The Downward Doggie... aww, awww


From your first class of ashtanga yoga Downward Facing Dog is the pose you do most often. You simply have to learn to relax there. It is the ultimate resting pose in ashtanga yoga. That's why it's important to do the pose correctly, not only to avoid injury, but also to make it as comfortable as possible. 

There are numerous instructions on the internet how to do Downward Facing Dog and I will not write that here. I want just to say that this pose is all about upper-body strength. If your arms and shoulders are weak, you might turn your shoulders up to your ears. This is a big no-no, as it can cause injuries. Be sure to create space around neck. If you find your hands shaking or shoulders tensing up, it probably means you need to take a break. 

A good amount of body weight is in your hands, so be sure this base is strong and stable. Don't lift up the palms... Make sure your back stays long and straight. If your hamstrings are extremely tight and you struggle to straighten them, you'll make mistake by rounding your spine.  The best thing to do is to bend knees softly, so you can lengthen pelvis away from shoulders.

Yoga Teachers Training - Maui, October 2014

Week 4 of my daily yoga practice is started. Tomorrow is next practice.

How do you balance your daily yoga practice with your relationships?


You feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time.  That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warrior ship.
~ Chogyam Trungpa

Originally Pathabi Jois made Saturday to be the rest day for ashtanga yoga practitioners. Recently Sharat changed the rest day to be Sunday. My rest day is Monday or Tuesday. I practice ashtanga yoga on Saturdays and Sundays in a yoga studio. The studio is 15 minutes from my home and if weather permits I'm walking to the class. 

The studio is spacious and clean. Unfortunately there is only three ashtanga yoga classes offered by the studio. I've asked a teacher about the reason for so small number of ashtanga classes and she told me that ashtanga yoga is not so popular. I just laughed. She told me that studio offers Mysore classes as well but I did not go. The teacher in Mysore classes is the owner of the studio and she is not certified by Sharat to be Mysore teacher. As far as I know, she have never been in Mysore, India. But that is for some other post.

This weekend starts 4th week of my daily ashtanga yoga practice. I am very much satisfied with the progress. (If there is any progress at all) Every practice is difficult to me although I've started gaining more energy and I've started working on jump back and jump through. It is still early to talk about that. But it is slowly coming. 

If there is any progress then it is in my understanding of ashtanga yoga. It is not about strength so much as it is about keeping attention on mula bandha and breath. Only daily practice and endless repetition builds the strength slowly like in a race of a snails. Unfortunately, there is no shortcuts.

In my introspection of this practice I have to mention again... Daily practice of ashtanga yoga have changed my life. I need to go very early to bed in order to get up for the practice and due to that I have lost the connection with my friends. During the week I'm not going out with them. On the weekend I am with the Angel and she've started questioning me about my practice. She would like to see me more often but I am busy with the practice. 

Can daily practice break up my relationship with the Angel? I think it can. I told her that if she is not satisfied with Who I am, she is free to find another guy. It sounds cold but it is not so. I am not talking here about feelings. I just want to continue with my daily practice. I am curios what will happen after 5th, 6th, 10th week. I want to see how I will feel after a year of daily ashtanga yoga practice. 

In order for two people to be together they have to share similar interests. I would like that someone who reads my blog, and I know there is a lot of ashtanga practitioners reading my blog, to answer me simple question: 

How do you balance your daily yoga practice with your relationships?

... the relationship with your girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, children, friends.  As you can see I have trouble with that.

Melting belly fat away


Everyone has some belly fat, even people who have six-pack abs. That's normal. But too much belly fat affects our health in a way that other fat doesn't. Some of our fat is right under skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around our heart, lungs, liver, and other organs. It's that deeper fat - called "visceral" fat - that is problem, even for thin people.

We need some visceral fat. It provides space around our organs. But if there is too much of it, we are likely to get high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. The fat doesn't just sit there. It's an active part of our body, making nasty substances.

My body is 190 cm (6.3 ft) tall and my weight is 89.8 kg (197.6 lbs) as of this morning. According to the internet calculator I am in the upper corner of the Ideal Weight. Based on the healthy recommendation, my recommended weight is between 80 - 90.3 kg. I need to slim 4 kg. And that is exactly the belly fat.

So far I have fight with stomach fat with regular yoga practice, drinking 3 l of water daily, drinking almond milk, eating fruits for breakfast, taking vitamin C daily, eating only one peace of whole wheat bread a day and having regular sleeping pattern of 8-9 hours a day. Now time for stomach crunches did not yet come. I will start the crunches and stomach exercises in a month or so. I still have a lot of fat around my belly. It is true, it is getting better as you can see on these pictures but what I need is to stick strictly to my daily routine.

