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


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


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: 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. 


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.

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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jet lag

It's awful. One cannot beautify it. It's not only that one is tired at wrong times. It's more. Yesterday my eyes were forced to close in the afternoon. I always wanted to rub them. I went to bed for a nap at 3pm. As soon as I was in bed the body felt awake. The timer was set for an hour. Sleep set in after a while and after one hour I was in such a deep sleep that I slept 2 more hours.
At 6pm I got up. I was again very hungry even though I had eaten a nice lunch here: salad and fried zucchini. I was up till after midnight. It was impossible to sleep when in bed again. I stayed there observed the breath and finally I slept.
A nightmare visited me: I had to travel to Hamburg (north of Germany) to my health insurance. They needed a paper. I searched the building and found it finally. In the ailes where people in wheel chairs driving so fast that one had to jump in a rooms in order not to crash. In one of the rooms was a desk and there I put my handbag and searched for the paper. 'I know I have it', I said, 'I know I have it.' Then the tea on the desk tilted over and flew over the desk. I had no room more to place the handbag. 'I come from so far and now I don't find this paper', I know I have it.' It was kafkaesk. I went again and again through the stuff in my handbag with no success. Then I woke up.

It was 4:30 when I woke up and I wanted to sleep till 5am. Minimum. I got up, I showered, washed my hair, prepared a cup of coffee for myself.  When I wanted to brush my hair, I couldn't find my hair brush in my handbag. Hahaha......

I have no recipe how to get through the first week. I always forget how awful jet lag is. The whole body is confused and out of rhythm. My body needs one week to get back to normal. I give the time, eat well, and wait till it's
Ok, today I'll buy Baldrian tea. I'll drink it before going to bed at night.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My travel tips - part 1

Traveling starts before jumping in a plane.

There is a planning phase that conists mainly in gathering infos. This is so easy nowadays as all infos are available online.
- I check the weather report.
- I search for general infos about a country
- And I search for authors from that country or authors who have written about a country. To read short stories or a novel by an author of a country I want to see motivates me to visit this country. Sometimes I even get ideas what I want to see.

When it's time to pack my suitcase and my handbag, I count first the days of my absence, then I use my check list that has the following categories.
1. documents
2. hygiene
3. drugs
4. entertainment
5. clothes

Most documents belong into the suitcase. I put them in my calender. That way I find them easily when needed.
I have also warm self-knitted socks in my handbag. In the plane, especially if the flight lasts for hours I put off my shoes and put on my socks. This keeps my feet warm and is very comfortable.

I update my check list "traveling": This time i.e. I realized that I need a tiny plastic shoehorn in my handbag. After 10 hours of flight my feet were thick. I could scarcly put on my shoes anymore.

My timer is in a cotton bag. This is not a good solution for trips. It was not the first time that I had to search my handbag for this little timer because it was switched on because one of my items started the timer. After some time the alarm clock could be heard in my handbag. An annoyance. So, I'll shop for a box where my timer can slumber safe ans quiet.
I've my kindle in my handbag. Travelling means also waiting. My library on my kindle entertains me during such times.

What to dress on travel days: 
It shall be something beautiful, of course. I want to feel good when I travel.
Clothes shall also be comfortable. It's good if the pair of trousers have no belt. One has to put it off when checked at the airport. Shoes should be easy to put off and on for the same reasons. I've a plastic arm watch. Keys, money and such things are in the handbag. This all makes the security check easier.

I try to leave my home clean. By now I had always return tickets. It's hard enough to return, to return to a dirty home full of mess is a very hard landing. I usually look forward to a clean warm villa that welcomes me. I consider this as important.

The birds are back

At 7pm I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and went to bed. At midnight I woke up with the hope that it would be at least 4am. My clock told me another story. This is jet lag. I always forget how awful it is. To return is worse than to fly to the US. No complaining here. Jet leg comes with traveling over the sea. It's part of it and as such accepted (not loved).

I'm eating. It's not only the tiredness that comes at different times, it's also hunger. The bread, the spread will calm my organism.

To be at home again is beautiful, too. I've my own coffee, my own food. I can cook again. It's great to sleep in my own clean bed. And I do have a nice yoga room.

