Yoga, like any form of exercise, needs to be practiced regularly if you want your body and mind to benefit from it. Unfortunately life has a tendency to intervene, and you may not be able to maintain the continuity of your practice. For example, perhaps you are going on holiday, or maybe you have experienced a physical injury.
Sometimes we naturally find ourselves doing less exercise because other things in life take over, like family, friends and work; when we come back to our chosen form of exercise, it can feel frustrating or disheartening because we feel like we have gone back to square one.
Are You Ready to Dedicate Yourself to Yoga Again?
Yoga is something that requires a certain amount of dedication. Even if you only practice lightly once or twice a week, this still counts as dedication because it involves consistency; and consistency is what enables your body to improve and become stronger and more flexible over time.
If you want to stop feeling frustrated with what seems like a lack of progress, but is more likely to be a very slow progression, then you must decide how much time you are able to dedicate to your yoga practice every week. Success is much easier to achieve when you set yourself a clear challenge or plan.
This is why it is important to consider first whether or not you are actually ready to dedicate yourself to yoga again. Once you do this, you will discover a newfound enthusiasm and drive, which will help you to achieve your goals.
Here are some things to think about:
1. Are you experiencing any major life changes at the moment?
For example, have you recently received a promotion at work that will require most of your attention? This doesn’t have to prevent you from introducing yoga back into your life, but it will affect how realistic you must be when setting your yoga goals.
2. Are you recovering from a physical injury?
If so then it may be wise not to practice yoga at home by yourself, but instead to attend a class and inform the instructor of your recent injuries so that he can suggests alterations to your yoga sequences to ensure you don’t do any further damage.
3. Are you pregnant?
There are special yoga classes designed specifically for pregnant women, which will help you to be more realistic about your abilities. Practicing with other pregnant women will also make you feel less concerned about keeping up with everyone else in the class, because everyone will be at obvious different stages in their pregnancies. Remember that yoga is always a personal journey, and you should only ever progress at the pace you feel is right for you. You are developing a relationship with your own body.
4. What were your reasons for stopping your yoga practice before, and how have things changed since then?
Ask yourself why you want to start your yoga practice again, and whether you are doing it for the right reasons. Don’t practice yoga because someone else says you should. You should only do it if your full heart and soul is in it.
How to Set Yourself Realistic Goals
As with anything in life, you can define and measure your own success. YOU decide how much pressure to put upon yourself in the things you choose to do in life, and therefore you must take responsibility for that.
It helps to be realistic and work your way up to where you want to be gradually, rather than expecting results straight away. This is even more relevant when coming back to yoga after a long break because your body will not be where it was.
My advice is to practice the 3 Ps:
First, try attending a yoga class to see what stage your body is at physically. Then you will be able to set yourself realistic goals based on this experience. Look at your work and personal life and see where there are gaps you can slot your yoga practice into. Set yourself personal goals and build yourself up.
For example, you could say that you are going to take one intensive yoga class a week, and then practice yoga two or three times a week by yourself for short intervals in the evening. Start small and don’t set yourself up to fail, this way you will avoid disappointing yourself. Follow this initial schedule for a month or two before deciding whether or not to increase or decrease your yoga practice according to your progress and how your plan fits in with your life.
Other Ways to Re-ignite the Yoga Spark
Why not try to introduce yoga to a friend? Practicing together can be a great motivation. You can attend classes together, or even just check up on each other daily to see how your yoga practice is going.
Sometimes talking about your yoga progress to someone who understands can be really useful. It allows you to get any negative thoughts about your progress off your chest and discuss areas you could improve.
Practicing with a partner at home can also be really useful because you can take it in turns to make adjustments to each other’s poses to ensure that you are both getting the most out of your yoga practice and not forming any bad habits, which is easily done when practicing by yourself.
Let’s Start a “Yoga Thread Of Positivity”
Post your yoga tips and inspiring experiences in the comments section below. And let’s generate some yoga motivation between us! Don’t forget to respond to another reader’s question if you feel you can provide some helpful advice.