Did you disconnect from your yoga practice over summer break? It’s common (and healthy!) to put a pause on your exercise routine—wildly if the sun’s heat and brilliant display beckoned playtime and activities outside. Taking time off from your daily yoga practice may help you feel refreshed when you return to your yoga mat.
Dropping your daily yoga practice may be vital to your long-term commitment. Consistency over intensity is key, and taking a week (or, in some cases, a few weeks) off may benefit you in maintaining a healthy relationship with your yoga practice.
Taking time off is easy, and It may feel hard to return to your yoga mat.
Obstacles to Initiating a Daily Yoga Practice
Mental: Lack of time and resources. Resistance to starting a (new) habit. A desire to sleep in a little longer or watch Netflix before bed.
Emotional: Lack of motivation and inspiration. Avoidance of your emotions as emotions live in the body, and yoga tends to surface the stuff you mentally suppress.
Physical: Lack of energy, body soreness, muscle fatigue, overall lethargy.
What Are The Best Tips to Start a New Routine?
Commit to just one thing. Make it easy for yourself; choose a specific time, duration, and yoga class, and commit to that one thing for at least a week. Start small; set aside a few minutes each day as a starting point, and make a point of checking in and reflecting on your progress at the end of each week.
Practice with Clara will support you in transitioning back to your yoga mat—through movement, mantra, or meditation—with on-demand content and LIVE virtual events to provide you with the motivation and inspiration to reestablish a daily yoga practice.
Here are a few questions you may ask yourself before you start:
- What days best suit my schedule?
- What time of day is best for my schedule?
- Do I need a calendar to track my progress and act as a reminder?
- What am I avoiding when I don’t make time to do yoga?
- How do I feel before and after I do yoga?
7 Tips to Make it to Your Yoga Mat
- Set up your space. Create the physical space to set up for your practice. If you have the option of doing your yoga practice in a separate room from your work, set up your mat, props, and technology ahead of time so it’s ready for you when you wake up or get home from work. If you don’t have a separate space to do your yoga practice, light incense or a candle, turn on music, or choose an item for your altar. It’s essential to have a signifier for your routine, an item, scent, or sound that helps you connect to your practice and get in the mood/zone.
- Take ten deep breaths. The quickest way to drop into your body is through the breath. Your breath relates to how you expand (inhale) and contract (exhale) in your body; it stimulates or slows the nervous system and affects your mood. Deep breathing is shown to decrease the feeling of stress by slowing the heart rate and telling the brain to release endorphins that make you feel good. If you’re tight on time, taking ten breaths in a child’s pose or a forward fold may help you feel more grounded, calm, and ready to face the next phase of your day.
- Do sun salutations. Move the body and invigorate the mind, heart, and muscles with a few sun salutations. Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) is invigorating asanas (physical poses) linked together by the breath. Sun salutations create heat in the body, increase the heart rate, engage and stretch the muscles, and improve overall circulation. You may feel a boost of energy as you do sun salutations and release tension in the chest, shoulders, and back. Sun salutations are a great way to get moving and may inspire you to stay a little longer on your yoga mat once you’ve got your heart pumping.
- Get up a little earlier. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than you usually would, and come to your yoga mat for 10 minutes of movement, mantra, or breathwork. It’s hard to commit to a yoga practice or exercise routine at the end of the day. When we wake up, we are transparent and grounded from rest if we’ve slept well. Mental fatigue is an obstacle if you wait until after work to do your practice.
- Include your family or friends. When you have people holding you accountable, you’re more likely to show up regularly for your routine. You will face days that you feel tired, grumpy, or disconnected, and you will not want to do your yoga practice. A friend or family member who will commit and practice with you may help you push past obstacles and stay focused.
- Eat foods that support your practice. Certain foods bring you down energetically, which affects your mental and physical capabilities. Eating the foods that nourish your body and make you feel good will support your practice. When you feel heavy, sluggish, bloated, or lethargic, you are less likely to want to move your body on your yoga mat. You should eat foods that make you feel full and not dull, foods that are bright in flavor and easy to break down and digest. Check out the Guide to Ayurveda to see the foods, recipes, and beverages to support your yoga practice.
- Join a 7-Day Sadhana Series or a 30-Day Virtual Yoga Challenge. Sign up for a series or a yoga challenge to reignite your dedication to daily practice. These events are virtual with on-demand content you can do at your leisure anytime, anywhere. Our community of yogis worldwide will support you from Canada to the USA, Europe, and Australia. The community comes together to offer inspiration, encouragement, and motivation for the duration of the events.
A brief meditation to ease you out of your workday; take this meditation on the bus, in the car, on your bike, or when you arrive home.
There are no props required, so you can do the meditation on the go.
This meditation invites you to surrender to your breath and envision it moving like water through your body to release stagnancy and flow through the rest of your day.
What If I Cannot Do Yoga Every Day?
Live your yoga—use this statement as your guide when you cannot make it to your yoga mat. Yoga is so much more than asana practice. It’s a philosophy for living and a way of being in the world. Yoga is how we breathe, think, speak, and engage with others. It’s living with more self-awareness and compassion so we act with more integrity and make choices that benefit ourselves and the global community.
Yoga does not always look like a 60-minute vinyasa yoga class; it may be a short meditation or mantra practice or a few deep breaths while you wait for the bus or walk to pick your kids up from school. Yoga is a state of being, so on the days you cannot make it to your mat, shift your mindset so that you can do your yoga no matter what!
The quickest way to decrease stress that you have control over is through deep, diaphragmatic breathing.
Your breath works with the vagal tone to slow down the heart rate and mental fluctuations. Especially if you feel lethargic and unmotivated to move after your workday, a short meditation may be all you need to hit reset. Studies have shown that deep breathing through activities such as yoga improves your sense of well-being. From a pilot study on the role of deep breathing on stress:
“The use of deep breathing techniques has lead to an effective improvement in the management of stress in daily life, and therefore, could exert positive influences on the stress conditions.”
What Is Living Your Yoga?
During a LIVE yoga class, Clara asked participants for their definition of freedom. Here’s what the community had to say:
Blissful. Choice. Peace. Space. Independence. Joy. Balance. Community. Mother Ocean. Abundance. Love. Solitude. Self-respect. Permission. Acceptance. Silence. Nature. Open. Spacious. Movement, Light. Equanimity.
This is what living your yoga looks like; it’s the process of opening yourself to new experiences, reflecting on how you feel and how you want your life to take form, and developing the discipline to show up for yourself every day.
Yoga (re)connects you to your body, mind, and soul through poses, breathwork, and philosophical questions. It asks that you feel your breath and how it moves through your body so you can locate the places that require your attention. Unlike other physical fitness, yoga is a practice of self-reflection. Yoga strengthens the body and the mind; it asks you to focus your attention on your breath and move through postures that test your capacity to endure and release.
You may see and feel the physical changes in your body if you keep showing up; however, the most significant benefit of yoga is the sense of clarity and connection to yourself you receive when you make it to your mat.