Get Back to Your Mat

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DO get yourself a practice pal to help you stick with it. You can encourage each other to get to class or agree to a time each week to practice at home together. You'll be less likely to skip a session if you know you’ll be letting someone else down.

DO establish a routine. “Just five minutes when you get up, even if it’s lying on your mat and breathing, will help get you back into yoga,” says registered yoga therapist Barbara Harding. She also suggests sticking with the routine for at least four to six weeks.

DO try a beginner's class, even if you had advanced beyond that point before you stopped practicing. “Taking an entry-level class will give you the chance to catch up and enjoy the practice,” explains yoga teacher and physician Baxter Bell. “It will also give you confidence.”

DO explore payment options if the cost is keeping you off the mat. Most studios offer discounts when you buy a multiple-class card. Some even allow you to share your discounted class card with a friend. Alternatively, inquire about work-study options. And when you find a financial arrangement that works, “commit to a series and pay up front,” suggests Bell. “Nothing motivates more than having already paid for a class. Even if you don't go to every single one, you'll at least go to some.”

DON'T set unrealistic goals. If you haven't been to a class in several years, deciding to practice three times a week may set you up for failure. Start small, then build your way up.

DON'T go it alone, especially if yoga is still relatively new to you. Get good instruction in breathing and proper alignment. Then you can develop a safe, successful home routine.

DON'T despair if your practice doesn't take off right away. Give it time.

Jennifer Barrett, a YJ contributing editor and freelance writer, lives in suburban Connecticut.