Sunday, January 08, 2017

When the student is ready, the teachers disappear.

A friend posted this sentence on Facebook yesterday. It's her variation of the sentence: When the student is ready, the teacher appear.

After decades of practicing yoga, the teacher disappear. This fits much more to my current situation.

This doesn't mean that learning has stopped. To learn never stops. Learning happens through multiple channels, through books, online-videos, my own practice, conversations, reflections, also through teachers and practitioners. One can learn from anything. The one main learning source disappeared. It's substituted through many sources.

In former years I loved it to get attention and adjustments in yoga classes. Every tiny hint was appreciated. These days I have the feeling I heard everything already. I like not to get interrupted during my practice only when absolutely necessary.

I do miss the yoga community, the energy of a group session. I love to see all these yogis bending.
When I feel ready I'll go again to the the yoga school that I found last year. I felt welcomed there. Yet I'll begin with home practices.

In the first week of 2017 I had a cold. I felt thwarted.
The cold disappeared.
So today is my start of my yoga practice of 2017. Whatever happens is appreciated, also a single pose.

Happy new year again to everybody. Let's move.

Picture: My breakfast these days. It's one of Attila Hildmann's recipes found in his new book 'Vegan for fit 2'.

Monday, January 02, 2017

10 years of blogging

I blog 10 years already. I practice even longer Ashtanga yoga. And yoga I practice for decades. Last year I had under 100 posts. My practice was more or less interrupted due to my back injury caused by unreasonable teaching. Why did I not run away earlier? I still can't believe it that I was supposed to practice 2 and a half hour every day only because I wasn't able to do kapotasana. Each month I was a bit more frustrated. Is this the goal of Ashtanga yoga?

To restart is hard. I don't see an alternative. I'm an active person, I want to stay flexible and strong.

I know I'm not alone. There are a lot of sports invalids not only in the yoga community. I cannot turn the wheel backwards. I'll have to live with the pain. I gave up on the idea that I'll be pain free one day. I know how to release the pain: fascia massage helps. When I reflected on 2016 I asked myself what was good and what was not so good. I hesitated. Shall I judge the back issues as positive or negative? Finally I put it on the positive list as it is all better. I can sleep again, I can sit again. I can stand up. This was not possible in the beginning of the year 2016. Only walking was possible without pain. But who can walk all the time? It was an Odyssey to find a good doctor and the right treatment. A physio therapist helped me finally.
I'm sure that sooner or later I would have injured myself if I practiced re the rules in the Ashtanga yoga community. In classes no tiny bit of  variations are allowed. No individuality is allowed. Everybody has to do the same. So perhaps it's even good that I got injured now and not later. At my age the body needs longer to recover.
No complaints anymore. I'll focus on second series when I'll be able to start again. Too many forward bending asanas don't feel good right now.

Here I sit with a cold. It's impossible to practice. I feel weak, my nose and my throat need all my attention. There is snow outside. Perhaps I walk a bit. And I'm sure I'll sleep a lot. This cold is temporarily.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy new year

Happy new year to everybody.

We celebrated the end of 2016 in an Indian restaurant called 'Guru'. They were so kind to prepare a vegan dinner for me. We got 5 different courses. The lentil soup was a poem. I loved the mango sorbet at the end.

At midnight we were at home. I was amazed about the firework here in that tiny village. They must safe all year long for this hour, I thought.
At 1:30 am I was in bed and I woke up before the alarm clock could wake me up. I put on my clothes, had a coffee and then I got outside. I wanted to walk 10 000 steps. There is a sea not so far away. It's a beautiful place, but I knew already that I had to circle it minimum 7 times till I would have done the 10 000 steps. After the 6th round my smart phone shut down. I cursed. Should I really make the last round when I cannot count the steps? I did it.

I wonder if it makes sense to walk 90 min every day. It's probably better than sitting on the sofa all day long. But it doesn't really exhaust me. It's time consuming to reach 10 000 steps. The huge advantage is that one can walk everywhere. To be outside, to get fresh air is also wonderful. To move betters every mood.
At least my discipline muscle got trained. I wanted to walk and I did it.

We all have a cold here. I'll adjust my plans to it.

I wish everybody a wonderful start 2017.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Any movement is motivating

Wow, yesterday I did 12.787 steps. That is about 4,7 km. The app says that I used 269,6 kcal. I doubt that these data are so precise. The app doesn't know the size of my steps i.e. I walked 1 hour minimum. This is the time that is need for so many steps. I still sit long enough.

However. To walk around gave me energy. One could think that it exhausted me, but no, I was so motivated to practice. It was the afternoon when I stepped on the mat I know it's better to practice in the morning, but it's better to practice in the afternoon than not to practice at all.

It felt so good. A metaphor came up. It was as if a home was neglected and when returning everywhere were clouds of dust. The performance of the asanas cleaned and cleared the home, my body. It refreshed my inner organs. I could feel the blood running and cleaning the tiniest corner in my body. I felt 10 years younger after the practice.

This morning (10 am) I was ready for another home practice (despite feeling my back). It was a short practice of one hour. I took rest when necessary, I held the poses much longer than 5 breaths. And again, I feel excellent now. I won't give up!!!!

