So spent


So spent!

On Saturday was my day off from yoga. The body needs this.

On Sunday we expected friends. In the morning I felt already dizzy and exhausted. I had blisters on my lips, so my feelings were not only phantasy. Something must have exhausted me. Instead of practicing I cleaned our home. This is so much easier than 90 minutes on the mat. Later we went downtown. My Fitbit watch showed over 20.000 steps in the evening.

Yesterday the same. I felt done, tired, incapable to do anything but walking around and sitting anywhere. I walked downtown to better the general low mood and energy. I ate in a vegan restaurant. That was it.

Today I feel heavy, too, but not that low in energy. It is as if I’m recovering, but from what? I will practice today, but I will take it easy.

Not always one can find a reason for such low energy days. I know I’m not lazy. These day one practice is over and I’m looking forward to the next one. My body obviously needed my available energy for whatever, but not for an exhausting yoga practice.

I sit here, sweating. I’m sipping cold water.

My yoga practice made me sensitive for what’s going on in my body. I trust in the self-healing potential of our bodies. We are no machines. Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes weak.

September challenge #levelrebel on Instagram


This asana combines back bending with balancing. One must concentrate, otherwise one falls out of the pose, which is not a big thing. It’s even funny to fall out of this pose. All these balancing asanas don’t allow the mind to wander around. Balancing asanas forces to be in the present. Even breathing helps to balance and also gazing at one point. I forgot that everything becomes more stable when the pelvis floor and the abdomen are engaged.

It was so difficult to do the pose that I first tried an easier version:


Tomorrow I’ll practice primary. I give yoga priority again. It’s so easy to be busy all day long. One must become stubborn, obsessed and also a bit egoistic. Asana practice first. Point.

So many variations of asanas exist


Since a week I’ve a membership of the Sivananda yoga studio here. I love the structure of the classes. In the beginning the students are led through two different pranayama exercises: kapalapati and alternate nostril breathing.

After the sun salutations, which are different to those practiced in Ashtanga yoga, asanas are exercised. They have about 12 basic asanas, yet the teacher usually add variations.

In the picture is a variation of purvottanasana. The fingers of the hands point outwards. This makes the asana easier. In Ashtanga yoga the finger usually point forwards. To lift one leg can be an exhausting experience. Each variation is different. No one is easy.

In addition I joint again a September challenge on Instagram curated by @cyogalife. It’s called #levelrebel. It’s interesting to try new asanas. This deepens the understanding of asanas. One remains explorative.

There is a yoga community outside the Ashtanga world. It’s worth to explore what others do…..


Urdhva Dhanurasana


Yesterday I went to a yoga class again. The teacher led us also through more challenging asanas. When we were in urdhva dhanurasana we were asked to lift up the right leg, then the left leg, then the right arm, then the left arm. I was more than surprised that I could do this. This variation was lost. Now it’s back. This is so awesome.

It was not a piece of cake.

Lift the leg, I thought. There was no alternative to this message. And voilà.

I don’t want to give up my home practice anymore. Yet yesterday I also saw the advantages of yoga classes. I got introduced to variations of asanas that I’ve never practiced so far. To practice in a group is fun and it gives energy.

I bought a membership at the Sivananda yoga studio. It lasts one year. It shall complement my Ashtanga yoga practice at home.

I’ll write about my Sivananda classes more in the next posts.

Wheel every Wednesday


Another Wednesday has come. I took a picture of another wheel (urdhva dhanursanana). Today I took the picture after primary Ashtanga yoga series with all these forward bending asanas. To get from forward bending asanas to back bending asanas rather quickly without much preparation is an extra challenge. But sometimes I take this Wednesday wheel after many back bending asanas. When I compare all these wheels I cannot make out a difference. I should change my yoga clothes…. hahaha…….but brighter colors are better for the pictures.

I call this a plateau. On the surface nothing moves. Yet it requires discipline not to give up. One day it might seem like a miracle a difference can be seen. It might seem as if progress happened from one day to the next but this is not true. All the effort, sometimes over months/years is necessary. Perhaps I’m stronger again and the flexibility got weaker. Who knows……..

I keep wheeling. I love the community on Instagram. Worldwide are yoga practitioners who get into a wheel every Wednesday. This has power. This is amazing.



