Some of us are early birds, others night owls. Rolling straight into a yoga practice when you wake up can have great benefits. The practice gets your body moving after a night of rest, allowing blood to circulate and the muscles to stretch. While energizing for the body, it is also energizing for the mind, and allows you to take time to set goals for the day and accomplish self-care before the rest of the schedule begins. Setting a day with a clear mind warmed up body and pathway to achieve goals has beneficial effects away from the mat and into other areas of life. A morning practice sounds simple to start, but it can be challenging to get into the habit. Try out the tips below to start up your AM practice and start your day right- everyday!
To get started, it is important you have a short and long-term understanding of what you want. Consider your end goal. Is it to reduce stress? Wake up with more energy? Calm the mind or strengthen the body? Write down your goal or goals and place it somewhere near your sleeping area, so you see it when you go to sleep and when you wake up. This reminder primes your mind to schedule the practice in, and over time will become a habit. Once you have your main goal or goals, plan a path to get there. A morning practice can vary as you need it to, and can last anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes. Find what works for you, and hold yourself accountable to stay on schedule.
Find a practice you want to wake up for
If you aren’t a morning person, waking up can feel like a chore. Find or design a practice that gives you something to look forward to. This completely varies depending on what you need, and can range from a fast paced vinyasa flow to a seated meditation. Also be cognizant of your need for change- you may want to keep the practice consistent everyday, or you may need more variation to change things up and keep you engaged. Explore your options, and find something that works for you.
Give yourself a space
Your environment has a big effect on you. Find a space that you feel good in- maybe it is right next to your bed, or maybe it is an entire room. Set the space up before you practice, and make sure you can easily access it when you wake up. Having an area ready to go sets up for success!
Adapt and Adjust
When you first start a morning practice, it may feel strange. You may not want to get up, or feel like you just don’t have enough time to get a practice in. Adapt to these challenges and just get started. Set alarms, hold yourself accountable, and make sure you give yourself enough time and space to complete the practice. Similarly, adjust your practice as needed. You may need to focus on breathing techniques one day, and a more vigorous physical practice the next. Be prepared to adapt and adjust a practice to your needs. Remember, you should be controlling the practice- the practice shouldn’t be controlling you!
A morning yoga flow is a great way to slow down the morning rush and start your day out right. Once you get the practice to be a habit, it will feel as normal as brushing your teeth and grabbing breakfast. It just takes a step forward.