When I started my journey in yoga, I was not an early bird at all, and definitely wouldn’t go to a gym or yoga class before the work day started. No, I was a night owl, going to parties and sleeping in.
Oh how my life has changed, through yoga! My alarm now goes every day somewhere between 4.45am and 5.45am, so I can teach yoga early in the morning. And while doing that, I noticed how I started loving the morning and how I appreciate this early practice more and more.
So let me share with you why I think an early morning yoga routine is awesome!
- Sets the tone for the day
Starting the day off with meditation, stretches, movement and focus on the breath. What do you think will happen? Exactly! It will create a calm and stable state of mind. One that will help you through all that will be thrown in your direction, at work, in your family, in traffic, etc.
Also, starting the day with taking care of yourself will make you more aware of staying healthy. People tend to eat healthier and allow themselves a necessary break.
All of this leads to less stress, a healthier body and a happier live.
- Sets a healthy routine
Creating a routine in life is always difficult. Yes, we all have routines that are forced upon us, like going to work everyday. But setting up a routine for yourself and keeping it, is something a lot of people struggle with.
An early morning routine is easier to keep to. You are less likely to be distracted by last-minute diner parties, needs of kids, partners, work and friends. It is an easier time of day to set aside some time for yourself.
And on top of that, it will help you create a steadier sleeping routine. The better you get at waking up around the same time every day, the more energy you will have throughout the day. So building a steady sleeping routine is a great added bonus!
- Who needs coffee?
Starting your day with movement, meditation and breathing will create a lot of energy and get your mind and body started in a way that makes coffee not (as) necessary anymore. For lots of people coffee is part of the routine, and if you are looking into breaking that habit or drinking less coffee, yoga might help you on that quest. The energy created in your body through the movement, and the clarity in the mind through breathing can create a similar effect as coffee. So give it a try and see for yourself!
- Eat more, less guilt
Who doesn’t want to eat more and not feel guilty about it? I know I do!! Doing sports and yoga in the morning will increase your metabolism and burn away what you eat afterwards. The effects of an early morning yoga practice are working all day.
It is obviously not an excuse to over-eat and indulge in salty, sugary and fatty products. But we can allow ourselves to eat a little more and have that sinful piece of cake without feeling guilty.
- You just feel amazing, the whole damn day
When I start my day with yoga, all that happens in that day, my reaction often is: wow, and I already did yoga today.
Some days good things happen and the joy of that practice in the morning is carried out through the entire day. We feel amazing, strong, open and energized. People see, people compliment you, just because you shine.
And then other days, they are shitty or even beyond that. You have to deal with hard, difficult and challenging things. The peace and quiet we have created in our mind in the morning, will give us a buffer to think clearer. It will helps us to create perspective on what is happening. And on top of that you can tell yourself: at least I took care of me this morning, I felt great when I came off my mat, and nobody is able to take that away from me.
- Body is less stiff, the mind is more calm
This last one is not necessarily a benefit, it is more a given. What I LOVE about morning practice are a couple of things:
- I always struggle to get up for it and I ALWAYS feel better and happy that I did.
- The mind is calmer in the morning, it is not up to speed yet, so we can find a deeper connection inside, with the Self.
- While the mind is more still, the body isn’t as open and flexible as at night. You can frustrate yourself over the fact that the poses your body is creating aren’t as ‘advanced’ or deep as they normally are. You can also see it as a great way to find these deeper layers in the body – the layers that you have to wake up in order to find a deeper stretch or the necessary strength. It becomes a game of the ego vs being humble, giving in and allowing yourself to be where you are.
So yes, I am a true advocate for early morning yoga. Does that mean that I never practice at night? Of course not! I love to practice any time of day. But the routine a morning practice gives me, the feeling it creates and the effect it has on my entire day are 100% worth the early rise.