Like everything, life flows and changes constantly. We have periods of busyness and periods of quiet, periods of healthy eating and periods of indulgence (cough Christmas season), periods of loneliness and periods of connectedness, and periods of yoga and…periods of little or no yoga.
Getting back to the mat can be an anxiety-provoking experience if you’ve taken a hiatus. Perhaps your membership ran out, or you went on holidays, or you were sick or injured, or you had a discouraging class. Perhaps you got really into kickboxing, or started a new job, or made the brilliant decision to go on a date with someone in your “go-to” class and now don’t want to risk an awkward run-in with them. Whatever the reason, people take time off.
I’ve been practising on and off for the better part of a decade; there have been weeks, months, years where I haven’t set foot on a mat. And every time I return, whether it be my body or mind calling for it, a professional prescribing it, a great deal on classes… I go through the same internal dialogue: “You’re not going to be able to do what you used to in the room. What will the instructor think of you? You used to go to her class all the time. She’ll be so disappointed in your deterioration. Ugh. It’s going to hurt. You’re so inflexible, now. Wow. This is going to suck.” Naturally, these thoughts lead to feelings of dread, underconfidence, anxiety, and defeat…and that’s before I even enter the room! With those paralyzing feelings present, my instinct is going to be to avoid class, rather than attend it. And so the “yogabstinence” continues.
So, what to do? Here are some tips on getting back to the mat after taking a break:
Megan Bruneau (M.A, R.C.C.) is an avid yoga practitioner, former Semperviva Yoga Advisor and most impressively, a Registered Clinical Counsellor. Megan draws upon her life experience to inspire people towards healthy balanced living and has first-hand experience of the life-changing effects of yoga. See more posts by Megan at http://www.oneshrinksperspective.com/.
The volume of my yoga practice ebbs and flows just as mentioned in this article. The body always let's me know this. If I have been away from the mat for a little while my muscles can be a little achy afterwards. If I am consistent wit my classes, whether 2, 3 or 5 a week my body seems to adjust and doesn't speak out too much. Right now, I am able to get to lots of classes, is great, but is also leaving some well worked muscles. I will practice points 2 and 4: be SMART and take a break when I need!