Tips for Starting an Early Morning Yoga Routine Without Losing Sleep

An early morning yoga routine can improve your sleep and overall well being. Waking up early for yoga offers an energizing way to start your day, and can help you feel more balanced throughout the day.

The Benefits of Early Morning Yoga

If you have an early morning yoga session to look forward to, you may be more motivated to get out of bed. It can help you wake up, and may help clear out any stiffness you’ve developed overnight.

When you do yoga early in the morning, it’s done and taken care of for the day. You can always do more later, but you don’t have to worry about fitting in a yoga routine later in the day if it’s already done.

Yoga vs. Sleep

It can be tough to wake up early for your yoga routine. If you’re not careful, you might miss out on sleep time to wake up early for yoga. This is a mistake.

Although yoga can be beneficial for sleep, it’s not more important than sleep. You shouldn’t short yourself on sleep time just so you can get up early and do yoga. Yoga won’t make up for missing out on a good night’s sleep.

Early Morning Yoga and Sleep

You can start an early morning yoga routine without losing sleep. You should make sleep a priority and maintain good sleep hygiene. If you plan ahead, you can make time to sleep and practice yoga in the morning.

  • Be consistent. Creating an early morning yoga routine requires consistency, so you should commit to practicing every morning. Once it becomes a regular routine, it will be easier to get up and do it every morning.

  • Make bedtime a priority. Plan ahead of time and remember that you want to do yoga in the morning. If you want to wake up early, you’ll need to go to bed early. Make sleep time a priority in your schedule so that you can get enough sleep at night and still wake up early and ready to enjoy yoga.

  • Establish a bedtime routine. With a good bedtime routine, you can prepare yourself for a healthy night’s sleep. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, keep up with a consistent bedtime routine, and practice healthy sleep hygiene, including creating a comfortable sleep environment.

  • Get ready the night before. Make it easier for you to roll out of bed and start yoga in the morning. Set out your clothes and mat, pack your bag, and get anything else you’ll need together before you go to bed. This will simplify your morning so you can get straight to practicing yoga. It will also help you get in the mindset that you’ll be doing yoga in the morning.

  • Do yoga in bed. Early morning yoga doesn’t have to be a full workout. You can do simple poses in bed before you’re really ready to get up. This is especially helpful if you didn’t get enough sleep. Soft, easy poses can be used when you’re short on sleep so you don’t risk injury.

How To Speed Up Your Metabolism

Did you know there is a personal trainer at work in your body right now? It’s called your metabolism, and unlike a trainer who you coordinate schedules with, your metabolism works around the clock. Each time you eat, enzymes in your body’s cells break down the food and turn it into energy that keeps your heart beating, your mind thinking and your legs churning during an awesome workout. The faster your metabolism runs, the more calories you burn. The more you burn, the easier it is to drop pounds. And get this—you can make your metabolism work harder, a lot harder, 24 hours a day. While we can’t change how many calories it takes to keep our heart beating, we can burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day by exercising and eating properly.

In the Morning

  1. Eat right out of bed- If you don’t body will go into starvation mode so your body slows to conserve energy.
  2. Drink coffee- It stimulates central nervous system and increases heart rate and breathing.
  3. Drink cold water (or with lemon)- Body burns a few extra calories heating up water to core temperature.

At work

  1. Protein for lunch- Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle (muscle burns more calories than fat).
  2. Drink green tea- Let tea seep for 3 minutes and drink while it’s hot.
  3. Dairy in the after-mooo-n- Calcium helps body metabolize fat more efficiently by increasing the rate at which it gets rid of fat as waste (poop).

At the Market

  1. Go organic as much as possible- You wouldn’t put dirty oil in your car would you?
  2. It’s getting hot in here- Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also fire up your metabolism. Think salsa and red pepper flakes for topping pizza, stir fry, and pasta.
  3. Metal head- Women lose iron during their period every month; iron helps carry oxygen to your muscles. If your levels run low, muscles don’t get enough O2, your energy tanks, and your metabolism slows. Stock up on iron (fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, and broccoli)

Working Out

  1. Intervals- Bursts of speed may stimulate a fat-burning response within the muscles.
  2. Slow down- Count to three as you lower the weight back to the start position. Slowing things down increases the breakdown of muscle tissue. The repair process (building muscle) pumps up your metabolism for as long as 72 hours after your session. Note- use heavy weights if you want this to work 😉
  3. Somethings fishy- Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes.

At Home

  1. Eat more fish- Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines are loaded with hunger-quashing omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help trigger the rapid transfer of “I’m full” signals to your brain.
  2. Limit your alcohol- Did you know that 2 drinks in one sitting slows down your metabolism by 73%?! That’s because your liver converts the alcohol into acetate and starts using that as fuel instead of your fat stores.
  3. Go to bed- early. When you sleep less than you should, you throw off the amounts of leptin and ghrelin (sleep and appetite hormones) that your body produces.

