Are You A Morning Yogi?
Traditional yogic texts mention that the hours between 4 -6am as the best time to practice yoga and meditation. Don’t worry – I’m not asking you to set your alarm for 3:30! That would be unreasonable; however, I do want to share with you some reasons why I believe a consistent morning yoga practice can improve your overall well-being and attitude. A wise woman once said that morning yoga can even make you happier! (that wise might woman be me)
Intention setting: At the beginning of yoga class, we are often asked to set an intention for our practice. This is a very important aspect to your practice because it brings an element of “working towards” something, as opposed to it just being a physical practice. When we start the day with an early morning yoga class, we are given the opportunity to “work towards” that intention for the rest of the day. Wake up and set a positive tone. Many of us leave class and head straight to work, so why not start your day with that intention in mind?
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations): Ever wonder where the term “sun salutations” came from? Traditionally, these were performed when the sun rose in the early hours of the day. Practitioners greeted the sun and the gift of a new day. I feel extremely blessed to arrive at the Hudson Yoga Project (although usually before the sun) and guide students through class as the sun is rising. It feels very sacred and sets a calm, peaceful environment. Moving your body in a way that feels natural can improve your overall flexibility and mobility during the day. Many of us sit at a desk all day, so anything to alleviate the tightness that comes along with that is an added bonus!
Relaxation for the nervous system: It can feel stressful to jump out of bed and be forced to rush out the door in the morning. If our nervous system starts the day stressed, it then continues that way throughout the day. For me personally, the times I leave my apartment in a frenzied manner, I find that the day just feels a little “off.” By committing to an early morning yoga class, our bodies are guided through gentle movements, slowly awakening the body, and teaching our nervous system that it is okay to move slower. Living in an urban environment, just minutes from New York City, our lives are already fast-paced and quick-moving, so taking the time in the morning to slow things down a bit can improve your overall stress level.
Smaller group/personal attention: As much as I want to see an entire room filled with smiling yogis at 6:30 am, the morning classes are generally smaller, with anywhere from 7-15 students. All 6:30 am classes are Open Level and I encourage those that are new to yoga to join the morning “crew.” The HYP will always be a judgement-free zone; however, with less students in the room, you are given the freedom to explore your practice, maybe work on something you haven’t tried before, ask your teacher any questions or concerns you may have and benefit from a deeper one-on-one experience. Plus, you will make some friends in the process!
Commit to do something for yourself: Many of us wear different hats in life: mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, counselor, boss, friend, etc. We all have busy lives and sometimes it is hard to find time for ourselves. By committing to an early morning yoga class, I can guarantee you that those 60 minutes are yours and yours alone. You set your intention, find your breath, loosen the areas of your body (and mind) that feel tight, and practice asana without any judgement.
I invite you to take an early morning yoga class (6:30 Monday through Friday at The Hudson Yoga Project) and see for yourself. Maybe you will enjoy the feeling of having accomplished something so early in the morning and your body will feel so good throughout the day that you will commit to a morning practice!
You can find Shannon at The Hudson Yoga Project on Thursday mornings at 6:30 am. For more about Shannon, visit www.dwellinyoga.com and on Instagram @shannycakes.
Shannon’s love of yoga began over a decade ago in Hoboken, New Jersey. Working full-time in finance during the day, her yoga practice allows her to relieve stress, quiet the mind, and find space within her body and heart. She provides her students with an invigorating class and also a space to find stillness. Shannon spends a lot of time and attention to crafting the perfect playlist for each class aiming to create a welcoming space for her students to practice.
Shannon completed her 200-hour certification for Yoga Alliance© through the Bright Spirit Teacher Training program at Devotion Yoga LLC©. She is also Stand Up Paddle (“SUP”) Yoga trained through Bliss Paddle Yoga©. In the summer, she brings her yoga to the water teaching SUP classes at the Jersey Shore. Shannon is grateful for the opportunity to educate others and to share her love of yoga. She feels privileged to teach what she enjoys most and seeks to remain a perpetual student.