It is Still Dark at 5:30 a.m.
This morning, I woke up at 5:30 am. Again. Not on purpose.
Lately, I have been waking up really early. I wish I could write that I always feel EXCITED!!!!! to face every day and my new adventures. Instead, some days, the longer I lie in bed kidding myself that I will fall back asleep if I can just relax and breathe, the louder the voices get telling me about all of things I SHOULD do, HAVEN’T done, and NEED to do in order to be “good” and “successful”, and to gain others’ “approval”. (This is sometimes called “should-ing on oneself”. Get it?)
Once in a while I get a flash of inspiration or a reminder from somewhere deep in the depths of my memory about a task that needs completing – those I am grateful for. The rest? Not so much. They are very old thoughts – firmly entrenched patterns – and rooted in fear. Sometimes, it takes a great amount of will and discipline (and time) to pull myself out of the vortex of thoughts and shift into a positive action and state of mind. This is tough. I used to be able to sleep in and enjoyed it. It is a rare occurrence now.
So today I did what I have been doing for the last few weeks. I grabbed my yoga clothes, closed the bedroom doors, and gently padded downstairs. I took care of a couple of emails my inner boss was prodding me to send so I could clear my conscience, and then I did yoga in my living room.
In December, I came upon a website (www.fightmasteryoga.com) and related YouTube channel filled with free yoga classes, and have been following a 90-day “Yoga Fix” program – the goal of which is to help people establish a healthy routine. Classes run 30-40 minutes and vary greatly in pace and focus (today’s had me sweating, whereas a class earlier this week was focused on breathing and releasing tension). Each class begins with setting an intention, and ends with hearing an inspirational reading or quote during Savasana (the final, fully relaxed pose of every yoga class). I have noticed so many positive changes since I started this routine – overall I feel calmer, more grounded, stronger, and less stiff and sore. I have been attending yoga classes for about 15 years but have never before maintained a regular at-home practice. I prefer having instruction to keep me focused and honest, and to allow for variety. Thank goodness for YouTube and screen mirroring technology on my phone and TV!
For me this practice is as much about breaking bad habits (i.e. getting caught up in unhelpful and painful thought patterns – not the best way to start the day) as much as it is about starting and maintaining good ones (I know no one who would argue against maintaining regular movement and mindful practices). Motivating myself to get out of bed more quickly when I wake up early helps me achieve both. And I sometimes get a flurry of tasks done before the rest of the house wakes up, too.
I am grateful for this time in my life. I have the time and flexibility to move a little (or a lot) more slowly when required, be more mindful, consider what no longer serves me, let it go, and pursue new behaviours that do.
I am right where I need to be – even at 5:30 am!