A Blog Entry from Costa Rica
I've been on a yoga retreat for week here in Costa Rica at the beautiful Blue Osa Yoga Sanctuary & Spa. Every morning begins with a 5am Ashtanga Yoga Practice to greet the morning sun. The practice reminded me of having a morning ritual or routine to start the day. What is your morning routine? Do you have one?
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock several times and finally getting up at the very last minute? Then do you find yourself rushing to get out the door after throwing on some clothes, slapping some toothpaste across your teeth, gulping down a cup of coffee, and cursing every stop light as you travel to work knowing you are already going to be a few minutes late? If you start your day like this, what is the rest of the day like for you?
Starting the day like this sounds like the 50 Yard Olympic Sprinter: braced and ready at the starting line, the gun sounds, and you're off and running. A mad dash at full speed without stopping, everything a blur on either side of you, until you cross the finish line. At the end, you're out of breath. Yes, you may have reached your goal, but at what cost? You may have missed seeing your surroundings and you didn't get to spend quality time with others. You only had one thing in mind: get to the end no matter what. It takes some time to calm the body after that adrenaline rush knowing that you'll probably have to repeat this feat again and again.
How would it be for you if you could slow things down and start your day off with ease? Create a ritual or routine that sets the pace for your day. Something that is gentle, relaxing, clears the mind, and keeps you on a steady track so that you have a more fulfilling day and still reach your day's goal.
Maybe it's a yoga practice, a few stretches or Sun Salutations that gets you going. Perhaps it's your cup of coffee, but you're able to sit and enjoy the whole cup, sip by sip. Reading your favorite section of the news paper. Looking out the window or stepping outside on your front porch to greet the morning can be very simple ways to set the pace of your day.
Again, your routine can be anything you choose. Bottom line is this: make it simple and commit to it. Do it everyday. Even do it on your days off or when you're on vacation out of town. What you develop is a sense of discipline and commitment to a practice that generates a good feeling within yourself.
The toughest part, sometimes, is just getting started. The first few times of sticking to your routine may be a challenge, but keep doing it. It will only get easier. If you're a snooze-button-presser, maybe you'll need to set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier so that you can press snooze.....BUT ONLY ONCE! Then get up and move right into your routine.
Try your new morning routine for a few days. Then try it for a week. Notice how you feel the rest of the day. This may not sound like a yoga practice with traditional poses, but an aspect of living a yoga lifestyle is called Tapas or Self-Discipline. Developing a sense of discipline can create a greater sense and acceptance of self; growing into a fuller sense of Self.
I'd love to hear how this works out for you. Respond to this blog entry or post it on my Facebook Wall (www.facebook.com/JohnCottrell). Maybe you already have a morning routine that you'd like to share with us. Let us all know how having a morning routine, compared to not having one, makes you feel and act during your day. Maybe you have an evening routine, too. Let's hear about it.