Stick around for any amount of time, and you’ll know how much I love and adore yoga. Yoga and I do have a wobbly history. For most of my life, I was mostly unaware that it existed outside of very traditional Hindu settings. As a young adult, I was scared of it, fearing that practicing it would force me into anti-Christian beliefs. Eventually, during a time of high stress and poor health, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a go. I found Yoga With Adriene and started her Yoga for Beginner’s video. Those 20 minutes were all I needed to become a devotee. Since then, I’ve practiced regularly, and often daily, with both Adriene and Caroline Williams of the Yoga Abbey. However, one practice I’ve never gotten into is morning yoga. Gearing up for the start of a new (and probably the most stressful yet) school year, I thought I would give morning yoga a try. So, last week, I practiced before breakfast Monday through Friday. How did it go? Well, let’s chat about it!
1 | Not for one single morning did I want to do it.
I love practicing. I did not want to practice straight out of bed. After work hours have been my sweet spot for years – a nice moment of relaxation and refreshing after sitting and looking at a computer all day. First thing in the morning, what I wanted most was a cup of tea and a bowl of oatmeal. Because I have to avoid eating and drinking too much before practicing, I had to hold off on those things until I was finished. And because I cook steel cut oats every morning, I had to time my practices pretty specifically. It wasn’t something I looked forward to.
2 | I always felt better for it.
No matter how much I didn’t want to do it, I felt wonderful afterwards (albeit, hungry). A few minutes of deep breathing and stretching got rid of all those early morning cricks and left me ready-to-go. I was energized and by the time I had finished eating, I was ready to get to work.
3 | I don’t like being that energized that early.
Now, this has the potential to sound a little crazy, but bear with me. One of the things I love about mornings is that hazy, fuzzy feeling when you’re wrapped up with a hot drink and a journal and you get to feel really in touch with your thoughts and emotions. Because of the length of videos I was practicing, and my need to get it in before breakfast and then get going, I was getting up early but not getting to enjoy that hazy, fuzzy goodness. Once I had practiced and eaten, I was past that stage and I missed it.
4 | For me, it is definitely worth doing; with caveats.
This is where I landed on morning yoga: it’s worth doing, but not in the way I tried out last week. Especially with school starting back, having my morning routine in place is so important. I want time to practice, have that fuzzy morning goodness, and do what has to be done before leaving for the day. For me, that means shorter yoga practices in the morning, combined with a longer post-work practice. This morning, for example, I did a few minutes of stretches while I waited for my tea kettle to boil. In those 3-4 minutes, I did mountain pose, standing side body stretches and twists, and forward folds while breathing deeply. It was just enough to work out the stiffness of the night, but not enough to really get my heart rate pumping or super juices flowing. Once my kettle was boiled, I settled in with my journal and Bible for some quiet time. If I were to want a little more, I would potentially go through a few rounds or cat-cow or sun salutations after tea time, while my oatmeal was on the stove. Once I got home from work, I gave myself 30 minutes for a structured practice before moving onto the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Any habit or practice that you want to start will only be as beneficial as it works for you and your life. One person’s ideal morning routine will not be yours. Don’t be afraid to trial things and tweak them to what works best for you!