Popular Yoga Practice

Confessions of an Absent Yogi

I pulled into the parking lot of a brand new gym with my rolled pink and white yoga mat slowly uncurling in the passenger seat.

The Clothes Make the Yogi?

I had on my favorite yoga outfit – my Lululemon yoga pants and a white tank top. I needed all the confidence I could gather before I stepped back onto the mat again and started at my reflection in the accusing floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

It has probably been about a year since I practiced yoga, and I was nervous to start again. I knew I wouldn’t be able to effortlessly position myself in down dog without feeling my calves tighten. I was sure that the instructor would be able to tell I’m out of practice and call me out in the middle of the class, constantly adjusting my inexperienced positioning. Even worse, I didn’t think I’d even be able to handle a whole hour of Vinyasa without taking a break.

Getting Past the Fear

But I walked in nonetheless. I unrolled my mat, took off my socks and sneakers and took a deep breath. The class started and I, graciously, fell right back into down dog, as if I’d practiced every day.

The instructor did come over and adjust my positioning a couple times, but only to make sure I was getting the most out of my practice. And of course I couldn’t keep up with most of the flows, but I took each step at my own pace and retreated into child’s pose as often as I needed.

At the end of the practice, I was reminded why I got up so early to anxiously drag myself to the gym. My scattered mind had cleared – for one whole hour I worried about nothing but an awareness of my body and my breathing.

So my confession as a relapsed yogi is this – I stopped making time for myself in exchange for advancing my career. Yoga keeps me grounded, literally and emotionally. Rooting my feet onto my mat during warrior is a firm reminder that I need to be present and aware of my well-being rather than working tirelessly toward an uncertain future.

Let Your Nerves Chill Out

So if you haven’t practiced yoga in awhile and you’re nervous to get back into it, don’t be. You won’t collapse in the middle of the class, no one will judge your amateur movements and you’ll remember exactly why you were a yogi addict in the first place.

Have any of you taken an extended leave of absence from yoga for one reason or another? How was it getting back on your mat?

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nicole Ascher

    October 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I have. I had a few months of sporadic practice, due to not making time for myself and/or not spending that time wisely, i.e., may be scrolling on facebook instead. And when I got back on the mat, I wonder why I left. It is always there. I think making time for ourselves is part of the yoga practice.

  2. Amanda Sides

    Amanda Sides

    October 22, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Over the last nine years as a teacher, I’ve had big chunks of time when I wasn’t practicing consistently. For awhile, I was teaching so many classes (both yoga and other fitness classes) that the last thing I wanted to do with my free time was get on the mat. Then there was a chunk of time when life was crazy and it just wasn’t happening. But yoga’s always there for me and it’s always good to get back to it.

  3. Avatar

    Deanna

    November 2, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Absolutely! I’ve been practicing yoga (inconsistently at times) for the past year, and I recently moved to a new area and accepted my first job out of graduate school, so it was a huge change. I definitely let the busy (and stressful) adjustment period get the best of me. Now that I’ve been able to settle in a bit, I’ve been trying to will myself through feeling tired and stressed to get back on to the mat on a consistent basis. When I do, it feels so grounding and refreshing, but getting myself there can be such a struggle some days. Keep it up!!! ?

  4. Pála Margrét

    Pála Margrét

    November 8, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I moved to another country for exchange studies and took a four month break from yoga – as much as I could take a break, I still did a few classes with the university and some yoga at home as well – but that time was also very good for me, and after that time I could even get deeper into my splits! It made me appreciate how not doing yoga can help me as well, and I don´t stress anymore that I NEED to do yoga, because I don´t. Just chilling and not doing yoga can be as beneficial for me, and of course, stressing never is. So during this year I´ve been practicing a lot but whenever I traveled I simply took a week break from my yoga practice and I always came back a stronger yogi. The past three months have been difficult as I´ve unwillingly needed to take a step back from my yoga practice, as I was simply working to much to fit it in, truthfully! and I know, everybody has ten minutes a day, but no, it just didn´t work out. And instead of stressing about it I just needed to let it go. Now I´m travelling in Thailand and for many reasons I just don´t feel like doing a lot of yoga. I still try to start each morning with a down dog, because it makes me feel good, but besides that I don´t stress about it. I´m starting my yoga teacher training in 5 days, and I know that it won´t make a diffirence if I practice a little bit more before it starts or not – and quite possibly it will be more beneficial for me to rest and come back as a stronger yogi once more 🙂 So to end this super long comment I will say it again – sometimes not doing yoga can be just as beneficial as doing it 😉

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