I love the idea of morning meditation — calmly sitting in a quiet corner of my apartment with my eyes closed, focusing on each individual inhale and exhale as it comes.
Unfortunately, I have yet to fall in love with actually practicing meditation in the morning. I typically sit for a few minutes with my eyes closed, fidget, talk myself out of checking my phone, and give in to my anxious energy.
To top it all off, I have a really hard time sitting still in the morning — hence why I clean the living room or start a load of laundry while drinking my coffee.
Nearly every morning for the past three weeks, I've been waking up right after sunrise to spend 20-30 minutes on my yoga mat — sometimes I'll even head up to my building's rooftop for a breezy outdoor practice.
I fight myself through the introductory minutes of class, resisting the urge to call it quits and jump around with a HIIT workout instead.
By the time my instructor calls for Sun Salutations — roughly three minutes into class — my anxiousness subsides and my focus is set on my deep, meaningful breaths.
I'm by no means a seasoned yogi, but instead of getting down on myself about the advanced poses I can't do, I try to take my instructor's words to heart — accepting and being thankful for where I'm at in my journey on my mat.
My initial intention for this experience was to connect with the present, start the day with positivity, and address my emotions while getting in a great workout at the same time, and I'm happy to say I accomplished that.
Unintentionally, though, morning yoga helped me concentrate on a physical goal I've been neglecting for some time — stretching and caring for my joints through gentle strength training. I didn't realize a simple Downward Dog could do so much for loosening up stiffness in my body.
One day, I hope to be able to sit peacefully on a meditation cushion and stretch without a prompt, but for now, my yoga mat is fitting the bill.