19
Aug
2016
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Pulling yourself out of a yoga rut

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Picture this: you have finally found a yoga studio or teacher or style that you REALLY enjoy. You have even invested in an expensive yoga mat that will support you in all the downward dogs to come. You are attending yoga classes multiple times during the week. Each time you pull into parking lot or walk to the yoga studio, you’re grinning from ear to ear. Those quiet moments before class starts become a time for your own personal rituals such as taking off one’s shoes, sauntering into the serene yoga room, and rolling out the mat with gusto in your preferred spot in class.

All who practice yoga are familiar with that rare phenomenon where everything seems to fall into place, and you’re able to dive into the world of yoga. It is bliss.

Unfortunately, as many of us are also aware, things never stay the same. Some sort of upheaval happens. There is a new, sadistic boss making unrealistic demands. Family visits, vacations, yet another wedding, favorite yoga teacher has moved, injuries, possibly even a burn out, and so on, become obstacles to a once-regular and fulfilling yoga practice.

Then our streak of that regular practice ends. It’s frustrating when this happens. As you fight to regain control of your life, it seems almost insurmountable to get back into yoga. Sometimes, after multiple failed attempts to somehow attend a yoga class, we can lose the drive to keep going. A week of no yoga becomes two, then a month, then even a few months go by.

By now, maybe your motivation has gone down or you have given up trying to get back into it. There is a sting of sadness when we lose touch with our yoga practice. But, don’t lose heart! You CAN jump-start your practice again!

Remember: Yoga is meant to be practiced lifelong

If we understand this, then we can be a bit easier on ourselves when we lose touch with yoga. It isn’t going anywhere. Your mat is there waiting for you. You just have to ease yourself back into the practice. Life happens and it’s OK.

I hope the next few pointers below help with getting back into yoga, no matter how long of a gap it has been.

Pause and Accept

It is possible that life is just giving you lemons now and there is just no time for yoga. Instead of being angry and/or frustrated, practice what you used to do on the mat: Pause. Breathe. Practice non-judgement. Put your yoga training to good use. 🙂 Guilt and judgement don’t help with progress. Patience, a calm sense of purpose and gentle persistence will lead the body and mind back to yoga.

Modify and Adapt

Just as we modify certain asanas to fit our bodies with the use blocks, straps and blankets, adapt yoga to your current state in life. Maybe it isn’t possible for you to have an hour-long asana practice at the moment, but there are other possibilities. You can work on developing a meditation or an abbreviated asana practice. A couple of ideas:

  1.  A daily 10-minute meditation practice? There are tons of mobile apps out there that can help with this.
  2. A warming and welcoming sun salutation routine each morning: 5 Surya Namaskar A followed by 5 Surya Namaskar B. This will definitely make you break a sweat!
  3. A restorative practice each night before bed.

Start Small, but stay Consistent

As a follow-up to the previous paragraph, if yoga is a priority, calmly find ways to accommodate it into your life again. The more I study yoga, the more this one sutra sticks out:

When that practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.

No matter how small the amount of time spent practicing, as long it comes from an earnest place with good intentions, it counts. Trust yourself, let go of doubt that you’re capable of setting aside time for yoga (especially if yoga means a lot to you), and just try. We can all get back into it!

Thanks so much for reading friends and apologies on the long absence from posting. I’m working on applying the above yoga sutra into my life currently 😉

Namaste and HUGS!

 

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