In March I turned 45. It’s not really known as a milestone year – like turning 16 or 40 is. But I felt like creating a shift in my life. For me, transformation starts in the body. When I wanted to gain confidence and become strong, I started karate. When I couldn’t do that for a time, I found yoga and fell in love with how it made me feel and be. Physical activity is my keystone. Presence in my body makes me more positive, more grounded. I laugh more easily and feel inspired.
So on my birthday this year, I decided I would practice yoga everyday for an entire year. No excuses. I wanted this to be a challenge that would affect positive change. To make it doable, I made my goal something that could fit in my life. That looks like 10 minutes of yoga (minimum) and 5 minutes of meditation daily. I often do a longer practice. But my smaller goal is possible even on days when it doesn’t feel it.
I knew that the easiest way for me to get it done would be to practice first thing in the morning. So I began getting up earlier. Almost every morning (there were a couple of evening practices) for the past three months, I have begun my day with yoga. And it feels awesome.
What are some of the benefits of waking up to yoga?
1. You get it in!
If you have wanted to start a home yoga practice but can never seem to fit it in, doing it in the morning helps! It has worked for me. You don’t run out of time or energy like at the end of the day. There is no last minute meeting at work or school event that takes precedence. It’s an easier commitment to keep. Mornings are a little more resistant to last minute change! Once you establish a morning routine, I have no doubt you will find consistency in your practice.
2. It starts your day off positively.
When you do yoga, you focus on your breath and synchronizing it with movement. This can create feelings of gratitude, peace and strength that will stay with you after you leave your mat! You start your day off feeling more aware. You notice the good things that happen throughout the day and feel more capable of handling the stressors. Regular meditators are more altruistic, better at handling stress and have better immunity! (Have a look at this interesting study)
3. Your metabolism gets a boost.
Morning yoga wakes up your digestive system and boosts your metabolic rate. Twists are great for digestion and massaging your internal organs. Practicing these postures first thing in the morning can kickstart these systems. This helps you digest and metabolize more efficiently, increasing your energy.
4. It helps prevent achiness and injury.
When you wake up, your muscles and tissues are tight. Practicing yoga poses will lengthen and stretch out these tight areas. If you work at a desk, it will help counteract some of the many hours that you spend sitting. Yoga increases flexibility of your spine and encourages better posture. This sets you up to stand, sit, walk and move with more ease throughout the day.
5. It energizes and gives you mental clarity and focus.
Deep yogic breathing stimulates your body and mind. It brings fresh, oxygenated blood to your brain. This will energize you and give you a sense of clarity. If you have a tendency to forget your keys or lose things in the morning, a yoga practice may help clear away some of that morning grogginess.
6. You will be more inclined to make healthy choices throughout the day.
Once you’re done your yoga, you will probably be feeling pretty good. You will be in tune with your body and more aware of how you feel. You are more likely to make healthy choices in other areas. You choose to eat better. You make time for exercise and breaks. You make smarter choices about whom you talk to and how you let the energy of others affect you. Start your day off with love, care and self-respect and carry that trend into the rest of your day.
I didn’t think I was a morning yoga person. But take it from a recent convert; it’s a great way to start the day 🙂
What do you think? Just leave a comment below!