My midnight snack was good. :) It worked I got tired. Must take advantage of this mood of my body. At once.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

San Francisco airport

The picture is taken this morning at Mission Bay. It was sunny, the wind was fresh. Now water games for surfers were offered at this amusement park. I so wished we had more time to walk around there along the beach. I took a lot of pictures. And now we're already at San Francisco.  In 1 hour the plane will depart. In Germany it's 4:45 am. I feel still fit. The vegetarian sushis at the airport fed me well. I'm no more dependant on what LH is offering.

It has been a road movie this trip: LA, Encinitas, Portland, Phoenix, San Diego and back.

When at home again I'd love to meditate, I only want to sit in padmasana for 10 minutes and I want to observe the coming and going thoughts like the waves of the ocean. I'll observe my breath. That's all. This calming down ritual is scheduled for Monday evening. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Darling, motivate me.

Me: Darling, motivate me!
He: Go for it!

Lol, and I practiced primary yesterday, between bed and the furniture where the TV is built in.

Today is Saturday. Hahaha.....

We both would love to stay longer here. Yet the end of the trip has come.
Yesterday we drove to Encinitas again with stops at La Jolla and Del Mar. The landscapes are so beautiful and huge. It gives me the  impression of liberty. It was a road movie again this trip in the US.

I'm glad that our first flight is in the early afternoon from San Diego to San Francisco. A few hours later we'll fly from San Francisco to Munich. Sunday night we'll be at home. Ready to sleeeeeeeep.

PS: My US album is finished. It's here on flickr

Friday, November 09, 2012

Ashtanga yoga is a necessity for me, it's no fun.

Practicing Ashtanga yoga is a necessity for me, yet no fun.
That said, I want to add that it can be joyful, satisfying. It can feel good and I like it.
I love to experience my body in the crazy asanas.
Especially the stretching discomfort and the balancing poses distract me from the chatter of the mind.
I'm glad when I can do something good for myself.

Yet fun is something else:
Playing soccer might be fun, especially if one belongs to the team that wins.
To dance salsa is fun.
Feeling the hamstrings approaching the stretching limit can be bearable more and more. It makes me tolerant to discomfort. But fun? is something else.
Reading can be fun, shopping, taking pictures, taking a bath, seeing a movie.

The body needs movement if one wants to stay healthy till old age. Even my grandma was told after 80 by a doctor that she must move and exercise. Those who don't get weak and rigid with age. It goes so far that many old people cannot stand up anymore when they fell. This limits the possibilities how to live enormously. I love to move. This is already a good pre-condition. Those who don't love to move could better their lives, too, if they moved. Whatever it is.

Ashtanga yoga fits to my personality as a lonesome wolf. I love to be with me alone. Being independant from classes or other people fits to me. I can step on my mat alone.
I've in addition not found another sportive activity that is so holistic. B.K.S. Iyengar sais this about yoga in general. I agree.

I wonder why so many expect joy and fun at everything they do. For me having the insight that it's good for me is enough to do it.
To let the mood decide what to do is not a good advice. Moods change like the weather.

Yesterday I practiced primary in this hotel room here. I could do all poses. It was not easy. Not one single pose was omitted or forgotten.
It's time to step again on my mat, because I know it's good for me, not because I'm searching fun.

Picture: It's taken in San Diego, old city where we've spend the day. It's like in Mexico there.

PS: Ashtanga yoga can also be fun from time to time, wink wink....

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Up, another day in San Diego

'Up' means, we both sit on the bed, our lap tops on our laps (they are made for this - see the name) and we check what's new. What has happened overnight, while we were sleeping with both eyes closed, is the big question.
We have the aroma coffee from the lobby next to us and yesterday E had bought some bananas. So we have even a healthy breakfast today, 2 bananas. One thing I've found out: Americans adore eggs (in all forms) for breakfast. I love it when I hear E saying: sunny side up.
My breakfast must be changed all the time, hahaha.....(no eggs, no spinach, no ham, no syrup, no cheese...)

Huh, I feel my back muscles. Hahaha.......this is a sign that I took my practice yesterday not too easy. I do need another coffee before anything will happen.

