the yoga life
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Fake It Till You Make It: Becoming a Morning Person

Full confession: I despise, hate and otherwise abhor waking up early. It’s not my thing, and I blame the fact that I’ve worked night shift for years as an ICU nurse and also my persistent childhood habit of refusing to go to bed due to my intense fear of missing out. I’m still convinced that the moment I go to bed, the world gets so much more interesting and everyone is having fun but me. No one can really disprove this belief, so it reigns on. In addition, the second my head hits the pillow, I suddenly become responsible and instantly remember about 50 tasks that I need to do. I’m sure you’ve heard some of the conventional “here’s how to wake up like a normal working adult” so I’m sharing a few of my personal tips that I like to call:

“Wake Up & Get Yo’Self Outta Bed NOW!”

1. Get to bed early like your mom used to try to make you do:

Seriously. No one wants to even broach the prospect of opening one’s eyes when they haven’t gotten enough sleep and feel like their hit by a truck. Make a routine out of going to bed at a certain time, and try not to fluctuate more than a half hour. This is the only thing that ever solidly locks in a successful morning routine for me.

2. Make an effort to have a clean kitchen before bed. You probably weren’t expecting that little housekeeping gem, but I’m here to tell you it will do wonders for your headspace and a freed up mind rests easier. It also creates a great start to the day. You can wake up feeling fresh as a daisy and you don’t have to start the day cleaning..or ignoring dishes.

3. Read a bedtime story. As in anything not backlit. It works for kids, right? Or, listen to an audio book. That completely lulls me to slumber land. Sometimes I use a sleep meditation app, which is basically some stranger telling me to go to sleep in a comforting Scottish accent. The Scottish bit makes it magical…que Outlander and bring on Jamie! Listening to other people talking  keeps your brain from thinking to much.

4.  Light candles or incense before sleep (extinguish before you get in bed of course) or use essential oils so your senses are soothed to slumber land by way of vanilla or lavender. It just makes bedtime feel so spa like. I sleep like a baby in spas. Speaking of, play really relaxing music before bed. Get those senses to unwind. We forget we have to shut down all 5 senses to get our best sleep, so why not nicely put them to bed as well as ourselves? 

5. Set up everything for the next day. I prep for my green smoothie, set out yoga gear, and get my lemon and glass ready to go for AM roll call. Maybe this is being efficient, but it mostly let’s me be as lazy as possible in the morning.

Fake It till You Make It: Roll Call

It’s a brave new world, and you’ve decided you want to be like all good yogis and wake up with the sun. Why did no one tells us it was going to be so hard? I personally liken waking up before 10am to a feat rather like resurrecting from the dead.  here’s what helps me get out of bed and into my Mysore routine:

1. Getting out of bed is the challenge. I motivate myself with pleasant little motivations and rewards. Motivation: thou shalt get out of this bed! Followed by a simple reward: remembering I’ll get to drink my cup of organic coffee while I peruse my Zyte app (it collects articles from the Internet on topics I like, such as yoga, astronomy, and the like. Why my brain can handle scientific journals and facts about astrophysics at 5am but rejects conversation is beyond me.) My point is, make getting out of bed somehow enjoyable. It shouldn’t be too much of a chore all the time.

2. Start with a large glass of lemon water. Please do! It will flush out and detox your system, plus lemon has a crazy amount of vitamin C.  We’re usually dehydrated, and the brain translates this as exhaustion and/or hunger. Some people love hot lemon water with honey, but this personally makes me gag (IT’S SO GROSS), so I do cool (not cold as that slows digestion) water and stevia with fresh squeezed lemons. And fresh lemons is the key…that’s where the nutrients are. I also mash fresh mint leaves and ginger root that I grow. It makes me feel so green goddess-y to use my own plants.

3. Eat coconut oil, and skip the heavy breakfast. Coconut oil is an amazing way for the body to run on powerful fuel and stave off hunger. Our brain runs on healthy fats, and our body can convert those good fats to energy like a hybrid car runs for a million miles on gas. A big breakfast is of course a no-no before yoga, but the reason should be applied across the board. Heavy foods like proteins really demand a great dea of the body’s energy to digest. That’s why you get a mid-morning slump and think you hate life. You don’t. Well…maybe not much anyway. If you’re like me, we’ll both be in love with the world around 10:30am, so just hang in there.

4. Go green, real green: drink that smoothie, juice that juice. Food should be fuel, and only living, raw veggies food provide the best source of energy and nutrients. For me, I get more energy and feel more alert when I drink a green smoothie than I do when I drink caffeinated coffee. Try it for one week, and I promise me it will rock your world.

5. Do a few deep stretches: I’m not talking about dropping into full splits or anything, but your body and muscles are probably feeling really stiff and objecting to any movement at all. When you loosen up your joints and muscles a bit, you’ll feel so much happier hitting up your morning yoga class when you don’t spend the first 5-10 minutes getting life back in your body.

So any particular morning tips or tricks that work for you? Pass them on! And one last word of advice: those morning people who bound out of bed, chirp happily at you, and would looooooove a full conversation before noon, well, just try really hard to not trip them when they prance by you in all their morning glory. Much love!

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