How do you start your day? When you wake up, what is the very first thing you do? Do you drag yourself upright and stumble over to your computer to check your email? Do you listen to the news? Do you log on to Facebook? Do you do any of this FROM bed on your iPhone before even lifting your head from the pillow (yes, I too am guilty of this one). Feed the cats? Put the kettle on? Grind some coffee beans? Notice that the activities above, no matter their order, have nothing to do with checking in and saying “good morning” to your body and mind. I'm not saying you need to immediately roll from bed onto a yoga mat for obligatory sun salutations or meditation, but as with pretty much anything, there is a way to find balance.
Our morning autopilot of computers and coffee cannot provide us with a sense of how each day is different. For many of us, routine is a supportive and helpful tool, but perhaps just one minute of yours could include something less predictable. Otherwise, all you get is a list of unread emails and a caffeine rush by the time you leave the house.
The breath is a wonderful tool that can help us wake up with simultaneous ritual and variability. Try it tomorrow. Wake up and listen to your breath. What does it tell you? How well did you sleep? Are you already anxious to start your day, or do you feel as if you could you stay in bed for hours? You can use the answers to these questions in your approach to what lies ahead. Maybe you need to take your time throughout the day so you don’t get overwhelmed, or plan a way to get some extra sunshine on a break for renewed energy. The answers will of course vary, but when you get good at listening to your morning self, you might find you have fewer "bad days." You can remain similarly aware when things are going your way and practice gratitude!
Learning how to care for yourself is just as important as being productive, and the former can even help with reaching your full potential. So, after you've checked in with your breath, what about stretching your limbs or doing a gentle twist before sitting up in bed? How does it feel to put each foot on the floor? Continuing to check in with your energy level and state of mind as you begin moving will start connecting your mind to your body.
Wake up with yourself! Before you start your day, BREATHE.
Want to start your day off with sun salutations and breathing, along with our fabulous teachers? Check out our open class schedule to find a morning class near you.
Photo by Sophie Kuller