Some wake early to sit in silence. To hear the birds sing and the leaves rustle as morning seeps into day. To connect with their senses and observe the subtle change in seasons, the smell of the wind and the glow of new morning light. Some wake early to drink their first cup of coffee or tea in silence. To read or to write. Or meditate. We often fail to notice the beauty in everyday when going about our daily business.
Many individuals credit their success and wellbeing to stable morning routines and rituals. Starting the day slowly, mindfully, and setting a personal intention for the day ahead gives one purpose, while fully embracing – and fulfilling – this purpose brings light on the darkest of days. An intention might have physical, mental or spiritual roots; it is much like a drawing a map of where you wish to be. A true intention should never be forced; it will appear when the mind is still, at rest or focused.
Despite our best efforts, the chatter of thinking continues to play. Sometimes very quietly, and other times less so. And even though we cannot prevent thoughts from crossing our mind, we can train our mind to stay curious and open with each passing thought. By tuning into the present state of our mind we are reminded that we can learn to simply observe thoughts without allowing them to influence our behaviour, our emotions and ultimately our deeply-rooted beliefs. If we train our body to keep it strong, why not do the same for our mind?
I wake early to practice yoga together with other ashtanga practitioners. Us early birds share a sacred space together without exchanging words, only energy. We practice together, alone. We enter the shala – our studio – at different times and perform the same sequence of asanas, or postures. Each morning is surprisingly distinctive yet familiar for both mind and body. We learn to call on discipline, awareness and acceptance through the conscious practice of breath work which serves as a meditative component for our daily practice. The morning is where I find peace while others still dream and stir in their sleep.
According to ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, the early morning hours are the most auspicious hours of the day. Developing a strong morning routine increases stability in daily life battles. It helps ease turbulence and offsets worry, anger and the rest. It steers focus and nurtures the connection we have with our true self. It brings us closer to our purpose and shapes our identity while shedding light on the vulnerabilities we all share as humans.
How do you start your morning?
Photo taken in Varanasi (Benares), India.