We all know THAT feeling.
You took a break from your wellness routine, maybe because of an injury or maybe because it was summer and there were more fun things to do. No judgement here, summer is short and we want to fit in every fun thing it has to offer before it's gone.
You get back on your mat and it feels....
You are out of routine and nothing feels familiar. Everything feels harder than it used to and you have a BIG and glaring realization that you aren't where you used to be.
We've all been there.
Almost every year, I take a month off of my formal training and head south. While I am still active, practice yoga and lift weights. It's not the same intensity or frequency and when I get back to my mat, I feel some backsliding in my stamina, skill and mental toughness.
Nobody performs at their best every single day. Even Olympic athletes take a month or two off training to allow their bodies to heal after the Olympics.
The key to making a comeback is mindset and sticking to the plan.
In the mindset department, I like to use the yamas (the ethical guide to living a yogic lifestyle) to help me through getting back on my mat.
Non-violence towards yourself in mind, body and spirit. You are already feeling that you've got an uphill road in front of you, don't make it harder by letting that voice in your head say such mean things. On a physical level, there is no need to push for anything that causes your body pain. If you can't walk for 2 days, what was the point anyway?
Satya - Truthfulness
Are you practicing in a way that feels true to you? Are you honest with yourself about your capabilities in this moment? If you are having a hard time getting back into your routine, be honest about it when you speak with your friends, family and fellow yogis. Saying that you are fine when you are not leads to more feelings of isolation. You'll probably even find they share similar struggles.
Asteya - Non-stealing
It can be so easy to feel jealous of someone else's success. If you've got someone in your life who is killing it in their practice right now, cheer them on and use them as inspiration. Not only that, but focusing on the goal, will take you away from all the good things happening where you currently are. If you are going to a yoga or fitness class, show up on time. This is not only for the benefit of those around you, but you miss out on the full benefits of the practice if you are late and rushing through motions.
Brahmacharya - Moderation or Abstinence
This one has often been translated into celibacy, but it goes much further than that. It's commitment to yourself. On your mat, practice this by taking breaks when you need it. Off your mat, notice if you have habits that sabotage your future self, like staying up so late that you can't make it to your early class or spending time scrolling through things that don't serve a higher or future version of you. Ask yourself if your lifestyle is supporting your goals.
Aparigraha - Non-attachment
This one often shows up in 'shoulds'. Like, I should be able to do this. I should be further ahead than I am. Without acknowledging where you truly are in the moment, you won't progress. It can be a big challenge, but try to practice with curiosity, rather than expectation or judgement. Notice the process more than the outcome. Move because you love to move, and nothing more. Be present for whatever is there for you.
It can be challenging to get back on your mat when it's been a while. Anyone who has practiced yoga knows this.
Know that your comeback will be easier than the first time you started, because you've done it before. Your body knows what you want it to do. Be patient and kind to yourself, practice the yamas and you'll get to where you want to be.