Updated: Nov 4, 2020
The long summer days are winding down, and day to day routines are shifting and changing. So many of us are literally being pulled in every direction while trying to find a little time for ourselves each day. Sound like 2020 in a nut shell? If you've been AWOL from your yoga mat, and need some help to get back in the groove, well then the universe has served up this blog just for you! Here are my top 5 tips for getting back on your mat!
1 Remember Why You Started
Remember that first time you rolled out your mat? I know I do, vividly. It was a 105 degree Bikram Yoga class and I was staring at myself in a giant mirrored room with a bunch of 1/2 naked people. I was nervous and uncertain, but my friend really sold me on the idea this would help calm my mind and strengthen my body so I was a believer and kept going back for more of the "Kool-Aid". I could feel the benefits of a calm mind and strong body more and more with each and every practice. I began noticing my daily interactions, thoughts, and feelings, start to change rather quickly off my mat. I noticed I was feeling more centered and grounded and therefore less reactive and more intentional in my interactions. Reflect on why you started and how it may be different now that you are looking to get back into it rather then when you initially started. I know my reason for showing up on my mat has changed and evolved over the years. Allow the yoga to meet you where you are now, and begin once again.
2 Make It Accessible
Set yourself up for success! If you want to practice in the morning at home, lay out your mat and clothes the night before so you are ready to go when the alarm clock goes off. Pro Tip going to sleep in your yoga clothes is a solid option too :) Maybe even write yourself a love note, something to remind you of why you want to practice this morning. If you are traveling to a studio to take a class, book the class in advance online so you are already committed to showing up! All of this will give you less of a chance to talk yourself out of it.
3 Begin As You Are
Now start! Typically showing up is the hardest part. When I'm teaching I often say the hardest part of the practice is literally rolling out the mat and sitting on it. In yoga, we practice Ahimsa which is non-violence to others and ourselves with our actions, thoughts, and words. When getting back into your practice, ease into it. Just because you used to practice 5 days a week doesn't mean you have to start with that. Make a commitment that you know you can stick with right now, make it a habit, and let it evolve organically! If you notice you felt more flexible or stronger in the past. Try not to get caught up in judgment, and if you notice the judgment come in try to acknowledge (don't judge the judging) and kindly redirect to this mantra: "I am here and all is as it should be". Allow yourself to open back up physically and mentally with grace, patience, and compassion. It's never too late to start once again.
4 Practice Non-Attachment
Don't be attached to a specific outcome of your practice. The goal of yoga is not to get better at yoga. We practice yoga to get better at living and being. Recognize subtle shifts within your physical body and mental state as you are returning to the mat. Let go of the picture you may have painted in your head (or someone else painted in your head) of what yoga looks like. I never thought I would be waking up at 5:30 am to roll around on my back and breathe in bedroom and call that my yoga practice, but for a while in 2017 that is what it was, and I was grateful for every second of it. Again, the mantra applies: "I am here and all is as it should be".
Having an accountability partner can go a long way! Ever hear that saying "yoga is better with friends"? Do you have someone you used to take class with before? Or know somebody that has been curious to try yoga? Reach out to them! If you can't think of anyone then reach out to me, (my email is email@example.com :). I will be your accountability partner and help you get back in the groove! A little bit of help from community can really go a long way. You are never alone.
You Got This
At the end of the day just remember to have compassion for yourself. We are all going through something. Remember that when you show up for yourself and serve yourself that you are able to show up more fully in your life for others. Be kind to yourself, show up just as you are, and do the best you can with whatever you have to work with the next time you roll out your mat. You can even start right now. Go ahead, bust out your favorite yoga pose and crack a smile. :)