One of my goals this year was to wake up earlier, again...
Over the course of the past couple of years I have experienced the benefits of starting the day early, rising with or before the Sun. There are all kinds of research studies and schools of thought about sleep cycles, circadian rhythm, dreaming and waking states, Ayurveda and the optimal time for the different doshas to rise, and the like.
There's all kinds of folk sayings about the merit in starting the day early, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." and “Early bird gets the worm!” are a couple.
In my experience at Satchidanada Ashram-Yogaville, we were often waking up between 4-6 am daily, making meditation a priority first thing in the morning, followed by Hatha yoga and then breakfast around 8:30. Although there were some days that were harder than others, once I began feeling the benefits of this practice it's a wonder why I ever stopped!! It is the best way to start a new day, physically waking up the nervous system and digestive fires while simultaneously calming the mind.
But every day is a little different and some days I felt as if I were trapped under the comfort of my comforters. It seems since I have been home the past few weeks that it was harder to honor my full morning routine in the way I had once known it.
I realized a couple of things about this today,
"Let go of Judgments."
Yes, there's a lot of benefit of waking up early and everything described above. Now, the reminder to accept each day as it comes. To let go of the story the mind creates, to let go of the expectations, to be compassionate and kind this is also yoga in practice. In the last words of the Buddha, "Just do your best."
"Make a Firm Resolve."
Recognizing the benefits of well attended morning practice,
Being aware that the result yields consistency and increased productivity,
I will make the most of each day and choose not to "go back to sleep" upon rising.
Making a firm resolve or commitment like this can be really powerful in achieving goals and strengthening willpower. Find your goal and do it. As Yoda said, "Do or Do Not. There is no try."
"Proper Preparation and Awareness."
I also realize the impact of certain things that affect my sleep quality, electronics late in the night, if I eat or snack on anything too late, and what am I “bringing to bed” with me, emotionally or psychologically. As in all things, proper preparation and practice produces perfection. I encourage you to find those little rituals that make going to bed at night, peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable. You'll notice the difference upon rising.
I am happy to say that the past few days it's been easier to wake up earlier, and meditation becomes easier too in the morning. With little on the mind, while the world is still quiet, this resting in stillness can bring us great energy and focus for the day. We Always Have A Choice, That's Free Will. My hope is that in this life I can live a productive and useful life, helping others, serving others and having a lot of fun along the way.
Today's Translation from The Golden Present by Swami Satchidanada
Don't love only your fellow humans. Love Everyone and Everything equally. All things are your fellow beings, not only humans. By loving everything, you are really loving yourself! Real Love is only possible when you Love your Self. When we rise above the worldly limitations, beyond the names and forms, we will find that the essence is the same.
Om Om Om
Blessings of Peace and Love!
Yours in Yoga,