Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My thoughts have changed

I got up on time today. To start with the Ashtanga practice at 8am seems good to me. The body is still stiffer than at 9am. The huge advantage is that one is finished much earlier. I went to the shala for a self-practice.

Today I realized how much my thoughts have changed since the beginning of my Ashtanga yoga practice. So many asanas seemed to be impossible. I was not sad or frustrated about it 10 years ago. I thought I was too old  for some asanas and I was happy with what I could do. Lotus pose was possible and I considered this asana as important.

With time more and more asanas could be done by myself. One can say a thousand times to oneself: don't limit your potential via limited thoughts. It's simply not effective. One must experience that the impossible can become possible. It can become possible with daily exercise.
These days I think about most poses that they are possible. I know it can take time, perhaps decades, but it's possible.

This thinking habit is not limited to the yoga practice. It started on the mat and now I cannot tame this thought anymore. It shows up in other areas of my life, too. Not everything is possible. Yet also the thought: Let me see what's possible is so much better than discarding things.

So true: it's after yoga mood right now. It has an effect on the well-being. I fee fantastic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ashtanga with Anuraag (74 years old)

More back bending asanas

Here are some more back bending positions, that I exercise before doing kapotasana. Will it help? I hope so. One thing is sure, all these poses that I exercise sometimes before kapotasana make this pose easier to exercise.
Also the positions on the pictures are challenging. You can see this on the hand position on the picture above. The right hip is supposed to move further to the floor. I focus on this and the deep breathing.

Mysore class was so excellent yesterday. These classes are highly motivating.

Yesterday I talked with one of the yoginis in the changing room. I adore her practice. She's one of the few who has focus and who takes care of the details (hand position i.e.). Once a week she's going to an Iyengar classes. Could this be something for me, too? I think I'll test it.

Better to practice than to write. Action now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I eat well and I practice well.

My creation can be seen on the picture: Carrots, oranges, parsley and  Moroccan dressing. Ah. It was too good and it was free style. I get better at cooking.

The yoga room was crowded today. Yes, yes, I went to a Mysore class. The atmosphere was good. I even tried again 2 asanas of the third series. What one doesn't exercise gets lost. I had no balance for these poses. Trying them is everything.
The energy of the group pushed me.
I was very very content with everything.

Plan for tomorrow: Second series with some extra asanas like the splits.

Too exhausted to write more. I don't believe it, It's 20:22pm already.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch

To shop at Abercrombie & Fitch is a shopping experience indeed. Yesterday I've been downtown with E. I wanted to show him this shop. There was a huge queue in front of it. To wait perhaps 2 hours was too much for us. The queue was that long. People come from everywhere to get there.

But last Friday I was shopping there. The clothes are great. Look at the color of my t-shirt on the picture. The blue is a killing blue and fits perfectly to my eyes. Yet it was a miracle that I could see the colors. The shop is dark, really dark. Light is on the ceiling, yet not much. There is a heavy fragrance everywhere. My clothes still smell of this shop. It can be that I need that perfume, too (hahaha). Of course one can buy it. The concept is successful. Obviously. The sales people are super-friendly. And young (all below 22). And beautiful. The women wear hot pants and flip flops. The men wear flip flops, too. Yet it's the friendliness that makes the difference.

(That they hire only young and good-looking people was criticized by the trade unions.)

I'm happy because they also sell clothes in XS. Finally a shop that has clothes for me, too.

This shop is art. It's marketing at its best.

Just to describe the difference: Before shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch, I was at Palmers. I saw a pyjama there. I dressed it. Nobody cared for me. Even size S was too large. I gave the pyjama back to the one sales person there, who gave me the feeling I disturb her. I said: "The pant legs are too long." I don't want to get altered a pyjama. This I didn't say. She said nothing and took the pyjama. When I left the shop I saw that there were pair of trousers with shorter pant legs, too. I was the only client in the shop. She could have cared for me. The salesperson was good-looking, yet so arrogant. To look great and to have manners and to be well-groomed is important in sales. Yet one must also know how to sell. Beauty alone is nothing. This was it for me with Palmers.

