The yoga studio I practice at has two branches, one that offers 6AM Mysore (located downtown) and one that offers 10:30AM Mysore (located uptown). For the longest time I’d go to the 10:30AM Mysore (I usually go at 9:30AM to start my practice) because: A) that studio is closer to where I live, and B) it’s at a more reasonable time for someone who doesn’t have a regular 9-5 job, like me. I thought waking up at 5AM is the craziest thing anyone can do, and I’d never dreamt I would become one. But alas, I’ve been converted.
The first time I went to a Mysore class at crazy o’clock was a Sunday. The energy was vibrant in the downtown shala, as more people practice there. I was out of there by 9:30AM, showered and all, which was the time I would have usually started my practice in the uptown shala. The air was crisp and fresh, and I could feel the entire downtown just starting to wake up. I felt proud of myself for having already practiced by this hour, and I felt so refreshed, energized. I was hooked. I started to frequent the downtown shala more often, and eventually I became one of those 9pm-5am sleepers.
My friends don’t understand and thought I was crazy. True, I can appear anti-social at times because I generally don’t go out at night. But to me, my reasons for this kind of life outweigh all else:
WHY I LIKE WAKING UP AT 5AM
1) I enjoy the quiet and serenity in the house at 5AM. I enjoy my morning cup of warm water with lemon+honey, check my email/FB, do some pranayama. It’s a very gratifying stillness.
2) I commute to the downtown shala, and even though it means that I would have to first take the bus to the MRT (the subway), then transfer from one MRT line to the other in order to get to my destination, which takes about 35 minutes, I rather enjoy this commute. Since it is very early in the morning (I leave the house between 5:40-5:50AM), the buses and MRT’s are less crowded, and I am left alone in my own thoughts. Sometimes I’d bring a book with me to read on the MRT to wake up my brain, and the walking between bus stops and MRT lines is kind of like a warm-up!
3) I feel more energized after my practice in the early morning. After I had frequented the early Mysore more often, I’ve found that practicing from 9:30AM-noon sometimes left me sleepy and lethargic afterward.
4) I feel like I have a lot more time on my hands after my practice. Especially when the pastry business gets busy.
5) Sometimes I would find a quiet cafe to enjoy my breakfast and read. I’d either bring my own oatmeal/smoothie, or get something simple at the cafe. It’s nice to sit down and relax after 2 hours of asanas and watch the world wake up/go to work :-).
6) I feel healthier, and I feel better knowing that I am snoozing away during the prime sleeping time of 11pm-2am.
7) I feel more “in sync” with nature. After all, humans are animals too, and since we’re not nocturnal, it’s natural that we sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun rises. Our nocturnal habits only developed after light bulbs are invented (and now we have TV, internet, clubs/bars, etc. to keep us going through the night).
8) It’s ultimately a practice of devotion and dedication, of abhyasa. It’s a form of tapas, because by repeatedly waking up at an early hour we burn our laziness (alasya) away.