What will be possible?

This was the question that was in my mind when I stepped on the mat this morning. Second series feels better for me these days, so I focus on this series. Yet once a week I'd like to do primary.

Oh it was difficult to start and not to stop after the first two sun salutations. I switched on music and lowered the ambition.

Vinyasas are lost.
I practiced cat pose as a counter pose to the forward bending asanas.

I could put my leg behind the head, yes and I'm happy about it, but I had to hold it and it didn't feel as good as it used to. Yes, I see progress again. This is what I appreciate and I even thanked the Universe for the hope that was sent.

Only twice I had to use the fascia roll to get rid of the painful tension in the right psoas.
Tomorrow morning I'll be able to say if pain returned or not.

As ALWAYS, I never ever regretted to have practiced. I feel good. 

My motivation: This idea came up this morning and I think it's a good idea as I want to be up to date with all the technical stuff. When I feel ready I'll  film a session and show it on periscope.

The benefits of yoga for physical fitness

I read a lot these days about fitness. I know that I have to change my daily routines. My injured sacroiliac joint tells me this. I found a book that acknowledges my experiences with Ashtanga yoga.

Here is  a quote from the book 'Which comes first, cardio or weights?' by Alex Hutchinson, Ph. D..

Page 136 ff:

What are the benefits of yoga for physical fitness?
"..........Considered strictly as a form of exercise, yoga has many strengths and a few key weaknesses. A 2001 study at the University of California, Davis, found that an eight-week program of two 90-minute hatha yoga classes per week led to significant increases in strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Other studies have found improvements in balance and even bone density. This is not really surprising - yoga is, after all, a weight-bearing physical activity.

A more controversial question is whether yoga is vigorous enough to count as aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness. While the UC-Davis study observed a small but measurable improvement of 6 percent in aerobic fitness, other studies have failed to confirm this. In a 2001 Northern Illinois University study of 45-minute "power" (ashtanga vinyasa) yoga sessions, the participants' heart rates stayed below the recommended threshold for aerobic exercise. ........But at a certain pint, it's probably best to accept yoga's strengths and weaknesses rather than to fight them, and seek your aerobic exercise in other ways. After all, McCall points out, having a balanced approach is a writhy yogic principle - that's why he hikes, bikes, and dances in addition to doing yoga."

End of quote.

My own experience is that I got stronger during all the years of practicing Ashtanga yoga, but not strong enough to perform some of the challenging asanas of the series. This is why I add strength training now. My physio-therapist, who got to know my body even realized that I'm very flexible, but I lack strength. This I want to balance these days.

That my sweaty yoga practice is not a work-out shocked me. I few months ago I discovered fitbit and it allowed me to measure my heart rate. It stayed the same during the practice. Only during the sun salutations in the beginning it went up. This is why I take the steps, every step that comes in my way as fast as possible. Then my heart starts racing......

As mentioned in my last blog posts, I do strength training these days before my practice 3 times a week. My surprise: It prepares my body perfectly for the asana practice. I feared I would be too tired when I do exercises already before the practice, but this was not the case. Some of my readers are already curious what I do. I work with a book by Paul Wade. It's great. Pictures will come......

The right order

1. Strength training
2. Asana training (flexibility)
3. Pranayama
4. Meditation
5. Relaxation

6. Shower and breakfast

Since some time I know that strength training is important for me. The asana practice made me stronger, but not strong enough to perform certain asanas like laghu vajrasana.
The physio therapist also recommended not to forget to do strength training. She found my body very flexible. In order to stabilize my back (sacroiliac joint blocked) it would be good to have strong abdomen.

It took me some time to find out what sort of strength training I should chose, when to do it, where to do it......
Soon it became clear, that weight lifting wouldn't be good. Thanks to the advice to my vegetable and fruit dealer who has done weight lifting, I know now that it's a burden for the joints.

I discovered a strength training that works with the own body weight. It's done 3 times a week. That's it for me.

So Monday, Wednesday and Friday, before my asana practice I'll work on getting stronger. What exactly I do will come in one of my next blog posts.

Picture: This is the reward if one gets up early.

Practice: Back pain is back. Four or five times during my yoga practice I had to massage my fascia to relief the muscle. The hope that I'll be soon pain free disappears. I love to move, I love to practice, I try to practice smart. This is the only solution that I see. Strength training is important. To live on the sofa is not an alternative.

How to adjust myself?

I practice often at home these days.

Let's start with trikonasana:
1. The position of the feet are important. First the feet are in one line when stepping sidewards from standing position. I turn the right foot on my heels. Now the heels are in one line.
2. The leg muscles are engaged, not 100%, but strong. The standing poses teach a strong foundation.
3. The upper body is parallel to the wall. This is the challenge. This is why it can help to move the arm behind the back to the thigh. This allows to open the upper body. I can realize the difference when I move my arm in the classic position again, upwards to the ceiling.
4. Fingers are together, also the thumb.
5. The back of the head and the spine are in line. The head doesn't move backwards to see the thumb.
6. The bandhas are engaged. Otherwise it's easy to make a hollow back which one shall avoid.

I practice, my back complains, I stop, I get back to the mat. That's how it is these days. Disappointing. But with time I also learned how to be disciplined and I learned not to give up.

So let's dance, I mean, let's practice.

Top 100 yoga blogs on the web

Top 100 yoga blogs on the web

... And I'm on the list. This is a great joy in the morning. I'm ready for my practice now....

Here is the link.

I can sit again

Yesterday I sat hours at my desk. I was busy with Photoshop. I listened to videos. Quickly hours passed by. I stood up from my chair and after some time I thought: Wow, I had already forgotten how painful it was to sit longer than 25 min. I could even stand up without pain. It's a good idea not to sit so long without moving the body. Yet it's a difference if pain forces me to stand up or if I move from time to tome out of rationality.

I don't practice very regularily, that is every third day I'm on my mat and it's great. Perhaps my body still needs not to be challenged yet. The breaks might help to heal.

As important as yoga is to me, it's not my all and everything. It used to be my lynchpin over more than 3 decades of my life, but not more. This is enough. This is a lot. Ashtanga yoga can be so demanding that it's not only a life style, but a greedy diva. As always I think less can be more. One must use this tool 'yoga' with intelligence. One must also practice with intelligence.

My soilliac joint will heal. After about one year ! it's better, remarkably better. I'm one precious experience richer. It has been a frustrating ride.

One teaching method for everybody is never a good approach to anything. We are all different, that is the way of teaching must be flexible and consider the student. This doesn't mean that one isn't following a lineage. But with 57 years a more intelligent training is necessary. A 25 year old body is more forgiving. My body needs more variety as it takes longer to integrate new movements, just to mention one difference in comparison to a younger body.

What is the next important step for me after this injury that stayed with me for so long?
- I'm striving for a daily practice again. Just being on the mat and to practice is enough. Second series feels good. I've overdone forward bending asanas. And second series has enough forward bending asanas. By now my back got worse after a yoga practice. This is why my motivation to practice faded away. In the long run it's not a solution to be a 'couch potato'.