I complimented the young sales people at Abercrombie & Fitch. They make a difference.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ashtanga yoga is not for everybody.

When younger one must try out things, activities, almost everything. Later in life one knows more and more the preferences. It's all about being in harmony with the being one is. If one has found what fits to oneself it's more likely that one is content (to say the least) and it's more likely that one keeps going.

I'm not a group person. To play baseball would be a nightmare for me. Nobody would like me in the group, too, as I'm not tall enough.
Soccer is a smart game with a lot of fun. Yet one can practice it when younger. Most people stop it at a rather young age. And then?

I live in a cold area. Outdoor sports are nothing for me. I know people who run also in the snow. This is not me.

It shall be healthy: Most people who play tennis have sooner or later a tennis arm. Diving and skiing are sports with a high risk to get injured. No, thank you.

Aikido was something for me. Yet my working hours didn't allow me to go to classes. One needs a partner for this activity. One has to go to a class. The hierarchy in the Ashtanga community didn't convince me either.

Are you looking for fun? Ashtanga yoga is work on oneself. It feels good, it's satisfying. But fun? Scarcely.

Why Ashtanga yoga is something for me:
- The whole body and mind is exercised.
- I can also do it alone. I don't have to go to classes.
- I can do it for the rest of my life. There are yogis/yoginis which are in their 90th.
- I'm not a group person, yet rather a lonesome wolf.
- Living in a cold area, outdoor sports are nothing for me. I like to have it warm.
- That the community is international is an extra plus.
- I want to have something that challenges me.
- I love the asanas, I love the goal: peace of mind. In soccer one wants to win. I don't care.

Of course one can switch activities every few years. Then one is always beginner. Being beginner or having beginner's mind is a difference. For me it feels good to be an advanced beginner.

When I want to have something new, I go to a new shop and buy myself a new pullover. Yesterday I've been at Abercrombie & Fitch. What an experience. I'll write about it.

Picture: Part of Aikido is to fight with a wooden sword.

If you want to become a master, find out what fits to you, your personality, your life style, your body and then keep practicing, day in day out, decade after decade.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Flow flow flow

"See you in 3 weeks again?" M asked me when I left the shala. He asked where I've been and I said: "I didn't made it out of the bed." Finally this was the truth. This is sometimes so, was his comment. Yogis take it easy. :)

I practiced primary and it was excellent. Flow was my focus today. My breath guided me through the practice. This is what I want to do. It was a wonderful practice.

Picture: Sometimes I also use blocks under my hands to have it easier to stand up. One block is still not high enough. Today on my way home I bought 2 more blocks. Using the blocks makes the pose easier in general. Don't ask me why.

Today I've licked blood again. I want to profit from the atmosphere and energy in classes, too. I've enough solo practices where I can explore poses.

Btw: Ashtanga yoga is also a mental exercise. To stay positive can be learned. With time one is able to do more and more asanas and this changes thoughts from negative to positive. Positive thinking seems to be contagious. One can become also positive re other areas of life. One finds time to practice i.e. also this seemed to be impossible. Many many years I got up at 5am to have one hour of Ashtanga yoga. Sharath starts his practice at 1am. It's possible.

This has been my big break now. I do marathon cleaning. It's necessary. My yoga room is clean already. :)

And tomorrow? Moon sequence by M. Sweeney.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fine-tuning of my routines

Practicing Ashtanga yoga and having other duties and interests, too means that one has to use the available time wisely.

Let's talk about showering:
I shower in the morning when I get up. This is the first activity, even before making a cup of coffee for myself. That's OK.
I used to take a bath after my yoga practice rather often lately. This feels good. It relaxes the muscles. Yet I lose time. And afterwards I feel so relaxed that I want to lie on the bed. Sometimes I do it. It requires energy to do anything. Why to make life difficult?
I'll take a short shower after practice and I'll postpone bathing to the evening. Then I can also wash my hair. It's good to be so relaxed in the evening before sleeping.
I tested this new routine today and it was very good.

