I was never a morning person. You can call my parents right now and they will testify to the countless tempertantrums I explelled as a child. You could call my college roommates and ex-boyfriends and they too will verify that this girl in the morning was a stormy force not many wanted to F*ck with.
I was never into any sort of exercise in the morning until I completed my first Yoga teacher training. Every morning at 5am we would rise. We'd meet for chanting and meditation at 5:30 and then by 6:30 we were in full blown asana practice. It was hard for me at first. My body groaned, my mind couldn't get into it....but eventually I saw the horizon, I saw the light. I would sit in meditation and hear the birds and sounds of the place around me waking up, I'd feel the first kiss of sun on my cheeks. I could really hear my breath in these moments. Without the normal hectic rise I was uses to that included a major caffeine dose and then racing through the -shower- dress- scarf food in my mouth- routine, I could really hear my thoughts. I could hear what mattered and I wasn't distracted by things that didnt really have much purpose to me. I could filter through my thoughts and truly begin to work with what was there.
By 7:30 I was mostly thru with this beautiful journey into my soul, and I still had the whole day ahead of me. I still had a day of sharing myself with others, of getting chores done, of learning new things or finishing up things, all these things were still ahead. It ruled! I didn't have that lumming feeling of "Oh, I better do exercise later, or get on the mat for yoga later" hanging above me. I felt nourished knowing that I showed up for myself that day. I took time for me, I found my center, found my breath, experienced my body, made efforts to grow stronger and brought peace into my heart. I left the mat trusting I could handle what the day had in store for me.
Besides the blissed out blessed gushy feelings I discovered from early morning yoga here are some other cool benefits I gained from the practice:
The body rests best when it's sinked up with the sun. Being committed to a early wakeup time meansyou're committed to a bedtime, and you really do keep better track of the hours of sleep you get when you commit to waking up early. This helps you to feel refreshed and renewed when you wake up, and personally-- I feel less "puffy" and like my skin is more radiant.
When I start my day with Pranayama- breathing exercises- it sets a rythym for my day of breathe awarness. I feel less anxious and more on top of my mind and emotions when I am aware of my breath. Starting the day with breath awareness really set a pace for the day that cant be toiled.
LETTIN' that SH*T go.
Once I spend time centering myself on my mat. I feel more centered throughout the day. When I feel more centered, I just really cant be bothered. By life, by people, by the incessant mind and ego that wants to judge and control everything. Sure, things happen, yes. Emotions exist, bad times come as easily as good times...but everything just seems less harsh once you had a good yoga practice, so starting the day with Yoga really helps you to balance the ebbs and flows of life. To see things as they are, breathe into the tight spot- the stressful moments- and open up and relax when space and time allows. Its a nice groove. I trust that if I am authentically peaceful, others will be more peaceful, the circle grows. But my peace isn't dependent on anything or anyone outside of my self. I'm in connection with a deeper part of my self. Not just spiritually, physically too.
getting up early stimulates your digestion. Organ movement and processing.
After the yoga training it wasnt so easy to keep up with the early rising. I fell back into old routines. One trick I have found over the years to keep me rooted to this early morning practice is to share it with others. To build a community of people to rise with. When a couple Yoga studios here in Portland asked if I'd like to lead the Earl Bird/Sunrise/ Vinyasa class I whole heartedly said YES! I said yes, because I knew that the motivation of others wanting to get up early to practice was enough for me to want to be their as an instructor. I couldn't back out or hit snooze knowing that other people would be meeting me at the studio. Accountability is huge with any commitment. So finding partners in bliss help a thousand fold. Not only do you have a friendly smile to greet you. But also, the comradery you make with other early birds is real... We're a real unique flock.
FIND YOUR RYTHYM
Maybe you try getting up early, and really is not for you. That's ok. It's proven that our bodies have natural rythyms. Natural times when our internal temperature either heats up or cools down. Making us feel either alert or sleepy. It's called your Circadian Rythym. Find out what your is. This is done by allowing yourself to fall asleep when your tired, and wake up (don't hit snooze) when you're ready to wake up. Trying to minimize substances and activities that stand in the way .... (Like late nite caffeine or too much screen time). Even if you find your natural rythym is to stay up later, still try and make a habit of early morning personal time. Whether it's at 5am or 10am, time to be with your body and thoughts is huge to your all around well being.
And take it one day at a time. Maybe just one or two days a week for starters. Or as one of my teachers says, "It takes 40 days and 40 nights to build a Habit". Either way, It's gotta feel good in order for it to become habitual. So with love, injoy.