Is it procrastinate when you don’t want to do something or simply resistance? I wondered this thought as yet another month passed with a very spotty yoga practice. My yoga practice was disrupted in mid-March. It was a combination of things. A rough dental surgery combined with the pandemic stay at home order. Like most people, I coped by baking more, gardening more, and walking locally more. But yoga was lacking. As I would look at my yoga mat, I knew what gifts would come when I just do the work. But what if I don’t want to do “the work”? How would I find my way back to the practice?
The pandemic, the election, and all the underlying stress has contributed to a loss of helpful routines, people, and structures in our lives. My yoga practice is a wellness must. This hard-won knowledge comes from observing that certain years seasonal depression is worse than others. Certain years the pain in my low back bothers me more from the congenital defect in my lumbar spine than others. Certain years, headaches are worse, sleeping is challenging, and energy is low. Yoga reduces the impact of the spine problem, reduces pain, increases energy, and improves sleep.
I will meander in my story to mention that my daughter plays violin. And similarities between yoga and violin practice are very striking. The more she practices, the more she enjoys playing and wants to play. I read an article a little while ago explaining why children quit playing. A few of the answers were surprising. One factor was when the instruments were too shoddy or broken. Another was they did not have a place to practice (easily). Another was no one supported them.
This information resonated with some of my barriers to yoga. Returning to yoga after several months of little practice would mean I would not be able to easily move through the practice. I don’t have a dedicated spot to practice. If no one is home, I practice on the main level. Otherwise it is in my bedroom, so if I haven’t practiced for a while, I have to gather my equipment up again from a tucked away corner. I also felt disconnected from my yoga community.
Here are some suggestions that helped me get back into my practice:
1. I reached out to various yoga teachers I like to practice with. Many are offering packages during this time, and I subscribe to a month of their offerings. I thought that I can commit for a month and then reassess.
2. I realized that I do not really need any special equipment or room to do yoga. I started to think of my mat as “the space.” I found it was more important to have a dedicated spot to store my equipment.
3. It helped to get my stuff together ahead of time (water, mat, towel, bolster, block). I am so easily sidetracked by other things as I hunt for my equipment that I would easily run out of time for my practice.
4. I set a time and duration that worked with my very full schedule. For me, I know I can realistically commit to thirty minutes a day.
5. I tried not to overdo it. I would actively schedule luxurious restorative yoga sessions of full days. This help me favor consistency over a challenging or long practice.
6. I reacquainted myself with a one of the first blends I made as a certified aromatherapist. I formulated specifically for my clients and myself to help us get to the mat. I called it No Pain! All Gain!
I continue to learn the lesson that essential oil blends are a low cost, high impact practice. They are gentle in their ability to alter mood states that contribute to resistance. I specifically choose grapefruit to add to my No Pain! All Gain! blend Like most citrus oils it is largely composed of d-limonene, a compound well known to stimulate the immune system. BUT it also has trace amounts of myrcene and alpha-pinene, components associated to decrease pain and open airways. I use this knowledge to synergistically blend with balsam copaiba, lemongrass, black pepper and Siberian fir. The black pepper and copaiba I choose have over 50% β-caryophyllene, which is another component well known for relieving minor and stiffness.
Sometimes I find it difficult to imagine how profound it is to take a little bottle and rolling it over your joints and feel a sense of relief, a better sense of inhalation, and a subtle but noticeable decrease in anxiety and low energy!