That’s right, while we’re on the topic of confessions, why not throw this one on the pile.
And I’ve been a bad yogi, for three months.
So instead of spending the rest of this post beating myself up about it and boring you with all the reasons why I haven’t been practicing (morning sickness, fatigue, etc.), I’m going to offer a few tips to re-ignite your practice if you, like me, have spent any given amount of time away from your mat. Because, as we know, it’s not always easy to jump right back in when you’ve been away for so long.
Here we go:
- Forgive yourself. Let it go. Just like my post yesterday on non-attachment with regard to diet – the same principle works here. For whatever reason, even if it wasn’t a good one, you did what you had to do (or didn’t, in this case) at the time and that time is over. In the words of everyone’s latest favorite animated movie theme song: Let it go! You’re here now and that’s all that matters. Forgive yourself and move on.
- Have a plan and commit to it. This may not be the case for everyone, but I always like to have a plan (shocking, I know). Enter my favorite online yoga website: YogaGlo. I knew I wanted to start my practice up again this week, so I spent Sunday evening sifting through some classes on the site, and lining them up in my queue so that it would be simple and easy for me to wake up in the morning, open up my queue and hit play on that day’s video. It may sound silly, but I knew I needed to make it extra easy for myself if I expected to commit to a regular practice again. That being said, I allotted an hour time slot on my calendar for a 20-30-minute practice, knowing I would need to give myself some wiggle room those first few days (what, you’ve never hit the snooze button on your alarm?).
- Start slow. As I just mentioned, I started with a 20-minute practice yesterday. It may not seem like a lot compared to the 90 minutes I used to om-it-out pre-preg, but keep in mind… it’s been a while. Set yourself up for success by starting slow. When lining up my YogaGlo queue, I started the week easy with 20- and 30- minute level 1 classes, working up to more challenging 45- and 60-minute level 2/3 classes (still prenatal-based, in my case). I know I have the capability of a more challenging class, but not yet. My body is stiff and sore and I need to ease back into my practice so that A) I don’t hurt myself and B) I will be ready and able to tackle those challenging poses when the time comes and don’t feel like a failure by attempting them too soon. In addition, I’m choosing to start rekindling my practice at home versus in a studio for a few reasons – #1 being that the few prenatal classes that are offered near me aren’t really near me… the nearest being 30 minutes away and that is farther than I’m willing to drive at the moment (mainly because I will come up with an excuse not to go). The #2 reason being that – shocker – the yoga teacher has an ego… and I want to at least get back into my groove before stepping into a studio where I might potentially be applying for a teaching gig in the future. Hey, at least I’m honest.
- Accept where you are now. Easy, tiger. You may or may not be the limber mermaid goddess you were the last time you attempted full wheel on your mat. You may need to rely a little more than you used to on props, blocks, and straps. And guess what? That’s okay. Yoga practice is exactly that – practice. And you’ve heard every yoga teacher utter these words in one class or another: your body is different every day, so accept where you are today. Breathe into the poses and don’t push yourself. Know that you will get there – eventually.
- Acknowledge that you have support. Nearing the end of my first 20-minute class back yesterday with Stephanie Snyder, she said something that stuck with me: Acknowledge that you are not alone, you have the support of every mother before you, and that every resource you need will become available to you as you need it. While it was a prenatal class and directed toward the preg-ladies, I feel like this piece of advice is relevant for anyone returning to a yoga practice. You are not alone. Plenty of others have been in this place before you, so acknowledge and feel their empathy and support. And as you continue your practice, be open to the change your body and mind will experience, as you know they inevitably will. Peace, right?
And there you have it. So how does it feel to be back on the mat? Personally, I’m a little rusty, but I’m okay with it. Stretching and breathing and closing my eyes and connecting with God yesterday and again today felt… incredible. It really just reminds me to be present, be grateful, and be loving. And who of us doesn’t need those reminders on the daily?
Hope you’re enjoying your practice, too.