PAUSE

Today is new moon. The moment of stillness. The old does not longer exist, the new is not yet there. Time to rest. Time to look inward. Get clarity on what you really want and set an intention.

I never felt like this before. My body is tired and so is my mind. Empty. Done. I need a proper rest. Not just a few hours. It‘s time to leave the business behind and take it really slow. Do something different, go where there‘s nothing to do. Start breathing. Feel the nature around and also feel me.

Connect to my floors:

  • The bottom, re-ground myself and connect to my stability
  • The middle, appreciate my ability to handle the world
  • The top, activate my vision to play imaginatively

One week to keep on going in the center of the craziness. Followed by some time to exactly do that. Pause. Reset. Refill.

Go for some yummy yin yoga today, respect the new moon and its energy. Practice slow today. I just did, it felt so good!

The impact of the season

The summer is definitely gone when the coconut oil isn’t liquid anymore! The summer here was a very hot and dry one, which made most of my students getting exhausted quite quickly. I love to practice in the heat. It’s so much easier for the joints, the muscles…. well, the whole body is softer, much more flexible. I felt strong, filled with energy. Furthermore, I’m under the impression my body forgives easier in the heat when I push too much. 

Season is changing right now, the temperature went down, the long desired rain is there. While the plants outside might feel a relief, my body started complaining. Some pain here, less stamina there… I know I need to practice with a stronger focus and fully aware to avoid injury. My Ashtanga practice was difficult today, the change is in my body. Got the message and put yin yoga on my schedule for tomorrow. Also using different essential oils to minimize the impact of the season change. 

How about you? Do you feel the seasons in your body? Is there any that supports your practice?

Back or forth?

Are you a forward folder or a back bender? I once heard that we tend to be either one or the other, well if not made of rubber of course. I have to admit, it’s very true for me. I’m a forward folder and I love it. My back is rather rounded and stiff, it’s difficult for me to go backwards. Physically spoken! As going backwards in any other meaning than physically isn’t just difficult, but a no go for me. I only know one direction, forward. Haha, yes, there it is, must be a connection. Well I leave it with this, even if my mind is just telling me stories about optional deep psychological interpretations… not now, not here!

I’d like to tell you about forward folds and hamstrings. I’m talking about a group of muscles placed on the backside of our thighs. I have an intense relationship with my beauties, a daily conversation, as they are kind of shilly-shally, everyday in a different mood. Some days very open and soft, which makes all forward folds such a pleasure, other days stiff, hard and full of tension.

„To breathe into and release the hamstrings can be very upsetting. We store many powerful emotions, such as suppressed anger, competitiveness, and fear of inadequacy, in our hamstring muscles. All suppressed emotions are potentially crippling to our health: they are toxic and have an impact on our personality…“

(Ashtanga Yoga, Practice & Philosophy, by Gregor Maehle)

Here you go, one reason! Another reason is that we spend too much time sitting, which shortens our hamstrings. Changing habits helps of course, as well as regular practice.

When working on your hamstrings it’s not just about stretching. We need both, lengthen and strengthen them. Always be careful, listen to them, treat them thoughtful and respect whatever they present you with that moment. Send your breath into the hamstrings and actively let all tension go with each exhale. Instead of forcing, go with the yin approach and get soft together with your hamstrings. Allow them to open in their own time and appreciate all they do for you!

Creating

Yogis!

I’m working on the Yin classes for our retreat next year — and I’m happy to give a hint on what to expect:

Next to the Ashtanga or Vinyasa classes in the morning, we will practice Yin Yoga in the evenings, which means we will go into the postures and hold them for several minutes. Our focus will be on our breath while we will strengthen the mobility of the joints and stretch the deeper muscles, the connective tissues and fascia. The meridian systems will be stimulated and inner organs massaged.

Each class will focus on one of the five elements — wood, fire, earth, metal and water. We will learn about the relating organs as well as the assigned emotions. No worries, we won’t go to much into the theory, but experience it!

Each class will have an introducing meditation and/or breathing sequence to prepare us for the calming, but intense practice.

I’m so looking forward to seeing you there! Get the details here and contact me for any questions!

