We’ve all been there, leaving the yoga class fresh and reborn, just to lose that after-bliss because you are stuck in traffic on your way home… This guide will give a deeper insight on how to maintain that glow and you’ll get to know a bit more about the quote “yoga starts when you leave the mat”.
Yoga Begins When You Leave Your Mat
This is a big saying within yoga and you’ve probably heard it a couple of times before as well. Yoga teachers love to use it, but do you actually really know what they are trying to say? Well, let’s have a look at this quote and see if I can make it clearer for you.
You might have started your yoga with a certain intention. Whether it’s to lose a couple of pounds, or whether it’s to find peace and quiet. And this means that you can’t only rely on your yoga classes. Unless you decide that you’d like to practice yoga 8 hours a day of course, which is probably physically also not that healthy.
Yoga as a system for emotional and physical health is like going to therapy. This means that you take your issue onto your mat and you reflect upon it. Whether you are aware of it, or not. Within a class or your own yoga practice, you will become aware of your own limitations and even strengths. And then you start to look upon the thoughts you might be having when experiencing these obstacles.
But with good therapy, it also means that you need to be aware of all of the above when you are doing your daily routines. Yoga merely magnifies the feelings and thoughts you are experiencing. And because of this revelation, you might feel more connected to yourself, creating this inner bliss.
And the moment you step out of that bubble of self-awareness and you point your finger to others, that’s when that afterglow ends. And that’s when your teacher would say that yoga starts when you step off your mat.
How To Keep Your Yoga Glow
Now that you’ve got a little background, you probably wonder: but isn’t there any way to keep that bliss after my yoga class?!!! Well, there is, and we’ll talk about that in our next section. But please be aware as well that you also need to practice regularly, on and off the mat.
You might think that this we’ll start with the steps of grieving, but it’s not, it’s an actual hint for you to make sure that you won’t get disappointed. Acceptance, in this case, is not about being able to succeed or not succeed in maintaining the bliss. It’s accepting that it will go away again.
You see, one of my meditation teachers once told me that life has highs and lows, you can almost say that you can put your life into a curve. Sometimes you’ve got an extremely high where you’ll be almost euphoric and sometimes you might experience a deep low. And the art of meditation and yoga is to make sure that you won’t be having those extremes.
And this is something you’ve got to accept. Because the beauty, or bliss, happens when you are somewhere in between. Where everything is just as good as it is.
This seems like something ungraspable and invisible. And it sort of is, that’s why you’ve got to practice it a lot and at some points the progress might look so minuscule that you wonder if you are doing it right. Just don’t worry about it too much, and you’ll see that miracles will happen :).
#2 Keep a Pre and Post Class Structure
The next steps you’ll be able to take are a bit more visible and easier to follow, as you can actually execute them quite easily. It’s keeping a certain structure after class. And with this, I mean that you have to minimize the obligations that you have to after your class.
You just took some amazing time for yourself, and it might be that you’ve still got a lot to do after it. It might be that you need to go to work, or that you’ve got to put your kids in bed, or you might even decide to have a drink with some friends. These things will have an effect on your yoga bliss.
It’s really recommended that you try to do as little as possible after your yoga class as you might be putting some stress upon yourself again, evaporating that calmness into thin air. If you can avoid things or even do some prep work already before your class, it’s highly suggested.
If you still have to cook when you get back from your class, try to make an oven dish beforehand already. This can be done even a day in advance! This prevents you from stressing out in the kitchen if you are not having a lot of time to prepare something. You just have to turn the oven on and meanwhile, you can just meditate or relax a bit while your food is getting warm.
Also, try to make sure that you don’t have to travel a far distance. Ideally, it would be good to pick a yoga studio that is close to your home. Just to prevent that you don’t have to drive in crazy traffic. Also, if you are able to go on foot or by bike, that would be amazing. After a yoga class all your senses are a bit hyphened as well, going on a full bus or metro might influence your bliss.
#3 Focus on Your Breathing
If you can’t avoid one of these activities above, it might be a good idea to put the focus on your breath again. This is something you can always do and it doesn’t ask for a lot of effort either. And it’s a great way to focus on the after-class meditation. You can basically do it whenever and wherever you’d like!
Did you know that your breath changes when you are feeling some (extreme) emotions? Laughter is even a great activity for your core muscle. But this is in general not what you’d want for your after yoga practice. You’d like to keep yourself serene and calm and therefore it’s good to keep your breath under control as well.
It’s easy to put the focus outward again, but especially after your yoga class it would be good to be aware of how your mind wonders into the next thing. Because this can harshly affect your state of being. And after your yoga practice it’s actually the ideal time to keep your attention inside.
Of course, if you are just starting out with yoga or meditation, it’s going to be a bit weird and maybe even hard to focus on your breath during everyday activities. But you’ll get the hang of it. For those who are starting out I’d even say to close your eyes for a couple of seconds if that’s possible.
#4 Keep It Light (Meals and Drinks)
Another thing that you’ve really got to keep in mind is that what you eat and drink after your yoga class will effect you as well. If you decide to go binge drinking after your yoga class, well, then you’ll just get drunk and the whole state of bliss will be gone. Well, you’ll be in another kinds of bliss, but the one you’ll regret the next day.
This also goes for meals. If you go out for dinner after your yoga class, because it does sound appealing not having to cook after your yoga class, can be a hassle for your body. Alright, the food will be amazing and you’ll probably enjoy it more after you’ve done your yoga, but you’ll also feel the consequence of not making the right choices right after your class.
Opting for salads or light meals are a great way to maintain that bliss as they are easy to digest by your stomach. Choosing for heavier foods however, might result in bloating and they will bring your body in a bit of a stress. Meaning that your bliss will be all gone.
But hey, if you do decide to take a big meal, just be sure that you fully enjoy it! And then it might even be worth it. No judgement here ;).