Today and during the next weeks I wanted to write about vinyasa. It’s my weakest part of primary Asthanga yoga series. I think it’s generally neglected. Ashtanga yoga wouldn’t be what it is without the vinyasa. It makes sense to give the transitions some attention.

Instead of an exercise that could help to master also the more difficult vinyasa I realized that most important is discipline.

There is the discipline to practice on a daily basis.

There is also the discipline to do the work that seems hard. Especially when it comes to vinyasa I see a lot of avoiding what is necessary if one wants to progress.

One must develop the discipline to lift up the body even when it’s hard. Perhaps even the discipline is necessary to add an additional practice with the focus vinyasa. Strength is needed, flexibility is needed and technique, no matter what vinyasa are asana we practice. I tend to avoid the strength exercises.

Decades ago no online tutorial were available. This has changed. Thousands of tips and exercises are available these days. But one must practice them.

Getting better at anything comes with discomfort and frustration. Not avoid this requires discipline. To stretch comes with discomfort. to get stronger implies burning muscles. To practice those parts that are difficult come with frustration because we’ll experience our shortcomings. But that’s the way how to improve. One must often go through a valley.

Today I could practice rather early in the morning. I practiced before breakfast. Every practice feels so much better with an empty gut and and an empty stomach. Twists become easier and everything else, too. I even think that I had so much energy today because I practiced with an empty stomach. The breakfast was delicious after two hours on the mat.

The message: Don’t avoid the difficult parts of the practice. Develop the discipline not to avoid the discomfort and frustration which comes with learning something new.

What is vinyasa?


What is vinyasa?

It can be confusing how this word is used. In fact it has two meanings:

  1. Vinyasa means transition. We move the body from a body posture to the next. This transition is a vinyasa. There are different vinyasa of different difficulties.

  2. Vinyasa means also stage. One can read in the book ‘Yoga Mala’ by P. Jois: ‘The 6th vinyasa is ‘adho mukha svanasana’. When practicing sun salutation adho mukha svanasana (upward facing dog) is the 6th asana. It is held for 5 breaths.

Most of the time we mean transition, when we talk about vinyasa. Vinyasa is not only about jumping forward and backwar. Chakrasana is a vinyasa as well. There are many many other transitions, easy ones and demanding ones.

The breath determines how fast we move from one asana to the next. Inhaling and exhaling is supposed to be equally long. Sometimes a quick movement shall be done when inhaling or exhaling. Sometimes a rather complex movement is supposed to be done. The breaths remain equal. The movements adjust.

Important is to inhale fully and to exhale fully. Take your time.

It’s also important not to stop to early with the movement. This is a common mistake, but understandable. I think it’s better to take 2 extra breaths than to hurry to the next stage.

Breathing superficially and exercising all the vinyasa (stages) sloppily reduce the positive effects of this practice.

An example: After a deep forward bending asanas like supta kurmasana it can be difficult to get into urdhva mukha svanasana. To practice this stage sloppily means also that the effect is reduce. This back bend shall balance the body again. It can be useful to hold this stage a bit longer to allow the body to adjust to this position slowly.

In Ashtanga yoga we have the transitions and we have the asanas that is held for 5 breaths. it used to be 8 breaths, which would make more sense. I even recommend holding the difficult asanas up to one minute.

One breath means inhaling and exhaling. To get into an even rhythm I started counting again: one (inhale) and (exhale), pause, two (inhale) and (exhale, pause, three (inhale) and (exhale)…..

The word in bracket only describes what is done during the counting.

The first vinyasa (vinyasa) that is learned when practicing Ashtanga yoga is to get into an asana with one breath. This can be rather challenging. I’ll write more about this in my next blog post.


  1. Vinyasa as transition: It’s the movement from pic 1 to pic 2 to pic 3 to pic 4.

  2. Vinyasa as stage: You can see part of the sun salutations. The 6th vinyasa is downward facing dog. It is held for 5 breaths.

Take care of your neck

There are a lot of asanas that require to move the head backwards. Setu bandhasana is such an asana. Most back bending asanas imply that the head moves backwards. The neck is a very sensitive part of the body. Our necks are of different length. Some people can move their heads backwards easily, for others it’s difficult.

My question today: Is it always necessary to move the head backwards when coming out of an asana?

Pictures with Krischnamacharya show him in forward bending asanas with the head stretched backwards.

