Tip Tuesday is a weekly feature where I offer a few yoga tips that have worked for me in the hopes that they can help you too.
Perhaps you’ve been there. You’ve been doing yoga regularly, feeling great, enjoying the benefits. Then life gets busy and practice somehow falls to the wayside; your last yoga class a hazy memory. However, you finally make it back to the yoga mat.
And it is rough. Just like getting back on a bike, the muscle memory of how to do it is there, but it is a wobbly ride. How do you keep motivated when you feel like you have so far to go?
Congratulate yourself You did the hardest part which was starting again and putting your intention and effort forward. The other part of congratulating yourself is not qualifying it in anyway. “I’m proud that I started yoga again, but I would not be having to start over in the first place if I had only stuck with my practice” or “I’m glad I got back to my practice, but I did very badly.” No if, ands, or buts. Just congrats.
Re-frame muscle soreness Muscles get sore because they are learning a movement that is new or unfamiliar to them. You are re-learning movements that are currently unfamiliar. Look at muscle soreness as your yoga muscles getting smarter. Frankly, doesn’t that make you feel more like practicing than it would if you just continued to berate yourself for being tired and inflexible?
Find the win No matter how stiff or out-of-practice you feel, there is something you did well. Start looking out for the small victories: staying connected to your breath in a pose, a slight opening of the hamstrings that allowed you to go a little further, or maybe you lifted that foot off the ground for just a second to balance in crow.
Remember the lightbulb moments Do you remember when you first started yoga? If it was anything like my experience, it felt clumsy and unfamiliar and challenging just to keep my left and right sides straight. Yet through the struggles, there would be these exhilarating moments of improvement. Today the poses I am most satisfied by are the ones that have been the hardest for me to learn. Starting over is a bit like being a beginner again. Know that the clumsy stage will come, but so will the lightbulb occasions when you “get” that pose again.
Image credit: perfectoinsecto