This week, my Body Wisdom group is covering Habit 3 – Start the Day Right. For many of our members, this habit has made the biggest positive impact on their day-to-day lives. So I thought I’d share some of the philosophy behind this habit and our best tips and tricks for waking up early feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for your day.
First, a bit about Ayurveda. Ayurveda is Yoga’s sister science. The two go hand in hand when it comes to total mind-body-spirit wellness. Despite the fact that us Western yogis tend to start out focusing on what our bodies are doing during a yoga practice, yoga is actually more about the mind and spirit. Ayurveda is very much about how to care for the physical body. Yet the two are inextricable – what affects the body affects the mind, and what affects the mind affects the body. Yoga and Ayurveda form one of the oldest holistic wellness systems known to us.
Ayurveda prescribes specific lifestyle habits that help us lead long, healthy lives. One of these habits is waking early – before dawn. The Vedic sages recognized a special time of day that begins 90 minutes before sunrise and lasts until the sun comes over the horizon. They called it brahmamuhurta – the time of god consciousness. Energy is expansive during this time, full of potential. This peaceful time is perfect time for prayer, meditation, contemplation, connection with nature and our higher selves. Waking during this time gives us our best chance of experiencing a day of ease and flow.
If you’re not naturally a “morning person,” waking before dawn can be challenging. Here are some tips and tricks to help you shift your routine.
1. Tomorrow starts today. Your morning ritual starts the night before. Eat an earlier, lighter dinner. Enjoy some light evening activity. Prepare for your morning: choose your clothes, choose and prep your breakfast. Set out your yoga mat or walking shoes if you want to incorporate some movement into your morning. Have everything ready to go for the next day, then get to sleep by 10pm and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
2. Use “kaizen” to slowly shift your schedule. If you can’t make a big leap from your current wake-up time to the pre-dawn hours, shift it slowly – 15-30 minutes per week. It might feel less rewarding initially, but when you try to make big, dramatic changes, you run the risk of becoming discouraged and retreating back to your old ways.
3. Give yourself something to look forward to in the morning. Incorporate something that brings you joy or just makes you feel good in the morning: alone time, journaling, meditation, yoga, a walk outside, sitting quietly and listening the birds singing.
4. Enlist help. Find an accountability partner. Who do you know who already wakes before dawn? Who do you know who wants to start waking early? Team up with this person, select a wake-up time and pledge to text or send a selfie when you’re up.
5. Avoid distraction. When setting up a peaceful morning routine, leave out checking email and social media. Don’t turn on the television or radio. Instead, check out what’s happening inside your body and mind and what’s happening outside your window. Tune in to your inner self and in to nature.
6. Forget “failure.” There will be days when you don’t get up before dawn. Treat those days as experiments. Write down what factors led to a later morning and how you’re going to avoid those in the future. Observe how the rest of your day goes, and return to tip number 1: tomorrow starts today.
The habits we learn in Body Wisdom are simple. But that doesn’t mean that implementing them is easy, especially if you’re trying to go it alone. Taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle is so much easier when you do it with other people on the same path. If you know you need to make some changes, but you’re not sure where to start or what path to take, contact me. Your initial consultation is free, and I promise it will be worth an hour of your time.
See you soon!