Last week I rolled out my yoga mat for the first time in a long time. With a newborn I have found it difficult to find time to sleep, much less get dressed and out the door to a yoga class. And yet, last week I found myself with time to spare as the little guy took an unhurried afternoon nap.
Returning to the mat was as simple as unravelling my yoga mat and finding a class online. It felt so good to stretch and move my body again after all this time. Why hadn’t I done this sooner?
No matter how fulfilled, calm or energised an activity may make you feel it’s easy to fall out of practice.
Newborns… work… deadlines… There's any number of things that consume our time and reduce our capacity for yoga, meditation or the self-care we need to feel our best.
This quote from Mahatma Gandhi reminds us that making room for these practices, even when time is scarce, will expand our abilities in all other areas of our lives —
"I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.”
For me the exhaustion of a newborn kept me from unravelling my mat and yet I felt so energised after finally committing to a class. Have you got something holding you back?
Here are 5 tips that will help you get back to the yoga mat:
1. Create an at-home "yoga studio"
Like we discussed in our article creating your own calm space, allocating a designated space for yoga or meditation will make practising all the more compelling. Even if you live in a small apartment, finding a nook where you can position your yoga mat, yoga bolster, buckwheat meditation cushion and other yoga props permanently will keep your practice at front of mind (and reduce barriers to hitting the mat).
Make your at-home studio even more compelling with candles, incense, speakers and a good playlist, and other meaningful objects.
2. Use an app or bookmark your favourite online yoga classes
If, like me, you are finding it difficult to attend a studio in-person, there are countless apps or online classes to help you flow from home. Our favourite apps or online yoga classes include:
- Keep it Cleaner
- A Live Yogi
- Insight Timer (also great for guided meditations)
- Yoga with Briohny
- Malu Yoga
- Bettina Rae (yoga for fertility and gentle prenatal yoga)
Just roll out your yoga mat, open the app and allow the stressors, distraction and tensions from the day to float away. Be sure to download the app to your phone or bookmark your favourite classes so they’re easy to access.
3. Pre-book an in-person yoga class
When motivation is waning it can be hard to commit to an online class or complete it in entirety. Sometimes the best way to commit to a class is by pre-booking a spot at your local studio the night before. Depending on your local studio and their booking system, you can use an application like Mind Body or Class Pass to schedule your next class in advance.
Usually classes can’t be cancelled within a certain number of hours so when you’re tempted to sleep in instead of attending that early vinyasa flow, you’ve already made a commitment to yourself and the studio – there’s no turning back.
4. Prepare for your practice the night before
Make your practice as effortless as possible by placing your yoga mat, yoga accessories and clothing out the evening before a class. This will eliminate any additional stress in the morning and make getting to a class more seamless.
You can also introduce small rituals in your day that will also entice you out of bed and to your mat or yoga studio. I set my coffee machine to start brewing early in the morning - the smell and thought of a hot coffee makes it more enticing to rise early for a walk or stretch. If you head out to a studio you could bring a keep cup to pick up coffee after, or make a tea for the trip there.
Ultimately the hardest part is getting to the mat. No one has ever regretted a yoga class when they’re lying blissfully in shavasana. All it takes is a little preparation to get you going in the first place.
5. Start small with shorter practices
The issue with our modern day all-or-nothing approach is that yoga isn’t about goals, bio hacking or measuring metrics. It is instead about self-acceptance, connection between the body and mind, and compassion for ourselves and others.
An all-or-nothing approach fails to acknowledge the profound mental and physical shifts that can be had even in a short practice, the same way they can be had in a lengthier sequence. In our modern age time is a commodity. If you can’t make time for a full yoga flow you needn’t disregard the practice altogether. A few minutes of breathwork and movement is better than nothing at all, and it is often enough to remind us of the joy of practice and entice us back to the mat again soon.
Have you had some time away from your yoga mat?
How have you embraced your yoga practice again?
We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below or by connecting with us on Instagram.