I understand, sometimes the thought of an early morning yoga practice may feel daunting and unappealing, especially for the non-morning folks. However, early morning yoga may be one of the best things you can do for your health!
Hear me out. By incorporating early morning yoga into your routine, you invite a grounding force into your body, mind, and soul right at the beginning of the day, which establishes a foundation for how the rest of your day may play out. Furthermore, starting your day with yoga may help boost your mood, rid your head of that morning brain fog, increase your focus, and stimulate your digestion for optimal health. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits, check out The Body, Mind, and Spirit Benefits of Morning Yoga.
So, how do you start an early morning yoga practice? With a plan! Below are some recommendations for breathwork, meditation, and yoga asana. By consciously weaving together these different yoga elements, you’ll be able to connect inward and reap the benefits of the practice optimally, thus energizing yourself for the day ahead!
Start With An Intention
The best way to start your early morning yoga practice is with an intention. An intention will allow you to focus on something first thing in the day, and when we call attention to something, it will enable the noise and distraction to fizzle away. Establish what you’d like to bring into the day. It can be general, such as loving-kindness towards everyone or to feel good within yourself, or you can focus on more specific goals, such as generating courage in your voice for a tough conversation. Whatever you’d like to focus on throughout your day, or even just your yoga practice, call attention to it now and speak it out loud to declare it to the universe.
You may try these affirmations as you intention:
- I am love and clarity.
- My day will be balanced and peaceful.
- I intend to move through my day with grace.
- I am full of energy.
- Loving-kindness radiates from me.
- I am grounded and connected.
Breathwork, or pranayama, is considered an essential part of one’s yoga practice and is a powerful way to start your early morning yoga practice. One of the most energizing pranayama exercises is Kapalabhati, which is high-frequency yoga breathing. This breathing technique increases oxygen and prana flow to enhance cognitive functioning and sharpen focus. Kapalabhati is also linked to stress reduction.
Kapalabhati Method of Practice: Sit with your back and neck erect. Inhale through both nostrils and exhale rapidly by flapping the abdomen during each exhalation at a pace of 60-120 breaths/minute.
To learn more, check out the Pranayama Benefits and Why You Should Practice Everyday.
Meditate for Peace
Meditation first thing in the morning can be one of the biggest acts of self-love. Practicing daily meditation in the morning allows you to ground within your energy before giving your power out to the rest of the world. Thus, meditation leads to a stronger sense of self and wellbeing.
Sometimes we have tendencies to get caught up in the dramas of everyday life. Whether it’s feeling frustrated at the barista who wrote down our order wrong, or becoming angry after missing the bus by 20 seconds, sometimes we can forget the real purpose in our days. By becoming aware of our thoughts and observing them first thing in the morning, we prevent ourselves from getting caught up in analyzing the past or planning the future, and instead, are able to tap into a state of peace. The cultivation of this peace can help us retain our energy throughout the day so that we can live a vibrant life!
Discover the Different Types of Meditation to see which practice fits your early morning yoga routine best.
Roll Out Your Mat
Movement completes this early morning yoga routine by getting rid of the fuzz, brain fog, and stagnation built up in the body while sleeping. Moving your body involves cellular movement and, therefore, oxygenation. Your body reinvigorates when your cells refresh oxygen levels. So by practicing yoga asana in the morning, you’re further inviting fresh oxygen into your cells and energizing your whole being!
Traditionally, Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) is performed at sunrise to salute the sun and new day. This traditional practice syncs us with the rhythms of Nature, and thus by practicing when the sun rises, we also tap into our natural rhythm. Aligning with the natural rhythms of the day is an Ayurvedic practice to find balance. To sync your early morning yoga practice with your dosha and the Ayurvedic clock, discover when the best time is to do yoga in the morning.
Your morning practice can be a few Sun Salutations or a more extended sequence. No matter the type of yoga asana you bring into your morning routine, you’ll feel fresher, lighter, and more awake! Below is a short sequence of poses that can be done as individual poses or a series to energize your body, mind, and soul.
- Sun Salutation A (3-5 rounds)
- Cat / cow
- Eagle (right and left side)
- Downward dog
- Warrior 1
- Warrior 2
- Bridge pose
Replenish with Tea
Nothing does the body better than an intentional replenish of rejuvenating nutrients after an early morning yoga practice. After cultivating vigor and energy through your intention, breathwork, meditation, and yoga asana, nourish the body further with a rasayana such as Chyawanprash.
Chyawanprash is an ancient Ayurvedic breakfast recipe filled with a nutritional powerhouse of ingredients. It is the ideal boost to cleanse and rejuvenate your system. It also helps elevate your meditation and yoga practice. Take 1-2 tsp of PIOR Living Chyawanprash each morning before yoga to boost your mood, enhance your circulatory and respiratory system, regulate your digestion, stimulate immunity, and sharpen focus and clarity.
Clare Michalik, Ayurvedic Practitioner