Up and at ‘em
The sunrise in Brooklyn is at 7:12 AM this morning. We’ll push the clocks back in a couple of weeks, but those of us with busy morning routines will still be waking up in the dark. From my own experience it is really hard to get up and out of a warm bed when the only light is the pink glow from the streetlights outside and even the cat is rousing slowly.
Harder still if one is hauling out of bed to hit the pavement on the way to the gym. On those kinds of mornings, motivation can be low and one’s spirits even lower, especially if it’s cold or rainy or if the time has slipped a bit. In my case, the morning gym has fallen by the wayside in favor of late afternoons (when I get there) – but I find that a few sun salutations help get the day started without wrecking havoc with my schedule.
My first encounter with Yoga was during a ten-day Buddhism retreat in Thailand of all places at a venerable old Temple called Wat Suan Mokkh. Mornings there began at 4:00 A.M. with all of us beginning our first morning meditation thirty minutes later. By 6:00 we were old hands at wrestling with our monkey minds and for those who wanted to, the option to tackle our stiff morning bodies.
Our instructor, a fellow meditation student had found a lovely spot on a slight rise and arrayed out across the grass, we put down towels and began our morning sun salutation routine as the faint ribbon of light began to peak up on the horizon.
By the time we’d finished an hour later, our sleepy bodies were quite refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for our next hour of meditation before making our way to a Spartan breakfast and the meditation schedule that picked up again later in the morning.
City dwellers do not necessarily have such an ideal environment to greet the morning with. Usually it’s a gym, the living room or at best a park, but it doesn’t mean it’s not possible to take a few moments to give the day it’s due before bounding up and out the door to the myriad of activities that are crammed into a busy day. Even two “rounds” of sun salutations can help clear the body and the mind and make the morning routine that much easier to cope with. Lately my daughter and I have attempted to unfurl our bodies with at least one. It hasn’t guaranteed us more pep in the morning, but does seem to pave the way.