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.
The Science of Yoga
Stress has become a way of life. Whether the days are full of multiple goals and endless obligations, traffic jams and transit delays, complex systems of bureaucracy and finance, or an overwhelming array of in-person and virtual relationships, the pace of current human existence is bursting at the seams.
For centuries, sages have relied on yoga to transcend earthly limitations. Each meditative pose is an effort to identify pockets of pain that accumulate inside the body. Each inhale confronts suffering. Each exhale is an attempt to transcend it. Through this process, worry is replaced with loving-kindness.
Now, bodies of research are proving that yoga is more than a niche spiritual force for enlightened beings.
Yoga has the power to heal the world, one human at a time.
The Rise of Yoga
A system of poses, breathing exercises, and meditations that originated in ancient India to inspire physical, mental, and spiritual well-being first started to spread around the world as a form of exercise in the twentieth century.
For decades, in the US, yoga seemed to capture the interests of quirky, white city dwellers and affluent suburbanite moms, but over the last decade, it has expanded from the studio and can currently be found in public parks, hospitals, outpatient clinics, workspaces, elementary schools, military bases, rehab centers, and even airports.
In fact, the 2016 Yoga in America Study commissioned, by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, estimated that more than 36 million people were practicing yoga in the US by 2015, compared to 20.4 million in 2012. A staggering 80 million people are likely to try yoga in 2016.
The Origins of Yoga
Yoga is first mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient collection of Sanskrit poetry that is sacred to the Hindu religion, dating as far back as the second century BCE. Verse 48 of Chapter Two essentially describes yoga as a state of equilibrium.
In the series Introduction to Yoga Sutras, Nicolai Bachman references the authoritative text on yoga to explore what it means to live a yogi life. He teaches that yoga is a path to positive transformation. Through a dedicated yoga practice, one can root out negativity and plant loving kindness. Citing Sutra 1.2, “yoga-citta-vritti-nirodhah,” Bachman describes yoga as a powerful tool for calming the noise.
While the validity of ancient texts may invite skepticism, the first professional-level medical textbook on yoga was released in the US in 2016. In Chapter One, “Introduction to Yoga in Health Care,” licensed medical practitioners recognize the importance of developing habits that balance emotions and modify unhealthy thought-patterns and acknowledge that yoga can play an integral role in preventing disease.