Why Every Yogi Should Establish A Daily Morning Practice: 5 Undeniable Truths
Very few believe me when I say that I wake up at 5 am each morning to practice yoga.
But it’s true.
When the alarm sounds, I slowly wake for a couple minutes, drink a glass of water, and then hop onto my mat.
I do this with intention, for very specific reasons. Sure, I enjoy going to yoga studios, and still do. Yet my at-home practice is my saving grace. It sets me up for success in the long run for everything that I seek to accomplish.
IT CULTIVATES DISCIPLINE AND POSITIVE HABITS
Discipline is an art form in and of itself.
As with anything worthwhile, it’s difficult at the start. Yet once you make it over those first few hurdles, it becomes substantially easier down the line. Before you know it, discipline engrains into habit, to the point where you can’t imagine being without it.
Practicing yoga for an hour each morning by my bedside is my chosen discipline-evolved-habit. In turn, it establishes the need for discipline in the rest of my day-to-day routine. This ranges from when, what, and how much I eat, to learning a new skill, to formulating my desired daily work output.
The feedback loop continues.
What’s more, this process leads to increased mind-body awareness. When I practice yoga, I become acute to how I feel afterwards: rejuvenated and nourished. So, I apply those same feelings towards everything else I do. Practice, practice…and more practice.
Over time, discipline actively becomes a lifestyle (NOT a destination) much like driving, or brushing your teeth.
But, like I said, the process isn’t easy.
It requires patience and consistency.
For example, going on a light jog each day for 30 minutes is, by far, more substantial than pounding out 3 hours of heavy weight lifting for one day at the gym during the entire week—only to forget about it afterwards.
It’s okay to begin with baby steps. There’s no shame in that.
The point is to just start.
IT REDUCES ANXIETY (THAT’S A GIVEN)
I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly a decade.
However, I didn’t have an established at-home morning practice up until two years ago. During that time, I was knee-deep in studying for the LSAT while simultaneously working a full-time job. As one could imagine, I was incredibly busy; firing on all cylinders. The stress and anxiety levels were high.
In response, I decided to cultivate an hour-long morning yoga practice for the very purpose of saving my sanity. It had nothing to do with developing six-pack abs.
That was not my focus.
Instead, it had EVERYTHING to do with successfully balancing both mental and physical health—big difference.
Yet once my exam was over and I transferred jobs to start an entry-level legal assistant position in a law firm, my morning practice did not end there. In fact, there were days when I doubled my yoga output. And I continue to this day.
When you do yoga first thing in the morning, it significantly becomes easier to manage the rest of your day. A big part of yoga lies in the breathing (pranayama). When you focus on lengthening each breath through difficult physical postures (asanas), it’s possible to decrease blood pressure, lower sympathetic nervous responses, and invite overarching feelings of calm.
Similarly, this can be applied off the mat when navigating difficult life situations, whether they are personal or work-related.
With time and practice, you might find yourself less reactive and more observant towards whatever happens.
That will save a whole lot for you in the long run.
IT BOOSTS MOOD AND METABOLISM
The early bird catches the worm.
Studies suggest that engaging in different forms of physical activity first thing in the morning strengthens your metabolism, the process of your body converting food to energy.
The higher the energy level, the more calories you’ll burn. Of course, everyone’s body is different, therefore the rate at which we burn calories will vary from person to person. However, based upon my own subjective experience, I’ve found that engaging in a physical routine within 30 minutes of waking is far more beneficial than practicing in the afternoon or evening.
For the longest time, I did the latter. It used to be that when I was finally done with work for the day, I’d finish off my night with an energetic yoga class.
Yet by saving my practice to the last minute, the majority of my energy was already spent. In turn, my routine was less engaging.
All I could think about was sleep.
Liken your body to a car with a full tank: the longer you drive and further you go, the more fuel you expel until your tank reaches zero. You can’t accelerate on an empty tank (obviously).
It’s better to start fresh first thing, when your energy level is at its peak during the first half of the day. Not only does your metabolic rate benefit, but your mood automatically lifts through the release of feel-good endorphins.
Post-practice, you’ll feel readily empowered to conquer the day.
IT INCREASES FOCUS AND PRODUCTIVITY
Consider an at-home morning yoga practice a gift.
By taking one hour at the start of each day to focus on you alone, time will actually be saved in the long run.
Both yoga and meditation are concentration-based disciplines, intertwined with one another. The more practice you get, the longer you’ll be able to focus on tasks throughout the day.
For me personally, once my bedside yoga is finished for the morning, I am much more productive in getting work completed at a faster rate. Yoga is an espresso shot without the jitters. It’s one of the best organizational tools you have at your fingertips.
Still don’t believe me? Knowledge is by experiment—try it for yourself.
IT’S ONE HUNDRED PERCENT FREE
Need I say more?