Getting up early to meditate, do pilates, yoga, stretching, running, walking in the park, breath work, what IS the point of a morning practice?
I know that you have good intentions. You tell yourself:
‘Tomorrow, I will go to the gym, eat my 5 a day, make that phone call…’
Whatever it is, we often talk ourselves out of following through on our desires throughout the day. Everyday routines feel rigid and impossible to change. Fears creep in, our old habits feel ingrained.
We tell ourselves: ‘I’m just not that sort of person.’
It is time to feel differently. We are not making changes to prove anything to anyone, the purpose is to enjoy being in our own heads and enjoying our thoughts. We can experience and become a witness to our resistance to change. No one said it has to be really hard. Start small, but the s-t-r-e-t-c-h is the key. With stretch we experience resistance and then relief. On the other side of the resistance is the possibility of feeling better about ourselves, empowered, with a calmer, quieter mind, free of the berating stories of ‘you haven’t done it again,’ etc. Resistance is normal, the key is to remember that there is something lovely available on the other side.
I haven’t had a regular exercise routine since before I was pregnant, and I was beginning to feel stuck. For years I have relished ‘me time’ in the evenings. After our now, nearly four year old goes to bed, evenings had become very precious, but my energy always felt low at this time too. My default setting had been feeling caught in the cycle of feeling tired, but wanting to make the most of my evening. I would connect and communicate with my friends on social media, maybe watch a film, have a glass of wine, read a book, or chat to my husband. I wasn’t prioritising time to exercise, as I just wanted to relax at home on the evenings when I wasn’t seeing clients. These evenings no longer felt beneficial, nourishing or fun, but I was stuck in a routine. The result was that I was unfit and tired too much of the time. Bleurgh.
Then something happened. On the way back from a few days away in Wales, I decided to create some space in the mornings for myself instead. Having worked with hundreds of individuals on ‘How to create change’ I know that getting stuff done first thing in the mornings is incredibly powerful.
I know how often I have spent a day talking myself out of doing something later on that day, be it cleaning, exercise or even going out.
I am familiar with that feeling in the mornings of waking up tired, pressing the snooze button on my alarm and then promising myself that later that day I will go to bed early with a good book. Hmm… I didn’t often follow through on this promise to myself though. It was time to do something differently, break my stuck patterns and ‘way of being’.
By doing something first thing in the mornings I start the day with endorphins flooding my body (the chemical released after exercise that invokes a positive feeling, similar to morphine), rather than cortizol (the anxiety/stress hormone). Instead of starting the day with that regretful feeling of dissatisfaction setting the tone for the day, the day is started feeling bloody great about myself.
I did it, I got up, I stretched. I did it. Now I feel awake and pretty chuffed with myself.
I know first hand how difficult it can be to feel peaceful and centred, when my head is racing, analysing, questioning, working out, judging myself and others. We all have times when the persistent analysis of our psyche goes into overdrive. To create space in our minds we must prioritise giving ourselves quiet space and time, to learn how to separate ourselves from our ‘doing’ and fall back into ‘being’.
If you are feeling stuck and want to find some energy, starting a morning practice, can be a wonderful introduction to changing the chemical balance in your body. This will in turn make it easier for ourselves to feel more peaceful and centred.
How about starting the day with a large glass of lemon water? Half a lemon, squeezed into a glass, topped up with half cold water and half boiled hot water. The cleansing and hydrating, effect of this drink first thing in the morning wakes up your insides and gives your body a head start for the day.
Just 10-15 mins of stretching/yoga, with my new favourite girl crush- Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. You can search for all sorts of levels- from beginners to expert fly-yogi master. Find the one that suits you.
If your default setting is ‘busy’busy,’ then maybe a morning practice for you would be something ultra calming. Overthinking and anxiety are really, really common. Taking the time out even once or twice a week to sit and listen to a guided meditation will help you enormously to allow your mind to find some stillness. Try this one by Michael Sealey.
On my retreat this Autumn we begin each of the three mornings with lemon water and a guided meditation in the woods, followed by a nourishing an beautiful breakfast. The retreat begins over a new moon, a brilliant time of the month to start new routines and practices.
Why not buy some lemons today, take yourself off to bed a little earlier tonight, lay out some comfy clothes ready for the morning to help yourself get through the sleepy first few moments of waking up. Prepare yourself. Once you have done your morning practice, I guarantee you will feel happy you did.