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March 22, 2018

Mornings may be More Important than you Think.

Having a “successful” morning can be vital.

Personally, I love those early morning hours—that time between waking up and having to leave the house and before starting any “real-life” tasks.

I tend to wake up around 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. Getting used to my new sleep/wake routine was no easy feat, but it has been a real life-changer. While I have never had an easy time falling asleep—let alone sleeping in for a few extra hours—I have gotten on a waking schedule that fits into my life.

Seizing my mornings has positively influenced many aspects of my life. I cultivate more positive and thought-out choices. I hold myself accountable when I stay up late or when I binge on sugar close to bedtime and can’t fall asleep. No one force-fed me sugary goodness or made we watch those last four episodes of “Grace & Frankie.” On the flip side, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment on achieving my personal goal.

Not only do I tend to have my apartment space to myself in the early morning (just short of sharing it with my slowly waking fur-babies), but I have the room and the freedom to move the coffee table, lay down my mat, crank some zen music, and get my yoga on. As some may already know, early mornings are the best times to practice yoga, especially sun salutations (surya namaskar in Sanskrit).

Shiva Rea, the founder of Prana Vinyasa Yoga and Master Class, explains some of the benefits of daily rounds of sun salutations on Yoga Journal:

“As physical exercise, sun salutation is a contained, all-in-one practice in itself. As you progress through its steady sequence of opposing actions—front-body offerings followed by the surrender of forward folds—a namaskar integrates all the counter-asanas necessary to feel balanced in your body by the time you complete it, ” she says. “The power of a namaskar is in its refined simplicity; the combination of movements creates a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual syncopation,” Rea continues.

Mornings are great to incorporate activities like attending a yoga class or going to the gym. Many yoga studios offer classes as early as 5:30 a.m. (or earlier!). Getting a pass at a local studio that offers yoga classes during our early morning windows, may help us to stick to our schedules.

While some people are looking for a calm, flowing start to their morning, others are after a more rigorous, physical awakening, and may go for an early morning run or a walk with their dog.

Anything that gets the body moving, doesn’t cause stress on the mind, and can be completed in an hour-ish are great morning options. Everyone’s morning schedules and responsibilities are different and can change from day to day.

Another perk of having some type of morning plan is making sure breakfast happens!

When we allow time to have some brekky, there are no excuses for skipping food and running on just coffee. Your morning routine will likely have its own influence on your day: eating light and fresh before physical activity versus loading up on heavy, greasy food (think fast-food, heavy potatoes, and carb-filled pancakes smeared in fat and sugar) before heading to the gym or jumping on your mat makes sense.

And if it isn’t clear why, try it and tell me how you feel mid-run or adho mukha savasana (downward-facing dog).

With all of these easy tips, the real key to establishing and maintaining a morning routine is simple: stick to it!

Practice and repetition are how we learn a second language; how we pass tests in school; how we gain muscle memory to play sports, instrumentsm or perform certain skills. And the same goes for your mind and sleep pattern!

The benefits vary from person to person, but we reserve the ability to personally tailor each morning to fit each day so the only thing laying between you and a “successful” morning is you.

 

Bonus: 5 Mindful Things to do each Morning.

 

 

Author:  Hannah Horkan
Image: Flickr/April Johnson & Asdrubal luna/ Unsplash
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Callie Rushton

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Hannah Horkan