How to become an early Yoga bird
Why would anyone bother to get up very early in the morning if he or she doesn’t have to? Well, there are many reasons, and going to a Mysore class is certainly one of the best.
by Sascha and Romana Delberg
The ancient Yogis knew that the early morning before sunset, even before dawn, is a very particular time. They called this period, roughly between 4 and 6 o’clock, Brahma Muhurta, the Brahma time. Our permanently wandering mind (Citta Vrtti) and our patterns and habits (Samskaras) are not yet fully “there“, our duties haven’t taken possession of us yet, and our division of the world into good and bad (Raga/Dvesa) is not turned on. The central energy channel (Sushumna nadi) is in full flow, and in the Ayurveda system, it is a phase of Vata, which means intellectually active. Things are quiet, clear, present – and so are we. It is the best time for Sadhana (spiritual practice), be it meditation, Pranayama, or Asanas.
All well and good, but how does that fit into our lives? Many of us have a job, a partner, many duties, limited time. Well, it can and it does work – thousands of Ashtanga practitioners worldwide do their self-practice or go to a Mysore class every day. But it takes determination, organisation, and discipline.
Not only do we get up early because it is the best period of the day but also to save time. When we attend a Mysore class from , say 7.00 to 8.30, we are still in time to start with work. But with the advantage that our body and minds are fully awake, worked through, opened up, cleaned, full of “vibrant energy”, as they say. Plus, we have spent some time with and for ourselves, our body, our emotions. Now we are ready for the day. The hours after Mysore are the best for work.
But, true, such a regime requires some discipline, and we better went to bed early last night instead of watching TV or having a large meal. There are other obstacles. Our environment might be less than empathic with our change of habits which probably include going to bed early, cutting down on drinking alcohol, smoking, partying … – in brief, all that makes us a bore. But – and that’s the scandal for others – we feel fine with it! We certainly swim against the social current. Unless they are on the same trip, our partners and friends will surely give us some headwind.
How do we manage to get up early? Well, we just have to make up our mind to do it, and then stick to it. Which sounds easier than it is. But do we want to be the person that sticks to his or her word, or not? Are we reliable towards ourselves or not? It’s a good opportunity to put such fundamental questions to the test.
But even if we are determined, it still isn’t easy. A number of factors are helpful. One is establishing a daily routine of going to sleep and getting up at a certain time. After all, we just replace one habit by another. By the way, regular habits are among the main principles of Ayurveda.
Avoiding large meals late in the evening with alcohol and coffee is a good thing. We should forget about the “I’m not the morning type“ saying – it‘s nothing but a lame excuse or, as Yogis might explain, a story made up by Ahamkara (our ego or „I-maker“). The same goes for the “sleep deficit“ everybody complains about. There is no need to worry that our body doesn’t take the sleep it needs.
If we had an early light dinner without alcohol and coffee and went to bed early in a quiet state of mind (checking e-mails and watching exciting films just before going to bed isn‘t helpful), then there is no way that we don’t wake up fresh and well.
A regular Yoga practice prepares the ground for a more sattvic (peaceful, quiet, balanced) lifestyle which in turn makes it easier for us to get up early. In the beginning, it might feel a bit odd. We are warm and cosy in our bed, it’s completely dark outside, nobody is up. Why should we? But just the thought of Yoga and the balance and joy it brings gives us the courage and confidence to cope with the seemingly absurd.