Get Back On the Mat

Get Back On the Mat
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Yoga has changed my life. But not in the way you might think.

I don’t practice yoga for weight loss (well, sometimes for bloating). I don’t practice it for self-care either (although it is certainly helpful). Basically, I don’t practice yoga in the way most people think you HAVE to practice it.

Because get this: Yoga is a WHOLE LIFE practice.

In Sanskrit, the word yoga means “to yoke or join together.” When we step on the mat we are joining together the physical, mental, and spiritual world within us. We embark on a path to creating balance and uniting opposites.

By practicing yoga, I’ve been able to quiet my hectic mind (which years of therapy failed to do) and marry together my need for adventure with my craving for calm. The physical benefits I’ve experience are just an added cherry on top.

Before yoga, I was a loose cannon. I grew up in a hectic household and I struggled a lot with my identity. At one point, I weighed 101 lbs (I’m 5’5″) abused alcohol and pain medication, and engaged in unhealthy sexual relationships. Now, after nearly 8 years, I’m a healthy 130lbs, clean from all my previous vices, and happily married with two beautiful children. Yoga as a whole body life practice quite literally saved my life.

 

Seriously, yoga is my secret weapon to feeling confident and succeeding in life, and now I want to make it YOURS too.

Today, I’m going to share three essential strategies to overcome any negative energy or obstacles you may be facing and get you back on your mat.

And by the way, YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.

1: Stop Comparing Yourself

Comparison is a liar and a thief and you have no room for either in your life.

When you initially get the nudge to start practicing yoga, what’s the FIRST thing that pops into your mind? Is it your flexibility level? Your time constraints? Fear of failure? Whatever it may be, STOP YOURSELF RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE.

One of the biggest setbacks people face when creating any sort of habit is self sabotage. And it often takes the form of comparison. Ultimately you are comparing yourself to what you’ve read or seen someone else do in regards to yoga, but this is your journey, so embrace it. No one else will care what your practice looks like, because they are busy figuring their own out.

2: Practice the Moment You Feel You Should (or at least commit to a time to practice)

If the notion comes into your mind to practice yoga and there is nothing more pressing to do in that moment (work meeting, tending to children, appointments, etc.) THEN DO IT. Even if it is just five minutes focusing on breath in your office chair or while sitting on the couch just before the baby wakes up from a nap.

The hardest thing to do in life is to JUST START. If you are still not convinced that this is something you can do, here’s how to carve out time to make yoga happen:

  1. Create a home or office space: this can be anywhere you feel comfortable and have room to move.
  2. Schedule time with yourself: pull out your calendar, set an alarm, whatever helps alert you that it is time to practice. The key here is consistency (which I’ll talk more about in a sec.).
  3. Choose how you’ll practice: There are tons of YouTube videos, books, and classes available for all levels. Pick the one that speaks to you most and go with it. Or just move your body in a way that feels good based on your previous knowledge/experience.
  4. JUST DO IT: when you feel that ball form in your throat, or you start to make excuses as to why you “can’t” practice – hold yourself accountable. Imagine what you would say if it were a friend trying to get out of practice instead? Would you help talk them out of it? Or ease their fears and help them commit? Hopefully you’d do the latter.

3: Be Consistent and Reward Yourself

It can take anywhere from 20 days to 66 days to form a positive habit. So commit to AT MINIMUM 21 days to building your yoga practice.

I’m not talking a crazy 1 hour power vinyasa flow every day. Not at all. It may be as simple as you roll out your mat, sit for a few minutes, do some light stretches maybe, and then call it a day. If after a few days you find you want to challenge yourself more, do that. Alternatively, it’s OK to keep it super light and gentle too. The point here is to be consistent.

Also, reward yourself with something you enjoy doing naturally everyday.

Let’s say you have an affinity for coffee. Tell yourself, “after I spend time on my mat I will seal in my practice by enjoying a nice cup of coffee.” Or a shower, or reading, whatever is easy to indulge in that you already naturally do everyday. By doing this, yoga will become an extension of that already established habit, and thus, a natural reoccurring part of your day.

So…

If you implement these three strategies to get back on your mat or start a new yoga practice, you will be well on your way to “yoking together” your WHOLE life. I promise.

And if I haven’t drilled it into your head enough yet, YOU CAN DO THIS if you really want to…

Now, tell me in the comments below – what is ONE thing you’re going to do today to “get back on the mat”?

 

 

Yoga for Diastasis Recti

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Me at 7 weeks postpartum

Diastasis Recti affects more than 3 million people, most of whom are postpartum women. It usually shows up if you are over 35, deliver a large baby, or have multiple pregnancies. And yet, despite being so common it is also one of the least talked about conditions.

After the birth of my first son, who was 9lbs and 22 inches long (a.k.a a large baby), I thought I could carve away my post baby belly with crunches, planks, and other abdominal workouts. Little did I know, I was actually making it WORSE because I didn’t know what I was dealing with. After a year of improper exercise and misinformation, I almost ended up with an umbilical hernia, developed digestion issues, and had to have lab tests and x-rays done to rule out cancer because I was in so much pain.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant again that I finally figured out what was going on. My OB explained to me what was happening and after my second son was born (via a scheduled cesarean) she sewed my muscles back together to remedy the problem.

Now I’m 9 weeks postpartum and this time I’m taking care to make sure I don’t end up with Diastasis Reci again.

Continue reading “Yoga for Diastasis Recti”

March Goals: Gentle Yoga, Low Sugar Diet, and Being Present

March Yoga Goals

February has come and gone in a blur. I’m going to be 8 weeks postpartum tomorrow and I’m still struggling to wrap my head around how fast time is passing. I guess time flying is the new reality of having a newborn and a toddler to care for now. So it’s more important than ever for me to commit to the goals I set if I want to heal and improve my yoga practice post baby.

To keep my sleep deprived mind straight, here are my goals for March:

Continue reading “March Goals: Gentle Yoga, Low Sugar Diet, and Being Present”

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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I am a quiet girl. I get nervous when in large crowds, but I also love getting to know strangers.

Also, this isn’t my first blog.

In fact, I’ve probably started and dropped 5 different blogs total. I used to think it was a commitment issue, but now I’m realizing it’s something more…

A fear of intimacy.

To be a good blogger, you should write consistently. To be a great blogger, you should be 100% open and honest. And let’s face it… In our oversaturated, picture perfect social media world being authentic is a tough attribute to sell.

Continue reading “The Journey Begins”