TV Tower, aka the Popes Revenge, as a cross appears from the sun around noon.
Now i can drop back and stand up, not only is the whole process becoming faster by 15 minutes or so at least without all the playing around, it’s also become mentally easier. Three years of learning first to drop back without getting concussion and then learning to stand up, has usually meant my mind jumping forward to what comes after Urdva Dhanurasana. Now I can do it my mind is no longer playing monkey, it’s more focussed on what I’m doing, not thinking, wondering how that section will be today.
Pretzels on Unter Den Linden.
Day 2 here in Berlin, 7am start, as usual with Dena we started with some Pranayama and chanting before she led us through the sun salutations, then told us to carry on and do our own practice in our own time. Feels like the shackles have been taken off, back to listening to my instructions and citta vritti . Left alone in standing, not even Prasarita C, though knew I was being watched. Dena has that presence in her room, you just do it all correctly because you just know the moment you don’t will be when she is watching.
By the time I sat down the room was a Sauna, great for the twisting binds and Supta K was as easy I imagined it would be, though I actually got assisted by Jack. With the German students they are both careful in how they phrase instructions in Aussie English, but with me they just say it, so as Jack sat on me in Supta K I heard ” you orright down there mate?”. Though I was so slithery I fell off my knees in the Titibhasana exit.
Before I left for the Shala this morning I did the Pasasana opening wall stretches, I’m not sure if it was that or the heat in the room that gave me such an open twist that I finger grabbed side one of Pasasana and easily bound the second.
So time for the place my mind had avoided going for the most part over the previous 75 minutes or so. I was more worried about slippage as my mat was saturated. An extra couple of UD’s to walk in and rock and test the traction before standing up and dropping back. I was determined to come up, no crashes, I walked in as far as I could and just did it, committing to it is the difference, no thinking, just do it. I did 3, but by this time there was a bit of a back bend assistance queue, so rather than just stand cooling down waiting I did three more, not to prove I can do it, but the more I do the better they get, more confident in leaving my head back. Eventually Dena is in front of me and tells me to drop back, she only touches my hips and up I come. “your feet are too wide and your legs need to do more” she goes on to describe it like the frothy bit of a wave coming up the beach, before it’s pulled back into the sea. Vanessa was right about Dena nailing my feet to the floor, not nails, but on the second one she stood on my feet, pinning them as I went back, she reckons my drop backs are pretty good though. Well another 6 followed, alls good, I have the action and she is trying to refine it, so that to launch back up is less arm power and more leg power.
I realised after that although I had still done a lot of backbends I wasn’t as tired as I can usually be with that level of physicality. There is a lot less mental effort suddenly as well. From Surya A to Savasana seems to have suddenly got a whole lot easier.
Where the Wall once stood.
Being less knackered and the sun coming out meant I could go and explore a bit today. So much has changed since I first came to Berlin in the 80’s. No wall, no checkpoint, I just walked down Friedrichstrasse on to Unter Den Linden, the last time I bought a Pretzel on UDL I paid in Ost Marks, the Boulevard then was quiet and traffic free all the way up to the wall at the Brandenburg Gate. I see the Russian Embassy is still there, but now the road is full of traffic, the buildings now house western stores and the cafe wants Euro’s.
Russian Embassy still in it’s prime location.
I turned left at the Brandenburg Gate to walk down to Potsdamer Platz, back then it had a viewing platform where you could peer over the wall into the east, seeing the death strip, machine gun watch towers and hear the guard dogs howling. The western side at that time was just overgrown and uncared for. Wow I’m just stunned by the transformation that has taken place. The Kolhoff Tower looks like NY’s Flat Iron building, DB has a glistening glass tower, the architecture on the roof of Sony can only really be appreciated from the viewing platform high above Potsdamer Platz, €5 for the fastest lift in Europe, just 8 seconds, probably the most expensive 8 seconds in Europe too! But the views are stunning.
Potsdamer Platz S-Bahn open again, I remember trundling through this ghost station where armed east German border guards stood on the platforms.
Most of the people viewing were young, they were reading the excellent historical information, I was thinking am I the only person up here who doesn’t need photos, who can remember exactly how it was, who went through Checkpoint Charlie, through the rusty, squeaking turn gate that allowed you into East Germany for 24 hours?