Instagram for Yogins

I started a new Instagram account. Every topic requires another account. We became all marketing experts in the last decade, isn’t it? The yoga community on Instagram was the reason why I joined another social platform a few years ago. Flickr, facebook, twitter, you name it became calm, while Instagram became more and more dynamic.

I love to join the monthly or weekly yoga challenges on IG. It’s pure joy to see all the yoginis who show asanas every day. The yoginis come from almost every corner of this globe. I want to be part of the party. I enjoy to live the Zeitgeist.

My first Instagram account will now slowly develop into a page for photography. I’ll focus on yoga photography there, too. Yoga is so part of my life, it’s my topic. But I want to focus more on the art aspects on my first account, while the new account will focus more on the practice of yoga itself. I’ll publish yoga series, picture from challenges, back bending progress and so forth…..

You’re welcomed to follow me there. Ma account is called Instagram.com/photoyogablog.

How to learn asanas is important

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I’m much more interested in how to learn an asana or vinyasa than in what to learn next. The next asana is not that important. The next step forward is important. There are 6 different forms of asanas:

  1. forward bending asanas

  2. back bending asanas

  3. side stretches

  4. twists

  5. inversions

  6. balancing asanas

Everybody can start with an easy form. With time and exercise one can get deeper into forward bending, backhanding and so forth.

How to learn the asanas and how to speed up the process is my question these days. The method of Ashtanga Yoga is not up to date. To practice 2 and a half hours till I could focus on the one asana that I was not able to do was not successful. I want to exercise the difficult asanas rather early in my practice this is why I alter primary with second series. That way I can practice the challenging back bending asanas when I’m still full of energy and not at the end of 2 hours, after primary……

These days I do at least 3 things differently:

  1. I hold the asanas that are difficult for me longer than 5 breaths. The body needs time to relax. The body needs time to stretch. This is known in many other disciplines. I usually use a timer and set it to 1 minute for one forward bending asana, one backhanding asana, one twist…….. Sirsasana I want to hold for 2 minutes. Today I held it 1 and a half minutes. Then I got out of the pose. There is still work to do….This tiny alteration to the classic Ashtanga flow makes already a difference.

  2. I do preparation exercises before the challenging asanas and I repeat them. My body tells me when it’s enough. I listen to myself. Rules are guidelines and no laws.

  3. I use as minimum props as possible. I use them when it makes sense. The wall is my favorite tool, especially when I bend backwards.

An asana is accomplished when it has the wished form and when it feels good. One must have the feeling that one can sleep in an asana. Then you’re there.

More than anything else it’s important to establish a daily practice.

I keep practicing at home. It gives me the liberty to adjust the practice to my needs.

One must love the process

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One must love the process and not only the goal. It must be a joy to get there. One must even fall in love with the daily practice. It is an interesting journey to get from point A to point Z. But between A and Z are many tiny successes. Those whose bodies allow to do the poses easily often miss the learning process.

It’s a totally different approach to get to the Himalaya by foot than to get there by helicopter.

Of course I’m also happy when I practice a pose that is easy for me like baddha konasana.

I also embrace those asanas that are a challenge for me. I work now for 10 years on standing up from urdhva dhanurasana. I know it’s possible. My last teacher said I was already able to do it. Then this crazy back pain told me that the path is not only upwards. Sometimes one is in a valley so quickly one cannot think so quickly. After 2 years the journey can continue with a different speed again. I experience progress, when I practice daily. The pain frustrated me so much. My energy got low. Slowly I realize that this back pain taught me something. The first step was to cultivate again a home practice.

The urdhva dhanurasana looks so much better than my very first one. Oh yes, a lot better.

The process teaches stamina, patience. It also teaches to celebrate tiny successes. Set backs are part of the game, they needn’t to be taken too seriously.

The wall gives orientation when I practice urdhva dhanurasana. On the picture I used the chair as an orientation. Working with external clues is very useful.

Enjoy the ride, it could be worse.

Asanas May challenge - I'm in

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Cyogalife has created a May challenge on Instagram. I’m in again. This months the wall is used to support the performance of the asanas. The cushions of my sofa were a great substitute for the wall for pose #1. They prevented me from falling backwards. I could focus on the splits. This was exactly the intention.

He hashtag for the challenge is #YogaWallPaper.

It’s not yet too late to join.

This pose could become my new position when I watch TV.

You can of course also follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ursulapreiss/

Prasarita padottanasana

A new decade has started for me. A new month has started, too. Since I practice at home these days I’m a student of yoga, but at the same time I’m also my teacher. How to look at me from the outside is the question? A most useful tool to give myself feed-back are my pictures. Even a teacher cannot correct everything. A picture reveals a lot. The asanas feel differently as they look. That’s why one must see them.

Within the last decade my forward bending got much better. I still have to work on taking my hands to the floor in prasarita padottanasana C. It all improved, but not at the speed that I wished.

I don’t follow the Ashtanga Yoga method blindly these days. I know that extra asanas, strength training, holding the asanas longer than 5 breaths can help enormously.

The pictures of the past are taken in 2011 and later. Pictures also report progress. They also report if no progress happend.

Last year I went to a yoga class and the teacher told me that I should aim for taking my arms to the floor in prasarita padottanasana C. It became unimportant for me. But after this feed-back I focused on performing this asana properly again. Just doing it is not enough.

Here are my extra asanas that shall help me to make my hands touch the floor finally without the support of a teacher.

The last pictures show the exercises that I practice before prasarita padottanasana. I prefer exercise #1 as I need no chair. The trick is to hold the body up to one minute, so that the body can get used to this position.

A word of caution: The shoulders are a very delicate joint. It’s a very flexible joint. We can move the arms in all directions. It’s also important to build strength to protect the shoulders. Many yogis exercise handstand before they have the proper flexibility and strength in the shoulders. This might lead to injuries. Practice with care.

It didn't happen overnight

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Most things don’t happen overnight. Overweight, a messy flat, speaking different languages, you name it, it took time, often years to get there. Most processes can be reversed, not all. In some cases it can be too late.

Daily steps in the wrong or right direction add up. This is why it makes sense to scrutinize daily habits. They have a huge impact.

I’m convinced that a daily yoga practice betters every life.

Let’s keep practicing.