Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Prasarita padottanasana C

I have preferences. I prefer the version when the palms face each other.

When I turn the hands I have the feeling as if I cannot take the arms closer to the floor. I feel stuck.

It is said that the above position opens the shoulders more. I don't feel that. Yet one can really exercise both versions.

Utthita parsva konasana

Also utthita parsva konasana got adjusted during my stay in Vienna.

The teacher saw that I had too much weight on my hand. Yet it's the feet/legs that stabilize the pose. When the feet press into the floor the upper body is more flexible. At once the asanas feels better.

I never liked to take pictures of this asana because the face looked always a bit strange due to the head position.

My head got adjusted, too.

The head doesn't move backwards, it turns around. That is, the chin doesn't move upwards, it turns around.
It might be even easier to look first backwards, and then going down into the position.

When the head position is correct, the back of the neck and the back are in line. Then the head is parallel to the camera and this pose looks nicely also on pictures.

Dristis are important. From L I learned it's not gazing at a point, yet gazing towards a point. His example was downward facing dog. When the bandhas are engaged one will never be able to see the navel. Yet one can look towards it.
It's always looking TOWARDS a point.

To have the weight on the legs is doable at once.
To correct the head position will take time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Surya namaskara B - Jumping forward

The hint, that I'll describe in this post, has changed my surya namaskara A, but also how I jump forward. It bettered enormously. I found another piece of the mosaic. 

My practice was observed in great detail in Vienna. I thought I would move my leg straight between my hands, but this was not the case. The poses feel so differently than they look. I did this movement in slow motion and I realized that I have to move the knee closer to the body in order to keep it in line. 

Usually I didn't care much about this short moment when the foot was between the hands. I moved the hands upwards. I took care that my bent leg remained parallel to the floor. Most students move upwards here. 
I tried to have a 90% angle between leg and body. This was it. 

Yet this moment when the foot is between the hands is worth being studied. Why: It can help how one jumps forward. 

I put a blanket on the floor so that my foot is about 1cm off the floor. Usually my body was on the knee. One can be creative and find time to relax even when not expected. Yet it's so much more useful to have space between body and leg. If there is enough space between body and leg and foot and floor, jumping through without touching the floor is possible. 

I hold this pose (pic 2) for several breaths. The body shall remember this position. Secondly it's good to build strength exactly in this position. Best is being able to have the foot off the floor without blanket.

Last Friday when I was in a Mysore class I was so astonished how often I was able to jump forward without sliding on the floor with my feet. The understanding of this position helped me. Sometimes it's just getting a hint and the pose or vinyasa improves. Sometimes one has to work towards a goal. 

When jumping forward it's even a bit easier, because the legs are crossed and therefore it's easier to have the feet of the ground because there is more room. 
I also remembered the height where the feet pass by the arms. 

To experience that it is possible to create space between the floor and the feet and the leg and the body helps also psychologically. It's an 'aha-moment'. To see this space is the prove that the jumps are possible.

I move the leg in slow motion between the arms. I take a break when my foot is between my arms to build strength. I try to lift up the foot. My body doesn't rest anymore an the leg.

Suddenly the sun salutations become interesting again. Not only this. They exhaust me again. 

Try it! This hint has the potential to better your vinyasas. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Chaturanga Dandasana

During my last stay in Vienna I went to an Ashtanga yoga school. This was surely one highlight of this trip. We were only few people in class and I got more or less a private lesson. The feed-back that I got will change my practice.

Let's start with the sun salutation: 
The sun salutation serve as a warm up. Yet when performed correctly they can prepare to perform asanas and vinyasas.

Practicing chaturanga dandasana correctly helps to build  strength that is needed when jumping backwards i.e..
Currently I feel stuck at the 'jumping backwards' because I don't know how to shift the weight of my body forward towards my hands when I've lifted the body, so that my legs have room enough to move/fly backwards.

I have found a key to this challenging movement. It starts really at the very beginning.
The asanas and vinyasas feel differently than they actually look like.

I always tried to feel the weight of my body on my hands before I actually jumped backwards, Obviously it was not enough and soon the weight was more on the feet than on the arms.

The advise was to make smaller jumps and to move the shoulders forward.
I try this now and it's so much more challenging. It feels even a bit awkward. I might hang a bit  through. The bandhas could be engaged more. Yet I've found another tiny piece of the mosaic.
The lower arms shall be parallel to the wall.
(To change a habit can be difficult.)

Practicing chaturanga dandasana correctly will help me to build strength in the arms that is needed for the 'jumping backwards vinyasa'. I'm glad for every tiny step.
Try it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

This morning I gave up!