It has advantages not to get up at 5am. Yesterday night I saw the movie 'Florence Foster Jenkins' with a wonderful Meryl Streep. I wouldn't have loved the movie if everybody would have laughed about this singer Florence, who existed in real life. Of course it was funny, but Meryl Streep created a person that was not only ridiculous, one had to love and admire this person. By now the most clicks of the stored concerts of Carnegie Hall receives Florence Foster Jenkins. Art is entertaining. It needn't to cause awe. Hang your pictures lower, I read once. I understand what was meant by it. Everybody can have fun to sing, to paint, to create. The process of creating is so rewarding. Not every end product need to be a master piece.
I was in a cinema that got renovated lately. The voucher was from friends. One could lie the legs on a comfortable stand in front of the armchair. A man explained the chairs before the show: "You can raise the armrest, if you like, so that you can snuggle with your partner." Of course, there was a tiny table on the right side of every armchair. It was possible to order food and drinks. I had olives with bread and wasabi nuts. I also had a fruit cocktail. Others had ordered a bottle of wine and huge snacks that decorated plates that had three floors. Blankets were offered to stay warm. What pleased me most was that it was a premiere before the premiere. So this morning when I went through my stream on Facebook, I saw a review of the movie by CNN. Ah, I thought and I've seen the movie already.

Yoga was great already. Will I manage to take these 10.000 steps today again? It's my plan.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 000 steps

By now  I made 8.729 steps. Probably it's a bit more as I don't carry around my smart phone with the step counter all the time. I wanted to move today, no matter what. The surprise is that even though I walked rather slowly, I feel slightly exhausted now. I did something is the feeling.

Why 10 000 steps we wondered lately, why is it recommended to walk exactly 10 000 steps? The American heart society has found out that moving less can be considered as inactive. This convinced me.

I think I'll accomplish the 10 000 steps today. And tomorrow?

Since I know that yoga is not really a work out, I consider to add some other activities, too. I'm still in the phase to create routines here, too. Strength training, walking, all this shall keep me fit till 100+.

I sleep well these days. And long. The first month that I paid for yoga classes is soon over. I went  3 times. This is not much. Tonight I'll watch Florence Foster Jenkins. It's very unlikely that I'll get up at 5 when I'll be in bed at about 11 pm. I could plan a home practice. Wow, isn't this something I could look forward to? Yes, it is.

Yesterday I friend told me that she showed my blog to a friend. The friend was surprised: 'She is not missionary.' No, I'm not. I don't want to convince anybody to do what I do. Likes and dislikes are so personal.
I rather write about my struggles. This back injury really pushed me into a deep deep valley called: inactivity. I want to move out of this valley and this is not easy. Quickly other activities but practicing yoga dominate the day. Suddenly there is no time anymore for this spiritual practice. This happens so fast. There was something, I think sometimes......but I won't give up. Inactivity never helps.
Tomorrow I have no appointment. Tomorrow is the day for a home practice. It can be a short one. Whatever happens is great and deserves to be considered as great. A fresh passionate start is needed. No discussions anymore. I love yoga.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The circle

The circle: I practice, back pain returns, I wait and stop practicing, back pain disappears, I practice again and so on.

What to do?
To stop practicing is not an alternative. But for a while I must stop practicing primary. Back bending feels good, too much forward bending weakens my back.

Nothing less but the books by Arnold Schwarzenegger motivate me to keep practicing. To take care of the body is a must. The body needs movement.

I plan already 2017:
The focus is second series. Nothing else. Focus is back bending and strength training.
Perhaps my body stabilizes when I do something differently.

This back bending issues are with me now for a long time. This doesn't amuse me. But the issues shall not become an excuse to stop. To exercise softer and smarter, with more respect for the current limits might be the right way to heal again.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Document it

Ok, I see, the page is not yet updated...... haha

I felt a bit reluctant when I learned that I have to book the yoga class in advance. Can I be so reliable, I wondered? What, if I sleep in? But I am a reliable person and I sleep in perhaps twice every year.
In the early morning I don't block a space with my reservation that someone else could have used, if I don't come. Not so many yoginis are on the mat at 6:30. There is still space.....

Being not such a technical freak I needed half an hour to understand the system. I'm loving it now, because it documents how often I practice. I don't have to create a list of my own.

To document the yoga journey is a very useful tool. It allows fine-tuning. Slowly my yogic life becomes a structure again. 

1. On Sundays I'll practice at home.
2. I want to have one day in the week for taking pictures and filming. This is so useful, I don't want to miss it.
3. Three times I want to go to a yoga class.
4. There is one day left. Either I practice at home, or I go to a yoga class.

What a luxury. These days we have choices.

I have an elevator pitch in the meantime: 
I practice Ashtanga yoga for 12 years, but I got injured one year ago. The sacroiliac joint is blocked. I have back pain from time to time. This is why I practice only second series these days, because it feels better. But I also have to alter my practice if necessary.. Sometimes I have to add asanas or I have to do preparation asanas. Is this OK?
(A bit long.....but it's shorter already. I love to talk.)

If I hear a yes, I know I'm at the right school.
Yes, I've found an atmosphere where I feel responsible for my own practice. The teaching is a service. it's help, it's feed-back. So it shall be.
(Teaching is not to boss yoginis around.)

I also like that I see in advance who is teaching. I don't want to go to a yoga class expecting that teacher x is there and then an assistant y is there. I was more tolerant years ago. My injury changed my willingness to accept teacher who have just learned to spell yoga. This phenomena has a name that I forgot. It can be observed everywhere:  the less a person knows about a topic the more he/she thinks she knows.

My practice this morning was not pain free. Yet the body felt softer. Strength is coming back, too. I used the wheel for the back bending asanas. I altered the  leg behind head asanas to doable forward bending asanas and supta kurmasana.
I am so happy that I found a yoga group again. Within a week I went from 'I have to go' to 'I want to go'.