Getting Back On The Mat

Getting Back On The Mat

Frankie Culpin gives us an insight into the practice she turns to when she’s getting back on the mat and why it works for her; and some tips on how you can get back into your practice.

So many things can take us away from our practice and I’m sure that most long-time yoga practitioners have had periods of hiatus. I have a short and accessible practice that I enjoy and therefore use to coax myself back on the mat if for one reason or another I’ve not managed to practice for a while.

I won’t write out the whole practice in full, but it includes:

Starting in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) or sitting on my heels in Vrjasana and doing some chest and shoulder openers, gentle side stretches and twists.

Before making my way into Mountain Pose (Tadasana), I like to dangle and sway in a rag doll forward fold before taking my time to slowing roll up to stand.

Sun Salutations with low lunges

Core warm-up work such as Sphinx roll-ups

Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Lunges-low lunges then high lunges combined with a twist

Some shoulder openers such as Eagle arms and interlacing my hands behind my back-I combine these with standing postures such as Warriors 1 and 2

Dancing Warrior Sequence including Reverse Warrior and Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)

Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

A standing balance such as Half-Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

A bit of a challenge such as Side Plank, Rockstar and a play with Crow Pose (Bakasana)


Seated forward folds and hip openers

Reclined poses to wind down even more e.g twists, Happy Baby Pose

Final Relaxation (Savasana)


Why this practice?

  1. It starts off nice and simple so I have time to settle in, reconnect to my breath and welcome myself back.
  2. Although I feel pretty tight in my whole body, I feel especially tight in my shoulders and upper back these days so I always include shoulder stretches in my home practice.
  3. I love a side body stretch! They just feel so good, I find them energetically uplifting, I think they help make space for a deeper breath and it’s like they open up energetic pathways helping me to feel ‘unstuck’ mentally and physically.
  4. Hip flexor stretches such as lunges produce a similar effect for me and anything that gets into the psoas muscles reminds me why I do yoga!
  5. It doesn’t take long – sometimes I add on if I have longer or take away if not, but usually I can achieve this practice in 30 minutes. I’m always telling myself to do what I can when I can rather than wait for a full hour of peace as that is rarely predictable or achievable for me at the moment.


My tips for getting back on the mat:

  • Roll it out and give yourself a chance to slow down and tune back into your body with a gentle warm up, it could be as simple as Child’s Pose to Downward Facing Dog.
  • Start with stretches and movements you enjoy and know well.
  • Have a think about what you need more movement to get you back into it or longer holds to focus on your alignment.
  • For a more balanced practice and especially if you’re not doing other strength work, then it’s beneficial to include some core work e.g plank or forearm plank.
  • Are you a goal motivated person? Maybe set a little goal of when and how much practice you aim to do each week, but be realistic. Do you want to include a pose goal? If so try not to put pressure on the outcome but instead use it to bring some playfulness into your practice.
  • Including a little challenge can keep things interesting and feel rewarding.
  • Always finish with Savasana no matter how short on time you are because you also deserve some rest and where else in our lives do we make time for those precious moments of just ‘being’?!

Interested in coming along to one of Frankie’s classes or looking to get back onto the mat after a break? Come and join us! Check out our class timetable here.

Meadowlark Yoga

Visit our studio on the edge of the Meadows, open 7 days a week offering Ashtanga Vinyasa and other styles of yoga. 43 Argyle Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1JT 0131 2287581