This morning after a lousy almost sleepless night I gave up. First I didn't get up as planned. I felt exhausted, even ill. When I finally got up the blood pressure seemed to be low. I felt dizzy. In the kitchen I hesitated for some time. But I felt so bad that I finally ate the blackberries that I still had from the first day, the fruit day. After that I dashed at the banana, but I couldn't eat it the whole banana. The body and mind were too weak to put it on a plate afterwards. To eat tofu and vegetables again like yesterday already for breakfast seemed to be a horror. I schlepped myself to the bed again. Feet and hands were ice cold. The rest of the body felt even feverish. Overall feeling: very bad. Relaxation overpowered me and slowly I got better.

During the last days I planned already the first meal after these 7 days of fasting. Now it was the breakfast on the 5th day. It required some energy to prepare it. In pyjama I ate it and I knew that to give up this 'fasting' only 2 days before the official end was the best I could do. The energy was exhausted after the act of preparing a tiny meal. To put back my ingredients was too much already. Horizontal in the bed again I waited till the food would kick in. This was soon the case. Energy returned and it allowed me to shower. 

I'm happy with my decision and that I don't have to play the role of a hero. Enough is enough.
My goals are reached. 

1. I slipped into this treasure trap lately, how I call it now after having read the book 'The treasure Trap'. The craving for sweets, chocolate, cakes, panna cotta had no limit. This found an end. Today I'll meet a friend to see the Warhol exhibition. At the opposite side of the museum is my favorite ice cream seller. Alone the thought of eating ice cream makes me feel sick. And it is my favorite coconut vegan ice cream. I used to go miles for it at any time. 

2. My wished weight is reached also. I can imagine that this is the most interesting point for many in a society where half of it is overweight. The yogis are in general slimmer. I won't make a secret out of it,  here is a graph. One of my first apps was 'Check your weight'. Every day one can enter the weight. Hahahaha......... 

One can clearly see, that weight goes up and down. This is normal and no yoyo. During my vacation I couldn't enter anything but as so often at the end it's a bit on the upper rim. It's almost impossible to eat healthy in restaurants. And then I started the 'fasting'. It was not really satisfying to see that every day only a few gram less were on the scales. In sum it was great. I lost 2 kg and 200 gr within 5 days. The effort for this was huge. 

Life is an experiment. I loved to experience the effect on the body if one eats food of a certain kind only. It felt unbalanced. One shouldn't feel hunger during these 7 days. This promise couldn't be kept 100%, which is not a tragedy. 

I have made plans for the day after. This is a post to come. 

NEVER AGAIN, I'll try a fasting.

Monday, September 07, 2015

The fifth day of 'fasting'

The worst of the day is behind me already: The Mysore class. This is a joke. It was awesome. My practice had an intensity that I cannot create at home even though I have a focused practice these days. The wall cannot substitute the adjustments of my teacher M when I exercise kapotasana. 
I sweated, I felt thirsty after the practice. At home I fell in the bed and slept. 

Today is the fifth day of 'fasting': 

I thought: OMG, this day will become difficult. 
The first step was to change this self-talk. I managed 4 days, why shall I not manage day 5? 

Here is the menu of day 5: 
1. Drink your glass of water. Done.
2. Today 2 portions of Tofu and 6 tomatoes in sum are on the menu. It's best to eat the tomatoes raw. 
3. One shall drink 1 l of water minimum in addition.
4. It's allowed to eat the 'miracle soup'. The recipe can be found on yesterday's post. When I reread this, I became optimistic again. 

I celebrate my meals. I taste consciously what I put into my mouth. Chewing happens automatically. I realize how the consistency of the food changes the longer it is in the mouth. Also the taste changes. 

The meals are light. I'm not full, but it is enough what I eat. Less is more. 

There is a lot to do today. This redirects the focus to something else but this 'fasting'. I'll sleep as much as I want. I don't feel hungry, but when I ask myself 100 times, I might change my opinion without real reason. So, it's good that I'm busy. 

Yes, also this day will be doable. 
I feel good. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The fourth day of 'fasting'

The fourth day of 'fasting':
1. It's known already: Drink a glass of water in the morning, room-temperature
2. Today up to 8 bananas and 3 glasses of almond milk were allowed.
3. In addition the 'miracle soup' stood on the menu.

Here is the recipe for the soup as you see it on the picture: 
The ingredients:
- half an onion
- 2 stems of celery
- 1 red pepper
- 1 peeled tomato
Herbs of the Provence and a bit of salt. All herbs were allowed.

I simmered the onions in olive oil, added slowly the rest of the vegetables. I let the soup simmer about 20 minutes.

I can clearly say, I had no hunger today. Nevertheless the meals are light. Cravings disappear. It becomes clear why this week is called 'fasting'. It refreshes the senses. I'm surprised how good I feel.

Half of this fasting week is over. I started already planning the time after.

