time. E drove me to the shala, but suddenly I was in a bad mood, very bad mood. I don't know why. I felt lousy and considered to go to a café to have a cup of coffee there and to stare holes into the atmosphere. Then I heard a voice: Look through the window who is there. Then you can turn around. I went to the backyard where the shala is and looked through the window. The room was crowded. What?, I thought, they are all practicing and I hang up so lazy. No. The front door was still open. I entered the holy rooms and went to the changing room. I was one hour later as usually. The Mysore class goes from 9am till 12 am. Usually I need 2 and a half hours for second series. Till 12pm I had 2 hours. Shall I do primary, I wondered? I wanted to do second series. I knew what this meant. I had to practice consequently without any dawdling, without breaks to recover and thinking. Wow, I had an excellent practice. I flew through the series. I felt like a snake without a spine, so flexible. I also felt strong like a bear when I needed strength. I balanced like a cat. Karandavasana was great.
Yepeeeeee, the Mysore season has started.

On the picture is navasana: I've a lot of fun with this pose. This is the pose, the only one that I practice with my E when he's at home and when I practice primary. OMG. Lol. I feel so strong in comparison to him. I really motivate him to hold this pose. It's hard work, he's not so convinced. He gives up so quickly. Sometimes I think he's only doing it for me. Hahaha. His back hurts when he's doing it. In my case the legs are challenged.
How to take this pose to the next level? 
As a preparation to these posts I check the book by Lino Miele and P. Jois  "Ashtanga yoga". Re this book this pose is done once. Usually yoginis repeat it 5 times. Of course 5 times is good to develop abdomen. I usually do it 3 times. Hahaha....sometimes I want to have it a bit easier.
Between this asana one lifts the body up to lolasana. To make it a bit more challenging one can swing the legs through the arms and then one can come back to the pose.

The light is great outside. I feel like napping first. I'll set a timer. I don't want to sleep my time away. But I've to be fit tonight and getting up so early today was not so easy. 

Finally a twist......mariychasana C

Finally a twist in the primary Ashtanga series.
Once I practiced in a shala and I complimented  my neighbor yogini after the class because she was able to do this pose so easily. She assured me that she was a bloody beginner in yoga and that this pose was not at all a problem for her as she had long arms.

Two main factors influence our practice (our lives): our genes, our conditioning.

- I've relatively short arms (genes) so this pose was not so easy for me. I remember that I was very happy when finally the finger could hook. It's easier if one tries to bind, however, a bit higher on the back. If the binding is done, one can move the arms down easily.
- I don't give up so quickly (conditioning), so also I learned this pose. Nowadays I can bind always and I reach the wrist always. I work on getting fast into this pose so that I can practice re the correct vinyasa count.

Twists neutralize poses, it is said. They feel indeed very good. The spine stays young, so it feels.

Engaging the bandhas helps to twist.

Picture: Hahaha, my foot was behind the reflector so I could also cut the picture a bit more. The foot of the stretched leg is supposed to be parallel to the floor.

Today the Mysore classes start again. I've forgotten this. I've an appointment in the morning. I'm not even sure if I can be there on time. Time flies. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I feel like writing......

Marichyasana B is also a wonderful pose. It prepares for the legs behind head series like marichyasana A. Here too, when my one hand has reached the wrist of the arm, I stretch both arms and then I move forward into the pose. This allows to go deeper and to use the arms as a leverage. 

The longer one practices the more one also must learn to learn on one's own. Teacher might move, classes might be overcrowded and beginners need the most attention. One can indeed learn to learn. 

Here are a few of my  favorite ways of learning: 
1. I search youtube videos. My fav online teacher is Laruga. I look how she's doing an asana/vinyasa and then I try to imitate it. This has changed my practice already for the better.
2. I take pictures of myself. Filming would be even better. A pose looks differently than it feels. 
3. A lot of books are available with great tips.
4. I check my breath via a watch, inhaling shall be as long as exhaling. 
5. Sometimes I practice with the CD of Sharath. It helps me to find an even rhythm, it helps me not to take these little breaks between the asanas. I also hold some poses as long as it is supposed to be, headstand at the end i.e. When I practice alone I'm too quickly bored here and I move on. 
6. Repetition, repetition, repetition......is always best advice. 
7. Developing a positive attitude.
8. Eating well.
9. Writing about the practice. 
10. Having measurable goals with a deadline. Even though I think it's equally important to enjoy the practice, the path, the moment. 

Having written this down I got remembered that all these learning methods, all these exercises might finally lead to the understanding: Letting go and giving room that all this can happen is so much better than greedily wanting something and to stand in one's own way.

Yoga shall liberate. 
Liberate from what?
Finally it liberates from the thought that we can do anything. It's all a happening. Enjoy.

Marichyasana A and preparation

Ah, look the difference: These things are noticed. Details count. On the picture above my hands are held relaxed, in line with the arms and the fingers are together. On picture 2 the finger are spread. I blame my self-timer, it was too fast. The pose on picture 1 looks so much nicer.

