The alarm goes off at 5:45am.
Option A - The intention you set last night to go to yoga in the morning becomes a distant memory and you roll over and hit the snooze button… telling yourself you will go in the afternoon – even though you know you have a dinner with friends.
This is a moment of truth. A moment where you demonstrate whether you are a man/woman of your word. A man/woman dedicated to improving your full self.
Option B - you drag your sorry ar*e out of bed and get on the mat.
Why would you do this?
1) Yoga is a natural stimulant – The deep breathing, the poses send fresh oxygen everywhere to wake up your brain and body. If you master the deep breathing the extra energy will last you all day. In a morning class we tend to do more back bends (and stronger ones) which give your adrenal glands a little squeeze and help pep you up even more. Energise your day just by practicing in the morning.
2) Detox and elimination – Yoga breathing (especially when you are upside down) gets rid of the stagnant air (and toxins) sitting at the bottom of your lungs. The poses wring your organs out flushing the toxins out. This sets your body up to absorb all the nutrients for the rest of the day and function a lot more effectively.
3) You will be more calm and clear all day - the breathing, the oxygen, the poses – that yoga high you leave class on will set the tone for the rest of the day. You will be able to take a calm level head and emotional state with you throughout the day. Watch yourself be less reactive, less emotional and share the yoga bliss.
4) Mental clarity – research shows that yoga increases mental sharpness. It lasts 4-10 hours after your class. Take that with you to work and notice how much more efficient you are. Additionally yoga practice is usually a lot more centred. You haven’t had a day full of chaos that you take onto the mat, so instead the practice becomes more about you, and rewards go a lot further, sometimes into a meditative zone.
5) You will look younger – The stretching in yoga, and especially the hanging upside down makes your body, and your face tighter and lighter. It raises the serotonin levels, endorphins and feel good hormones. Your skin will literally be glowing.
6) Stimulates your metabolism - yoga regulates your metabolism. Doing it
first thing in the morning jump starts it up even more - keeping it elevated for
hours, maybe all day. What this means is your burn more calories all day long
just because you practiced in the morning. The class will also improve your
digestion & absorption of nutrients.
7) Morning exercise can also help regulate your appetite. You have an increased metabolism however you won’t be as hungry. Additionally many people find that they make better food choices as the morning practice puts them in a healthy head space.
8) HABIT! Build the habit and start to jump out of bed! It will be painful at the start but it wont take long to change your habit! Apparently 90% of people who regularly exercise (read more than 4 times a week) exercise in the morning. Your body starts to acclimatise and before long it will be easy to wake up – as your body will be preparing each day to exercise first thing.
9) No more excuses!!!! By 7:15am you have already done yoga for the day! All day you don’t need to worry about finding another excuse to avoid going in the afternoon. Or worry that something might get in the way of your class. This will improve your relationships, social lives, and most importantly the time you have to do other things for yourself. You are a lot more productive with the rest of your
Tips for breaking into the morning habit...
Some tips for breaking into a Morning practice habit.
1) Drop expectations. Morning practices are tough, the body is more stiff, but there are loads more benefits which make it worthwhile!!! The most noticeable is the stillness of your mind!
2) Prepare for your own excuses. If you know you are a habitual snooze button
advocate – place your alarm somewhere where you HAVE to get out of bed to
turn it off. Jump straight in the shower.
3) Make a date – Get a yoga buddy that you go to class with. Have a commitment to someone else is a great way to ensure that you can’t make excuses (And weekends are prefect for catching up for breakkie or a coffee post class). For some reason we don’t mind letting ourselves down, or breaking our own word/intention to ourselves… so if promising someone else helps you… do it.
4) Prepare!!!! Get your clothes ready (I sometimes even sleep in mine ), pack your lunch the night before, get your work clothes ready and everything in a bag so you just need to roll out of bed and go! All these things become distractions and potential excuses
5) The practice starts the night before and continues – make sure you go to bed hydrated. Eat a healthy meal. Start the morning with a warm lemon water. Watch what your body needs. Some people need a little food in their belly for a
morning practice – maybe try a fresh juice, half a green smoothie, or a banana.
6) Tell the world – Tell everyone you know that you are starting a morning
yoga challenge. Again sharing our intentions and goals with others tends to
make us keep our word more.
Written by Korinne McNeill.
Often the first question I am asked by new students is ‘Why do people do yoga?’
Where to begin?
There are the obvious reasons - people come to yoga to loose weight, to tone up, to increase their fitness, flexibility, to destress - pretty much the normal reasons people come to any form of 'exercise'.
BUT Yoga is not JUST exercise although it offers all the same (plus so many many more) benefits. It is not about perfecting your body. It is not about what your body looks like in a pose, or obsessing about a particular pose. Yoga is not a competition with yourself, the person on the mat next to you or the teacher.
"Yoga is not about touching your toes, it's about what you learn on the way down."
Yoga translates to mean ‘union.’ Union between your mind, body,
breath and soul. It is about improving – your mind, body, breath and soul. It is
about knowing yourself. Accepting yourself as you are RIGHT NOW.
Yoga Asana , the physical poses of yoga, was developed thousands of years ago by Indians in an effort to make their bodies healthier, to enable them to sit for longer periods of time in meditation. Although today we are not sitting in meditation for hours on end, most of us do find ourselves sitting for hours on end which is where yoga asana is so useful.
The poses, the sequences, the breath, the whole class is designed in a way to work your entire body. Unlike modern day exercise this does NOT limit itself to your major muscle groups. Instead yoga works your largest muscles, smaller muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, organs, joints – the WHOLE ENTIRE body. The idea is that it moves the body in different directions to increase mobility and healthy function. Similarly each pose is designed to compress different organs so that when the pose is released you flush it out with fresh blood. What does this mean? It means that yoga asana is simply designed to maximize the OVERALL health of your ENTIRE body. It builds strength in your muscle, improves your posture, decreases pain (back, hip, headaches - you name it!) increases core strength, increases flexibility, helps your organs function more efficiently – it balances you whilst leaving you toned and fit. WINNING!!!
When you combine this with Breath awareness you will start to take the practice of Yoga to a new level. One definition of yoga is ‘ the cessations of the fluctuations of the mind’. In the land of yoga it is believed that there is an intrinsic link between the breath and the mind. If you can control your breath, you can control your mind. Thus when a student starts to focus intently on their breath and their body, the mind’s white noise stops - and yoga is achieved. The benefit of this is that you will find yoga starts to balance your emotions, your thoughts, your stress, anxiety and depression. You will leave class feeling refreshed and relaxed, no matter if you have done a hard core Hot Power Yoga, or a Relax class.
All this said ultimately Yoga can and will be what you want it to be. You only ever take the practice, the poses as deep/strong as your body needs at that given moment. And the breath as always comes first!!!
So if you are unsure if yoga is for you. Be sure that it is. It is about you so how can it not be for you? There are so many different styles and teachers available everywhere that there is a class that is perfect for where you are right now.
And if you practice yoga already - next time you are on the mat obsessing about the fact that you can’t touch your toes, but the new guy next to you can get his toes to his head…
just observe yourself, your thoughts, and remind yourself this is your journey,
and your journey only. What can you learn right now???
If you are curious about the stupidly long list of the benefits yoga creates… check out http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogabenefits.asp
Written By Korinne McNeill - Green Room Yoga & Wellness Creator
KORINNE McNEILL: Yoga is life for Korinne. Creator of the Green Room Korinne is grateful everyday that she gets to share her passion with others.