San Diego is a wonderful city. Downtown is in walking distance. There is the sea, best weather around the year. We've 2 more days.
I'm not yet sure how I'll feel with my flu and if I it's good to drive to Encinitas tomorrow.

Second picture is taken at the "Sun Deck Bar" in Del Coronada. 

The weather is too good....

The weather here in San Diego is too good. I had to practice. The room is bright and no carpet is in here. No excuses could be made. This morning I rolled out my mat and practiced.

Today is Wednesday, so second series was on the schedule. I even think that it's better to practice second series after a break because the hamstrings are not so challenged as during primary.

My approach: doing it is it. I didn't like to go to my limits. Just doing it was the goal.

I also didn't like to omit an asana. At the end I realized that I had forgotten some: bakasana, tittibhasana and the last pose before the headstands. I forgave myself quickly. It entertained me.

Especially back bending was not so good, but many asanas were doable. I had no issues to take my legs behind my head.
I knew that pashasana would be possible. I'm so fearful here that I could gain weight that I'm really picky when I eat.

The rest of the day we spent at del Coronado, which was simply awesome.
From our place close to the bar, we could observe the people at the pool. On the other side was the sea. The sun was shining, yet we were protected by the huge white umbrellas. I sipped a Chardonnay from a plastic mug. Hahaha......Americans don't mind about such "trivialities" obviously and I didn't care either. The place there is too good.

Back in the hotel the flu comes back and my nose is clogged. I'm breathing through my mouth, but I feel good.

More pictures are on flickr.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Free coffee at the lobby.

I love it to get down to the lobby and to pick up the morning coffee for free. Many hotels have now coffee machines in the room, but this one, the Motel 6 still has coffee at the reception. The cups are made of styrofoam to keep the coffee warm. I've to put the cups on the floor when I opened the door to our room. The door is heavy and I had to push it open. I managed it to bring the coffee to the room safely.

A flight day is exhausting: So yesterday we went to the mall downtown to have an early dinner. I had the best asparagus ever in that Chinese restaurant. It was grilled and was served with a very interesting dressing, which was sweet, with sesame and soy.

Fog belongs to San Diego. It gives atmosphere to the city.

My plans for the next 2 hours:
- I need another cup of coffee.
- Then I start with sun salutations. The room is bright not dark, the floor is not a carpet. I've no excuses anymore.

Arrived in San Diego

The airport is very close to the city. Quickly we were at our hotel after landing. Motel 6 seems to be renovated. No carpet here, I'm glad.

The hotel is almost downtown.

This was it for today. I close the curtain. Shall the flu disappear overnight. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

On the road again

Time to pack suitcases again. I can still close mine, which is a little miracle.

Bye bye Phoenix. Till next time. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

Coffee in front of the hotel room

I'm enjoying the luxury to have a coffee machine in the hotel room. To sip the first coffee outside of the room is a joy.

I was thinking about the nice evening yesterday. The tour on the lake just behind the house of our friends during golden hour was outstanding. The ladies sipped Chardonnay, the men beer. It was all calm and peaceful. If I hadn't been there myself, I wouldn't believe that such places exist.

Oh, he got up. Hahaha......

Forward bending

Forward bending in front of the hotel room. It feels so good. 

Sunshine in Phoenix

It's winter here, a warm winter. The winter in Phoenix is warmer than our summer.

We drive around with our car. To malls, to restaurants, into the dessert. Nothing is possible without a car. The distances from one house to the other are huge. The country is so huge.

It was great to meet locals yesterday, friends that we've seen the last time more than 10 years ago. The children are grown-up now and  they have become so beautiful and nice people.

It's our last day here. Can be that we visit Barnes & Nobels again, simply because it's nice to be there. Tomorrow we'll fly to San Diego.

The room is so dark, I don't like to practice. And every day that I don't practice I also fear a tiny bit more that my first practice after the break will be HORRIBLE.

Nevertheless I love to travel.
I know that it can happen that one loses the energy with age to move the body around the globe. I observed this so often. Not everybody loves to be 12 hours in the plane, to carry around heavy suitcases and to be in places that cannot compete with the own home. So, it's all perfect as it is for me. I enjoy to be here. The sun is out again. I smile. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The US is a shopping paradise.

