Once upon a time, my friend and I decided, at about 1am in the Hicks Undergraduate Library at Purdue, that it would be a fantastic idea to go to sunrise yoga at 6:30 in the morning. We had gotten a lot of homework done and the hour did not feel so late (since all-nighters have been quite common this semester,) so we thought, why not?
Fast forward to 5am. After three hours of restful sleep, I rolled out of bed-I mean this literally. I needed the actual momentum of a roll to get myself out of my warm cocoon. I slept in my work-out clothes. Gross, I know, but my friend, Marq, thought that would be easier for me, since she knows I have separation anxiety concerning my fuzzy pajama pants. After putting on a little extra perfume, and pretending that my face didn’t really need the usual makeup regimen, I got into my car and drove to Purdue’s France A. Córdova Recreational Sports Center (the Co-Rec). Sounds like so much fun, right? I’m sure I am really advertising this idea well. But it does get better, I promise.
Marq had gotten there earlier than me, so I had to put my mat in front of hers and crane my neck to complain to her about our masochistic tendencies. After a few pointed glances to the girl next to Marq, who had plenty of room to her left, I asked her in my 6:15am sugary sweet, I-might-accidentally-kill-you-so-just-comply, voice, I said, “I’m so sorry, I know this is horribly rude, but would you mind if I scoot in there so I can talk with my friend?” She raised an eyebrow and then replied, “oh, of course.” I thought I had pulled off “nice,” but then she gave me another glance and said, “I think I may actually move up.” Dang, I thought, as she moved closer to the front of the room. I kept the voice level, but the crazy eyes may not have been subdued enough.
When we began, it was like I suddenly had those three cups of coffee that I usually drink before stepping out in public. I felt awake and excited to learn. We did a lot of the poses that almost everyone has heard of: Downward-Facing Dog, Warrior Pose, and Child’s Pose, for example. All of the poses we were asked to do were a little difficult, so I felt like I was getting a bit of a workout, but the instructor also never pushed us to do anything we weren’t prepared for. Therefore, I felt like I was really getting the blood moving in my body, but I was also not uncomfortable or worried I was going to hurt something. If a pose was moderately easy or too difficult, she gave us ways in which we could simplify it or make it more challenging.
At the very end, we spent a bit of time meditating on our own thoughts before the session was over. While a part of me wanted to fall back asleep when we began to meditate, it was not out of pure exhaustion, it was because I felt extremely relaxed.
As we stepped outside, almost everyone dispersing to class, I took a deep breath of the morning air and felt good. I had started my day early, I did something productive and healthy, and all of it made me feel invigorated and ready for the day. Going on less than three hours of sleep, I think that is proof that yoga is the best way to start your day.
I would highly recommend attending some of the Spring Semester Group X classes at the Co-Rec if you have a chance. You can either buy an unlimited Group X pass for $45 or pay $5 for each class you attend. There are a lot of options besides yoga, so take a look and try to attend one or two classes, if possible.
Remember when I said a few days ago that it would be a good idea to find a yoga routine or a pose that you could get into the habit of doing every day? I found a yoga routine that I really like, and I genuinely feel that it wakes me up in the morning. I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers, but I don’t always do the whole pose. I actually focus mostly on the Standing Side Stretch, and I feel a noticeable difference in my alertness almost immediately. Getting the blood moving and focusing on my breathing, first thing in the morning, has definitely been helping me to feel more motivated when I get ready for my day.