Morning Yoga: Rise, Shine, and Downward Dog

Waking up, getting out of bed is hard. I am a morning person and I still think it is hard. Getting out of bed to be active is even harder; especially when sleeping is a more appealing thought. But when you get to class, roll out your mat, there is nothing more empowering than realizing that the only reason you are there is because of your own sheer will. Nobody made you get there; nobody forced you there. You fought every ounce of you that wanted to roll over and sleep. There are many reasons you may miss an afternoon class: you have too much work, you are meeting up with friends, or maybe your kidsneed to be taken somewhere. In the morning, often the only thing stopping you is your own mental inertia. What an empowering feeling to know you fought the one thing preventing you from being there: your own mind. And isn’t that what yoga is about? Freeing ourselves from our own habits and mental preoccupations?

In the afternoon when people come onto their mat, they often need to unwind and release the day. Sometimes their time on the mat is the first chance of stillness from jumping out of bed and rushing to work to the endless demands of the day. In the morning, the path is calmer. You start from a place of within, of slumber, and unfold into the external world.

With your breath patterns you begin to move your body at a tempo in line with your own natural rhythms. As you breathe and move into the poses, you improve circulation, stimulate the mind, and in The Key Muscles of Yoga, Ray Long states “performing dynamic stretching in the morning ‘resets’ the resting muscle length for the day.” On both a physical and mental level you create an intention and cohesiveness that can last throughout the day.

When you do get there, when you do make it first thing in the morning, your resolve and strength has been tested and your will won. When you already beat your mind at the first battle of your day, how can the rest not get easier?


Long, Ray. The Key Muscles of Yoga. Volume 1. 3rd ed. Canada: Bandha Yoga Publications, 2006.