yoga blog

Mama India

A week ago I arrived in Goa and can hardly express my feelings. It‘s been 7 years that I was here last time. So much changed, but not the mood, the energy and the lovely people. I still love all the smells here (ok, almost all), the food, the heat, although it‘s winter here. Which for me only means less humidity and eventually a bit chilly at night.

Usually it takes a while to settle after traveling for almost 24hrs, but this time, apart from the lack of sleep, I felt being there instantly. My mind calm, without the usual chatter and hearing the waves day and night was just pure bliss.

I had such a beautiful week at the beach with a friend I know from here and we only met now again. A week filled with loads of talks and laughter, many drinks, amazing food, sand and salty water. Thank you hon for your time and company, I miss you already!

Now I changed places, and with the new moon a new start into a week full of yoga with the teacher I learned it all from. It‘ll be tough, age kicked in some time ago and my body pushes back. Something I have to accept and handle mindfully. And same time getting fully back into the discipline of Ashtanga yoga.

Thank you mama India for calming my mind and letting my heart jump! Grateful to be back and I promise, I‘ll be never again that stupid to come here for two weeks only 😅

STOP COMPARING; YOU ARE LIFE ITSELF! 

You are unique; your journey is wholly original. We may all be expressions of the very same ocean of consciousness, but at the same time, we are all unique expressions of that very ocean, totally unique in our wave-ness! Don’t compare yourself with anyone else! 

When you start comparing, you devalue your own unique, irreplaceable gifts, talents and truths and disconnect from your unique present experience. Don’t compare this moment with any image of how it could, should, or might have been. Healing is possible when you say YES to where you are now, even if it’s not where you dreamed you would be ‘by now’. 

Trust, and trust sometimes that you cannot trust. Perhaps even your inability to trust can be trusted here, and even the feeling that you cannot hold the moment, is itself already being held…

– Jeff Foster

Failure

I hear this word quite often, particularly in the corporate world it seems trendy to name one’s „failures“ and learn from them. 

I don’t agree at all. Please don’t use this word. It simply doesn’t exists. It’s used to blame people (or oneself!), that’s all. There is no such thing as failure. Maybe you did something not the way expected, you forgot something, interpreted in a different way or didn’t meet a timeline. And this is what it is. There are reasons for it, you didn’t „fail“. 

Same for relationships. Did I do or say anything inappropriate? Yes. Did I fail? No!

And on the mat? There’s no failure in your yoga practice either. You can’t do a posture although you’re working on it for a long time? So it is. No failure, you’re just not there yet. You fell off your headstand while demonstrating it? So you fell, no failure. Honestly, this is an example of rather the contrary. Your student can live experience that there’s no issue to fall, you can explain about it and tell why you fell that moment.

Be true to yourself and name things as they are, instead of putting a destructive label on them.

Failure is such a harsh word, even if you only tell it to yourself, your entire body, each and every cell is listening. Your whole body mind filled up with the strong negative energy of this simple word. 

Treat yourself and your body properly, also with the words you choose. „Failure“ is a word that should leave you. Once and forever. 

Embrace it all

There’s no way out.
But through.
Let energy in and through.
The the only purpose of emotion is to let this streaming beauty flow through you. All emotions, negative, positive. 
Live pulsating.

Spiritual and physical practice

yatra yatra mano yāti bāhye vābhyantare ‘pi vā |

tatra tatra śivāvāsthā vyāpakatvāt kva yāsyati || 116 ||

Wherever the mind goes, externally or even internally, it [discovers] nothing but the state of Śiva. Since [that state] is all-pervasive, where else could the mind go?

(verse 116 from the VBT, the Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra, which is a Shaiva Tantra, of the Kaula Trika tradition of Kashmir Shaivism)

What, you might ask, is the relationship to asana practices? Nothing and everything. When going back to the early times when all these beautiful scriptures were written, they mainly refer to yoga postures as sitting in padmasana for meditation. Or the term yoga just meant meditation. These days we incorporate yoga postures in our spiritual journey as embodiment practice, making direct connections to certain teachings and eventually place them in the body, express or feel them.

Ok, enough, this is not me! I’m following the teachings of Abhinavagupta, the Kaula Trika tradition of Shaiva Tantra, while also looking to the right and left, as there’s so much to learn, understand and consider! Bloody interesting and honestly, not just that, but it’s life changing. I started to understand a bit more of what this whole thing we call life is, what it is that I call “I”. I’m slightly overwhelmed with the amount of teachings and readings in front of me and same time very excited and curious.

My asana practice is still Ashtanga yoga, and even though I sometimes like to just flow or do some Yin yoga, Ashtanga is where my heart is. This too is – next to it being a challenging physical practice – a spiritual path. It’s a very focussed practice, no distractions, no music, no chi chi.