It feels as if I have one hour more.

2 hours and 15 min I practiced today and it was primary that was on the schedule. I added asanas, like the splits. I'm amazed.
Tomorrow I'll go to a Mysore class!!!!!!! I want to practice primary. Friday is my primary day.

Details count.

Sorry, but I feel fucking great

The irony of this all is, I've done nothing for it. This morning when I kissed my darling E good-bye.  I said: "Remember, you do now what I always wished to do."
He turned around and  smiled. How can one wish to be an employee, pressed as if one is confused with a citron? Yet this was my wish. I was kicked out. For the better.

I got up later than wished this morning. Hahaha....
Then I practiced primary. What a highlight in my modest life.
It was planned to cook afterwards. It was cold outside, yet I needed some ingredients for my Moroccan meal. Brrrrhhhh, was I glad when I was at home finally. I cooked. The result was above average. In the meantime I'm often better than the chefs in the restaurants round the corner. How I enjoyed my meal, every spoon of it.

To clean the kitchen now is a piece of cake.

My life is a wonderful happening.

I stand less and less in my own way.

Back bending

If a back bending is easy, one can hold it longer to be challenged. For me the easy back bending positions give me the feeling that it's doable. Slowly I go deeper. When the pose is not so challenged I can focus more on a deep breath.

These pictures are interesting for me. Props don't belong to Ashtanga yoga, nevertheless I can imagine that holding weights in the hand of the stretched hand, could help to stretch.

Today I practice primary. The only really intensive back bending is urdhva dhanurasana at the end. The picture tells me the truth. In order to come up, my feet and legs must be much closer to each other. My attempt today is to really hold this pose for 5 deep breaths.

Poses that I add: forward split and side split. Forward split is a preparation pose for back bending as it stretches the front of the leg that points backwards.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Back bending

Back bending is my weakness. Perseverance is my strength. 

I keep working on these back bending asanas. Also today I spent a lot of time before kapotasana. I realized that I need more time to become soft and flexible. To do laghu vajrasana and then kapotasana is a huge step. I need interim steps.
I want to love to stretch backwards. This I can say about my exercises today. I loved it. I gave myself all the time I needed till I felt ready for kapotasana. I wanted to do it finally. "Yeah, now I want to know how it feels, how far I come today", was the self talk. It was not: "Oh my God, now kapotasana, I don't like to do it."

One cannot see progress on a daily basis. I know this, I know this. 

Two and a half hours I practiced. All poses of second series were done.
Today I started with the CD by Sharath. It has been some time that I've done it. I had to get used to the rhythm again. Fast one has to go into an asana. One breath and one has to be in the pose.

I practice because it feels good. This practice is my daily highlight. So content I am.

Time to have lunch. I'll eat out in my favorite vegan restaurant here: yam vegan deli.

Here is the pose: kapotasana. It's doable, I see it. I'm very optimistic. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guilt and Ashtanga yoga

Do I really feel guilt when I don't practice Ashtanga yoga 6 days a week?
Not really.

I distinguish the reasons why I miss a practice:
All these reasons can be excuses. Who knows?
Yet here are some:
- Other things are more important. Yes, this is possible.
- Laziness.
- Lack of discipline.
- The body needs a day off.

I don't feel guilt, but I regret not to have practiced when it was laziness. Rarely I'm enthusiastic when dawdling wins over practicing.

I know that it's better to practice daily, better, because it's easier.
In addition progress can be seen faster.

I've been always so that I regretted if I missed a practice that used to be important to me. I remember the times when I practiced Aikido, daily. Once a woman wanted to go to the theatre with me. She almost begged me to accompany her, yet I didn't like to miss my Aikido class. Looking back I think I could have really made an exception. I've given up Aikido.
Also 3 decades ago, when my body was much more flexible, I could feel when I had a day off. Quickly the body became stiff. But it got flexible again fast. This has changed now. My feeling: quickly my body gets stiff.  To get flexible again I've to work hard.
Same is with the weight: I eat a praliné and next day my weight punishes me with 2 pounds more. To get rid of the golden hip I need days. (just a joke, hahaha, but the tendency is true).

