I am not a morning person. I told you another time that it is one of my ‘flaws’ if you want to call it that; I don’t, as a yogini. Looking for a photo to put at the top of this was a challenge because I have a lot more photos of sunsets than of sunrises. This one is in Rupununi, Guyana. I was up at sunrise to listen to live flute music by a Lakota Native American artist. It was worth it.
When I did my yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, I was up for Ashtanga practice at 6 am daily. I hated it. Ashtanga is intense and at 6 am, I just need to be chill. However, equally, when I have spent time in Ashrams, the pre-dawn meditation is also pure torture. I can’t sit like that when my body is still stiff. On a ‘normal’ weekday (pre-COVID), regardless of if I start work at 7, 8 or 9 am, I am seemingly incapable of anything other than making myself presentable, drinking lemon water and grabbing coffee and breakfast on the fly in the morning.
What this has usually meant, therefore, is that when a free day or weekend rolls around, I want to be lazy in lie in bed for a bit. By the time I get up, a couple hours later than usual, I am starving and just need to get into whatever the day holds.
Nowhere in any of this has there been a sustained, regular, morning asana or meditation practice.
COVID helped me change that. If you have been following along, I have been writing a lot about how this time of forced time at home, alone has been hugely beneficial to me. I have been really working on my body, mind and soul. This has included a regular, yet varied, healthy morning routine.
I really did not want to find myself just laying in bed half the day, so while in my normal life, I am up by 6:00, I have been aiming to be up by 8:00 during this, and I have been pretty consistent in that, giving myself a break on weekends to keep some semblance of normalcy.
My 8 am rising and no agenda has lead to the most lovely mornings day after day that I can remember.
Rise & Shine
Like so many of us, I am addicted to my phone, so I allow myself the indulgence of checking social media and the news when I wake up around 7:00 or 7:30 to allow my body time to be awake, but not up. Once I rise and have brushed my teeth etc. I start my self-care. Only recently, I have started trying face yoga. The jury is still out if it works, but I like to do it once I have brushed my teeth, used my rose water tonic on my skin and applied moisturizer, I do a few simple face yoga techniques, which I learned from Danielle Collins when I had a free trial of OmFit. (Side note: I have been using the hell out of free trial fitness programs and some paid too!) I like to do the face yoga right then because my hands and face are clean and I can use the mirror.
From there, I go make my morning lemon water, which I can’t recommend enough, and I start my yoga morning. I am not regimented about this, so I don’t do exactly the same thing every day, but I try to do both a physical and a mental practice. I find that in order to even attempt a meditation, I need to move first, so I do a series of sun salutations. Sometimes I do a more intense workout involving weights and a lot of core work; other times, I just do some yoga asanas to stretch. Very often, I do an afternoon workout, so how much I do in the morning may depend on what I plan for later, how hungry I am and if I need to do something or be somewhere in a short time.
Once I am limber, I find it easier to sit and meditate. I have been experimenting with types of meditation. When I wrote about this before, I was working through a 21-day program with Deepak Chopra. I am working through some guided meditation as part of a Buddhist communication course I am taking on DailyOm. I have done some chakra alignment, sound baths on YouTube. Currently, I am trying the Calm app. It gives me a new 5-minute meditation each day. Some days, I have been following the meditation with some journaling.
Finally, it is time for my breakfast, often a smoothie, and coffee, and to start my day writing or reading or working or doing whatever it is I need to achieve that day.
Honestly, I have been LOVING my mornings. It is so nice to ease into the day, and to start the day with something that nourishes me inside and out. I start the day refreshed, at peace and full of life.
Here’s the thing though; this entire process takes an hour or more to achieve, so the idea of doing it prior to leaving my house at 6:30 on a weekday once I need to be reporting to work again, is just simply not realistic for me.
Part of all of this is learning to be kind to myself. While I appreciate all the amazing health benefits of this routine, and I see and feel a difference, I have to know myself and be okay with the fact that it isn’t something I will be able to do on a workday.
I have decided that I want to make a 5-minute face yoga practice a regular thing, so that I can easily do before I even leave the bathroom. I am going to try to do an evening meditation after my evening yoga or exercise. If that doesn’t happen, a before bed meditation is an easy fix.
Then I can allow myself the full luxury of this self-care practice on the weekends and enjoy at least a day or two each week when I relish in the energy of the new day.
I keep saying that in many ways this a the perfect time to start a new practice, develop and existing one, make a change for the better and care for ourselves. Embracing mornings has been one way I have been doing that. Each day brings new energy, opportunities and adventures. Just because my day doesn’t start at daybreak doesn’t make it any different.
What have you been doing differently?
I have been writing a lot about this time of social isolation. Check out my other posts:
- Coping During COVID-19: An extroverted empath’s thoughts
- Coping During COVID-19: This time is a gift
- Developing a Meditation Practice…trying to anyway
- Starting…and Continuing a Yoga (asana) Practice
- Learning to Breathe Mindfully (Pranayama)
- Walk Like A Yogini: Being Kind and Keeping it Real
- Exercise and other Drugs
- Coping During COVID-19: How can I help?