I don’t know a single yogi who hasn’t experienced a period of silence from their practice. Life happens, and our yoga practice plateaus.
We all go through it at one time or another. It starts by skipping a couple classes here and there—and then, all of a sudden, our yoga practice has come to a halt and we have to start from square one. Again.
Once you’ve taken a break from yoga for a while, it’s not always easy to begin again. Whether you feel out of shape or you just need some extra motivation, here are a few ways to ease back into your practice.
Be Kind to Yourself
The most important part about restoring your yoga practice is to be gentle with yourself and your body. It’s going to feel really easy to compare your practice to the way it was when you left off.
Be gentle with yourself. Don’t compare your practice or body to any version of your past self. Instead, try to see this endeavor as a new beginning, a clean slate. Take some time to explore different kinds of yoga or a new studio. Start fresh.
Drop any expectations you have for yourself and start anew. Be gentle, move softly.
Work with someone
If there’s a teacher whose style is right up your alley, then make a point to get to one of their classes each week. In my experience, starting back into yoga is much easier if I go to a few studio classes before beginning my home practice again.
Going to classes at a studio helps create a foundation for our practice and holds us accountable. We all know how difficult it is to maintain a home practice. By starting in the studio, you’ll feel more ready to step onto the mat when you get home.
If you don’t have a regular studio or teacher you love, find one of your friends who may be interested in starting a yoga practice and find one together. You can hold each other accountable, and it’ll be a fun way to bond.
If you feel like you want to immerse yourself back into the practice, shop around for a yoga workshop or teacher training.
A beginner’s workshop, or Yoga 101, is perfect if you just want to reintroduce the practice to your body. Sometimes going back to the basics “The Secret to a Perfect Yoga Sequence”, is the best way to jump start your practice and re-learn the simplest, and often most important, aspects of yoga.
If you want to amp things up right away, find a yoga teacher trainings in India. Look around at studios in your city for teacher trainings held in the near future.
Or, for a real adventure, sign up for a teacher training in another country. Going outside of your comfort zone for teacher training will be exciting, and you’ll get more than a certificate out of it: you’ll get the experience of a lifetime.
You’ll not only learn a ton about the fundamentals and history of yoga, but you’ll learn about yourself in the process. Stretching beyond our comfort zone (literally and figuratively!) results in growth and a new and refined understanding of ourselves.
Start a Challenge
Humans love to have something to work towards. Whether it’s committing to practicing yoga every day or setting a goal to do 108 sun salutations, we love a good challenge.
Set a goal for yourself that resonates with you and that you’ll be able to stick with. Start small, like trying something for one week. Maybe you wake up and do ten sun salutations every morning.
It doesn’t matter what it is, but giving yourself something to work towards can be very motivating and will help you hold yourself accountable.
Try things like practicing yoga outside, or creating your own sequence once a week. Play around a little bit and find something you’ll be excited about doing. If it’s fun, you’ll be more likely to keep it up.
Make it Fun
Yoga doesn’t have to be hard or painful or serious. It can be fun, too. When you step on your mat for the first time after a break, let yourself play a little bit.
You know your practice will be rusty, so let it be. When you fall, instead of getting frustrated with yourself, just get right back in.
Yoga has become more about which advanced acrobatic poses you can do or how bendy you can be—don’t buy into that.
Yoga is really about being with yourself. It’s allowing yourself to be exactly where you are in each and every moment. So if you fall, fall. And allow it, knowing you did it, you tried and you’ll always get right back up.
It’s not easy to start a yoga practice after a long period off the mat. But the most important thing to remember is there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
Find the practice that works for you and stick to it. If that means starting with some basics classes at your studio, do that. Or maybe it means jumping into a 200-hour teacher training right away.
The point is to find what’s right for you. Do that, and your practice has already begun.