In this period I did not persist to the my diet strongly as I should. In a month or so, I had two pizzas, eat large meals like pasta in the Italian restaurant, had two or three chocolates late at night before sleep, had pop drinks like coke, had large quantity of beer etc.. This is what I want to avoid. My routine for melting belly fat is excellent and it works. Just I need to be more conscious to persist and endure this routine. 

Daily practice of Ashtanga yoga makes my friendships suffer


One must never be either content with, or impatient with, oneself.
- C. S. Lewis

If you are new to my blog I must tell you that almost four weeks ago I started daily practice of ashtanga yoga at home. I am doing the half primary yoga practice six times a week and I've started to see the benefits of such practice. My practice starts between 7 - 7:30 AM and it is one hour long. I'm doing all the poses with all the vinyasas. 

Practicing daily is constant fight with my laziness. Yes, I am a very lazy guy. I don't like too much physical activity. The practice itself is not so hard. Everyone can do all the postures of half primary, with the average flexibility and good strength. What makes it hard is repetition,  the same sequence every day.

It is the mind that makes something hard. It is the mind that says doing something six days a week is impossible. It is the mind that insists I will never get into that mayachasanna D. It is the mind that tells me that repeating the same sequence every day is boring, boring, boring!

So, my dear reader, it is all about the mind. Anyway, What is mind - just thoughts. Without thoughts there is no separate entity called mind. 

I live a well-ordered life, going to bed at 9 PM, I don't drink or take drugs. I try to eat healthy and I try to lose belly fat :). I watch over my thoughts, feelings, words and I try to do proper actions. 

Since I started daily practice I simply need to go to bed very early. The yoga practice starts a day before the actual mat practice. My friends do not understand that. They make a fun of me because I go to sleep at 9 PM. I have lost connection with them and we don't go out as we use to. 

In the last three weeks I did not go for our beer night on Mondays. First, it is so late at night... we use to meet at 9 or 10 PM and stay well after midnight. Second, I had three to four large pines of beer and I was feeling heavy in the morning. I could not do any yoga practice after beer night. Third, the same stories are repeated all over again and I can not listen to that anymore. So I stopped going there. 

Since I started daily yoga practice, I have refused almost all invitation to go out with my friends. The invitations were usually on Wednesdays or Thursdays nights to go out for a drink after 9 PM. I noticed that at present they do not text me as much as before. I have became out of their circle. We are still friends but we do not share our life anymore as we use to.

Just do it


Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

This October is such a long month. At least that how I feel. I can not remember when it started and we are just a half a way through. Is this means that I am more concentrated on my daily tasks? Am I living in the present? Wow. It sounds so cool. Of course this is due to my daily yoga practice.

As I begin each day, I must remind myself -  Zee, stay strong and focused, the next practice is coming. Keeping my attention like that, I have a better chance of remaining in the here and now. What’s here and now is all there is, so I'm told. Most of us know this as a theory, but integrating it into our daily living is another thing. But it’s a yoga practice that grounds me and it always returns me to the present. 

Most of the times, when I am running in my daily activities, my head replays old stories — the stories of my past or the stories I am creating in my mind about the future. They are always painful and scary stories of "What if"...

Too often I notice myself feeling emotional due to my thoughts. The most common emotion is guilt, I remember things I’ve said that hurt people. Second emotion I feel is embarrassment, you know, feeling incredibly humiliated for being so stupid...

Lately, I am becoming aware sooner and quicker when this happens.

You see, anger, guilt, fear, jealousy, envy, worry, doubt, mistrust — these are all things that I used to feel as very real to me at the time I was experiencing them. However, their nature is thoughts, they are of the mind. They are simply just ignorance or excuses to hang on to yesterday or to "plan" for tomorrow.

Emotions do not care if "things" are real or imaginary. Thoughts produce emotions and the thoughts sometimes are not even my thoughts. I picked them up like a dirt in a subway. Sometimes I just need to wash myself clean of everything I have ever learned or think I know, and just surrender to the yoga practice. 

The yoga practice does not generates thoughts. It is there for doing it. When I turn on the full primary lead class on dvd there is no time to wonder. The correct posture and breaths take all my attention. So often in the practice my mind is asking "When this will end?" Hmmm. But there is no answer. I just do it.

So you want to practice Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore


Five reasons to go to Mysore & five reasons you’re better off staying at home
written by Cara Brostrom

Considering a trip to India to practice ashtanga yoga at the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) in Mysore?

