The post-holiday return to the mat

Enhanced Salutations

So how is your yoga practice going after the holiday break? It can be such a struggle to ease back into regular practice after the fun and festivities, can’t it? Or maybe, like me, you have been laid low with this horrible flu virus and haven’t even contemplated rolling out your mat for a while now. How to return to your regular routine safely? Here’s a few tips to get back on track.

  • Start gently. Don’t let your ego run away with you. Ease yourself back with gentle classes and mindful practice. Avoid the temptation to push yourself hard thinking you will get back to full strength and fitness sooner. Instead, you’re more likely to hurt yourself and set yourself back further.
  • Modifications. Embrace less challenging poses and use props as much as you can. This allows your body to get back into the swing of practice again and gradually regain strength and increase range of movement slowly and safely.
  • Do something different. Try a shorter practice or a different sequence so that you aren’t comparing your performance to when your were fully fit. This helps to keep the ego at bay, giving the body and mind freedom to grow.
  • Listen to your body. Be truly mindful and respond with kindness to what your body is telling you. Keep all stretches really comfortable and maintain easy breath throughout your time on the mat.
  • Quality not quantity. Cut back on repetitions of sun salutes and focus on technique initially. Gradually build up to your normal intensity over a couple of weeks. Be patient with yourself.
  • Mobility vs strength. Now is a good time to use flowing movements instead of strong holds. Explore and enjoy easing into poses; nudging into stretches and emphasising the transitions more than static holds. This is a great way to make a strong sequence accessible to a recovering body.

Returning from the holidays or recovering from an injury or illness is a time when your body needs compassion and care to help it get back on track. Be kind to yourself and your body will thank you for it. Ahimsa (non-violence) and sukha (comfort) are the way forwards for a happy and healthy yoga New Year!

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