Yesterday I read in the book "Yoga, The spirit and practie of moving into stillness" by Erich Schiffmann. Here one can find the 1% theory. I got reminded that yoga, all styles have the goal to find peace in life. Practicing asanas helps, yet it's not the only goal to stand in handstand for 5 breaths i.e..
Sidemark: Also Erich recommends a daily practice.

This in mind, I'll step on the mat for second series.

All my posts remind me: It's all a happening. Who can feel guilty? The "self", "I" is just a concept. The self is a combination of genes, conditioning,

PS: Thank you for buying your amazon products via my blog. Links are on the right side of this blog.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flexible in many ways

On the road again.
Today we both will drive home to Munich again. I'm looking forward to my chaos.

Yesterday I registered my father on facebook. He won't even check it, I know it. 85 is the new 60 I try to convince him. Yet he had a sleepless night due to facebook. It's fun, no stress, I told him. He has a different view. He thinks he must write something and he doesn't know what. It's very likely that I'll delete his account again next time.

We feast here. Oh my.

Outside it's grey. This afternoon I'll walk to the castle with my camera. I need to move.

Routines can be very helpful. Being flexible also means to feel good without the fine-tuned routines. I do.

Re my yoga I feel that a shift happened. For a few months I was super ambitious re the performance of asanas, especially third series should develop. I got back to the view that a daily practice is it. Respecting the ups and downs of the body is it. Not every day is the same. Concentration is as important as strength and flexibility. Also here, less can be sometimes more.

My plan for the next days:
Second series tomorrow.
Mysore class on Friday
Thursday is primary day, so is Friday.

Saturday I'll do the moon sequence.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Primary. Done.

So glad. I practiced and enjoyed it.

Nothing was added. Every asana got the same attention, the vinyasas, too. I've not yet reached the level that I like to have in primary. I see progress in general and this satisfies me. Path and goal belong together.

Tomorrow again primary.

We're so tired these days. Also this morning it was difficult to find the way out of the bed. Might it be so. I make new resolutions for tomorrow.

Upavishta konasana is one of the asanas that could become better. What is good: I don't betray myself. The back is straight. Of course I could bring my chin to the floor. Yet this is not what the position is about. It shall enlarge the movement of the hips.

Oh, I must hurry.  I'll see B again and her little one. Oh is he sweet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A joyful day

Carnival or Fasching how they call it here was yesterday. It was the last of the crazy days and I went downtown. It snowed, this didn't hold me back. What a joyful atmosphere was downtown. Music was everywhere. People danced despite the snow and the cold weather. My mood was excellent. I could capture some nice moments.

I was at home early. Nevertheless I overslept this morning. What is this?????

Then I got a phone call. The baby was born last night and I could visit happy parents and a tiny yet so sweet newborn. To see such a little being warms the heart.

Tomorrow primary!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My practice today....

I did the back bendings as middle part and one twist. Then I stopped, the mind had no focus anymore. I feel mercy with myself. This seems to be a rule, after a good practice follows a not so good onw.

Now I'm in carnival mood. The music from the radio doesn't allow anything else. Might it stop snowing soon, then I'll go downtown, shooting.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I shall not expect miracles.

Quality beats quantity.

Being active is the secret to feel good. Yep, mood cannot be better, but what is a mood, a fading feeling.

The trick to bring me on the mat was that one voice in my mind told another voice, just to focus on the first passive step where I lie on a block. It's a slight back bending and wakes me up. This time the whole person, hahaha.....All the different parts shall march in one direction, not in different ones. This gives focus and motivation.

Like yesterday I did a lot of back bending asanas. It felt as if I progress. It can be that this is not true, but important is that I start loving again to exercise these sort of asanas.

The idea to create an album of all the back bending asanas that I do before kapotasana is still in my mind. For the next practices I don't want to interrupt my practice.

Despite my current enthusiasm, I know that only hard work will bring me to kapotasana and no miracles.

