Getting back to yoga

After ‘The great pause’ came time to move back into real life, whatever that might look like.

After what seems many, many months of being in our own space and following yoga videos on YouTube or signing into live zoom classes, we’re now seeing the light at the end of an almost endless tunnel, where we can once again enjoy each other’s company in the yoga studio.

For some this will just be a nice change of venue. For others, it might mean entirely picking up the yoga practice again. If for whatever reason you have not been able to work yoga into your daily routine. That might be because of homeschooling, working from home, or simply that you’ve not had the energy or inclination to add another to do on your to do list. We’re happy to welcome you back.

But before we jump back onto our mats and into the studio, then it might be a good idea to look at how we might introduce ourselves back in slowly. So here are just a few tips to reintroduce yourself to yoga.

1. Let go of expectations.

Before lockdown you might have been mastering your headstands or been able to hold downward facing dog for what seemed like forever. You may have just perfected your plank or got on top of your triangle, and then locked down happened and it all seems to be a distant memory. It would be a good idea to leave expectations at the door before you arrive on your mat.

Your body does remember what it needs to do. However, remember that if it hasn’t done it for a long time, you may feel stiff. Some of the poses that you once found easy might be a little more difficult.

It’s also a good idea to remember that life in the past four months hasn’t been quite what it was before. There may have been a lot more sitting at a home desk that isn’t quite right for your posture. You might have been chasing after children a little bit more than you’re used to. Or you might simply have been that little bit more frazzled than you ever have been.

So with compassion, start your yoga practice back up again, with an open mind and an open heart.

2. Take it slow.

So we’re ready and raring  to see each other again. You might feel the need to jump straight back into your usual vinyasa or sports yoga class. But be warned with a long break in yoga practice you can feel as if you’re starting all over again.

So once you’ve let go of the expectations. Make a note to take it slow start moving the body slowly and mindfully, making sure you’re not aiming to do five or six classes a week, going from zero to 60 in a matter of days. Treat your body like a car that hasn’t been driven for quite some time. You need to start it up slowly, maybe take it on a short jaunt before you open it up on that motorway.

3. Decide why you’re returning.

Now this may sound silly, and we all just want to get back to normal but if you’re coming back to yoga, then it must be for a reason. Have you missed the physical asana’s and that sweaty shaky feeling at the end of a good flowing class, or is it that the mindfulness and breath work have sadly been missing in your everyday lockdown life. It’s a good time to assess why you’re doing your yoga practice and bring it into focus.

4. Bring your friend.

You might usually be taking a yoga class solo and relish that alone time. But often when returning to something physical, we can walk into the room and feel like a beginner again alienated with our own bodies and our own thoughts, bringing a friend along for the ride maybe one who’s never done yoga before is a great way to take the pressure off and hopefully encourage your friend to find a love of yoga too.

5. Pick the right class.

You might have been a mindfulness & relaxation bod before we started lockdown. You might have been a vinyasa lovely. But once you’ve assessed why you want to come back to yoga, and what you really want to get out of it, make sure you’re coming to the right class for you.

If the body’s feeling stiff and achy, and you’re in desperate need of some serious movement, then a yin class might not be the best one for you. Alternately, if you’re looking for some mindfulness, then coming into a yoga for sports class isn’t the best way to go. Only you can know.

I hope your return to yoga is all you want it to be. Remember your body mind and soul will remember what to do, it might just need a little time. If you want some more focused attention why not try a 1:1 yoga session before you come back to class?