Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Very late I learned that one has to lift up the body. Only the arms and the chin touch the floor.

It's important to know the goal.

One day I found out which messages I must give my body. It's not: 'Lift up the feet'. It's rather stretch the legs. Then the heels come up from alone. In the beginning it can help to point the toes. This can be an interim step. It also helps to press the arms against the floor.

Sometimes it helps to experiment.

PS: It helps to slide the feet forwards on the floor (not on the sticky mat).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Urdhva mukha paschimottanasana

A tiny alteration can be seen. I move into the pose while the hands hold the feet from the side. When I'm in that pose I hold my heels. That way it's easier to adjust oneself, that is to bring the legs closer to the body. It makes a difference.

Upavishta konasana A and B

The toes are not pointed. It might make it easier in the beginning to point the toes. Today I checked how P. Jois is performing this poses and how M. Sweeney is performing this poses and they both do it the same way. It's just a detail. I'm not sure if it's so important.

This morning I practiced at home and I took pictures of primary Ashtanga series. I'm rather happy with the results.

Yet I also know on which asanas I want to focus: It's the back bending. It's also the vinyasas. For me it makes more sense to add a home practice and focus on these asanas than to go to a led class.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I slept in...

On Monday I had the feeling that I'm behind everything. I skipped the Mysore class to use all my energy for the life off the mat. I was so diligent. I accomplished so much here. Even the balcony is decorated with some flowers now. They became a daily joy already. It's one of the first actions I do in the morning. I prepare my cup of coffee and I go to the balcony to look at my flowers.
I cleaned the windows on Monday, I bought tickets, I bought a coffee machine. At the end of the month I'll have guests. I must count again, but I think we'll be about 13 people and we'll stay together the entire day. Preparation is necessary for such an event. Also this year the oldest guest is above 90. The youngest guest, a boy is 2 years old. Planning is everything to have a relaxed birthday.

Today I slept in, which drives me crazy. My alarm clock stopped. Yesterday night it fell on the floor. I didn't check it. This morning I saw that it had stopped at 9pm. It was that early that I went to bed to be really awake for the Mysore class. It shouldn't be. It will be a home practice today.

And this post should be about: what gets me going. I was asked. 

1. Best is to have a routine, a strong habit. I think many people want too much at once. Every New Year a list is made what shall be changed. Soon the  list is forgotten. To create one habit at a time is enough.
2. Not to question every day a decision is a good advice, too.
3. Imagine the feeling how it is when something is done is helpful, too.
4. Horror pictures might work, too.

I could go on and on with this list. What gets you going is also very individual. To observe oneself might deliver information. Which activities do you do easily? Why? How do you do them? Then use this pattern for other activities that are more difficult to do.

Now I have time for a second cup of coffee......... before I step on the mat.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A familiar situation

Sometimes one has to convince oneself to get up early and to go. Most of the time it's imply a routine. I go to bed on time, set the alarm clock and the other morning I get up without inner discussion, not even with a tiny bit of hesitation. But after a day off , quickly the idea comes up to sleep in another day, too.

I got up and I went to a Mysore class. I have my tricks to get me going. And of course there is no regret.

My yoga week has started today.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Laghu vajrasana requires strong legs

Laghu vajrasana is a challenging pose, too. Yet it's more the vinyasa that is challenging. To move controlled into the pose, staying there for 5 breaths and then coming up again requires a lot of strength in the legs. The bandhas shall be engaged, too. When the legs relax only a tiny bit during the performance of this asana, you have lost.

The steeper the bow the easier it is to come up. Yet no excuses. In order to come up from all the back bending asanas, might it be kapotasana or urdhva dhanurasana we need a lot of strength in the legs. One cannot exercise often enough to come up.

Down and up - this is my current performance. It's good to repeat the poses that are difficult. From May on I could try to hold this pose for one looooong breath.

Tomorrow is Saturday and a moon day. That is I can sleep in. That's great even though it's a habit already to get up early (5am). It's no more dark. It's almost strange to stay longer in bed.

Happy weekend to everybody.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Dristhi is the nose

It can become a habit quickly. Only a few days it might be a matter of concentration.

Dristi is not looking upwards, even though the body is moving upwards.

Dristi is the nose.

Most people frown the front when looking upwards. It's difficult to keep the face relaxed when looking upwards. This is why the nose is the much better dristi.

As mentioned already, it's a matter of concentration till it's a habit. Urdhva mukha svanasana is a counter pose and it's done rather often when practicing Ashtanga primary series. It makes sense to get into a good habit.

"Reach for the floor."

I think I get it.

Sometimes I stretch my arms as preparation.

"Don't reach for the wall, reach for the floor," is the recommendation then.

The goal is to bring the hands as close as possible to the feet. The chest lifts upwards. This makes it easier to come up. Also this pose shall be done controlled. It's not falling backwards. Most people will fall a bit. The shorter the way is that one falls to the floor, the easier it is to come up.

The understanding how to come up deepens.

Back bending always means strong legs. Back bending is not only improving flexibility, but also strength.

One practice is over and I'm looking forward to the next one: Primary tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Urdhva dhanurasana 2009 and 2015

This post is for those who are interested in history. The first pictures shows me in urdhva dhanurasana in 2009. I was not yet able to drop back. 
The second picture was taken this morning by myself. I think something has moved. 


I was curious. How far away are my hands from the toes these days? I took some pictures. I'm in a good mood today so I prefer to think that they are a tiny bit closer. Yeah........To be honest, I don't know. Yet this pose feels better than a year ago. I love to repeat it.