2 hours I practiced, then I stopped with the middle part and did the finishing sequence. It's good to have a time limit. 2 and a half hours are enough yoga every day!

I overslept. Not amused.

Yet what pleased me when I opened this page. This is the 6001 blog post. Oh my.......:)

I overslept, it's no drama. My night was long yesterday. After midnight I found the way to the bed. "Homeland" kept me awake. It's so exciting. I can't wait till next Sunday night.

My jet lagged E is back from his trip to the US. I'm busy washing his laundry. So practicing at home has also a tiny advantage. The washing machine is running already the first time. I can fill it a second time soon.

My plan is clear: second series today. I'll add some asanas that prepare third series asanas like the splits. I'll do more back bending asanas than the series has. To prepare kapotasana is necessary. I do have a tolerance for stretching pain, yet when fun is fading, when resistance to do these back bending poses becomes bigger and bigger, I must approach these challenges with more care and slower.

Yesterday I loved back bending again. This tells me that I'm on the right way. Kapotasana requires preparation.

I think kapotasana is possible for me during this life time. It is. Yet I must approach with persistence and with care. I must put more time in it to learn it than people at a younger age, yet I'm so convinced it's possible for me, too. I dare to say, before my 60th birthday. Lol.

Time to move on. Life is too short to dawdle too much.....hahaha......

Sunday, February 10, 2013

80/20 rule

It was a good session. I focused on those 20% asanas that needed more attention, more work to improve. And I gave them 80% of the available time. I'm in peace with back bending again. To progress slowly makes it easier for me. I need more preparation asanas for kapotasana when I want to improve. I know so many back bending asanas, they are all good. Urdhva dhanurasana at the end seemed to be easy. The counterpose  paschimottanasana was difficult and this told me that I practiced intensively only that I didn't felt so.

I also had more time as I would have had when I went to a led primary class: no commuting and a shorter practice. It could be that I progress faster with the strategy to focus on back bending for a while. And 3 times a week I'll go again to a Mysore class, where I practice most of the time full second series. To get back to primary on Friday would be OK for me, too.
I'll test my strategy for a months or two.

Tonight "Homeland" is on the entertainment list.

I wonder

I wonder if I shall practice at home, second series till back bending. I could work on back bending, my weakness instead of going to a led class, primary. I'd had more time as I had no commuting time. I'd had a shorter practice, why not. My back bending shall improve, to give it more time is what will help me.

Yesterday I had a short practice, too. 30 min I practiced the moon sequence by M. Sweeney. I stopped when  about 2 third was over. I want to learn it by hard, so less is more.

One hour second series, with focus on back bending. I tend to do this. To have only one night between 2 intensive practices is short. Perhaps I feel more relaxed for the practice tomorrow, too.
I'll be late in bed. "Homeland" is broadcast again, I want to watch.

I think I've already made a decision, I'll practice at home, as it will give me more time for my photography. The day is so fragmented with a practice at 3:45pm.


Yesterday I saw "Django unchained". Oh my, it was good. Hard. Bloody. It's also a very aesthetic movie. Afterwards I couldn't sleep even though it was already after midnight.

My prevailing mood is excellent.
This evening E is coming home. He's over the big sea right now. The trip in the US has come to an end. I've vitamins at home to help him over the jet lag.

Time to practice!!!!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Primary today, at home

I had to bring myself on the mat today, I had to.

My plan:
- The first step is so important. I planned to lie an my block as usual to have a soft back bending. When this is done I usually go on. So, this morning I focused on this tiny step in the beginning. It worked.
- I limited the time. Primary shall not last longer than 2 hours, second series with third series asanas no longer than 2 hours 30 min. If it last longer I dawdled. Or it's simply too much. Savasana is not included.
- For the future I want to start with my practice between 8am and 10am. Routines help.

After yoga I needed 30, better 40 min to be ready for other activities. I took a bath, washed my hair, dried it, dressed, put a bit make up an my face. I did it often enough, yet I don't want not to shower after a practice.

