Do you imagine yourself having a yoga, meditation, walking, writing, prayer or self care practice in the morning, but it remains a beautiful and serene idea, life seems to work against you in materializing it? You’re not alone.
When I do my morning practice it feels like a soothing balm, gives me energy, colours my day, and an overall feeling of satisfaction mostly stays with me…. More than once after a great practice I thought ‘why on earth don’t I do this all the time’!? For years it’s been an off and on relationship with my mornings (I love to meander about), but now I think I’m closer to nailing it down. It’s a tough habit to form though, but once you got it, it flows naturally and easily, I promise.
Why a practice in the early hours? Mornings are energetically pure, our ego, analytical thinking mind, digestion, are peaceful, rested, and we are more open to more subtle, intimate and quiet energies. It’s the perfect time to be with yourself, spend a little time in your inner world before you engage with the outer.
Let’s call it for what it is, a RITUAL rather than a habit or routine. It gives it a more precious significance, because that is what it is, precious time dedicated to just you, your practice. This is called a Saddhana in Sanskrit, meaning a daily spiritual practice.
So how do we give this gift of a Ritual to ourselves? Each of us live differently, some of you have children tickling your feet pre-dawn, some of you might have to be at work very early, or have a night shift, so let’s stay a bit flexible in our endeavours.
Firstly, I can’t believe I almost finished writing this without possibly the most important point, so I will add it here on top. YOUR PHONE! Keep it off, airplane mode, no wifi, data, when you wake up, until the end of your ritual. This may be a bit anxiety inducing at first, but trust me, it’s so worth it. The phone is so sneaky, it can distract you before you even begin. Just… there’s no way around this.
- LAY CLAIM to the chosen moment of your practice. Tell the people you live with that this is your time. It just takes a little change of mindset. You go to work no matter what, right? Get the kids ready? It’s easy to put everything aside to show up for your duties and to check the boxes for everyone else. Reassign the same type of priority to your morning practice, piggybacking your dedication from something you already feel you must do . CLAIM the moment as something you absolutely do, no matter what. It might sound like an extreme measure, and it just might be for starting out….
- Remember, your practice also benefits others, as when you take time to navigate your mind, body and emotions, you become more patient, kind, and loving to others. So it is NOT selfish to do your Saddhana.
- Let go of how long you think your practice should be, but try to assign yourself a minimum amount of time. Can be 10, 20 or 30 minutes, whatever suits you.
- So what do we do? I would say choose 3 things for your ritual to start with. For example: Drink a warm beverage in silence. Do 10 minutes of movement and stretching. 10 minutes of seated meditation. It could be 3 totally different things, repeating a mantra, writing, burning a candle, whatever you choose. It could be 5 things. Or 1 thing.
- If you are not sure what stretches to do, what the meditation could look like, don’t give up! Choosing a framework like this will motivate you to search for a teaching that works for you. You’ll find yourself taking notes in the next class you go to, to watch a video to prepare yourself. Let it be your creative project to sculpt your practice.
Lastly, I want to share with you a tool I use from the Bullet Journaling method, the habit tracker. This has completely changed my relationship to self discipline, gives me oversight, and is also quite fun. If you love grids, lists and colours, it may be a good idea for you. Here is an example, you can also colour in the grid instead of check marks:
This is a habit tracker just for a daily practice, but you could add any other habit you want to keep track of too. For more info about this you can look up the Bullet Journaling method by Ryder Carrol. My habit tracker has around 7 things on it, so you can get really creative.
Let your morning routine be like a homecoming, a place of belonging. Something you get excited about when you close your eyes before going to sleep. It’s an intimate offering, a part of you, like a friend that is always by your side. Those kinds of friendships that remain strong even if you are out of touch for a while, when you come back, they are there again with open arms, no strings attached.
And don’t hesitate to call it Evening, Lunch, Night practice if you like, it applies to all! We stay flexible, us yogis, no pun intended. If you have a morning routine you would like to inspire us with, or have any questions, feel free to write in the comments!