In the meantime I think this is not necessary. With this last movement of the head one creates often pressure in the neck without any reason. A forward bending asana works on other parts of the body, the neck doesn’t play an important role. My focus is the core and not the neck when I get out of an asana.

I think that we shall not do extra movements during a practice that make no sense. I try not to adjust my clothes or my hairdo when I practice. Throwing the head backwards is for me also such a redundant movement that makes no sense. It may look wild, but that’s it. To use the own energy wisely is it instead. I try to eliminate redundant movements, also the tiny ones.

When I practice primary Ashtanga yoga these days, I keep my head, neck and spine in line.

The next movement would require to move the head forward again. The next movement prepares the vinyasa. Legs get crossed close to the chest, the arms are next to the hips. The gaze is forward not upward. If one moves the head backwards when getting out of one of the forward bending asanas it’s an endless nodding with the head.

It might not be wrong, but I prefer to keep the neck in line with the spine these days. It also looks better.

Yoga and traveling

Back bending in Utah, USA

Back bending in Utah, USA

I love traveling and I love practicing yoga. To travel and to practice yoga is often not possible. There are days of moving from one place to the other, that don’t allow to practice. Not every hotel room is as clean as I need it for a practice. Thick carpets don’t invite me either.

Sometimes I’m able t ignore all the obstacles and roll out my mat and practice. To be realistic, often I don’t practice when I’m on the road. I returned home a few weeks a ago, a bit weaker and a bit stiffer, but full of motivation and a lot of stories.

Important for me is that I don’t give up this practice, I return to it again and again. I feared the first practice after this rather long vacation. It was surprisingly good. I sweated, I bent and breathed deeply. I tried not to be too ambitious. Let’s see how the body feels tomorrow. I didn’t like to overstretch.

This rock in Utah, USA motivated me to bend backwards. It will remain a memory of a gorgeous time with my beloved one.



The standing asanas build the foundation of the Asthanga series. They are practiced every day. . On a sticky mat it doesn’t matter if the legs pull apart from each other or if they move together. The sticky mat prevents the feet from sliding. On the grass it’s crucial to engage the leg muscles and to take care that the feet rather pull to each other than apart from each other. This gives stability to the asana. That’s the goal to be grounded and to stand stable.

It’s possible to engage the leg muscles without any inner direction. The legs and feet can move slightly together or apart from each other. One can feel a huge difference even though nothing might be seen.

Even when learning side split. The legs move together when they are in position.

The inner body work is important.

Correct muscle work helps to perform an asana savely. To engage the muscles also supports stretching.

Practicing on soft grass, in fresh air is a joy. I avoided sitting asanas. I didn’t like to spoil my clothes.

Nothing is needed


Not even a yoga mat is needed to do sun salutations. A green grass and the imagination that it’s possible is enough. The grass was soft and fresh. My heels were green after the tiny practice. I can wash them. If I hadn’t practiced on the grass I would have missed a practice. Ideal conditions seldom exist. But one can make the best out out of any situation. Tomorrow my body is so much better prepared for the asanas than without this tiny practice. Just doing it, is it.

Deepening the understanding of pincha mayurasana

Today I took again a couple of pictures of pincha mayurasana exercises.

  1. Picture: the head is lifted

  2. Picture: the head is in line with the back

  3. Picture: the head is in line with the back and I bend the knees to get closer to the body

No matter what I do, it’s impossible to bring the back parallel to the wall. It’s also possible to get into pincha mayurasana from the above positions, but then one has to swing and this is very difficult. I also think that one has to get controlled into a yoga pose. That’s why it’s a first goal to bring the back parallel to the wall.

My hamstrings are flexible enough. The issues are the shoulders.

To press the feet against the wall might be indeed a good exercise…..

Pincha mayurasana exercise


I walked the feet as close as possible. One must walk the feet to the elbows so far that the back is parallel to the wall. I’m still far away from this position. Next time I’ll bend my knees.

The above pose is challenging. Every asana done correctly is probably challenging in the beginning. Yesterday I watched a lot of tutorials on Youtube. Finally I came to the conclusion, that videos are inspiring. There are great teacher in that world. More important than watching others doing pinch mayurasana is to exercise. Theory is good, but it must be combined with practice.

Facebook and Instagram are down in Germany and in other areas of this world, too. I’m curious when I can post the above picture. It seems to work again after many many hours. This is a catastrophe these days. I read from desperate people: I cannot post anymore, I cannot post anymore. It’s like I don’t live when others don’t see that I live….. I checked these pages much too often. I wanted to post back bending pictures that the Internet needs to see……. lol.