This is a part time job. It's OK, but this is it. I don't want to spend more time for this passion, because I've other passions, too: photography i.e.

Tomorrow I'll practice the moon sequence by Matthew Sweeney. I want to start at 9am.

My practice today has been surprisingly good. I could do all asanas, the twists, supta kurmasana, all. Not that the practice was elegant, not at all. Elegant i.e. is when I lift my legs straight when I do headstand.

I feel that I've room again for my practice and time.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013 true

I've been at a lecture yesterday. Oh, I arrived like a snow woman. As soon as I had entered the hotel where the lecture took place, the snow on my head and coat melted, my hair got wet. Soon this was forgotten. I cannot remember when I've been at such a professional evening. The analysts from the company that had invited, wore all dark red cravats, one man wore a red bow tie. Only the boss had a blue cravat. :) haha...The ladies wore costumes in the same color. They were all best prepared and passionate.

One of the tips at the end: live rich, don't die rich. Spend your money, enjoy it.  Yep, I lived a bit, today. Hahaha.....

I've been busy, not lazy during January and by now. I'm glad that I accomplished so much. Almost all authorities know my new name. My driver's licence should arrive soon.
I decluttered a lot - an ongoing process.
I read a lot - I need it.

I realized that it could be good to change a bit the approach to my practice: more fun, less ambition. And it's surely helpful to get back to a strict routine. To be on the mat at 8am daily should be doable.

Right now I feel exhausted in a positive way. I feel complacent. A good feeling.

I watch soccer: France - Germany. Afterwards I'll go to bed.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Not yet back to a stable rhythm

Oh my, it has been after midnight when I went to bed. They broadcast the US-series "Homeland" here. I had to watch. I didn't regret it. The series has 11 more parts.

This morning I switched off the alarm clock. I kept sleeping. Perhaps I needed it. Obviously. It was too late to hurry to the Mysore class when I finally opened my eyes.
I ate my breakfast while leaning against my balcony door and observed the tiny snow flakes falling down. It's cold outside, I thought. I know what it means that I didn't get up. I've to practice alone without the energy of a group of yogis and yoginis. Since the winter break of our teacher M is over, I'm not yet back to a stable routine. Who cares?

I'm sipping my second cup of coffee. It warms me and wakes me up.

I already checked my calender: 3 appointments this week. The items on my to-do list got less, I'm down to 14 activities. I shall see how far I come today. If I can cross out one duty I'm happy. I love minimalistic days.

The plan for my practice: 
1. I'll limit the time. 2 hours is enough.
2. I'll practice second series.
3. Focus is back bending with some extra asanas that support it.
4. I'll do the closing sequence with the CD by Sharath. I'm too fast here when I practice alone. Quickly I want to bring it behind me when I'm so far. Yet the closing sequence is for cooling down.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Second series today

I practiced at home till yoga nidrasana. On Sundays I'd love to start with second series. And I want to finish my practice on Friday with primary. In the middle of the week I want to practice as much as possible, I also want to exercise third series asanas. My practice took place much earlier than usual when I go to a led class, that way my body has much more time to recover. To have only a night between 2 intensive practices is exhausting. Oh my am I sensitive. I'm curious how I'll feel tomorrow.

The day has been good, I had energy for so many activities. I cleaned the fridge in the morning. I lot of jars could go, date expired. Have I cleaned the fridge the last time in 2011? However, I created room there and it's clean as well and all the ice is gone, too.

Then yoga. It has been a lovely session, so relaxed. I set a time limit. 2 hours I wanted to practice. I did a lot of back bending asanas. I've the feeling I must give this back bending asanas more attention, more time if I want to progress. Less asanas and more intensity for some might be good from time to time.

My beluga lentil salad has been super good.

I know, I'm not alone. I know some people who have the same feeling like me. Time runs through the fingers. Practicing at home I had more time as I had no commuting. It was so cold out in addition.

Sofa time now. I'm alone at home. My beloved E is in Las Vegas. It's a bit too silent here. I pamper myself, too with a good dinner, yet it's more joy to prepare it for the two of us.