It's unbelievable, but I do believe that one day my fingers will touch my toes without the help of a teacher. Then I'll think: Voilà.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Back bending, back bending, back bending

Ustrasana: I held this pose for 8 long breaths. It shall prepare me for what comes next.

Laghu vajrasana: Also today I moved backwards till my head touched the floor and then I came up. This time I stayed a tiny tiny bit longer. No, I shouldn't mention this fracture of a second. More important was, that I repeated this pose. The second time was so much more difficult to come up. Before moving backwards I visualize Sergei Polunin, the ballet dancer. In the choreography to 'Take me to church' is a movement that is a laghu vajrasana. Sergei moves backwards and upwards with such elegance. This is my role model here. It looks so easy when he does it.

Kapotasana: There are days where this pose feels awful. Today it felt excellent. Then I'm happy. I had the feeling that I was in a deep deep back bending.

Urdhva dhanurasana: Each time when I exercise this pose I try to get closer with my arms. G showed me a trick. When on the balls of the feet it's easier to walk the hands in. When they are closer one can lower the heels again and voilà the bow is a tiny bit closer. The leg muscles get stretched. I shift the weight to the arms to stretch the front of the body and I try to hoooooooold this pose.
M motivates and challenges A LOT.

I do love the atmosphere in the shala. We are a wild bunch of so committed practitioners. Here is the link on Facebook.

I finish my practice wholeheartedly with: Thank you.

At home again I prepare breakfast for my E and myself. Sometimes I get a 'Brötchen' for him on the way home. Today we had fruit. We share an apple and a banana.

Then the craziness of the day can begin. I'm ready.

Picture: An encounter this morning.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Laghu vajrasana - the highlight today

Laghu vajrasana is also a back bending pose. Sometimes the vinyasa is more challenging than the pose. The deeper the back bending the easier it is to come up. Nevertheless a lot of strength is required in order to come up. I divided this pose in tinier steps. The goal is to come up, not to fall down and this was it. Today my hair touched the floor, that is I was rather deep in that pose and I came up. I'll repeat this for a month. Then I'll try to stay for one breath, then 2 and so on.......

I also love that all the back bending asana were so pleasing that I had not the feeling to come out of the pose as fast as possible. I loved to stay in the different back bending positions and I breathed deeply and yeah I enjoyed them. I even think it could be a good idea to stay longer in ushtrasana i.e.

Back bending, back bending, back bending.......

Sunday, April 12, 2015

His kapotasana adjustment leaped ahead...

His kapotasana adjustment leaped ahead and in consequence my performance of this crazy pose will leap ahead, too... Ha!

So what changed.  I'm on my knees, the starting point. If you are in awe of life in general this is a familiar position. From here the journey backwards begins.

The soles of my feet look upwards. New is that M puts his feet on mine. This gives me stability.  I can lengthen the body easily. I can push the hips forward, I can open the lower back and I feel stable.

My hands are on the knees of the teacher. The goal is to move them down, till they reach my own feet. (Imagine!) I can try this on my own. Yet this is difficult and distracts from the real work, which is not in the hands. So when my hands are put closer to the floor I can work on lifting up the chest. I can focus on pushing the hands against the shin bones to make the bow of my body rounder, yet I'm not busy to move them on my own.

It's very helpful when my elbows are moved to each other.

Important also is to take time for this pose. One must really stay and breathe. Then one must go deeper. Again the body must get familiar with the deeper position. Again: breathing.... It's not a quick adjustment. M has time. The body must get used to this position. Again and again....

Before the adjustment I worked on my own. This prepares me for the deeper backbending when adjusted. It was a good day today, surprisingly good.

My optimism is back. My attitude towards kapotasana is volatile. Sometimes I think it's within reach. Sometimes I think not. I mean I work on this pose since 7 years. I think of it, I practice it, I visualize it, I watch YouTube videos. I read books on anatomy re this pose, I repeat it and so on.....7 years.

An insight comes into my mind:
If you think it's not possible, you are right.
If you think it's possible, you are right, too.

Trust and optimism will help me to reach my toes with my fingers while bending backwards. LOL. Perhaps in 2015!!! :)

The yoga week has started. I love it. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Back home

Vacation in France were great. To be back home is great, too. Yesterday I slept in, but today I went to the Mysore class.
During the vacation I only practiced once between bathroom and bedroom. It was not a practice that counts. The hotel rooms were nice, but simply too small. Call it an excuse.

Today I wanted to take my practice easy, but I cannot take it easy. My limits move, but I always have to try to get close. 10 days off from yoga, I feared the worst. I was so astonished that the beginning was easy, I even felt flexible. Soon I understood. I lost strength. usually this comes with more flexibility. Soon my muscles started trembling. After the first series I practiced slowly. Also back bending was not that bad as expected. I felt flexible.
My closing sequence was lousy. I was exhausted.

At home again I took a Magnesium. My muscles need it. Fingers crossed that I won't be sore tomorrow. M is back which is a joy. He seems to be full of energy and enthusiasm for this Ashtanga cult. I profit from it. His stay in Mysore was good. I have this impression. He radiated clarity.

The role of a teacher is also to motivate. M motivates.  I only wanted to drop back once into urdhva dhanurasana. My creative mind always finds reasons and excuses for anything. I dropped back 3 times. I was asked how often I dropped back. It was clear that 2 drop backs were still missing before I should get the usual adjustments. I only cheat myself. I'm glad now that I dropped back 3 times. It's possible. Every drop back counts.

My right knee is not OK. It feels swollen inside. It hurts when I do i.e. janu sirsasana C. I switch to janu sirsasana A then and practice around the pain. I fear it's still a consequence of last winter when I fell on my knee on that icy pavement.

A start is made. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.