11 ways to get get back into the yoga swing of things
So you’ve been wanting to try our Breakfast of Champions Challenge, but don’t know where or how to start. Maybe it’s been too long since you last dug out your mat. Maybe you had an injury and had to abstain for a bit. Maybe you’ve just been watching TV all day instead of getting up and at ‘em! Whatever your reason is, Tommy Rosen’s energizing and revitalizing video is only 20 minutes, and an amazing start to your day! But if you want to take it a step further and get back into your regular daily yoga schedule, Yoga Journal has some tips this past issue on how to do it (we threw in our GTV take, as well!):
- Accept where you are: after a long hiatus, your practice won’t be exactly the same. And that’s totally okay! The key is knowing that yourself, and making peace with it. Then get up and keep going!
- Take the long view: take a look at where you want to be and know that wherever you are now, if you are consistent, you will get there. Vinyasa and therapeutic yoga teacher Tiffany Cruikshank describes it as, “You’re starting a new relationship with your yoga practice and, in some ways, your body is totally foreign to you. You have to think of where you will be six months from now as opposed to just killing yourself and giving up.”
- No practice is too short: every minute counts! Even if you start with only a quick 5 minute series of poses, it’s still more than you did yesterday. Aim to increase it by a minute or two every day, or get in multiple sets of five minutes. It’s great to just get the discipline in of starting.
- Dedicate a space: half the battle is getting the mat out, are we right? So leave it out and ready to go. It doesn’t have to be a big space, but just in an accessible place you won’t overlook, along with all the gear you’ll need.
- Don’t overdo: it’s okay to literally ease into it. Yoga Journal suggests working 50-75% of what your old “normal” used to be, and to take it easy on the advanced poses, as your body may have lost flexibility and strength. Nothing like another injury to put the brakes on your restarted practice!
- Start fresh: maybe your last practice was part of why you stopped. You can try new classes, teachers, and forms of yoga to keep it new and non-routine. Let yourself feel like a beginner again, and you can see things from a new perspective and with a new voice.
- Take a private class: scared to be a beginner again? A private instructor may have the one-on-one patience you need to be encouraged to continue. It can be just for a few sessions, as well; whatever you need to get back in the groove and gain your confidence.
- Find a challenge: when you’re doing a challenge that has a set goal, schedule, and finite amount of time, it can be easier to achieve than simply reaching for the nebulous “Get back into yoga!” goal. Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you to start, and we also have a great community of fellow yogis that would love to keep you accountable!
- Indulge in the poses you love: positive reinforcement is a great way to motivate yourself. If you drag your feet to your yoga mat, reignite the fire! Find the passion again with the poses you enjoy! You’ll be looking forward to your next yoga-you-time before you know it.
- Try the ones you don’t love: giving yourself a goal to reach for can also be a great motivator. “Hard poses never get stale,” after all. Whatever you try, give it your best shot; no slacking!
- Deepen your connection to yourself: yoga is an extremely personal, intimate practice. Yoga Journal reminds us, “Remember that first and foremost yoga is a path toward quieting your mind.” The keys to a successful, fulfilling yoga practice is loving yourself, and aware of what’s going on internally. Don’t tune out your inner voices, and you are sure to have a great time. We hope these tips help you on your yoga journey. Now switch off the computer and hop on your mat! Namaste.
Go Softly: The Benefits of Gentle Yoga
Gentle yoga, I think, is the true yoga. We jumped, we did a million planks and down dogs, and we stayed in a pose for five minutes. Now we have arrived at a place where we are learning to be gentle with our body.
In my early teaching days, most people who came to gentle yoga were pregnant women and seniors with injuries. Nowadays I see more and more young people stepping in, wanting to be gentle with their body.
Our body is a living vehicle that we have abused and misused, and it shows wear and tear and all the experiences we have gone through. Gentle yoga helps you realize that you should not take your body for granted. It’s a gift, a costume that allows us to express ourselves and experience this world. It’s the main character in your life’s movie, creating a connection with the stories that make you YOU!
We all know of yoga’s numerous benefits. In gentle yoga, you take time to feel your body move. Breath and movement are pathways to keep the organs healthy and joints lubricated. Mostly, gentle yoga helps you have a sound mind to dictate and nurture the cells in the body. We are made of energy, and gentle yoga makes you listen to your own words and slow your pace a little. What thoughts do you tell your body?
Here’s a sample of a gentle hatha yoga practice.
Gentle yoga is a bridge between moving in flow and staying stationary. It is a midway, where there is equilibrium and bliss in every pose.
You stay in a pose long enough to enjoy that you are not pushing yourself. The body gets rid of toxins naturally. You sweat in a few poses and not at all in others, but the feeling of bliss is constant. Gentle yoga equally strengthens and stretches, increasing flexibility and repairing muscles that are in need of love. There is no hurry to finish a sequence. It’s all about relaxing and allowing yourself and your body to have as much relaxation as you want.
Gentle yoga keeps the atmosphere free of competition and comparison. There is no frustration of not doing a pose, no agitation of holding a pose. We all work within that unity to strengthen groups of muscles together. So the energy of the class is generally happy and calm.
I am very happy to see people take their time during the savasana. Everyone has to return to their own stories sooner or later, but surrendering to the body and waiting for the body to prepare to move is what gentle yoga helps with.
Most importantly, people are becoming aware of their body and how it works individually. And seeing them return for more every week is rewarding.