The first moments of each day are really precious. It’s a time where we can influence how we are going to think, act and respond for the rest of the day, so it makes sense to make that time positive and inspiring.
Yoga has a myriad of benefits no matter what time of the day we practice. But there’s just something profoundly special about rolling out your mat at the start of the day, that even a 10-minute practice can do wonders. Why?
1. Sets a positive intention
When we set an intention, we give our efforts a sense of direction. When you sit down on your mat and plant a positive seed in your mind in the morning, you have all day to water that seed with your thoughts, words and actions.
2. You’ll be more calm and balanced for the day ahead
If you’re the type of person to hit the snooze button several times then race out the door in a whirlwind with a half-eaten piece of toast in your hand, you’ll appreciate this one. When we start the day in a rushed and scattered way, that invites more of the same energy so you’ll probably find that you hit every red light and arrive late to wherever you're going.
If you get up a little earlier (I know, I know) and centre yourself on your mat, you create a more calm and balanced internal environment that will probably lead to clarity of mind as well as green lights.
3. Expansive quality of breath
When we first wake up, our body and nervous system are more calm and settled. Without the stimulation of the day, we can float straight in to quality, expansive breathing and set ourselves up with plenty of oxygen and prana from the very first moments.
4. Our morning bodies tend to be stiffer
Lying down all night can create stiffness and tightness in the body so we’re often not able to reach the same places we can later in the day. This is an awesome benefit if you’re looking to challenge the ego! Why? Because we have to accept the body as it is in that moment and adapt our practice accordingly.
I know that some days, I opt for Baby Cobra in the morning instead of Upward Facing Dog because that’s what my body is asking for and that can really challenge my ego that always wants to push further. Practicing in the morning gives us the chance to really listen, respect and honour what’s happening on the mat in that moment.
5. Fosters Conscious movement
We tend to be less stimulated in the morning so you might find you’re intuitively more inclined towards a slower practice. The slower pace can really help you create a beautiful connection between the mind and body, giving you the opportunity to move in a really conscious, mindful way. And of course you can take that off the mat and gracefully float through your day!
6. Boosts Creative energy
Poses that stimulate the energy at the sacral chakra (Swadisthana) can get your creative juices flowing. And you don’t need to be an artist, writer or muso to appreciate that energy because creative expression can have a positive effect no matter what we’re doing.
Bhujangasana (Cobra), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) are all sacral chakra poses.
7. Helps You Eat Well During The Day
When you've taken time early on to nourish your body and mind with yoga, you’ll be less inclined to eat emotionally and far more likely to make balanced, healthy choices throughout your day.
8. It’s done for the day
At the end of a long, busy day it’s all too easy to skip your yoga practice and make a beeline for the couch...But when you practice in the morning, it’s done for the day! That means when home time comes later on you can dive onto the couch in a guilt free, super relaxed way.
9. Fires up the metabolism in a natural way
Certain poses stimulate the digestive system and metabolism naturally, particularly twisting postures, throat chakra poses, and dynamic flows. First thing in the morning, before we’ve eaten or added caffeine to our bodies, we get to fire ourselves up in a completely natural way using breath and conscious movement.
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutes), Setu Bhandasana (Bridge) and Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes) can be a lot better than coffee!
10. Sends a strong positive message to our subconscious mind
The subconscious mind is super powerful. When we get up early and do something positive like yoga, that sends a message to the deeper mind that we really care about our wellbeing. When we keep doing this regularly, we’ll be driven towards choices that continue to support our wellbeing in everything we do. Boom.
So, does practicing in the morning sound awesome or what??!!