We all seem to need a lot of appreciation.

We love to follow our tribes. It’s fantastic to feel connected with like-minded people, people who do back bending asanas every day like me…….. haha…….

I checked cyogalife’s picture and realized that her neck is straight. This might make a difference. Today I’ll try this pose with the neck in line with the back.

This asanas a very useful. A lot of work is still to do.

Time to practice.

Wheel every Wednesday


Another Wednesday has come. Another Instagram challenge #wheeleverywednesday wants to get fed with a picture. It’s already the 4th week of this wheel party.

My plan was to publish from time to time a variation of the classic wheel pose. Today I wanted to stretch one leg to the ceiling. It was heavy like a van and didn’t lift an inch. Creativity is needed. Are there exercises that are doable and prepare my body for this variation, I wondered? I found them.


First I supported the back with my hands. Elbows and hands, the foot on the floor and the back did the work of the leg in the air.


Then I lifted the leg without support for the back. It’s more challenging. This pose will build strength that is necessary. Again it’s really different to get the straight leg parallel to the wall. Important is to hold this pose for some time. 15 breaths or more would be good. Trying variation also means that I repeat this asana. Repetition is a method to speed up learning. To repeat the same asana again and again might be boring, but the variation keeps the exercise interesting.

Summer supports my practice. It’s warm here. For me it’s joy. The body becomes so much more flexible, it’s amazing.

Tomorrow is the challenge #Thursdayswesplit. I also joined the #pinchaparty. This is again so much. It would be good to take all the pictures on one day.

Every photo shooting spoils a practice. A pictures shows the direction, it gives feed-back. Once a week this is enough.

Plank pose


Plank pose is more challenging than it looks, especially if one wants to hold the pose longer. One could aim for a minute and three sets. It’s also recommended to move forward and backward. I can imagine to integrate this asana in my daily practice. It builds strength in the shoulders. My upper arms could be a bit more parallel to the wall, but it’s also OK as it is. My body is straight, which is good. The poses feel differently than they look. Pictures help to adjust the asanas.

It’s easier to keep the body straight when the neck is in line with the body. I prefer looking to the floor than to the wall. These days I also keep my neck in line with the body when I do chaturanga dandasana, which is part of sun salutation. Some people have flexible necks, I don’t have a flexible neck. It’s a very sensitive part of the body. There is pressure on the neck when moving the head backwards. It’s more likely that the back arches when the head moves backwards. This is why I prefer the above version.

Plank pose is supposed to prepare pincha mayurasana. I can imagine this, because it strengthens the shoulders.


One pose leads to the next. All sorts of asanas have easier versions and more demanding versions.

So glad that I practiced and explored new poses. After 90 minutes I was exhausted. Within 90 minutes one can do a lot. If one focuses on the 80 % relevant activities, if one doesn’t avoid the challenging parts, I’m sure progress comes fast. It’s great if one can enjoy an asana. This is the final goal. An asana is mastered when it feels good.

Pincha mayurasana challenge


Cyogalife created a new challenge for July: pincha mayurasana. It’s an important asana of second Ashtanga Yoga series. It’s challenging. It can take longer than a year to learn it. But I’m also convinced, that there are always faster ways to learn it if one knows how…..

A Sivananda yoga teacher taught me how to do headstand. Within half an hour I could do headstand. So I checked how they teach pincha mayurasana.

First step is to practice headstand. One must be very familiar with headstand before one tries the next challenging asanas. The order is headstand, then pincha mayurasana, then handstand. To hold any variation of headstand for 2 minutes is a first goal. In addition it’s recommended to practice variations, i.e. folding the legs in Padmasana or moving one leg to the floor, then the other one.

When headstand is a peace of cake, pincha mayurasana is on the schedule.

The way how one moves into an asana often makes the difference. The Sivananda yoga teacher recommend to get into headstand with arms in pincha mayurasana position first. From there one lifts the head and gets into the pose pincha mayurasana. This seams easier to me. They even recommend to do a variation of vrschikasana first. That is one shall bend the knees and lift the head. The back is performing a back bending asana. In the correct form of pincha mayurasana the back is straight. With an arched back it’s easier to balance. As one can see in the picture, to have a straight back is one of my challenges. I need stronger abdomen.