Two different things, that match so beautifully together. I feel there’s no need to have any additional constructs on how we can implement the spiritual teachings into the physical practice – it’s all there already! There are many practices in Tantra, mainly meditations, so moving the body helps a lot. How you move, well, do whatever feels right! I stick with Ashtanga 🙂

Divine love

The tantrik perspective.

Time to pause the craziness and bring my full attention to the content of this weekend. What could be a better topic on Valentines weekend than divine love!


Love is the unconditional opening of the heart to experience – no matter what kind of experiences, it’s not about like or dislike, good or bad, that’s on the mind level…..

Hareesh’s teachings are planting seeds, changing perspectives and just heart warming, heart touching and heart opening. Obviously, I love to learn all about the content, but his way of teaching reaches deep inside, leaving me with so much gratitude and pure love. Thank you Hareesh, I learned a lot from you about myself and I’m not gonna stop, this is just the beginning!

Relax darling

Stop the rush. What’s the point? You can’t overrule time. Time doesn’t even exist. Relax! Slow down. Breathe. Feel your body. Everything – your muscles, tendon, the skeleton, your organs, yes, even your fascia. Feel.

Get intimate with your body. And same time relax. Breathe deeper. Carefully stretch. Mmmmmmhhhhhh….. that feels so good…

Uttanasana

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) – instead of trying to reach the ground with your hands, ask yourself these questions to tap into a more integrated approach:

– Where is the weight in my feet?
– Do I push my knees back, or can I extend my knees by pressing my calves forward into my shins and then lifting the tops of my thighs up?
– What’s the position of my pelvis?

Check how you are connecting and finally enjoy the experience of being in the pose.

Meditation and the mind

Have you ever wondered how to stop thoughts in meditation?

The simple answer is, you don’t. You can’t stop them, so let them come and just don’t give them any attention and eventually they will pass.

It made a big difference for me once I understood what the mind actually is. The mind is a function of the body, of the brain and through thoughts, it creates our self image. 

All aspects of the mind are verbs, not nouns. The mind is not your enemy, as it’s not even an entity! It’s a believed thought that the mind is a problem. All conflict is due to believed thoughts, while thoughts are mental constructs, that we tend to identify with.

In meditation we aim to connect with our true self and not with one of our body functions. So let the mind do its job, but don’t jump in and let it take over.

If there’s too much going on in your mind, ask yourself, who is talking to whom? It’s the mind talking to the mind. It’s not YOU talking! It’s one of many functions in the body, and it loves to talk non-stop. With itself. While we are listening, believing, and identifying ourselves with these thoughts. Get the roles right. The mind is important, thoughts are, but you are not your mind and you can step away from all these talks and focus on YOU.

If you find your mind disturbing, it might be the mind finding itself disturbing! Consciousness is undisturbed and unmoved, mind is just part of the contents of consciousness.

Meditation is a state of simple basic awareness, dropping into moments of quiet presence. Just be. Accept what is, without reacting or judging. Only the conditioned mind judges.

Too old for yoga?

Never. Get this out of your mind. It might be a challenge to go to a class where everyone else it 20 or 30 years younger, some might be flexible as f***, some do arm balances as if they never did anything else in their life. And there are others, young and stiff like a tree.

Yoga is something you do for yourself, for your body and your mind. It’s not a fitness regime, no space for comparison, nor judgement. Be happy for those who can do things easily, be compassionate for those who have to work more on it. And be with yourself. Grateful that you showed up, doing what’s possible that day. There’s no room for the ego in a yoga class.

Some years ago I was really disappointed when I heard that we should step back from a certain age. Why? I want to continue learning, improving, growing. I want to access at least some of the super challenging postures. And I can. Daily practice does a lot, and I’m not talking about working on a certain posture like crazy, no, just do your practice regularly and your body will change.

I proved it, you can learn headstand, forearmstand, you name it, no matter the age. The key is not only regular practice, but also listen to your body. Never do something while your body says no, not today. Accept. Same here, no matter the age. The only difference when it comes to age is, that the older we get, the longer it takes. Not just physically, also the mind kicks in. All of a sudden there is fear. Don’t fight it, don’t ignore, but embrace it and it will slowly melt. Yes slowly. Be patient. I know, patience is nothing I was born with!

However, the last 2 years I experienced some push backs. I had to pause my practice a few times due to injuries (not yoga related!) and it was so difficult to come back to my daily Ashtanga practice. Age? Maybe, maybe not. I accept it and go slower. Reminding myself, it’s for me, there’s no competition. Not even with myself.

I allow my practice to change. It’s not about this doesn’t work anymore, I can’t do what was possible a few weeks ago, it’s about change. Allow your practice to change. Some asanas might get more difficult all of a sudden, while others become accessible.

There’s another level – while working physically, yoga is also a spiritual practice. Ageing is a great teacher to embrace who you are and continue your journey, even if it looks different.