Five signs you’re ready to go to Mysore:

 1. You love the practice.

Ashtanga yoga changed your life. Your body changed. Your mind changed. You stopped drinking. You began to eat better. Your relationships evolved. Your sex life improved. You were promoted. You got a book deal. You won the lottery. You don’t even know how all of this was possible, but when the alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. you happily trundle off in the dark with your yoga mat to embark on what is often the most challenging two hours of your day. Because you love the practice. And love is a good enough reason to say yes to anything in your life.

2. You like to be told what to do.

Check your ego at the door, because you are about to be no big deal. You’ll be told what time to come to the yoga shala (from Sanskrit, house of yoga), which could be anywhere between 4:30 a.m and noon. When you arrive, you’ll be told when you may enter the practice room. Then you’ll be told where to put your mat. When you reach an asana (yoga pose) with which you demonstrate some level of difficulty, you’ll be told to stop. At which point you’ll roll up your yoga mat and head to the changing rooms to take your savasana, because that’s what you’ve been told to do. And all of this is just fine with you.

3. You’re ready to face up to some of the less desirable aspects of your ego.

Remember that ego you left at the door? Its still there. Even if you think you’ve got a pretty good handle on things in the ego-department, you’ll be tested. The yoga will challenge you. The culture will challenge you. People will challenge you. They’ll elbow you on your way into the shala for a packed six a.m led Primary Series. And you might surprise yourself and elbow them back.

4. You’re looking for a spiritual experience.

There’s nothing like a harrowing ride down a busy highway in the back of a rickshaw to convince you to utter your first prayer. And when you arrive at your destination in one piece, you might just consider that there is a god, and he or she is in India turning chaos into some sort of intelligent system. And if you’re still paying attention, some of this new found spirituality will find its way onto your yoga mat. It might just be a spiritual experience.

5. You can’t get enough coconut water. 

This list would be incomplete without acknowledging the abundance of coconut water consumed by the average ashtangi practicing yoga in Mysore. You’ll pass by the coconut stand everyday, and if not they’ll come find you at the yoga shala. A machete-wielding entrepreneur will lob off the top of a young green coconut, stick a straw in it and hand it over. And for 12 rupees (about 25 cents) how could you resist?

Drinking straight from a coconut everyday after your yoga practice didn’t get you excited? Read on.

Five reasons you’re better off staying at home: 

1. You enjoy drinking water straight from the tap.

Its a germy world out there. Running your toothbrush under the faucet will give you second thoughts. The food you eat will have questionable effects on your digestive organs. It is likely you will have diarrhea for some or most of your time in Mysore. It will be unpleasant, but survivable.

2. You have a job. 

And you want to keep it. Spend a few months in Mysore, and you probably won’t want it anyways.

3. You love getting lots of attention from your yoga teacher.

With several hundreds of ashtangis flocking to the shala during teaching season, there just isn’t much personal attention to go around. Unless you’re willing to resort to some serious attention grabbing techniques (body paint? pom-poms?) you’ll be on your own for the most part. Which for the inquisitive student can be glorious. Or not, if you’re not into that sort of thing.

 4. You’re psyched to work on your six-pack.

If you’re psyched on getting a headstart on your bikini body, you’re missing the point. Stay home, save some time and money, and go to the gym.

5. You want to be authorized.

It is possible to be authorized by the Jois family to teach ashtanga yoga, though the process is vaguely defined and ever-evolving. You may be a long-time practitioner and teacher, but going to Mysore for the first time with the intention of getting authorized will only get in the way of what could be a subtle and personal transformational experience. If you go, go without expectations.

All Day - Thanksgiving Day


My Dear Readers, Happy Thanksgiving!!!

If you are from Canada, the great chance is that you are having a turkey for the lunch today. I just heard on the radio, in the last seven days they sold 3 millions turkeys, that is 32 % of all turkey sale for a year. Great! Happy Thanksgiving but I am sorry for the turkeys though. 

Yesterday, I was in yoga studio and had a great ashtanga class. It was so difficult the teacher kept us in standing positions for a good 8-10 breaths. I was so exhausted after the standing sequence. On the floor we did vynasas after two sides so that was okay and somehow I finished the class with 20 breath-counts headstand. 

Last night I went to bed at 10 pm and today, I woke up at 6am. I did second practice of the week 3 with help of Sharat's dvd. I did two urdva dhanurasana, which in previous posts I called "bridge" pose but this is actually "wheel" pose. Whatever. 

I don't have enough strength in my arms to hold the pose. I feel that back bend is okay but I also feel tightness in the shoulders. I pay very much attention to this pose because it gives great benefits. Not only it stretches the chest and lungs but strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine. It is told that it stimulates the thyroid and pituitary glands and increases energy and counteracts depression.

