Monday, February 19, 2018

Not amused

This morning I woke up and back pain was back. Has my yoga practice caused it? Perhaps my body position during the night has been awkward? I don't know. I tried to convince myself during the day that all is fine. You're OK, back, I told myself. One hour ago pain disappeared totally. Suddenly it was gone. I tried to feel at least a bit of uneasiness, yet in vain. As it came, it disappeared.

We were so busy today. In the morning was no time for yoga and now it's too late. The body had a day off and a bit more time to recover. Perhaps this was necessary. I know that I'll have time tomorrow.

My yoga is my linchpin. I like to see it that way. My yoga practice is my health insurance. It will keep me strong and flexible. It's an important practice.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A compliment

Today my mother-in-law made me a great compliment. She said that she was astonished how relaxed I was. And she thinks that this came from my yoga practice.

This is one of the goals of yoga. It might be a side effect that comes from daily practice over years probably decades. One day the body is stiff, the next day it's very flexible. It goes on like this year in, year out. After some years one learns to observe the ups and downs without judging. It's as life is. One knows the next day the practice can have new surprises. It makes no sense to generalize. Only because today a practice was great, doesn't mean that the practice tomorrow has to be great as well.

Even though the circumstances are a bit challenging right now, I practiced. I had to practice in a living room without any blocks and other support. For the time being I need my wheel to bend backwards. Yet, I managed it to practice before breakfast. Oh my I was stiff. The 90 minutes on the mat went over so fast.

We'll have lunch in a restaurant today. Will I be strong enough to skip the dessert? I'm not sure.

We're all practitioners at different levels. :)

Also a stiff practice is a worth doing it. I feel good.

Friday, February 16, 2018


Primary today.

I become stronger again. Today my mind was so busy with the vinyasas that I had forgotten the back pain.

It's so fulfilling to practice.

In a hurry again........ I can clearly say, the most important activity of my day is done already. What is more important than my health? Deep breathing? Being focused? Enjoying the simple things in life?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

60 minutes count

I practiced before 12 am. In the afternoon I won't practice anymore, this is the experience. Either I find time in the morning or I'll have a day without yoga. After some inner discussions I stepped on the mat. The last practice was last Friday. Five days is a too long break. I felt it. After 60 minutes I was done.

Let's focus on the positive stuff:
1. I practiced.
2. It feels good to take it easy from time to time.
3. In January I practiced 5 times. In February I practiced already 8 times. There is still potential, February is not yet over.

It's good to have a plan. Today I tried some back bending exercises that I saw on the Internet. These exercises were all too demanding. They were more challenging than kapotasana or urdhva dhanurasana. It makes more sense to repeat some good exercises or to hold them longer than to add too many exercises.

All asanas felt good 2 years ago. I reached my limits, but they felt good. This is the point that I want to reach again. I understand the sentence that one has to work through the pain. Often it's true, but one has to differentiate. If one is injured it's nonsense to work through the pain.

So, I'm ready for the next tasks. Oh, it's lunch time. This break feels deserved.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Exploring back bending asanas with a strap

First picture: The idea is to stretch the legs. It's incredible difficult, but I saw a lady doing this.
Second picture: The idea is to walk the hands to the foot along the strap. This is also very difficult.

I'm not sure if these exercises make sense. Some exercises are more difficult than the asanas that I want to approach with these exercises. Yet one attempt is nothing.

There are so many crazy poses. I'm fascinated. Tiny changes can make a huge difference.

My favorite preparation asana for the back bending asanas are the forward splits. Then next exercise is walking down the wall with the hands. This stretches the upper body. To repeat these two exercises already makes a difference. It prepares the body perfectly for the asanas, like kapotasana and urdhva dhanurasana. I could aim for 5 repetitions of these preparation exercises. I could aim for holding the poses 1 minute. A minute can be rather long.

I progress

I progress. I get stronger again. Also today I did all the vinyasas of primary series. It was hard. That's how it is. To get stronger again is hard work. My practice lasted 90 minutes. It was a concentrated practice. I didn't like to interrupt it. The picture is from last week. 

