Friday, February 15, 2013
Coming Back to the Mat
What happens if you lose your physical yoga practice? So many yogis I know have been deeply connected to their practice only to one day wake up a little too busy to do yoga. Or perhaps a friend that usually accompanies you isn't able to join you. Perhaps you meditate everyday but recently lost the drive to arrive on your mat and practice next to your friends or loved ones. Whatever it is, sometimes a yogi needs a break and it's absolutely okay to do so. Taking a yoga break is similar to taking childs pose. Sometimes your body just needs a break and it will know when you're ready to arrive on your mat and come back home.
You don't have to be on your mat to be a yogi but as Heart of Yoga explains: you can start yoga on one end of the spectrum (spiritual or physical) and begin with both not connected but eventually you need to connect the two. Over the past few years my mom and I have been trying to connect the two, just as with everyone else who begins a yoga practice. We step on the mat for one reason (mine was a heartbreak and my mom's was arthritis) but we stay for so many other reasons.
The benefits of yoga are the benefits of breath, the lifting of your spirit while practicing next to a new friend, your open and more flexible mind, body & spirit and so much more. The benefits of the practice are your entryway to so many beautiful adventures and opportunities. It is healing, fun, opening, life changing and ever moving - yoga is life.
But what happens if you lose part of that path?
Do you become a "former" yogi?
I used to be a yogi but I'm not longer flexible?
No. None of that is true. If you are a yogi or a yogini: YOU ARE. You are constantly learning as all of us are, to be present, to breathe and to move within your body. Time away from the mat is a part of that experience. Time away from the mat can sometimes be a good thing because the moment you step back on your mat and back into the full experience of your yoga practice, you are more connected that you ever have been before.
Is it tough? YES! There are weeks when I have no time for a physical yoga asana practice and the first day back is amazing. Then the next day my body is in no mood for any physical activity....but I go again and again and again until I feel connected to my body once more. Being away from the mat can often be a blessing as well as a curse and the first step is just that: stepping onto your mat.
Do not wait for a friend to join you.
Do not wait until you're "ready".
Do not wait until you find a beginners class when you used to take Bikram daily.
Just jump right back in and take your time. NO ONE is judging you for the practice that you used to have but yourself and you need to stop judging now. Remember that balasana or childs pose is one of the most advanced asanas we have. It takes acceptance, understanding and letting go of our ego to embrace balasana. It takes a truly seasoned yogi to know when to rest and when to push harder.
So go find your yoga, and get back to the mat. It's time. Open your heart, open your hips and head back to the place that makes you feel at home and at peace with your physical self. It's time. No one is judging you but you and it needs to stop NOW. Let go of your ego and get back to the place that will welcome you time and time again no matter how many times you fall. You mat is waiting for you.
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle.