Starting yoga again after a break
Updated: Nov 14, 2018
I recently had the pleasure of spending a blissful few weeks on holiday with my husband and our son. In between adventures; we slept late, ate more than usual, did a good bit of lazing around … and shock horror, I practiced very little yoga.
It felt good to take a break though.
Sometimes taking a break from yoga makes sense. Whether it’s because we go on holiday, or life becomes too hectic, or because of injury, or surgery, or having just given birth.
Bottom line, if taking a break feels right to you, then it is right.
So take the break and feel good about it.
But do come back.
Admittedly, like anything else we take a break from, coming back to yoga can be a challenge. But it need not be. Here are some simple tips that have helped me get back on the mat over the years.
1. First off, give yourself a break for taking a break.
Accepting that your reason for taking a break was legitimate is a big first step to take. So let go of any self recrimination and instead look forward to how good your renewed practice is going to make you feel.
2. Focus on the body you have now and not the one you had last month, a year ago, or pre-birth, or pre-injury.
Sure, you may have once been able to perform advanced yoga poses, but you can’t expect your body to be able to step right back into the kind of workouts you used to perform.
Even if it’s only been a month, it’s going to take time to build up your flexibility and strength again. And if you stress yourself too soon by performing unrealistic poses, there’s a real chance you’re going to suffer from unnecessary muscle pain or cause yourself an injury of some sort. Either of which will only result in keeping you off the mat for longer.
So be mindful and start slowly. At the end of the day, yoga asanas are meant to be steady and to create a sense of calm rather than feeling any sign of force or struggle.
Also, if you took a break from yoga due to illness, surgery, or because you had a baby, remember to get the thumbs up from your healthcare provider before you begin practicing again.
3. Try to stick to a specific schedule for at least a month or two.
Like taking up anything again, consistency is important. Even if your schedule only allows you to practice once a week or every two weeks, that's a great start. And just having "Yoga" on your calendar on the same day and same time for the first one or two months will help you to stick with it.
4. Think about taking a few classes with a teacher before resuming a home practice.
Home practices with the help of a DVD, book or You Tube tutorial are super convenient, because you can fit it in when it best suits your own routine, but when you are returning to the mat after a break it’s always helpful to take at least a few classes with an instructor.
An experienced instructor can give you pointers on alignment or tips regarding modifications that you may have forgotten since your last practice. And once you feel more stable in your poses, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and confident about practicing more regularly at home.
Oh, and no need to be shy about showing up in class if it’s been a long time since you were last there. Your instructor won't be expecting an apology or even an explanation. Most likely, he or she will just be glad you’re back.
Us yoga instructors are good like that.
Most importantly, remember that yoga is for everyone. At any age, any size, and any level of fitness. All you have to do is spend a little while finding the time, style of yoga and teacher that works best for you. Whether it's morning yoga, evening yoga, yoga at home, yoga with an ocean view or yoga in a studio; if it suits you and your routine then yoga will naturally become part of your life over and over and over again, no matter how many breaks you take.
Have yourself a great day :)
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