This is a guest post by Tara Maycock
Developing a strong morning yoga practice is a great way to ease yourself into the day. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or 60, the positive effects it will have on your mood, energy and body will make you wonder how you ever managed without it. Here are seven reasons why you should start incorporating yoga into your morning routine.
Choosing to practice in the morning will help you cultivate a positive attitude and set the tone for the rest of your day. Yoga stretches the body, calms the mind and gives you an opportunity to concentrate on a specific quality that you would like to develop. Focusing on this quality in your thoughts and actions throughout the day can help you feel more grounded in your daily routine.
Decide on the quality you want to focus on before you step on the mat. It can be anything you want to encourage or develop, such as strength, patience or gratitude. Let your mind decide what it wants. Remember this as you breathe deeply and flow through your practice.
- You feel awake and energized (without coffee)
We are all guilty of having days where we rely on tea and coffee to get us started in the morning, but imagine how great it would feel to energize yourself naturally without the help of caffeine.
Think about that morning stretch when you first wake up. Aside from feeling good, this is actually waking up your body. Stretching increases flexibility, improves circulation and releases tension, allowing you to get moving and be alert. Waking up with the morning sun has also been scientifically linked to positive emotions and will tune you in to your natural rhythm.
Some great asanas (yoga postures) to practice for vitality are sun salutations and back bends.
- You create space in the mind and body
Practicing yoga is all about creating space. Space in the chest, heart and mind. By practicing in the morning you are allowing yourself to prepare, both physically and mentally, for the day ahead.
Clearing your mind of clutter and releasing stored tension from your muscles will open yourself up to approach situations and opportunities with a fresh perspective. This will give you time to think about your emotions and actions before you react. To create space in your poses, concentrate on breathing and relaxing your face.
- You are more present in the moment
It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of focusing on what is going to happen next and what has already happened; anywhere but what’s happening now. When our days are filled with to do lists and time scales we can forget to focus on the present moment.
By cultivating a positive intention at the beginning of your day and taking the time to create space you’ll find yourself slowing down and appreciating the world around you right now. This perspective can lead to long-term happiness. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “life is a journey, not a destination.”
- You maintain focus and avoid procrastination
By getting up early and making yoga the first thing you do, you are cultivating self-discipline and achieving a goal before you’ve even begun your day or left the house.
When you clear your mind and create space you are also allowing yourself more time to focus on and sort through tasks that you may be putting off because you may find them difficult or overwhelming. You will be able to break down these tasks into smaller, more achievable steps and execute them with more clarity. If this sounds familiar and your mind starts to wander whilst trying to complete a difficult task, take a few deep breaths and repeat your intention to yourself.
- You boost your confidence and self-esteem
Taking the time to get on the yoga mat and start your day with a strong intention, exercise and self-discipline has a profound effect on your wellbeing and sense of accomplishment.
Morning yoga balances you both physically and mentally, increasing your self-esteem and making you feel stronger, happier and more comfortable in your own skin. Great confidence boosting poses you can incorporate into your routine include bridge, boat and warriors 1, 2 and 3.
Take small steps to incorporate any duration of yoga practice into your morning routine and observe how you feel for the rest of the day. Once you notice the positive change, you won’t think twice about making it part of your daily life.
Written by Tara Maycock, Vagabond Temple Staff
Tara Maycock has a degree in journalism from the University of Falmouth. She has a passion for yoga, nutrition and travelling. Originally from England, she is currently writing for Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation Retreat Centre in Cambodia.