I just tried exercise #1 from the #pinchaparty challenge. It’s too dangerous for me. So my first task is to hold the headstands longer and to do a headstand variations with arm positions like in pincha mayurasana.

Time to practice!

Primary on Fridays


I think I had a balanced practice even though the focus was forward bending asanas.

A balanced practice covers different types of asanas:

  • forward bending asanas

  • back bending asanas

  • twists

  • inversions

  • balancing asanas

  • side stretch

The many many forward bending asanas of primary get balanced on Sunday again, when back bending is the focus.

Today I was able to do three times urdhva dhanurasana. It was hard, but doable. I progress again.

I’m happy that I can still do one of the most intensive forward bending asanas: supta kurmasana (see picture). I take my time till I do the pose. I warm up the body. First I put one leg behind the head while lying on my back. This is more relaxing than septa kurmasana itself. I practice yoga nidrasana, eka pada sirsasana till I finally get to supta kurmasana. The pose feels already better, but not as it used to be.

The final goal is to feel excellent in an asana. The path goes from feeling discomfort to feeling great in a pose.

Practices like today give a lot of motivation to practice daily.

Tomorrow is a day off from yoga……

Wheel every Wednesday


Nothing is more effective than a daily practice. This is true for everything one wants to learn. It’s also true for the asana practice.

One must be motivated to practice. There are many reasons to step on the mat, yet what finally makes a person practice is individual. One must find it out for oneself.

Most people feel better after a yoga practice This can be a huge motivation.

These days I like to be part of all these online challenges on Instagram. This asana will soon be published under the hashtag #wheeleverywednesday.

My plan was to exercise a variation. I wanted to lift one leg in direction to the ceiling. The foot didn’t lift a tiny bit. I was really grounded. So this was it today. A classic wheel is fine, too.

I want to practice 90 minutes every day. I set a timer. After the twists of second Ashtanga Yoga series the 90 minutes are over. I do a lot of additional exercises to improve all the back bending asanas.

Repetitions and holding the asanas longer than 5 breaths are the most important changes that I made to exercise more effectively.

There is a counter asana to every asana to balance the body. It’s good if this counter asana is relaxing. It needn’t to be paschimottanasana after urdhva dhanurasana. Both asanas require a lot of flexibility. Today my counter asana was just lying on the back while I embraced my legs.


Practice for your own well-being


Practice daily for your own well-being, Sharath said on Instagram. It’s so true. This is such a good reason to step on the mat on a daily basis.

It’s hot here. It’s amazing how flexible the body becomes when it’s hot (above 30° Celsius). Also sweating is so much easier.

My focus was primary today. That is the focus is forward bending asanas.

I joined another challenge on Instagram. It’ s rather fun than a challenge. Under the hashtag #thursdayswesplit yogis publish their splits every Thursday. It’s motivating to work on #hanumanasna. Within a week a lot can happen. The splits are a basic asana. All stretching asanas must be practiced with care. It takes time to stretch. Patience is required. Every injury means a set-back.


Join the party on Instagram .

Primary series on Friday


My biggest obstacles on my yoga path are trips. This usually interrupts my routines. I love both, I love to travel and I love to be at home. But I practice much more often at home than on the road. It’s amazing how quick I can realize progress.

My practices are great these days. I know that if I want to avoid future injuries it’s important not to be overzealous. Nothing can be forced. A daily practice is what will bring success. In addition one must practice the asanas correctly. Sometimes less is more. One must learn to be very attentive to the messages of the body. If this basic attitude is not respected two main things can happen. First one doesn’t progress, what is frustrating. Or one gets injured in the long run, which is even more frustrating.

The asanas deepen with time, but also the understanding of the asanas.

I practice the above pose differently than I used to do a few years ago. The most obvious is that I’m on the ball of my feet. This feels better to me. My feet move inwardly, they don’t press away from each other, exactly the opposite is the case.

The shoulder moves down.

This asana is one of the standing asanas. It comes rather early in the series and it’s difficult. No asana is too underestimate. It’s a deep twist when performed correctly and a slight balancing challenge.


  • practice daily

  • practice correctly

  • listen to the body, sometimes less is more

When an asana is mastered it feels good. It amazes me, but the deeper I can get into an asana the easier it becomes and the better it feels.

Enjoy your practices.