Those Ashtangis have something figured out. Now I totally understand if getting your butt to your mat at 5 A.M. sounds like a special kind of torture for you—but there is really something to be said for the art of doing your practice first thing when you wake up in the morning.
Yoga is magical and healing no matter what time of day you do it. This article is not meant to discourage you from practicing if doing your practice in the morning is not feasible for you.
I simply want to outline some of the many benefits that come with an early morning practice so that perhaps you will be inspired to give it a try—you never know, it may become your new favorite thing! Here are my top 5 reasons to practice yoga first thing in the morning.
1. You will know if what you ate yesterday served you.
This is my favorite reason to practice yoga first thing in the morning.
While you are sleeping, your body is busy sorting through and digesting everything you ate the previous day. By the time you wake up in the morning, most nutrients have been assimilated and sorted, and the bulk of what you ate yesterday has moved through your digestive system.
This means if you are feeling energized and stable in your morning practice, you know what you ate yesterday served your body. If on the other hand you are gassy, bloated, lacking energy or lacking stamina—you know for certain that it was what you had yesterday that did not work for you.
This is one of the best tools I know of it tap into your body’s food wisdom.
2. It encourages better sleep habits.
When you make it a habit to get up and practice first thing in the morning, you are going to be so much more likely to make your bedtime a priority.
When you know you have the luxury of pressing the snooze button, it can be very tempting to watch that extra episode on Netflix. But when the idea of slogging through a sleepy practice enters your mind, you may think twice about skimping out on your sleep.
I feel that knowing you are going to get up to practice in the morning has a positive impact on how you prioritize adequate sleep. We all know how important sleep is to your health. Your early morning practice will help encourage you to get the rest you need.
3. It sets your breath for the day.
Starting your day in asana means that you are starting your day cultivating breath awareness. When you do this first thing in the morning, you are very likely to keep your breath on your mind for the rest of the day.
You may have a million things going on, but by setting the tone with your morning practice, you are more likely to tune into your breathing for the rest of your day. They say that the slower and deeper you breathe, the longer you will live.
4. It sets your mental tone.
I don’t know about you, but my mind is always steadier and calmer after my practice. If you start your day by calming your body and your mind through asana, there is a greater chance that you will maintain a calm mind throughout your day.
It also means that if you stray from your serene mindset, you are more apt to notice the contrast and can then go about reconnecting with your Zen. Setting the tone first thing in the morning means that you are less likely to be swallowed up in the wave of thoughts that can normally start a person’s day.
Starting in mindfulness can lead to a whole day of mindfulness.
5. It encourages health all day.
Once you have done your practice, you will most likely be feeling good. You will be more tuned in and connected with your body and with your mind.
This means that you will be starting your day off with an awareness of how you feel and how you want to feel. With this, you will be more likely to make healthful choices in your eating, sleeping, thinking, and in your speaking because you will have set that tone first thing in your day.
I have personally noticed a dramatic difference in how I treat myself after I started practicing my yoga in the morning. Knowing I have taken the time to care for myself in such an awesome way means that I want to continue that trend for the rest of the day.
Lastly, for me, practicing first thing in the morning when the house is still quiet makes me feel like my mat time is extra sacred. I feel like connecting with my own body/breath/mind/soul all alone in the wee hours of the morning sets my day on a very special note.
I find that I have much deeper meditations and can really ‘work through’ my mental chatter first thing in the morning. So...do you think you are willing to give a morning practice a go? Share your thoughts and comments with us here at DOYOUYOGA!