Yesterday in the studio class when teacher was holding longer counts in the standing poses I realized how weak my body is. In Sharat's lead primary dvd standing poses are held only 3-4 breaths. His class is so fast and it is no equivalent for the studio class. I must combine different dvds, Pathabi Jois have very good lead primary class and it seems to me that his counts are longer. Also, in week 1, I use to practice with Max's dvd, the ashtanga yoga authorized teacher from Poland and he keeps exact 5 breaths in standing poses. 

I posted these pictures from wheel pose and as you can see my arms are still in horizontal position instead to be in vertical. Oh well, I should use the wall to strengthen the arms but I will not do that. My goal is to make three wheels holding 5 breaths in each practice. Let me gather the strength and then I will work on opening the shoulders.

Tomorrow is normal working day and tomorrow is next practice. I will take a rest today, read a book, have some rice for lunch and sandwich for dinner. No turkey. 

Belly fat war :)


Sunday, October 12, 2014
Week 3 / Practice 1
Today - Yoga Studio - Ashtanga Yoga Level 1 Class - 3:15 PM

Yoga... I have nothing else to do


This October my yoga practice continues... Today, I have done the 5th practice of the week 2 and tomorrow starts next week schedule... week 3, since I started to do daily yoga practice. Of course I will do the practice. It is so simple. I have nothing else to do. It is long weekend here in Canada and Monday is off so I'll use this free time to strengthen and improve my practice.

Next year I will be 50 and at my age, starts all kind of the health crisis, chronic diseases permeate deeper into my generation but I am seeking out alternative health care by incorporating yoga as part of a different approach to treat a variety of ailments ranging from back pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune diseases etc. I believe in yoga and I believe that regular practice and my sweat cleaning the organs of my body.

I am also closely watching my belly fat and I see the improvements. I have changed my diet and sleeping pattern. It is still early for final conclusion but things are going in the right direction. Now, I just have one coffee in the morning and that's it. No more coffees during day. I use to have two, three or four cup of coffees during the day but that is now over.

Personally, I found myself doing 6 practices a week, fueled only by fruits and two meals a day (rice and vegetables), 3 liters of water, vitamin C and almond milk and I never felt stronger. I am very careful not to "burn" out in this daily practice and certainly not to have any injury. I am watchful and aware in each pose especially in sitting janu sirsannas and maryachasannas due to my knee injury. I do all poses now but with extreme care.

Today I did three urdva dandassanas (bridge) pose. It is very hard on my back. The arms are not strong yet to support full pose but I am getting there. Also I noticed that I have small panic attacks in certain poses. This is due to my stomack fat... halasana (plow pose), karnapidasana and pindasana are worst poses for me. I hardly can stay there 5 breaths. I was not aware of this before i just came to my knowledge recently.

I did not get use to write the posts on Saturdays but today I am alone at home. Outside is cold, around 10 degrees, and very soon I will go to bed, read the Mr. Tolle's book and then sleep. These photos are from today's practice. 

Just be yourself... What?


Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. 
- William Shakespeare

Ashtanga Yoga - An intense, flowing style in which the same poses are always done in the same order. This method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is a light and strong body and a calm mind. Experience required. - Half Moon Yoga Studio

In the last 12 days I had 10 yoga practices. Wow. I am a yogi! Not just any yogi... ashtanga yogi. Today's practice was easy, I had energy and I did all vynasas correctly. What I need to improve is back-bending and headstand. I performed two urdva danurassanas (bridge pose) and it should be three. I had 12 breath counts in headstand and it should be 20 and additional 10 in half headstand. Good, I think I will get there by week 5 or 6 in my practice. Now it is still week 2... practice 4. 

Long weekend is coming here in Canada. Next Monday is day off the work. I have no plans for the weekend, my budget for this month is tough, in other words I have no money to go to clubs or dinners. I will do yoga on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and if weather permits I will go for a long walks in High Park. 

While reading "A New Earth" book by Mr. Tolle I have came to conclusion that to do whatever is required of me in any situation without identifying with it is an essential lesson in the art of life. It the lesson for me to learn. I become powerful in whatever I do if my action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect or enhance me. "Little Me" is a fictitious sense of self, and through it everything becomes personalized and thus corrupted and distorted... limited. 

Probably the most known advice in the history of advice is... “Just be yourself”. It appears as a good advice, but it is misleading. The mind will come in and say, “Let's see. How can I be myself?” Then, the mind will develop "me" strategy  of “How to be myself”. And of course it is all bullshit. I don't have a choice but to play different roles. "Just be myself" is ridiculous.