Get ready for the next season

Do you feel it too? Summer is gone in Europe and my body speaks loud to me, telling me to slow down, be mindful while adjusting to the changes. Well, getting more receptive to what’s going on around might be also a matter of age, what can I say? It’s hard staying young 😉

During this period of time, I feel my joints cracking, as if they ask to be lubrified. My hamstrings behave like the strings of a guitar with too much tension.

So, what to do? Embrace your body and its awesome capabilities! Accept where you are in this moment and adjust your practice. This is what I did this morning:

I turned on music. Yes, I’m practicing Ashtanga, so what! My favorite music made it easier to release and just flow. I have to admit, between Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Ardha baddha padmottanasana I lost my focus and started dancing. I had a huge smile on my face, it all felt so right. It was ok. It’s MY practice. And my body found its rhythm, tuned in, opened and turned into its softness. It’s all about steadiness and ease isn’t it? So don’t be so hard on yourself and remember the second part, „ease“. Finding ease in our steadiness is the moment we start doing yoga.

All you need to do is listen to your body. Be aware and only do good to you. Hehe, this doesn’t mean shavasana only, well it might…. It’s your practice! Even being an Ashtangi might mean yin yoga for one day. If it feels right, it is right. Just show up, adjust your practice and get your blood flowing. And please, always keep a good sense of humor!

Ashtanga yoga and Yin yoga are the same

Ups. What? Ashtanga yoga and Yin yoga are the same.

Let this melt in your mouth, and even more, swallow it. Don’t reply darling, read first:

What we do in Yin yoga: we hold a posture, we connect, we tune in, we feel what we’re doing. We breathe intense, we relax. We meditate.

What we do in Ashtanga, a Yang yoga practice: the same. Really? Well, we don’t relax, but it’s about finding ease. We make our practice a meditation. Yes, when practicing Ashtanga, we move a lot, we sweat. And best case we find ourselves in a moving meditation.

If you look at the Yin/Yang symbol, you can see there’s a black dot in the white and a white dot in the black. There’s always both, there’s a little Yin in every Yang, there’s a little Yang in every Yin. It’s all about balance. Obviously not just in yoga, it’s everywhere, literally.

So, where exactly is the Yin in Ashtanga? Think about it. It might be different for you, but for me it’s this: when holding a posture for 5 counts (or more in the closing sequence). We connect, we aim for stillness, we are in deep ujjay breath, looking for steadiness as well as ease. That’s Yin! Even if we don’t relax, we get kind of soft in all our stability. We don’t close our eyes like we do in Yin yoga, but we practice drishti. A focus point that supports us to go internal. We tune in, we feel our body, we feel what we’re doing. Same as we do in Yin, right.

I like the idea of balancing. Doing some Yin to balance my Ashtanga practice, but also being aware of where there’s Yang in my Yin practice and of course the other way around, where I find Yin in Ashtanga.

Same objectives, same tools. Just such a different implementation!

Play more

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

― Lao Tzu

My practice at the moment is quite difficult. I couldn’t practice for some weeks and before being even back on the mat, I caught a terrible cold. Impossible to breathe properly, not to even think about any physical strain.

I had to step back, once again and restarted my practice with some restorative and yin yoga. Careful and soft, listening to my body even more, only doing what felt good without challenging my sick body. Finding my strength in accepting a different practice, accepting to go slow, accepting to struggle.

I’m not injured, nothing major, but anyhow, sometimes it’s tough to see ourselves rather stepping back than moving forward. Hello ego!

It’s time to cultivate the courage to enjoy who I am. Each moment. With all the limitations, all the highs. It’s time to enjoy. I turned different music on for my practice. I start playing, just moving with the music, without thinking. Feeling, listening, playing, celebrating the slowness, getting soft. Interestingly, by playing, you’ll remember what’s important. It’s not about permanent progress, not about always getting better. It’s about doing good for your body and mind. Learning who you are. Stop holding, learn to let go. In my case, particularly let go of expectations. That’s it, that simple. Do good to yourself. You’ll improve anyhow, maybe much more as you can imagine…