Yoga in the Mornings : The Magic Hour
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” –Rumi
There is that magic hour in the morning just as dawn breaks. In that hour, there’s stillness to the morning that peaks as the sun arises. The energy is softer somehow. If you manage to roll out of bed while the rest of the world is asleep, then you’re off to a great start.
There are many things that you can do to make the best use of this time of day. We like to start the day by taking deep breaths and beginning our practice. There’s nothing so meditative as moving your body to Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) in the morning light.
As we enter into a new year, we greet it with a sense of renewal. Starting off on the right foot is important, and that includes creating and sustaining good habits. Adding to your existing morning routine is a powerful way to build a new habit, and we’ve listed out the best reasons why you should consider starting your day on the mat:
- Morning yoga sets your tone for the rest of the day. Starting each day on a healthy note makes you more likely to continue making healthy decisions throughout the day, and creates a sense of positive life-giving energy. Morning movement also boosts your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day by kickstarting your day with some asanas, than you would doing the same thing in the afternoon or evening.
- Yoga is best practiced on an empty stomach. A full stomach can make it difficult and uncomfortable to do certain poses, and the process of digestion takes energy away from the practice. Doing yoga on an empty stomach allows for prana ((life force) to flow more freely throughout the body, and practicing on an empty stomach is known to burn fat and detox the body more efficiently. Breaking fast after a strong practice can also instill a deep sense of gratitude.
- Morning movement increases energy levels. Have you ever exercised after work and found yourself tossing and turning in bed? That’s because exercise brings your heart rate up and gets your blood flowing, making you feel more energized. Moving your practice to the morning will actually give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day so you will approach your daily tasks with more alertness. Those who exercise in the morning also end up sleeping better at night.
- Endorphins improve the way you function throughout the day. We know that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy (thanks, Elle Woods!). But aside from feelings of happiness, endorphins also help you manage stress better, create a sense of inner tranquility, and surface feelings of accomplishment that allow you to approach your day with confidence.
- Stretching in the morning improves joint and muscle flexibility, posture, and circulation. Unlocking your muscles and joints from positions that they’ve been stuck in all night just feels so good! Morning stretches awaken the muscles and body, and prep it for a whole day of continuous movement. Yoga is the best way to make the most of your stretch as breath synchronicity helps you maximize each movement with mindfulness.
Our bodies are naturally designed to awake at dawn. Fostering a morning practice can radically shift your life and energy levels towards a balance of vitality and tranquility. But you don’t have to just take our word for it: try it yourself and see how your life can be transformed by adopting a morning practice.
We challenge you to build your new morning habit by practicing daily for 30 days straight. Observe your body, your breathing, and your energy, and witness how it changes over this time. Building a new habit takes time, commitment, and patience, but we assure you that a regular morning practice will pay off in the long run.