Body Meditation Mind Yoga

My journey to becoming an early riser. Or: New Habits – Part II

Do you know that moment, when you are in the middle of creating a new habit and suddenly you realize it’s going to entail a whole slew of changes? It can be the “F*ck it, this is too much, I quit”- moment or the “Yes! Change is good!”-moment. 

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It’s all connected

It’s really hard to pick one aspect of your life and change it, as if it was totally isolated – be that diet, sleep, you name it.  So when I committed to my daily morning meditation, I was faced with my sleeping habits, which weren’t exactly ideal for getting up early. Let me tell you little bit about sleep and me:

A desperate lovestory

I love sleep. One of my favorite feelings is to nestle down in my bed with fresh sheets after I’ve had a lovely bath and then allowing myself to drift off into a sweet rest. When I was in school I had to get up at 6:30 am each day and I hated it. I hated that I had to. I loved the weekends, I loved sleeping in, it felt like the best thing ever. I just wanted to stay in bed as long as I could. It even felt a little like rebellion. Rebellion against the stupid school system, since I’ve asked myself over and over again: Why do they send us kids to school in the morning when obviously almost everybody is still tired, grumpy and not in a yay-let’s-study-mood? I liked school, mostly, but I was more productive later on in the day. My observation should be confirmed years later with scientific studies.

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So when I started going to university I had barely any classes in the morning, some around noon and most of them in the afternoons and evenings – my inner 15-year-old-me would jubilantly whisper a big “YES!” to this every time when I just slept every day as long as I could, enjoying the sweet knowledge that sleeping in and studying are a good match for me.

The times are a-changin’

After my first uni year, yoga and zen-mediation came in to my life. I signed up for these weekly classes through the university sports institute, voluntarily. My zen-mediation class would start at 7:00 am, which meant getting up at 5:30 for me.  After one semester of this class I realized that staring at a wall-barred gym wall for 30 minutes while forcing my eyelids to stay open just wasn’t my thing.

I did love my afternoon yoga class though and the mediation with closed eyes after the asana practice. I really felt like I had found “my thing”. The feeling after yoga class was something unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Like a certain lightness, as if the practiced turned on my inner sunshine, which was usually hidden behind the clouds of daily life.

A year of taking 1 to 2 yoga classes a week regularly passed and I started my own home practice in addition. I experimented with different times of the day. Since every one of my weekdays really differed I realized the only way I could commit to a persistent daily practice was to do it right away first thing in the morning. The room in my shared-flat was 15 m2 big and I had exactly 2 m2 where I could roll out my yoga mat to practice. So there were no fancy off-the-mat variations or transitions and sometimes I felt a little constricted since I could hardly sweep up my straight arms in Surya Namaskara without hitting a wall, a drawer or my wardrobe.

Hello self-discipline, nice to meet you!

After around half a year of doing this, my inner-15-year-old-me suddenly showed up and asked me appalled: “What are you doing here?! You are getting up early by choice? Why? What is wrong with you?!” and I realized, that my days and my overall well-being was simply better since I started my morning practice. Though early in this case still usually meant getting up around 8:00 or 9:00 am. Which should have satisfied my sleep-deprived inner 15-year-old, but I guess you just can’t argue on a rational basis with moody teenagers.

I still took my classes with my favorite yoga teacher, cultivating mildly adoration for her and her radiance, when one day she said she was also offering active meditation classes. My first thought was: “I am so going to take those classes!”, before knowing that they started at 7:00 am, on Mondays. It took me a huge effort to go there and sometimes the gravity of my bed was too strong. But the feeling afterwards was so rewarding, that I kept going there more and more consistently.

Until I wasn’t a student anymore, and my self-discipline was challenged to keep a morning meditation practice.

Read more on the most recent part of this journey in my next post and my top tips for establishing a new habit!

Thank you for reading <3

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