February 22, 2014

Rise into Your Best Self. ~ Elizabeth Olson

walking forest sunrise outside park nature

Waste not the time given as there are no guarantees.

The pursuit of yoga’s magic sent me around the world over the past two years. While living in ashrams maintaining a schedule prescribed by the ancients, a few gems of knowledge presented themselves. A major takeaway from practicing with others working towards spirituality was “every moment matters”.

Celebrating the morning became my channel to a higher level.

Surya, the sun, enters with color and warmth each dawn rousing the birds who then sing for all of the living. Being a witness to this daily occurrence brings connection. Honestly, rising early can evolves yogi’s lives. This is a big change for many.

Here are a few reasons to change habits and take part in the morning festivities.

1. Energy

Energy changes throughout the day following a cycle.

Rising time is directly correlated with the pervasive guna, energetic tendency, which will affect the body. Waking between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. allows one to attune before tamas, the energy of inertia, takes its hold.

Skeptical? Try sleeping in until 9:30 a.m. and then gauge vital levels throughout the day. Odds are you will be yawning and in a bit of a slump.

There is a wonder to feeling the charged quiet of the predawn hours. Known as Brahmamuhurtha, Brahman’s hours, this is the time for yogis to sit, traditionally facing north and connect. The silence allows the mind to sink into deep spaces, the rishis, ancient seers, recommend these hours for good reason. Closing the eyes beginning meditation in darkness and opening them to dawn’s colors across the sky brings beauty to one’s experience. There is a deeper connection to Earth’s wonder. I recommend seating yourself in front of a window in order to experience this progression.

Feel into the magic of the morning.

2. Uninterrupted Sadhana—Spiritual Practice

Others will be asleep lending a wonderful opportunity to meditate and do asanas with peace.

Raja my cat wakes me at 5:00 each morning. A feline which serves as my spiritual alarm clock on the path of Raja Yoga—The eight limbed yoga science of Maharishi Patanjali. His meows help me maintain discipline. Our motivations differ; his being love for nature and mine meditation.

Families are in deep sleep states and won’t interrupt sacred time. As an added bonus, the rest of one’s day is filled with the good vibes from practice. By 7:00 in the morning one can be proud with no worries that complications throughout the day will take away from yoga practice.

Congratulations for being ahead of the game.

3. Early Risers are More Successful

Several studies support this fact.

Those who rise early accomplish more and consequently reap life’s rewards. Benefits correlated with waking early include physical health, happiness, long term goal setting and optimism. Establish the day’s intention and goals, commit them to paper and become highly effective. More work is done early in the day, productivity will increase. Life will feel easier with extra free time.

Evenings will be open to share with family and friends.

4. The Body Trick

Our bodies crave rhythm.

After a few mornings using an alarm clock it will slowly be less necessary. The body will naturally wake. Physically one gains the upper hand in establishing a practice. Hold from the temptation to roll over and snooze a bit longer.

Approach the mat and sink into grace.

Once the practice is finished, there will be none of the regrets associated with sleeping in. When we set circadian rhythms to those of our planet, the body is grateful. These thanks come in the form of health and increased awareness. This is a simple method to commune with existence.

Wellbeing can be attributed to connection with nature.

5. Magic

Yoga and its many practices can tune practitioners into an inner power beyond description.

The statement, 1% theory and 99% practice is prevalent for a reason. Only with consistency can the benefits be reaped. Imagine the evolution of mediations and asanas through daily repetition. Sri K. Pattahbi Jois was correct, “Practice and all is coming.” Regularity breeds habits which lead to character and ultimately destiny. What have you got to lose?

Vision yourself as a happy, healthy and productive yogi then rise into your best self.

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Editorial Assistant: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant journal archives

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Elizabeth Olson