Last night, my husband and I forced ourselves to not watch TV during dinner. We don't have kids and it's easy to mingle with our dinner plates to the TV room for a couple hours of Netflix. We know we shouldn't do this, that it's a waste of time, and we normally feel pretty crappy about ourselves when we look at the clock to see it's already 10 PM. Time for bed. But last night was different. By forcing ourselves to not watch TV, the evening felt longer. We both got in some reading, a little exercise, great conversations and some laughter before bed. It felt amazing, and despite how hard it was to not plop down and watch a couple shows, we were happy about the decision.
Let's cut right to the chase. Committing to an early morning practice can be tough, just like trying to stay away from the couch after a long day at work. However, if you can do it, you will find there are great benefits to an early practice that you just can't get any other time of the day! And who regrets walking out of a yoga class feeling like a badass just as the sun is rising??
10 Reasons You Should Set Your Alarm for 5:30am Yoga
1. There is magic in the early hours
Yoga is traditionally practiced in the morning, near the time of sunrise. This is part of where the Surya Namaskar flow (Sun Salutation) comes from. Surya Namaskar flows are dedicated to honoring the sunshine, a new day and another day of breath and life. How often are you consciously grateful for that? There is a magic about the early hours of morning. It's quiet, but yet so much in nature is changing. The sun is rising, the temperatures are warming and life around us is awakening. If we can use yoga to tap into that magic, perhaps we can hold onto to a little bit of of that throughout the day.
2. Set your daily intention
It's easy to feel rushed in the morning, which ultimately increases the stress response in the body. Starting the day with a yoga practice encourages us to create an positive intention or mantra to be translated into the day ahead. This dedicated personal time will allow us to be more successful in our daily responsibilities, desires and achievements. Without this time to reflect on the day ahead, it's common to unintentionally set ourselves up for failure.
3. Boost energy levels & get better sleep
It's a medical fact that movement and even the smallest amount of exercise in the body can boost ciruclation, and ultimately our metabolism, immune system AND energy level. A morning yoga practice can set the body up for a better night's sleep recognizing the routine established and modifying balance in the body. Balance throughout the day, in our physical and emotional bodies, is one of the key's to a restful sleep.
4. More likely to develop a consistent routine
Habits and routines developed early in the morning are easiest to keep consistent. It's the start of a new day, a blank slate so-to-speak. By late afternoon and evening, it's easy to feel weighed-down or "contaminated" by the stressful and uncontrollable effects that may have happened from the day's accumulating momentum.
5. More time for you!
It's me-time, right? How often does that happen? Even if you don't have kids, a family, or ten jobs, or a job at all. We all need me-time, and if we don't get it, it catches up to us in the form of stress, anger or bitterness. My day becomes a lot more pleasant knowing I've already done one thing I've wanted to do. In a world full of responsibility and obligation, why not do one thing for yourself first each day. If you do this, problems may seem less problematic, stressful situations less irritating and random daily obstacles may matter less. Why? Because you already did the most important thing of the day...you took care of yourself first.
6. Better than coffee?
Yoga doesn't replace coffee in my book, but...practicing yoga in the morning can certainly diminish the need for coffee. Moving the body through yoga poses in the morning is natural caffine, because it starts increasing circulation and the amount of oxygen througohout your system. It's similiar to jumping in cold water, a jolt to your system to feel rejuvinated.
7. Preventing injury
Stretching and activating the body in the morning will prevent injury later in the day. This is especially helpful for people that have active or labor-intensive day-jobs. A morning yoga practice is a great opportunity to "work the kinks out" and prepare the body for a hard day of work (physically or mentally).
8. Make good choices
Starting the day off increasing our bodies energy level and seratonin makes for a great recipe for making good decisions. It's a constant reminder about our physical and mental health, knowing we are choosing to be happy, healthy and well. After a 5:30am yoga class you will be more likely to do things that continue to make you feel good and less likely to grab a doughnut from the box Suzie brought into work today. I'm not saying you'll grab your zip-lock baggie of brocolli instead, but you'll at least have a second thought about the doughnut. Aaaam I right?
9. Surround yourself with motivation
Anyone that goes to a 5:30am yoga class is motivated (or just getting off the graveyard shift). You are surrounded by motivated people. Although, it doesn't necessarily mean we're jived up and ready to take on anything life throws at us. It does mean that at some point there was an impulse that brought us to class and our mindset is perhaps rooted somewhere in the vicinity of motivation-land and inspiration-land. It's nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, and encourages growth, positivity and maybe even some new friendships!
10. The breath
This is my favorite reason. It's simple. Start your day "breathing on purpose". We breathe constantly, and 90% of the time our rhythm and pace is involuntary. We can become beings of intentional breath, and recognizing this early in the morning sets you up for increased awareness and happiness throughout the day. You will learn to pause, stop or slow down when you need to, and this is especially helpful to counter the frequent bustle of life.
Some of us are just not built to function as morning-people. To know that and understand that about yourself is awesome, and necessary. Many of us are super-productive during the morning hours, while others' creativity and energy blossoms at night. It's all relative too, depending on what the busiest part of our day looks like. For many (including me sometimes), the desire to get up early is there, it's just taking the required action to make it happen. I would say, 10 times out of 10...it's worth it.
Hello, I'm Julie.
Discover the wisdom of yoga and how it can bring nourishment, well-being and a deeper connection to all aspects of your life.