When I first started practicing yoga 10 years ago, I remember checking the Bikram Yoga Dupont Circle class schedule and seeing a 6:00 am class listed. What? Really? Who were these people? It was hard enough to do all 26 poses at 6:00 pm nevermind 6:00 am. Who were these early risers? It seemed so very mysterious to me. I remember asking the teacher if it was a big class. She said yes, and only students who have been practicing for 2 months were allowed to enroll to ensure the class moves efficiently and ends on time. Yikes!
Needless to say, I never tried it.
About a year and a half ago I forced myself to take a 5:45 am class at a nearby vinyasa hot yoga studio. It started to become quite a challenge to leave work with enough time to make the 6:00 pm. Several times, I showed up too late and missed class. Most times, I ran in like a tornado, threw my mat down and practiced with a full face of work makeup..ugh. I figured, this may be the only time that will work for me with my job, so I might as well give it a try.
Well, I tried and I hated it. My body and brain was sleeping. Why wasn’t I in bed? When I was done, i felt more groggy. I had a headache all day. It was all a blur. I was happy I was done, but do I dare try this class again?
Well, I tried it again and I didn’t hate it. I kind of liked it. I felt groggy at the start but I felt so accomplished at the end. I went to work feeling happy. My physical practice was done for the day. I could go home tonight and relax have some wine, eat at a normal hour and do some chores.
But–like most of us the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. and you realize you decided last night you were going to yoga. You even signed in online! Then there comes that pivotal moment when you wonder, “Should I go back to sleep or get my butt out of bed and go?” Ugh. I hate when that internal debate starts to happen.
But If you get up and go you kick serious ass. Congrats. Not only are you awake at 5 am, your soon to be on a freaking yoga mat. That is amazing. And if it’s hot yoga. Beyond amazing.
Now that I am a yoga teacher I am teaching at 6 a.m! How things have changed. Everyone is sleepy…but everyone is pleasant. You notice that the 6:00 am students are regular students. These students are very committed to their practice and their schedule. This is their time to practice and a community of early risers is formed. These are the mysterious people I once wondered about 10 years ago. I like these people!
Besides being a convenient time to practice for some, there are so many amazing reasons to practice yoga first thing in the morning, even if you have all day to take a class.
Benefit # 1 – Early yoga will reduce or eliminate your need for caffeine.
Yoga breathing will stimulate your body and mind. All that fresh oxygen will wake up your brain like a jolt of caffeine. Also, this energy boost from deep breathing will last all day, not just a couple hours like caffeine. You will become energized and clear. Sometimes you wake up feeling groggy, but that’s because there is literally “fuzz” in your brain fascia from your sleep. Yoga breathing will clear the fuzz away and you will have clarity and be ready to face your day brighter and more alive. I no longer want coffee before I teach at 6:00 am. My craving is gone.
Benefit # 2- You’re DONE all before you go to work!
Your days are so busy, and your time is valuable. It’s tough to fit in a yoga class during the middle of the day, and by the evening you may have unexpected plans, or you may be too tired. You know, life happens. So doing your practice first thing in the morning is a relief. You take the pressure off your self during the day and get to focus on your work, family, friends, eating, and life. You can also remember how great you were for making the choice to get up and treat yourself to yoga. Honor your dedication.
Benefit # 3- You will be more calm all day.
Taking yoga early in the morning will set the tone for your whole day. It will calm and center you before you have to step out into the chaos of life. You will be ready for any situation that comes your way. That traffic jam? No worries, you did yoga. You remember your breath. You’re reminded of your early morning intention that you set. In yoga, you remember to practice kindness, compassion and love. Others can feel your heart. The days dramas will seem small in comparison.
Benefit # 4 – You will look younger.
The stretching in yoga makes your body tighter, lighter, and brighter. It raises serotonin levels, endorphins and other feel good chemicals and that will all show up in the glow of your skin. Studies show people who practice yoga can actually slow down the aging of the heart, liver and kidneys. All of your insides will reflect on the outside. You eyes will be brighter. Your skin will have a glow. Your body will feel taller and longer.
Benefit # 5 – You can eat more that day.
Yoga helps speed up your metabolism which means that you can eat more and burn calories faster. When you practice yoga early in the day you improve your digestion and food will burn up faster, and more nutrients will move through your body. When you have enough nutrients moving through efficiently, then your body metabolizes fats and carbs faster and your insides will be running at tip top speed, so you can have that second bowl of oatmeal and don’t sweat it! I never ever used to eat breakfast, but when I practice or teach in the early am, I am starving. I let my body have what it needs now, and I love it.
So set your alarm for 5 a.m. and get your butt up. See for yourself and say no to snooze.
You can join me on:
Tues-Powerflow Livingston, NJ @ 6:00 am
Wed- Nirvana Wellness, Wayne NJ @ 545 am
Thur- Nirvana Wellness, Montville NJ @ 545 am