Dawn is a special time. For those of us who wake up early enough to experience the brilliant hues of a Taos sunrise, morning yoga can add to the awakening of the mind, body and soul. As the sun rises, so does the ability of the body to capture the gentle transition from the dark to the light. In a study conducted by the Yoga Biomedical Trust in London, 94% of participants with anxiety were significantly helped by practicing yoga regularly each morning, and 82% of those with insomnia reported valuable benefits too.
Traditional yogic texts state that morning time is the best time to do yoga; the world is not busy yet and the stillness in the air is more conducive to meditation and yoga practice. I experienced this when I taught morning yoga from winter to fall last year. The streets were quiet and the ravens were squawking their morning song when I pulled into the empty Shree parking lot. I opened the studio door and stepped into the magical silence that happens when you are the only one in the studio and there are no car noises or people. When I started my class, the environment of tranquility made it easy to teach a meditative, easy flow class.
I also experienced this same morning serenity in India 12 years ago, when I was visiting for a Buddhist retreat and I woke up early, because my body was in another time zone and there was no way that I was going to sleep. I walked the streets in search of a yoga class. The streets were relatively quiet at sunrise. In India, honking horns are a way of life, along with diesel auto rickshaws that make plenty of noise, but in the morning there is a gentleness, as people arise and get ready for their day. In the town of Bohdghaya, it was difficult to find a yoga class. After talking to people who lived there, I was informed that families do yoga together in their homes in the morning to start their day and that the concept of going to a class is not something they are familiar with. That was when I realized that I needed to develop my own morning practice. Every time I do my morning practice, I feel empowered throughout the day.
Of the many reasons to take a morning yoga class, at Shree, the most important is the talented teachers that are on the morning schedule. I sat down with them recently to discuss their training, morning class style, and why it’s important to practice yoga at dawn. Meet the lovely ladies of the morning at Shree.
Monday and Wednesday mornings from 7:30 – 8:45
Training: Adi has a wide variety of training from the 200 hour Green Mountain Yoga program and Young Warriors(kid’s yoga). As well as Neurosculpting Vinyasa and Myofacial training.
What can students expect from Adi’s morning yoga class? As Adi states, her class is a “vin/yin” class. Part vinyasa(flow) and part yin (gentle restorative). “Twist and rinse,” is another way she describes her class. Flow is slow and once students are holding a pose, she tells them why. Her main concern in her practice is the health of the spine. She focuses on the foundations of yoga and shows us how to take our practice into the rest of our day. Students use a lot of props and there is myofacial work in every class.
Why is it important to practice yoga in the morning? “There are juices in our body that need shaking up in the morning. We are 75% water and we need to shake energy to expand. Focusing on breath in the morning improves the quality of our day.”
Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:30 – 8:45
Training: Willow has her 200 hour training certificate from a Baron Baptise affiliated school, which includes power, yin, and gentle yoga.
What can students expect from Willow’s morning yoga class? Meditation. Gentle awakening through energetic pathways. Vinyasa and gentle restorative. Awakening and grounding in preparation for the rest of the day.
Why is it important to practice yoga in the morning? Willow feels that morning yoga is important on both the physical and emotional levels. On the physical level there is the fact that the body is detoxing at night. Morning yoga clears the body of those toxins and gets the body ready for the day ahead. Another physical process is that the spine compresses at night. We wake up immobile. Yoga in the morning combats immobility. The key to longevity is mobility.
According to Willow, on the emotional level, we need to love ourselves enough to come to yoga first thing in the morning. “We can make a list of the people we love, but do we put ourselves on that list? The brain always goes to what is familiar, even if what’s familiar is not good for you. Love yourself enough to make the effort to come to morning yoga, even if it is a challenge. “
Fridays mornings from 7:30-8:45
Training: Kari trained in Mysore, India in the Indea yoga style and is especially excited to be taking the Wisdom Warrior training with Desiree Rambaugh in a few weeks.
What can students expect from Kari’s morning class? A sincere warm – up, allowing body to gracefully move. Class becomes playful with options for challenging poses. The movements are tied in with the theme for the day.
Why is morning yoga important? Morning yoga sets the tone for the day. “Starting the morning with yoga makes me a happier human.” Kari feels that if she can accomplish a morning yoga class, that she can accomplish anything.
These amazing teachers are waiting for you at Shree in the early morning at 7:30am. What is holding you back? The stimulation that you receive from pranayama breathing in the morning is a great alternative to caffeine. Put down the coffee and gain the oxygen that lasts throughout your entire day, as well as the feeling of strength that will obtain from a morning yoga practice!