A story: Yesterday I had prepared this salad with carrots. The dressing should be of olive oil and apple vinegar. Quick, quick I took the closest vinegar. The apple vinegar was behind other bottles. Of course I have up to 7 different vinegars. So I used this speciality that stood in the fridge door. To be honest it spoiled the salad. After having eaten fresh fruit and vegetables as they grow in nature during the last days, this sugar- spicy,-vinegar was so artificial. It was too much ugly taste. It was insofar good that I used it, as I realized how quickly my senses recovered.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The third day of 'fasting'

The third day:

1. Recommendation: Drink a glas of water after getting up, every day, so also today. I am into that habit.
2. Today fruit and vegetables were allowed except bananas and potatoes.

Pictures show breakfast, lunch and dinner.....

This morning I woke up and didn't feel so good. I went to the kitchen and had my first portion of fruit. After a while I felt good. It's still interesting to see what influence the single ingredients have on the body. I feel light, I'm not starving, but I miss bread. The taste sensitizes.

To stroll around feels good. It distracts. This is not a hunger diet. It's not necessary to scrutinize the feelings and the body every minute.

The Ratatouille was a bit boring, but it was filling. It's evening. This was my last meal for today.

The mental food for this week is a book that I can highly recommend: It's called 'The treasure trap'.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The second day of 'fasting'

The second day:
1. Drink a glass of water in the morning
2. Have a cooked or baked potato as breakfast with coconut oil or vegan butter (margarine).

3. Eat only vegetables during the day (no beans).

I'm still enthusiastic about this 'fasting'experience. To eat a potato for breakfast made me laugh. After a day of only fruit, one potato was so filling. It tasted GOOD. I took many bites with margarine and salt on it. A dream. :)

After my first vegetable 'soup' as a late lunch, I was still a bit empty in my stomach, but soon this feeling disappeared. I had a second plate tonight. It was not necessary. It was rather social eating, dinner that I prepared for my better half.

I feel full of energy.
The ravenousness disappeared.

Ah, what to drink: In the morning I have a cup of coffee or two (black, no sugar). During the day I drink water and I had two cups of Matcha tea.

It is so interesting so realize what an influence the single ingredients have on the body.

This fasting idea is from the book 'SOS - Schlank ohne Sport' by Katharina Bachman who had it from her Indian doctor. The book is in German.

I'm looking forward to day 3.

A week of 'fasting'.

The first day:
1. It's recommended to drink a glass of water (room temperature) in the morning.
2. The first day is the fruit day. All fruits are allowed, but no bananas.
3. In order not to have hunger it's allowed to eat Chia-samen, that is soaked in water.

The fruit day is already over and it was an interesting experience. We even had a Papaya. Nevertheless fruit doesn't fill up. One doesn't love to eat another orange and another kiwi if one has eaten already 2 pieces from each. This is why fruit is no drug. It doesn't make addicted like sugar. After an apple it is enough apple.

The main goal why I do this 'fasting' is to reset the body to stop the craving for sugar and fat.
I'm glad that I was consequent the first day. I had a lot of energy.
This morning I woke up early and practiced the first Ashtanga series. I had no hunger. I felt refreshed.

Tomorrow I'll write about day 2.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The break

During our holidays in Austria and Slovenia I practiced only once in a studio in Vienna. This was one of my highlights.

Most hotel rooms had a carpet and this is not inviting. Space was so limited. No, I didn't like to crawl there on the ground.

The break has had good aspects, too. I don't feel the pain in my back anymore. Almost. It's so incredible much better. I'm so relieved.

Back to the highlight, the practice in Vienna. I got feed-back from a teacher with a lot of experience. And I know he is right. I could sign everything that he said to me. I had almost a private session there. The feed-back about single asanas was useful, too. Yet the general feed-back will change what I'll do from now on.
A lot went wrong in the past, the last 12 years. I don't care. I pick myself up where I am.

There is a huge difference between my forward bending asanas, twists and back bending. This developed over the years. In India I once heard a yogini saying: Too much primary. Now I know what it means. I practiced too long primary.
This gap between my ability to bend forward and to bend backward won't change by it's own. To close the gap in order to have a balanced practice again I plan the following:
On Sundays I'll practice at home. I'll do second series. I'll repeat the back bending poses. I'll do extra back bending poses. As they come first now, I'll have the energy.
For me it's no more enough to hold kapotasana for 5 breaths and then doing the next pose. That way I can try this pose till I'll be 100 years old.
Also in Mysore classes I'll hold the backbending poses longer, I hope I'll have the energy for this. In Mysore classes I practice half of primary first. This gives me the opportunity to work on the vinyasas.
Monday, Wednesday and Friday I'll join our group. On Friday is primary. This is a fixed ritual.
Yet on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday I'll try to close the gap, so that one day backbending and forwardbending are equally developed.

Yoga is about balance. My practice is not balanced. I could realize this so clearly. I'm ready to change this.

Time to is just a new start, a soft beginning, after a break.