Your yoga practice begins as soon as you wake up in the morning, from the first thoughts that enter your mind to what you have for breakfast. Use these tips, techniques, and practices to clear your head and energize your practice before you even get on your mat.
1. Meditate first thing in the morning.
Many yogis swear by morning meditation, claiming that doing it first thing helps clear mental clutter and set an intention for their practice (and their day). Setting your alarm and waking up before dawn for quiet “you” time also makes it easier to get out of bed and fills you with energy for the rest of the day, according to Ayurveda.
Need a little inspiration to wake up early? Try this morning meditation with Deepak Chopra, which helps you focus inward and establish four intentions for your day, or this good morning meditation, which uses visualization to help start your day on a positive note. Or, stay in bed and begin your day with five minutes of silence, perhaps focusing on your breath.
2. Say a mantra/set an intention for your day.
Choosing a mantra for your a.m. meditation session could help you set your intention for the entire day. Here are 13 classic ones to choose from, from Shanti Mantra, a chant for peace, to the Gayatri Mantra, which invokes the light of the sun and helps you transcend suffering. Or, you could choose something more personal. Here, top yoga teachers recommend their go-to favorites, from Lauren Taus’ “I Am Love,” to Kathryn Budig’s, “Be Dangerous. But Be Kind.”
3. Eat a healthy, energizing breakfast.
If you’re going to get the most out of your yoga practice, you need to eat a nutritious breakfast. Healthy choices include a Greek yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola, a green smoothie, or a chia seed breakfast bowl. Power up your morning meal even more by adding a scoop of Solgar Spoonfuls Vanilla Chai vegan protein powder. This delicious, plant-based protein contains the vital nutrients, fiber, and energy-supporting B-vitamins you need to get the most out of your practice, along with Ayurvedic botanicals and good-for-your-gut probiotics. You could even put a scoop in your morning tea or warm lemon water to kick off your digestion for the day, or add it to your water bottle to take it on the go. Bonus: It’s dairy- and gluten-free!
4. Get outside.
Taking a mindful nature walk can put you in a peaceful state of mind before you begin your practice, while boosting awareness and concentration. Plus, research shows that spending time outdoors can increase vitality, release endorphins (feel-good chemicals), and reduce stress. If the weather is inclement, try another calming, reflective practice, such as gratitude journaling.
5. Finally, practice!
Now that you’ve cleared your head and given your body the nourishment it needs, it’s time to hit the mat and salute the sun. Try this good-morning yoga sequence that links breath to movement, Jason Crandell’s energy-boosting sequence to wake up your body and your mind, or these 5 poses that you can do right in your bed!