6 Reasons the Best Place to Be After Vacation is On Your Mat

It’s that time of year at the studio where when I see a familiar face come through the doors I realize I haven’t seen that face for a couple of weeks. Out on vacation, out with the kids and family, or simply enjoying everything about the summer months, you might find that getting to yoga class has become an afterthought, or downright impossible. Even as a teacher I feel the pull of the sunny day outside that has me negotiating with myself that I can practice tomorrow, and no one would be the wiser.

As summer is starting to wrap up, each day before I start class I have a student come up to me and say something along the lines of, “I’m a bit scared. I’ve been on vacation for the past week and hope I survive the class.” I remind them they’ve done it before, that they made it to the studio (which is the hardest part), and they will be glad to be back once class is over.

I’ve also had students scared to go on vacation, thinking that their practice will suffer and they might “lose” all of their hard work. I completely understand. I remember when I was traveling for my acting gigs having a bad dream about no longer being able to backward bend the way I know I can, as I stood on a 3 foot mat that kept making me lose my balance throughout the series. Eight weeks later though, when the show came to a close and I came home to my husband and my practice, I could still back bend, grab my feet, kick out, and succeed in the hot room. Things might not have been as deep as they were before I left, but the practice didn’t go back to ground zero.

The main thing is getting back into the hot room. After a week, or maybe a couple of weeks off, it’s easy to lose sight about why you practice. You’re feeling great from vacation, you still have a glimmer of a yoga glow going on, and everything seems to be clicking along nicely. Why do you go to that hot, sweaty, loud, bright room again? You won’t know until you get back to it. After class it will be perfectly clear when you stare at your red faced, looks like someone dumped a bucket of water over your head reflection in the mirror and smile at what you see, floating out of the studio with renewed energy towards your car.

So, this week I thought I’d make an argument for why you should get back to the studio as quickly as you can after you’ve arrived home from vacation, or simply taken a break throughout the summer months.

  1. You will get over jet lag quicker. There is nothing worse than the groggy, I-can’t-believe-my-vacation-is-over feeling that jet lag gives you. Your practice will ground you, help you recover, and get you back to the pace of your everyday life. Jet lag occurs because your circadian rhythms are disrupted. Melatonin, a hormone secreted by your pineal gland, helps control circadian rhythms. Yoga stimulates the pineal gland, which stimulates melatonin production. Get to class. You will feel so much better!
  2. Release your vacation toxins. Did you eat too much? Drink too much? Slather yourself in sunscreen or bug spray? Sweat that stuff out and get your body working efficiently once again. There is nothing better than a good sweat fest to clean the body from the inside out.
  3. Get the kinks out. Whether you flew or drove you probably sat for a good amount of time while you were traveling. Sitting can be hard on your back, hips, neck and shoulders. When I haven’t practiced in awhile (for me anything over 3 days is awhile) I notice my hips don’t feel like they are in the right place and my shoulders carry way too much tension. Balance the body out with a good stretch that helps to put everything back into place. It’s funny how you think you feel great until you get back to your practice and realize what feeling great can actually be for you.
  4. The longer you delay the more unlikely you will get back to it. It’s the truth. I have students contact me each week that talk about coming back and how much they miss the practice, the studio, the people, yet they don’t make it a priority and it never happens. Put it on the calendar. Make a date with you. Know that it is important. Get back to it. The longer you delay, the scarier it will be. The first class back is always the most daunting. You are yoga strong. Remember that.
  5. Reconnect with your yoga family. There really is no place on earth like the yoga studio and the kind, generous, and supportive souls that inhabit it. Your yoga friends have missed you and want to hear about your travels. If there is no other reason to get back to your practice, go back for that. The best people I know are at the studio, smiling, sweating, working hard, and supporting each other posture after posture, breath after breath.
  6. Go to your everyday vacation “me” time place. Face it. Vacation only lasts a couple of weeks a year at best. Your yoga practice will always be there. It helps you reconnect with your own best Self and gives you the time and space to take stock in your life. Make the hot room your ultimate destination and reap the rewards. Class is starting and the heat is on. See you on the mat?


If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy reading:

The Beauty of the Break

Dearly Devoted

Strike a Pose

***Email & RSS Feed Subscribers:  Be sure to stop by viewsfromthepodium.com to check out the latest Off the Mat Chats article by Jane Hill,”The Virtues of Vodka.”  Also check out the Facebook PageTwitter, and Instagram for daily inspiration. Stop by often, get inspired, and get to class!

8 thoughts on “6 Reasons the Best Place to Be After Vacation is On Your Mat

  1. And practice when you’re on vacation, too! I love visiting studios when I travel. It’s fun to have a new teacher and practice in a different space. Also it can be a great place to get restaurant recommendations and other tips from locals! My mom says that if you want to know where the best vegetarian restaurant in town is, you should just ask the yogis 🙂

  2. Great post – I have been out of my practice for a good long while….slowly getting back to it – realizing that I keep my self away with more head games then just going an doing. It is challenging to go to the hot room when it’s 105 outside – but it does make you feel the ‘cool’ of the desert when it’s over. What I noticed is that sometimes I cannot recover later on in the day – and trying to figure out what that means in terms of how to make sure I’m better prepared when I walk into the hot room. Giving up my fears about how my practice looks after a break was the first thing to do – and realizing it is my ego and this is not about my ego. Also the humbling experience of not always going into it as far as I can b/c it is not good for my wonky pelvis – that’s the hardest part – being reasonable about one’s physical condition and respecting your body’s signals. When I ‘push thru’ the posture – I feel it for days and days afterwards and then I can’t make it to the next class…so back off during class so I can go to more classes… but my ego still gets in the way! Just because I can put my head on the floor for Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose doesn’t mean that it’s in my body’s best interest to do so (for me)…. letting that go – it’s hard. And the honest truth is that I’m a robust gal and I don’t want people to think that I can’t do the posture b/c of my size…which is idiotic – I’m so engrossed in my own world I don’t notice others so it’s most likely the same for them… and even if they think that – why should I care?? AHHHHH – head games…
    And I’m rambling.

    • You are thinking about this too much!! Simply get to class, do your best, do not rip yourself apart (physically or mentally), and then come back the next day and do it again. No one is looking at you or judging you – NO ONE and if they are, they need more time in the hot room. Even the teachers, who are staring at you, are only thinking about how hard you guys are working and how amazing that work is. Stop sabotaging yourself. You’ve always been so passionate about the yoga – keep going!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.