Boy do I hear this a lot lately. First I reassure that it is OK. Life happens each day taking us away from our routines. Just like with any physical activity we engage in, when life calls us away we recognize very quickly that the body is reacting with getting “soft” or “out of shape”. We have Summer, injuries, Holiday season, or how about, “I just need a break”. Whatever has kept you away from your yoga practice know that the mind and body have made a memory, the muscles will also remember what to do once you return. Taking it slow for the first few classes is the smart way to get back to your practice. I’ve experienced this a few times in my yoga life. Once while on a trip to Italy, I was away from my yoga practice for 3 weeks. What I realized from this experience is, it felt OK to try hiking, walking, biking. Activities I’d let go of to dive deep into my yoga practice. And when I did return to my mat, I felt a little anxiety, “will I remember how to do this” and “god, I hope the teacher doesn’t ask me to help demo a pose”. Just last year (2012) I was off my mat for 4 months due to an illness. I couldn’t practice but I could get on my mat and just BE. Through both of these experiences I allowed myself to just breathe through this re-entry. Instead of attending my usual 7 classes a week, I backed off to just 3. This allowed my body to adjust slowly instead of waking up the next day feeling so sore I couldn’t sit or stand without muscle pain. No thanks. No one should feel body trashed after yoga. That is a sure sign you worked too hard or the ego was in control.
Look at all you have been doing while away from your yoga practice, see the joy, memories, a new activity, and you’ll see that it’s OK. Understand that when you get back to your yoga mat, it will feel good and you’ll be surprised at what you do remember. You’ll also remember how good it felt to be back in a practice. I hope you’ll see that it’s great to balance life out with may activities. We evolve all the time. I continue to encourage all students to hear a different yoga voice, be in another physical activity, it’s about balance. I LOVE riding my bike and practicing yoga. The balance it brings to my body and mind are amazing. Both offering a different feeling physically and mentally.
So, know that, in spite of what your anxiety might be telling you, it probably won’t be that bad! Either way, congratulate yourself for having the courage to get back in the room. Your mind and body will thank you!!!