What comes into mind when I see this pose:
1. The rim of the foot is in line with the outer side of the body (and not next to leg). I couldn't believe this first (8 years ago). For those who want to progress fast: this pose prepares the leg behind head poses.
2. Lately I learned how to do this pose a bit deeper. I jump forward, grasp the wrist and then I stretch the arms. This makes a difference. That way the shoulder move backward, the chest opens. The upper body lengthens. Then I move mainly the one shoulder to the stretched leg, which is engaged. That way the arms don't lie lazy on the back. They serve as a leverage to stretch deeply into the pose.
3. I see that my foot of my stretched leg could be a bit more parallel to the wall.
4. Also here the vinyasa is as interesting as the pose. The exit can be done a bit different here.

Yesterday I watched TV.

First I watched a program where a man visits restaurants. He helps the owners to make the restaurant successful. The restaurant yesterday was a nightmare. Even mice were in the kitchen. Wow all the chaos, mess and dirt everywhere.
- This was the first step  to clean everything.
- The owner and cook didn't prepare anything. So the day was indeed very stressy. The coach recommended the "mise en place" method. That's also how I cook. This means first everything must be prepared, I cut all the vegetables, I put all the spicery next to my cooker. The cooking book is on the table, when I try a new recipe. Then I start. It's indeed a good recommendation for a relaxed day.
- The restaurant owner accepted everything and took action. It could be seen that it was not so easy for him. The coach even sent him to the shower. There he should think if he liked to change. To take care of the own appearance is also part of being successful. The restaurant was checked 6 weeks later and it was all so much better.

Preparation also makes my pictures better. It takes time but I think one can see the results. In the above case I used a reflector, I used also a white blanket to better my lousy light situation.

How to prepare a yoga practice: 
1. I think it's good to plan the night before. Then the subconscious is prepared, too. To decide what to do the day before can make it easier to start the next day. This avoids long inner discussions what to do. Then the question if one shall practice at all is very close. Hahahaha.....
2. To take a quick shower and to dress something that one likes is also part of my preparation.
3. Is the yoga room clean and warm? This is part of the preparation, too.
4. Before starting I hang forward till I'm ready, but then I start.

Also today it will be a learning session, that means I'll repeat those poses that are not yet comme il faut. Leg behind head pose i.e. needs repetition. When I go forward I've to hold my leg again. It's not always progress that can be experienced. Sometimes a pose gets lost. One always has to pick up oneself where one is.
...and I want to bring it behind me. This sounds a bit negatively, it isn't. I want to focus, concentrate.
Focus is such a good skill, that can indeed better life in general. Ashtanga yoga teaches a tool how to do it. It's program to focus/listen on the breath and to gaze at a point and to keep the eyes calm. With this Ashtanga yoga also becomes a mental exercise.
I'm confronted with fear during my practice. I must finally do pincha mayurasna in the middle of the room. As soon as I'm a bit more away from the wall, I have difficulties to come up. I should go in the middle of the room at once. I should be able to do it. Thinking makes the pose difficult as soon as I'm away from the wall. The body is able to do it.

What do I want to focus on now, is a good question. Letting go is a topic in my life for sure. Focus is a method. There is not only clutter in the house, in the handbag or in the car. There can also be mental clutter. Complaining about the past is in my opinion such a clutter. Oh, how I admire Osho who has burnt all his certificates when he left the university as a professor. Yesterday a nice metaphor came into my mind. When I have a huge sofa in a tiny room it's impossible to put another new sofa in this room. To let go allows to let new things enter life. One can focus on new adventures. I know the theory very well, hahahaha.

Back to: "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here."
Why do I find the Australian jungle camper so boring?
I can also ask the other way round: What makes a person exciting?
- The tests are known now, the variations do not bring the excitement. Only the first time it's shocking when someone has to eat kangaroo testicles. This is used up.
- Also nakedness brings excitement for perhaps 2 days. Men might be different, but a naked body alone is not enough to make a program interesting.
I'm a bit bored so far, but I'll go on watching. Every evening I'm up till midnight. Perhaps some dynamic is still to come......

So time to have a breakfast.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Done, done, done, I'm through of all the asanas of second series

Oh, the body was ready for a practice, but the mind was so distracted. So many little breaks happened during my practice. I also needed music. 
Good was that I returned to my mat again and again and I didn't omit a single asana. 
It's difficult to describe the feelings during a practice, as it's changing quickly from being surprised till being frustrated. Now I'm happy that I did a full practice. 
I know my strength: I know how to learn, I'm rather self-disciplined, optimism.
I also know my weaknesses: back bending and concentration. Re concentration I consider to add 10 min meditation again. 

Let's talk about janu sirsasana B:

I get to the point: The heel is under the perineum. The perineum muscles become flexible that way. There is not a body part that the yoginins don't keep flexible and strong. If the heel is exactly there it's not unpleasant, otherwise it is.
It's a bit more demanding to bend forward than it is when practicing janu sirsasna B. The challenges progress.

For me the asanas of the first series feel good. I love it to be in these  poses.

Time to move on.......