Sunday, June 21, 2015

Counter poses

There is a counter pose to every asana and I think it's important not to perform it superficially. It's rather good advice to enjoy every bit of it, consciously.

The upward facing dog is the counter pose to all the back bending asanas. When practicing the vinyasas, THIS pose is important. Sometimes it can even be good advice to hold it a bit longer than just for 1 breaths.

I try to find my limit. Before moving on I take a little pause. This little pause lasts as long as I say (silently) the word 'p a u s e'.

The counter pose for the back bending asanas is downward facing dog.
I think that child's pose is sort of counter pose to headstand.

Performing the counter poses can come with discomfort. To practice upward facing dog after supta kurmasana can be difficult. In the beginning one might need more time (as said already) to move into this pose. With time the body becomes more flexible and then also the counter pose becomes easier.

The counter pose to urdhva dhanurasana is paschimottanasana. It's held for 10 breaths, It's not only a transition pose. Adjustments are given. Always. I even think that this counter pose makes sure that no injuries happen. No matter how hard my back bending was after paschimottanasana the body feels good.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Move the leg around the body.

M: "Don't move your body around your leg. Move your leg around your body."

It surely is a little trick to twist the body, so that the shoulder comes forward, so that it's easier to put the leg on this shoulder. Yet all these leg behind head poses aim at opening the hips (and not twisting the body).

Ideally the spine and upper body doesn't move. I had gained already some confidence in these forward bending asanas with the leg behind the body. I see that the work must be done in the hips and that I have to give up my little tricks.

To lift the chest is another advice. Sometimes it's a good start to visualize this movement.

Since yesterday M has split my practice: I practice primary till navasana, then I switch to second series till yoga nidrasana. This is the classic split. I thought it would be easier for me to split and switch, but it has been 2 years now that I haven't practiced that far. I feel challenged. As always it's not only the asanas that have to be mastered, but also the vinyasas.
I love it that something has moved.

After yoga nidrasana it's rather difficult to do urdhva dhanurasana. It will become a bit easier when my body is used to the new practice order. I hope so.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The wheel

I had the feeling that kapotasana was good today. This motivated me to work with my wheel again. What is new on the above pictures is, that my elbows are on the floor. I wanted to put my palms on the floor, yet I needed the wheel to stay in that pose.

This little exercise might be a warm up, but it also stretches front of the body enormously. On the same time it allows to relax.

This wheel is a new tool and I still have to find out where to put the wheel:

To have the feet in the middle of the wheel felt good. In that position I can relax. It stretches the hips. It's surely good advice to engage the leg muscles. Yet the wheel also allows to relax and therefore stretching seems easier. 

Next time I'll try to walk my hands to the feet. :) 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vinyasa - jumping forward

Since I've read an anatomy book by David Keil I try to to jump from downdog onto my hands (not handstand) and I try to hold this pose for a breath before I float through my arms. I used to exercise this against the wall. But what happens when jumping against the wall can be seen in the picture below. The feet stop the body from falling, yet that means that the legs have another position than required. They are too high. This makes falling more likely.

The first pictures shows exactly the leg position, only that I'm in headstand and not on my hands. Nevertheless this picture helped me a lot. It showed me that I don't have to be so afraid of falling. I studied the position when I was into it. The abdomen are engaged. The knees are very close to the body, so are the feet.

Today I tried exactly this. I tried to bring my upper legs to the body as close as possible. I couldn't hold this pose. There is still some work to do. Yet the vinyasa (forward jumping) was very good today. Often the feet didn't touch the floor when I moved the legs through the arms. This is the way.

My next exercise is to try this pose when on my hands. The wall might help here at first. I only want to feel the pose so that I can remember it when I jump into it.

Oh, today is a moon day. I didn't know it because I haven't checked the moon calender. I was so glad that a yogini was at the shala. We practiced together. It was such an intensive practice. I simply loved it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Marichyasana B

This picture shows how Marichyasana B prepares for all the leg-behind-head poses. The knee is already above the body when practicing this pose correctly.

I needed sleep today. No alarm clock woke me up this morning. I read till after midnight in the journals of Fritz J. Raddatz.

Will join the Mysore party again next Monday........Being alone from time to time is good, especially if the body needs more modest practices. My left lower back is somehow pulled since months. I have the feeling I pull it again and again before it can heal. At home I practice modest. No I didn't pull it when doing back bending. Magnesium and modest practices shall support the healing process.
To move is always good, but not always it's recommended to search the limits.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Laghu vajrasana and urdhva dhanurasana

There are many asanas that are difficult because of the vinyasa around them and not because of the asana itself.

Laghu vajrasana is such an asana. The challange is to get out of the pose again. The 'trick' that I always hear is to keep the legs engaged. The leg muscles shall keep the knees together.
The main mistake is to relax when the head touches the floor. Then the game is lost.

The challenge when practicing urdhva dhanurasana is the same. When I drop back from standing position I have my legs engaged first. Yet before falling, my awareness shifts to my upper body. I focus on stretching my arms against the floor so that I won't fall on my head. Unfortunately the legs relax then.
This makes it impossible for me to come up again. I usually rock forwards and backwards. In vain.

This was indeed a very useful hint by M: One must keep the legs engaged. ALL THE TIME.

Thunderbolt here

No, it is not possible today to leave the house with an umbrella. There is a thunderbolt here with heavy rain. This is a weather that makes it impossible to go to a Mysore class. Usually I leave the home NOW. I'm ready. Fully dressed. I don't want to bring my life in danger. It makes no sense today. I regret it.

It will be a home practice.

This would be more than crazy to go out. I'm not careless. I'm still thinking: Shall I? But, no......

There is thunder and lightning and rain. All the time.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The dharma magic wheel and kapotasana

Pictures are such a good learning tool. The poses always feel different than they look like.

I wanted to get my elbows to the floor and I couldn't imagine how. As I can reach the wheel with my hands, I can crawl the hands downwards till they reach the floor. This will intensify this pose a lot. I will have to be attentive and carefully.

The show can go on. This tool inspires me, motivates me.

The magic wheel arrived

A few days back I got a letter from the German post office that I can pick up my parcel at the toll office. I knew at once what this meant: My magic wheel is here in Germany. I had ordered it from the US, that is I have to pay import tax.
It's almost a world trip to get to the tax office. It's outside of Munich. Yet the joy that my parcel finally arrived brightened even more the hot summer day.

Today I used it during my home practice. I know different exercises with the wheel. They challenges progress. It's not only passive stretching.

When I look at the picture below, I think that the exercises with the magic wheel before exercising kapotasana improved this pose.

This wheel also motivates me. It has such a perfect form. It's soft to lie on it. It gives stability. One can roll it. I'll work with it. Definitely.