Back bending again

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Working on basic stretches improves automatically many other asanas, too.

Every day I work on split poses (forward and sidewards). For me the splits are a basic stretches. When the splits are mastered also back bending asanas improve enormously.

The stretching discomfort and the burning of the muscles when working on getting stronger is part of every practice. If one doesn’t like this at all a yoga practice becomes a burden. Today my tolerance to stand this discomfort was high. This always allows me to stay longer in asanas. I’ve the mental strength to repeat challenging poses. With time we learn how to handle this discomfort that comes with yoga but with other sportive activities, too. Deep breathing is a technique to make it bearable. Observing what’s happening is another tool to handle this discomfort.

With time the asanas become easier and easier. Then a practice is rather exhausting than accompanied with discomfort. I’ve been there. I fight myself back to this level.

I take my time. For me my time is spent better when I work on a few asana than to whip myself through a series. Today my focus was back bending.

Time to prepare lunch.

Wheel every Wednesday

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So good to have an online yoga community. Around the globe yoginis practice urdhva dhanurasana on Wednesdays and unite on Instagram under the hashtag #wheeleverywednesday.

Urdhva dhanurasana is the first really deep back banding asana of the Ashtanga yoga series. It comes after the middle part of each series. Right now I focus on the static part of it. To drop back scares me again. I also think that my legs are too far away from my hands in order to drop back safely.. I work on holding this pose longer and longer and I work on walking the hands to the feet. I also love to exercise variations of this asana i.e. to lift one leg up to the sky. Each moment counts.

One can break down any asana into three skills: flexibility, strength and technique. One also needs the faith and self-confidence that something is possible. This develops over time.

  1. To hold the pose longer betters the flexibility.

  2. To lift up into the pose again and again, perhaps 10 times in a row and three sets develops strength. It’s a good idea to start with less repetitions.

  3. Deep breathing is part of a correct technique. The legs should be parallel. Important is to engage the core muscles.

I exercise splits every day. This stretches the hip flexors and allows to get deeper into the pose.

I’m curious what will be possible today?

The formula for progress is a daily practice

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It remains a challenge to find time to practice. There are so many distractions, but also duties and other interests. But yoga is my lynchpin. It keeps my mind and body healthy and strong. When the body starts complaining also the other activities become harder or even impossible. That’s only one reason why the yoga practice has priority.

It’s rewarding to practice daily. I realize progress when I practice every day. My new trick to get me on the mat is to start really slowly and easy-going. I’m not like a beamer anymore that is from 0 to 100 kmh within a seconds. I’d compare myself rather with a van. It takes time to start. As soon as I’ve started it’s difficult to stop. To practice alone gives a lot of freedom. The speed, the intensity, the poses it’s all my choice of the day.

When a pose seems difficult on a given day, I practice an easier variation. After that easier variation often the more challenging one is possible. I’m exercising. I work on different poses. It’s not a yoga performance what happens on the mat. I try to find out my limits and I try to stretch those with attention and a loving attitude. Nothing can be forced. Yet it’s necessary to put time and energy and knowledge into the practice.

Today I focused on back bending.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on forward bending asanas.

Every day I do twists and inversions. I think I’ve a balanced practice these days.

Picture: parsva dhanurasana

Ahimsa - self-made yoghurt

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A few weeks back I got a comment. The yogini suggested to write also about further aspects about yoga and not only about asana practice. I’d like to give it a try.

My first topic touches indeed two important topics. It’s about food and about plastic. The cup on the left side contains vegan yoghurt without sugar. It doesn’t harm animals, yet the plastic cup is bad for the nature as it’s almost impossible to destroy it. It spoils the sea, insofar it has the potential to kill life in the oceans. One can use this cup only once. On the right side is a glass jar with yoghurt. It’s self-made with yoghurt microbes, but with cow milk. I use this glass jar for decades already. If I don’t break it, I’m sure I can use it for an eternity. There is no waste at all.

The best solution is to make vegan yoghurt. When using yoghurt microbes one has much better yoghurt than the bought ones. It’s a tiny bit more expensive, but one can taste the difference.

Often I’m astonished how easy it is to do something for our nature. In addition it’s also better for us. It’s a win-win situation. We avoid to eat micro plastic and the self-made yoghurt tastes better, in addition we don’t burden animals and nature.