An early morning yoga practice is the ideal way to start your day. We take the lessons we learn on the mat out into the world, so starting your day with physical and mind-focusing practices can positively affect your emotions and your personal and professional communication and relationships. Your yoga practice is really a ‘whole life’ practice that helps to navigate the world more consciously. So begin your morning on the right (or left!) foot.
You are a morning person. Okay, well maybe you don’t feel like you are at this moment or every day or maybe ever, but perhaps you could be! Picture this: Your alarm goes off, beep-beep-beep! Or it could be that you’re a vibrate person, so bzzzzz—bzzzzz! Or possibly your alarm is set to a song you (used to) like (before making it the sound of your alarm). Now imagine you really are a Morning Person. What does that look like?
Depending on who you are, you may or may not find that easy to visualize. And of course, we all have our chronotypes, but people aren’t just night owls and morning larks only and forever for their whole lives. Our bodies and minds are continually evolving. We must listen to them, and also never forget the power of habit. Scientists estimate that between 40% and 95% of human behavior would fall under the habit category. Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves simply aren’t true. It can be beneficial to explore and find a better understanding of yourself outside of your expectations.
Why Morning Yoga?
Before sunrise the world is quiet. Your mind is clear. Your body is rested. And this time of day, especially in Summer, is often the coolest and freshest part of the day. An energizing and refreshing practice is just what you need first thing. Ancient yogis and most schools of yoga today encourage yoga practice as the sun rises before breakfast, so you can quite literally salute the sun while you greet the day without digestion, or any other obstacles, getting in the way.
Many people find it difficult to squeeze in a daily yoga practice, but the very early morning is often a great time to do so, because morning routines tend to be more manageable and predictable. And because we are creatures of habit, this is the key to a consistent yoga practice. Practicing yoga in the morning can ensure that you won’t miss your practice even as the day gets hectic. You’ve done it. You can check it off your list, take a shower, and get on with the rest of your day.
In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Hugh Jackman shared the best life advice he ever got. Patrick Stewart said to him: ‘I learned when I was about 60—and I wished I had learned it when I was younger—I give myself time of day at the beginning. I don’t read the paper because it makes me angry. I don’t read emails because that stresses me. I don’t read a script, I get nervous. I just read a book. So I know that no matter what happens for the rest of the day, I’ve had a half hour.’
Stewart stressed that it is key to take that time for one’s self first thing, otherwise the day gets away too easily. Jackman added, “The later you push it, the more conflicts that come up, derailing your best intentions.”
Yoga is something that falls between work and rest. Because it often requires both mental and physical effort, but it is also a kind of self-care, me-time that you do for yourself—physically and philosophically, it is both. It creates and encourages self-connection, allowing mental clarity and strength that you can potentially carry into your whole day.
The Pros of Morning Yoga
- It can boost your confidence to ready you for the day ahead. Practicing yoga induces mood-enhancing and pain-killing endorphins in your brain, like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which can help regulate your mood and give you a positive start to the day.
- You can become a Morning Person by establishing an early-rising routine. This will in turn encourage the body to regulate its sleeping pattern. And over time, getting out of bed at dawn will allow you to feel sleepy at a more appropriate bedtime, whereas exercising later in the day can sometimes disrupt sleep. This will of course become easier and easier with repetition. Additionally, practicing vigorous yoga first thing in the morning, rather than mid-day or evening, makes it easier to have a consistent once-a-day shower routine, as it may be difficult or inconvenient to shower after a sweaty practice in the middle of your day.
- It kick-starts digestion and metabolism because morning exercise increases peristalsis and reduces blood sugar levels. Ideally, one should practice yoga on an empty stomach to avoid cramps or indigestion, which can be more difficult to achieve during the day. But of course listen to your body; have a coffee or tea or something light, like fruit, beforehand if it feels right for you. And definitely hydrate!
- You’ll find mental clarity to better focus on your work. Yoga is beneficial any time of day, but students who go to work right after class report feeling more centered, grounded, calm, and capable of making decisions throughout the day. B.K.S. Iyengar advised that “[Yoga] practice in the morning makes one work better at one’s vocation.”
- You can check ‘self-care’ off your to-do list. Checklist people will find it incredibly rewarding to finish something so important early in the day. Otherwise, after a long, hard day, you may be tempted to skip your practice. And as stated previously, yoga is a kind of work, but also a gift to yourself, and it can feel like an accomplishment to take care of yourself first thing, before the day gets away from you.
And remember, as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang put it in his book, Rest, “A day that starts with work creates rest that can be enjoyed without guilt. When you start early, the rest you take is the rest you’ve earned.”
The Cons of Morning Yoga
- If you tend to wake up with stiff joints and muscles, or aches and pains, then you may think exercise is impossible at that time of day. But in truth, practicing yoga early in the morning will increase your flexibility and strength by being active. Easing into the workout with a long warm-up, being mindful, and listening to your body will actually optimize your mobility for the day ahead.
- If you tend to feel groggy in the morning, you may think that you’re just not a Morning Person, but your morning yoga practice would in fact allow your mind clarity and give you more energy quicker than if you didn’t practice.
The solution to both of these “cons” is actually the practice itself. So we can therefore consider them pros of morning yoga, as well!
Why Morning POWER Yoga?
Nowadays our motivation can get away from us pretty quickly, but starting your day off with the right intentions can put you in a good head space for the rest of the day. At Ignite Yoga, our morning POWER classes are a rigorous practice to discover what you’re capable of, increase cardiovascular health, and produce sweat to cleanse the body.
If you want to increase your vitality and feel alive, these classes are for you. Power yoga strengthens your whole body inside and outside, and it invites you to discover your most powerful self. By the end of one of our POWER classes, you’ll know that nothing can stand in your way.
We offer 6:00am POWER classes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These 60-minute classes are all about tapping into your personal power again and again, so that it becomes who you are. They incorporate heat, breath, drishti and dynamic sequencing to create a challenging and rewarding experience. It feels good to give it your all, so bring it all to the mat, and then leave behind what no longer serves you. The best part is that you can join us for these classes at Ignite Yoga or from the comfort of your home. So no more excuses yogi, rise and shine!
The Afterglow of Morning Power Yoga
Our 6:00am POWER classes are truly a special hour of the day. The regular attendees are like a little family, beginning their day together. And at the end of class, when they step out into the world again at 7:00am, the air is clear and crisp, and the birds are chirping. They are ready to take on whatever the day has in store.
So wake up early.
Unroll your mat. Flow.
And then carpe that diem.
If you’re ready to start your day the yogic way, join us at 6:00am Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Ignite Yoga Dayton.