I teach yoga at 6a.m. on Tuesdays & Thursdays. The class is called Wake The Heck Up, because that is what I have to tell myself every Tuesday & Thursday morning. I don’t often wake up feeling refreshed or well-rested, honestly. I am not that morning person who is singing with sparkling eyes, eager for the day ahead. I am eager for coffee and toast with peanut butter. I am a morning person, by force of habit. I wake up early almost every day regardless of teaching a class. It doesn’t necessarily feel great to wake up early. But, I know that sleeping in, rushing through breakfast, and getting ready will mean that I have no O P E N space in my day. I will start the day cramped in and claustrophobic by the things to do, see, and respond to; all the conversations in my head and with others. And that makes me feel like everyone and everything steals the day away from me and I resent it. I wake up early as a precautionary measure. I don’t want to be a jerk. I don’t want to be perpetually critical and sarcastic. I don’t like how I feel when I resent everyone for stealing my joy. And that is how it seems to me, when I don’t have time to myself in the morning.
You might say, well how about 2p.m. or another more reasonable time. If that works for you, then do it. It won’t work for me. There is already way too much going on in my head by then. Also, that’s the appropriate time to be social and I don’t want my time to be social. And I would surely ruin it with texting, laundry, responding to email. At the crack of dawn there is really nothing else to do but shut up and listen. Stare out the window. Talk with myself. Shake the Etch-A-Sketch in my sleepy, foggy brain and let it stay blank for a while. Oh, that sounds so delicious right now.
And maybe you go for a walk or a run. Or maybe you do yoga at home, with me, or somewhere else. Or not.
Here’s a quote from the book Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a book I can’t recommend enough. Just go buy it. This is what pulls me out of my warm bed. Now you know.
When we are mindful of our breathing, it helps us to calm the body and the mind. Then we are able to be aware of our thoughts and feelings with a greater degree of calmness and with a more discerning eye. We are able to see things more clearly and a larger perspective, all because we are a little more awake, a little more aware.
And with this feeling comes a feeling of having a little more room to move, of having more options, of being free to choose effective and appropriate responses in stressful situations rather than losing our equilibrium and sense of self as a result of feeling overwhelmed; thrown off balance by our own knee-jerk reactions.
peace on your head, you.