At the end of my practice I whisper: Thank you. So much is possible. As yoginis we strive for a healthy body, that is we train our body to get strong and flexible and relaxed at the same time.

We also exercise contentment. One day we're weak, the other day we are super flexible. We observe and move on, don't we? We practice detachment from the daily ups and downs. This is challenging, too.

To detach from the daily stories that the mind creates can be as difficult as doing handstand.
After a yoga practice I usually have interrupted the repeating stories of my mind. After the yoga practice that implies focusing on the breath I often have a refreshed view of things. Often I'm relaxed, new perspectives can be seen. I feel so much better after each practice. This motivates me to step on the mat.

Observe what is and move on. Don't give proud and frustration too much attention. It's just another story. It's relative. Also feelings change, often very quickly. Inhale and exhale. I think that's what a daily practice wants to tell us.

Thursday, February 08, 2018


The picture shows the classic pose. In the past I was able to reach the floor with my fingers. In the end position the heels touch the floor. It's a long journey down. The past is over. I pick myself up where I am now. In order to prepare this pose some yoginis practice eka pada bhekasana. They put one leg in the position while  the other leg remains stretched. Then they alter legs. My favorite preparation is to lie on my back with the legs bent and the feet next to the body. This stretches the thighs enormously. 

There are always preparation poses, easier variations of a pose and more demanding ones. 
This morning I searched the Internet and found a more demanding variation called supta bhekasana. In this version the back faces the floor and it's rounded. The hands press the feet upwards. I was astonished how difficult it is. I used blocks to explore the version. My knees are in the air. I can try to move them toward the floor. 

Another interesting variation is to do eka pada bhekasana in ustrasana. I'll explore this asana next time. 

To get a good adjustment in bhekasana is wonderful. Sometimes there is no substitute for a good teacher. 

My focus was back bending today. 90 Minutes  is enough. After my intensive back bending asanas I was no more able to do the twists. Fine. Flexibility has many levels. By now I cannot move from intensive back banding asanas to intensive forward bending asanas or intensive twists. The body doesn't allow it. I don't mind. Tomorrow I'll focus again on forward bending asanas.

Sharath's list

Here is a story that I found in the book 'Awakening the spine' by Vanda Scaravelli. She wrote the book when she has been already 80 years old, with decades of yoga experience.

Page 110:

"A man was walking along a road, followed by two foreigners. It happened that this man saw something glittering on the path. He picked it up, observed it, and put it in his pocket.
The other two, behind him, saw what he did and one said to the other: "A bad thing for you, isn't it?" But the other man, who was the Devil, answered: "No, what that man just found is the truth, but I shall help him to organize it".

Yoga cannot be organized.

Any organization or business is not a democratic structure. There are rules, but the member usually have limited influence.

What the chaos in the community tells me: Keep practicing. Focus on the breath, the dristis. Make your own experiences. A yogini is relaxed. Always. Life seems to be unfair, it will always be so.
Cultivate a home practice. It has difficulties, but that's the path.

I'm ready for second series today.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Primary today

What motivated me today to start my yoga practice?
1. I remembered how great it feels to cross out another day in my calender when my practice is over. This is done now and it was satisfying.
2. I watched a movie on omstars, Kino's yoga channel. The 20 minutes tutorial on vinyasas inspired me. I started my practice afterwards.

Yoga can help to get to know yourself when you observe your behavior. I know that documenting actions motivates me also in other areas of my life. It's the same with all the learning tutorials that are available these days. They can give the last kick.

After this movie by Kino I wanted to practice all the vinyasas. I think that the vinyasas make Ashtanga to what it is. This is the specialty of this style of yoga. I got so weak in the last 2 years that it was a great effort just to do them. I couldn't hold chaturanga dandasana. I landed on my belly and rested a fracture of a second before I moved into upward facing dog. But I'm already strong enough to do them. Rome wasn't build in one day. The same is true for my muscles. They need time to grow and to get stronger.

Every practice is a tiny step in the direction. I'll regain the poses only when I practice. Thinking of them is not enough.

I always think of the quote by?????
If you think you can, you're right.
If you think you can't, you're right, too.

I can. I can. I can.