(For more Good Questions, click here)
This subject has been covered a LOT on the interwebz. We all know it’s a good idea, but how do you get used to it? Especially when it’s getting colder and darker and your bed just gets more comfortable as fall and winter approach?
I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I’ll give you a few tips that I personally use to get up in the morning, and link to a couple articles by people who have written more beautifully and more extensively on the subject.
First, this is what I do (and full disclosure: I was one of those college “not-a-morning-persons” who scheduled classes no earlier than 11am so as not to sleep through them. Now I get up on weekdays at 3am, Sundays at 5am, without trouble. It is possible to change your constitution.):
1. Get ready the night before. I have my practice clothes stacked, my teaching clothes and towel in my bag, and anything else I need set to go and near the door. That way I don’t have to search in the dark for a matching sock or whatever.
2. Set a bedtime and stick to it. My family and friends know that I go to bed at the same time as most second-graders, and thus know that dinners must take place well before then, or really lets meet for lunch instead. I’ve made it a priority to get enough sleep and because I’m completely clear on it, so are they. (Note to seventh-series practitioners: I’m told this gets more complicated when young children are involved. And yet, many parents of young ones manage to do it. If you’re one of them– any tips you’d like to share? I’m all ears!)
3. When it’s hot out: a cold shower in the morning. When it’s cold out: a sesame oil bath (really just rubbing sesame oil all over, with a little self-massage on muscles that need some attention– takes 5 minutes at most), followed by a short hot shower. Wakes me up, makes me feel ready for practice, and good Lord that sesame oil smells delicious.
4. Have a morning ritual. For me, a hot beverage (coffee works, though lately I’ve discovered a love of less-caffeinated white tea), a little bit of reading or, lately, knitting while listening to audiobooks, is enough to convince my inner Pavlovian dog that it’s time to go practice.
5. Believe in why you’re doing this. This is probably the most important thing. If I didn’t have the experience of the tremendous benefit this practice has been to my life over the past decade, it would be harder to get up early. Of course. That’s why it gets easier over time. The more you can put your finger on why you love doing this practice, the simpler all the other steps will be.
Now, the links:
Rose’s 21 Tips for Dragging Your Sleepy Butt Out of Bed to Practice Yoga in the Mornings. Great tips, especially for home practitioners or on the days that you can’t get to the studio to practice.
Angela’s How to Wake Up for Yoga. Try the pure willpower method and let me know how it goes.
And Angela’s follow-up, How to Get Up for Yoga, Again. If you’re going to click on any of these links make sure you read the last three paragraphs of this one– she explains what I”m getting at in #5 better than I could.