A personal weakness
This is a post for all those practitioners out there, who like me, are a little less inclined to bounce out of bed ahead of the sun – especially on these chilly wintery Melbourne mornings. Yes, what is required is tapas – the heat within to bring disciplined action on our path to purification and not only restricted to mornings but to all our disciplines and actions. Yet it is the morning practice that trips me up. I do not rise out of my warm bed with a fire burning within to greet the sun – solar energy reflector/attractor I am not…where does this leave me on the enlightened path? In the dark? Or in sync with Judith Lassater’s recent Facebook post of a haiku with a repetition in the correct syllable count:
What does interest me is that I will get out of bed before the sun for the needs of others or if there is a class to take, but offering myself that service…there is an inherent weakness and a tamasic (the least attractive Guna/charater trait of inertia, ignorance, sluggishness) snuggling back into the doona until I just must get up as tasks are calling. Then tasks are imminent and the prime predawn sattvic (most attractive Guna knowledge, purity) personal practice time is missed. For it is ideal to practice before the sun, before the world calls and the birds chirp. What to do?
Now the 10 Tips
Patanjali’s sutras begin with the word atha or ‘now’ begins the explanation on yoga. This is where we begin – Now. Always in the now.
1. On going to sleep focus in on the eyebrow centre for several minutes until you feel the shift as you enter chidakasha behind and mentally declare “I will rise before dawn” or at whatever time you are going to commit – be honest with yourself but do give yourself the gift of the precious extra time before everyone wants & needs something from you. Repeat the commitment 3 times then soften the focus with chidakasha – let go into whatever you see, feel or sense there. Sleep.
2. Wake respecting your commitment and place the seed in your mind – how can I best serve today? and then entice yourself – What form will my ritual take this morning?
3. Earth Element: Stretch out in bed, consciously through each limb, then arms together, legs together. Inhale & exhale and sit up. Take the time to plant the feet on the floor and feel the support of the earth below – without that support you will never reach for the sky.
4. Water element: Walk to the bathroom and if showering is to much of a challenge rinse the mouth several times. If you like to scrape/clean the tongue do so. Then splash the face. Take a drink of water or herbal tea you brewed the night before. Put your Yogic/any comfy clothes on! Pj’s are good : )
5. Offer yourself a ritual. This may be a prayer you love, a walk into the garden, cutting a flower for your altar, feeding animals, hugging a pet or loved one, lighting a candle. The ritual needs to be inspiring, irresistible & nurturing to you
6. Fire Element: Go to your practice space, sit a moment to pause and sense how your body has awoken. Begin NOW. Practice a pranayam first to tune in to the body and perhaps palm over the eyes to awaken. Then whatever practice your body yearns for – there are many suggestions based on the doshas on the internet and indeed many teachers have shared morning practices on Youtube. Yet, the best practice will come from within – one morning it might be sun salutations, another the Tibetan 5 Rites, another all that arises is the need for balasana/child with a nadi shodhana/alternate nostril breath, or perhaps a few kriyas from the kundalini series.
7. Air, space Elements & consciousness: My biggest tip is to begin with the breath and read the body from there…my second tip is from Kara-Leah Grant’s Forty Days of Yoga you need only start with a commitment of merely 7 minutes and see where you go from there – but set a parameter. The parameter for this post is a morning practice but this may in all honesty not be appropriate for your life so be open to who you are – you may work shifts, have other predawn commitments so the shape of your day, yourself will need to be respected. My third tip is to end with a meditation so that the day begins with clarity. On this website: Listen here. Read here.
8. Return to the seed you planted whilst still in bed “In this day how can I best serve” Set your intention for the day ahead
9. Celebrate with a meal
10. Step out now to meet the sun
These tips may help but it strikes me that letting go of the attachment to yogic perfection, the should be up pre-dawn or at x y z time, is the magic key that will open up the space and let the practice happen in the natural rhythm of you.
Internet Searches you can try:
Anmol Mehta: A morning wakeup Kundalini practice
Yoga International: 7 Morning Makeovers
Yoga Journal: Wake up Routine
Tibetan 5 Rites
Mind Body Green: 10 min morning wake-up sequence
Esther Eckhart:Morning Yoga Flow on Youtube
Byron Yoga Morning Meditation
And the best resource to really examine what it ‘the thing is’ about you, resistance and practice: 40 Days of Yoga Kara-Leah Grant…again & again return, listen, breathe practice.