In winter time gets very short. At least it feels that way here in New Zealand.
The day begins late with the sluggish arrival of the sun around 8am and then it quits us so early...
As I am writing, it is 4.50pm and the brightness has already dropped from the sky.
I was one of those people who would bound out of bed - bright eyed and bushy tailed - as my father would say. I spent most of my free time in primary and highschool at the ice rink - playing, practicing, and dreaming of a professional competitive figure skating career. Prime ice time for us figure skaters was early early morning. Before the hockey teams and the general public could come in and tarnish the impeccable and glassy surface of the ice. To get on the ice by 5.45, I needed to be up and out of bed by 4.30am. 4.15 if I wanted to squeeze in a light breakfast and quick shower. Bless my poor parents who drove me everyday...
Although my skating career never led to the Olympics or to any of the longevity of which I had dreamed, it forever instilled in me a love for the earliest wee hours of the morning. The secret hidden times when the stars were still twinkling, the sky shimmering its way from cobalt blue to the warmest shades of pink ... most of the living world was still sleeping except for you and the great wide secret that was life.
When I first discovered yoga, my proclivity for early morning served me well. I rose before work and stumbled my clumsy but earnest way through a two hour practice on my mat. (Yes, two hours. Did I mention what a stubborn perfectionist I am? Please read post below.) Coming to my mat, I was surrounded by darkness yet as I moved my body and my breath, it seemed as if I was dancing the world alive. The potent potential of the arriving day seemed to stretch before me unlimited and generous with its offerings.
And then, as many ardent practitioners eventually do, I began to teach ... and the longer and more full time my yoga teaching career became, the more my relationship with time and the morning began to shift. Stubborn and stuck in my ways, I fought it really really hard...
Since most of the world opts to work from 9 to 5, it only makes sense that the prime time for yoga classes is in the evening. As my teaching experience and popularity of Anusara Yoga grew, I began to offer classes every single night. As my students progressed and expanded their practice, I followed suit by adding intermediate level classes after my general beginners. You can see where this was going...Late nights, late meals, wide awake at my usual bedtime trying desperately to will myself to sleep.
The whole scheme by which I had organized my life started to crack at the seams. I no longer arose automatically just before dawn - I required the wild banshee like shrieking of an alarm clock. Annoyed and angry at the heaviness of my body and mind, I would throw myself through the motions of my practice without pausing to savour and actually enjoy myself and my breath. I would battle a low level feeling of fatigue throughout my day and in the evening when exhaustion set in, I would silently berate myself for not being "yogic" enough to sustain my energy.
I had to make a conscious decision that it was OK for my life and my relationship with time to shift. Once I made this decision and really allowed myself to accept its truth, the weight of my own expectations floated off of my shoulders and I began to approach my morning with compassion and a light heart.
I did make changes to my schedule. I no longer teach every night. I forgive myself for not awakening at 5.30am and I set my alarm for 7 but welcome my body to rise sooner if she feels so inclined. To be honest, it's not that often. I gift myself a warm shower and if time doesn't permit me a practice, I put aside my asana til early afternon and savour an earthy cup of tea and a supportive breakfast.
With this routine I have become happy and comfortable. So why am I writing about it? Because now that I've gone through the rabbit hole and embraced the opposite of my preference, I feel that I am ready to make a shift back, just slightly.
I would like to get back to rising a bit earlier, savouring my secret time, and move into my day feeling unhurried, unrushed, and unfettered. It will be the perfect time to do more writing, to get back on the meditation horse (recently thrown off my rhythym of a two year solid seated practice by travel and sickness!), and perhaps even indulge in a few juicy pre-dawn stretches
I will be patient. I will be realistic. I will be kind. But I will also start making more of my mornings again.
With no classes and no real obligations, weekends are often good practice. So tomorrow ... hmmm... visualizing an early morning walk, a sweet soulful meditation, a bowl of warm porridge (quinoa or oats ... I haven't decided) and time for writing. From there I'll relinquish all expectation and let the day unfold itself, with all its surprises, to me. I'll be ready!