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?