The malls are huge. It's easy to spend and entire day in a mall and one hasn't seen everything. There is space in the shops. The clerks are very friendly.

The weather is warm. Inside the rooms it's cooled down.

Then we drove outside of Phoenix, into the desert. It's not easy to show the vastness of the country.

The hotel room does not yet invite me to practice, not even a few asanas. Not good. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Phoenix, first impressions

To get out of the hotel room, to have sunsihne and to see palms is very special.

The view from the reception. Everywhere is space, everything is huge: the cars, the beds, the rooms, the trees.........

Finally I had breakfast potatoes. Just a joke. Nothing but carbohydrates on plastic plates were offered. Eggs, eggs, eggs and white flour and fat is not a good breakfast. The bagel was so hard, I didn't even try to eat it. This hotel used to be a good one. One never returns to a place. Everything changes all the time. Within 15 years things change for sure and 15 years ago I've been the first time here. I've forgotten a lot, but memory comes again. One has to discover the same place again and again.
No expectations please is a good travel advice. 

Tomorrow we'll eat out of the hotel, this is for sure. We don't want to return with 5 extra kilos, not in the suitcase but on the ribs.

At night the bar is a bar, in the morning it's the breakfast room. We had our welcoming drink there. Yep, Portland was yesterday, today we enjoy Phoenix.

Excuse why I don't like to step on my mat: the carpet in the room. Carpet, I blame you, you innocent thing. I need a day to adjust to my new home for 3 days.
It can be that I practice some asanas tonight. I feel it, it's very likely that this is going to happen. 

Portland the new India?

I've never seen so many homeless people like in Portland downtown. Young people, old people, women, men live in the streets. Often the people are in groups under several umbrellas protected from the rain as it's raining all the time. Or they sleep somewhere. Some sit around with huge plastic bags next to them, it seems to be their belongings. Some have dogs and cats to carress and to love.

We had left Portland yesterday in the evening.

It was dark already when we arrived in Phoenix. When we left the airport building warm air blew into my face and this miracled a smile on my face. I look out of the window and I see that  the sun is shining. :)

Before anything goes on, we'll have breakfast here......

Friday, November 02, 2012

C u soon......

"See you soon," the waiter greeted me when I left the restaurant. Three times I've been there. I loved the vegan food in that ordinary pizzeria at the opposite of Powell's bookstore. Not all restaurants invite me to sit there. Some have orange plastic chairs and are so ugly that I don't want to spend an hour of my life time there.

In sum I loved to be here in Portland. Highlights were the Japanese garden and I loved to be at Powell's book store. The huge trees  were so beatiful when the sun was shining. It was as if they were burning with the red leaves on it. The wind gave liveliness to the scenery.

Cu soon. I don't know when soon will be. It can  be that this time was the last time, but I'm not sentimental. The show must go on. Who knows........

Today is a travel day

Up early. It's still a piece of cake. (Jet lag, yuhuuuuu)

Tonight we'll be in Phoenix.

Good is that we fly in the evening. I can stay in the hotel room till 2pm. This allows me to have my Friday primary.

Fall is fantastic here in Portland with all the huge trees everywhere that  lose the red, yellow, orange and green leaves. Wind alters with sunshine and rain. Enough is enough. I'm glad that we fly to a warm place.

Does this  interest anybody?
I'm not so sure.
But I know the finger ballet on the key board must go on to keep the writing process lively.
"Daily" is a key word. What shall grow needs daily practice. Whatever it is. One must learn to accept the lousy practices on the mat and the boring posts on a blog in order to progress. It's part of  the path. 


I knew it, I shouldn't have entered this book store. It's impossible not to buy a book  in the largest book store of the world. They have blue rooms and yellow rooms and red rooms. Every room has a topic. The books are in shelves that go from the floor to the ceiling. Ladders stand around so that one can have a look in the books close to the ceiling, too. It's a paradise for those seeking knowledge in books, too. 

It's good that I don't live in Portland. I'd miss life, because I'd live in that store. I'd read and read and read.....Today I was in the blue room where I could find books on writing. 
Photography, yoga would interest me, too. 

My suitcase is already too heavy by now........where shall this end.........