September 30, 2017

Over the years I have found the early rising habit very useful in  my life. In my school and university days, I used the hours before dawn to study, usually from 5am to 6am. When I started practicing yoga and meditation in my early 20’s, this time was utilised for my practices. And over the last 5 years, I have continued to use these hours for writing, exercise or meditation and yoga. Additionally after the arrival of children, I found that this was a time when everyone else was asleep. It was undivided, uninterrupted “my time”. Till this day, even when on holidays, early rising happens like clockwork. I love it and its my favourite time of the day.

Here are some of the things I noticed that enabled me to keep up the habit:

Sleep early: there is no point waking early if it means that you are going to bed late and ending up sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation is being increasingly associated with poor health. You need to get “your” required number of hours to wake feeling refreshed. For me, thats generally 7 hours.

Sleep deeply: sleep is a time of rest and recovery. The better your sleep quality, the more likely you will wake feeling refreshed. Additionally, I noticed when I was in a regular 60-90 minute practice of yoga and meditation daily, my sleep requirements would diminish to 5-6 hours. Drop the worrying habit. Excessive mental activity is very depleting. Drop worry, sleep deeply, and  wake early.

Eat early: an early, light dinner, with a short after dinner stroll improved the quality of my sleep. Early meant at least a  3 hour gap between dinner and sleep. A heavy, late meal, and sleeping on a full stomach, seemed to effect the sleep quality and made waking early more difficult.

Purpose: there is no point waking early if you have no purpose to it, even if the intention is simply to go for a walk, read the paper, or have a quiet coffee or tea. I always felt better for accomplishing a task before the world had started stirring.

The Collective Sway: the yogic perspective of life has a different focus to normal worldly pursuits. The focus is more inward and internally expansive, rather than outward and externally goal driven. It became apparent to me that setting a routine that was less aligned with the “collective” society, and more in synch with the cycles of nature, allowed the inner work happen more easily.

These are some of my observations. You have to see what works for you. You might prefer to sleep in!!!

In Health and Wellness

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