Morning yoga, anyone?
I practice yoga every morning. Even if I only have 10 minutes, I get on my mat to move my breath and body. This ensures that my day gets off to a good start.
I remember when I finally committed to a morning yoga practice. I had already been a yogi for many years. I knew how much better my life was when I practiced yoga regularly. (And, I knew how much worse it was when I didn’t!). But I didn’t have a regular morning practice. In fact, I rarely practiced yoga or exercised in the morning before work. I mostly practiced yoga in the evening.
The Householder Path and the Renunciate Path
You see, in the Yoga tradition, there are two Distinct Paths to God/Spirit: the Householder Path and the Renunciate Path. The Householder Path is the path for those living in the world, in the marketplace of life, as householders. Householders follow the path of pravritti - the outwardly manifesting path, the path that opens out of the Great Consciousness, from oneness into difference and diversity, into you and me and into all of the colors and textures of the world. Yoga practices help householders develop their skills so that they can be better in the workplace, in the family and in the community.
By contrast, the Renunciate Path is the path for those who wish to let go of possessions, leave the marketplace of the world behind and engage in ascetic practices. Renunciates follow the path of nivritti– the inwardly manifesting path, away from diversity and difference back into oneness. Both householders and renunciates can equally experience the beauty of diversity and the fulfillment of oneness, but the end goals of practice are different. The aim of a renunciate is to dissolve the ego completely, to let go of everything and to merge into oneness letting everything else go, while the aim of the householder is to develop and maintain a healthy ego, a healthy sense of self, to be able to be of greater service in the world.
Know why you’re practicing! Know what you want to accomplish.
If you’re a householder who practices yoga, you want yoga practices for personal and planetary evolution. You want your yoga to provide you with tools to help you: be a great parent, a productive businesswoman, an effective writer, an inspired artist, etc. Use your yoga practices to help you hone the habits of health, self-care, communication, expression, aesthetics, productivity, care-giving, education, stewardship and ethics. These, among, many others, are householder skills that the world needs for planetary evolution.
My top reasons for doing an AM yoga practice:
Get your prana on. This is yoga for “getting on your morning groove.” After you sleep, your body is stiff. Your blood oxygen levels are low. Your vibration is stagnant, even dull. I don’t know about your, but I want to build a strong vibrational field for the day. To do this, you need to get your prana moving! You have to sync up your breath and body and get the life force circulating inside you. Breathe, oxygenate, move. Repeat. Your whole day will be better.
Be more productive. Yoga boosts productivity. There is a lot of research on this, but you should check it out for yourself. Do a morning practice and you’ll start your with greater focus and drive. The yogis call this ekagrata - single minded focus. You do your yoga practice and you get clear on what you need to do that day and you get more done. Try it out for yourself.
Improve your metabolism. If your metabolism is sluggish (mine tends to be), a morning practice will pick it up. You’ll also find that your digestion will become more regular. Yogis have known this for thousands of years. A morning practice helps you eliminate the waste from your system so you can start the day with a clean slate.
Set yourself up for better sleep. A good night’s sleep starts in the morning. As little as 10 minutes of exercise can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep. A series of sun salutations in the morning will help you sync up to the cosmic clock (aka Circadian rhythms) for better sleep and overall health.
Fill up your cup! When you practice in the morning, you put yourself first! You don’t wait to care for your health later. You do it first. You make yourself a priority. It’s the old oxygen mask metaphor. You won’t be good at caring for others if you don’t care for yourself first. If you are a woman (and most of you reading this are), you particularly need to hear this.
Start your day on a positive note. Research on yoga practitioners shows that folks who practice yoga regularly are more positive and happier in their lives. Have you found this to be true? I certainly have and my family will attest that yoga makes me a more patient mama and a better spouse.
“But wait,” you say, “I don’t have time in the morning.”
Do you have 20 minutes? Really. That’s all it takes.
“I don’t know how to start.”
Actually, if you have been going to yoga class for a few months, your body knows a good yoga practice. It’s just like a good story. It has a beginning, middle and end, or in yoga language, a warm up, a build up and a cool down. It’s not that complicated.
I’m also happy to make it easy for you! I know how nice it is to be guided in a morning practice. Here is an audio practice I created:
Check it out here:
If you are interested in more yoga practices, check out my free online yoga practices here.
Educator, certified health coach, educator and yoga instructor.