Race Against Time

With each passing decade, a woman’s metabolism slows down by about 5%. Hormones play a role, but mostly it’s because as you get older, you typically become less active. As a result, you lose muscle mass, a major consumer of all those calories you scarf down. So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25; by age 65 you’ll burn 500 fewer, etc.

FINDING YOUR YOGA MAT SOUL MATE- IT’S OUT THERE!

If you’re like me, you think of your yoga mat as your best friend. It encourages you through challenges, it’s there to celebrate and share your victories, and it’s that safe space you can come to at any time. It should feel like a little island you want to call home for every practice. Like your practice, your yoga mat should be one that you invest in, one that you keep coming back to, and one that supports you through every inhale and exhale.

The most important features in a good mat includes:

Durability and longevity — A yoga mat’s ability to withstand even the toughest of practices over time.

Comfort and support — Just enough cushioning for your joints can reduce squirming in kneeling postures and provide padding for impact, but not so much that it compromises support.

Stability — A firm, dense mat can help you feel stable throughout standing and balancing poses.

Portability — Consider how much travel you will be doing with your mat. A mat’s weight and size will dictate whether or not it is toteable. Since most people walk, bike, and travel to class, an easy-to-carry mat is an important feature.

Traction and stickiness — It’s important for a mat to provide traction both to keep you from slipping and in staying connected to the ground. The last thing you want is for your mat to function as a Slip N’ Slide.

Texture — Mats have different surfaces, but most yogis agree that it’s best to have a mat that feels most natural.

Environmental consideration — Buying an eco-friendly yoga mat is important to many practitioners. If this holds true to you, consider purchasing a mat made from all-natural materials.

Size — Your yoga mat should cover the length and width of your entire body. Not every yoga mat comes in various widths and sizes, so make sure to check measurements before purchasing.

Reviews.com recently compiled a study on mats that you can see here. Don’t be afraid to test a few mats on your own and ask around before making a purchase—because when a yoga mat feels just right for you, it can make all the difference in your practice, and thus your life. Happy practicing!

Special Projects

A couple years ago I was getting coffee with a friend and he asked me what projects I was working on. Outside of work, what was I doing with my time? At the time I didn’t have a good answer and it got me thinking: from now on I will always have a project. It didn’t always need to be something huge, maybe it was starting (and finishing) a new book or trying a new recipe (that’s a big one considering I cook a “real” meal maybe 4 times a year.) What I didn’t realize at the time was that by not having a project, it meant I didn’t have a vision. I didn’t have an idea or clear picture what I wanted to do with my energy, and that’s not acceptable. Having a vision is important because it gives your existence a purpose. We are only on this planet for such a short time, we should use it wisely.

So consider this, what is your project? What is your vision? Make it BIG. Make it HUGE. The bigger the better. It’s supposed to be so big that it’s almost unbelievable. And what will it take for you to get there right now? In the beginning when you’re setting out on a new journey towards a new, amazing goal, it’s easy to get frustrated with the preliminary steps. You’re so excited and eager and anxious to reach the end point, the brilliant dream that inspired you, that the preliminary steps just seem like they’re taking up too much time. This is natural. If the dream wasn’t so stunning, it wouldn’t be worth dreaming.

So what’s my vision right now? Oh my gosh I have so many. I’ll keep it yoga-pose related. I am working on Adho Mukha Vrksasana, aka Handstand. I have been working on it for over a year now and while some days it doesn’t feel like I am making any progress, I know I am. I practice my handstand every single day for at least 10 minutes, and even if I don’t hold it for very long that day, or some days I don’t even get legs in the air at all, I know that I am at least stronger now than I was before I tried.

As you keep grinding along on your project, know the “small victories” that that are the baby steps of accomplishing your goal (practicing kicking up, reading a few pages of your book, running a mile, etc.)  are actually huge victories in the overall big picture (handstand, finishing that book you’ve been putting off forever, running a 5k or marathon, etc.). For every mortal step you take here, a huge leap, cartwheel, dance party has taken place in time and space, advancing you forward more than you’ll ever know. And the best way to finish this project? Get started on it. No more procrastinating, no more excuses or if/thens (if Sarah calls me to go to kickboxing with her, then I’ll go), that’s lame. Get up, get out, and just START DOING IT. Wherever you are, any progress is good. You’ll finish your project, achieve your goal, just in time to start your next one

Keep Bending,

Morgan

@keep_bending

Another Internet Blog About Goals

There are a million blogs and articles out there about goals. About why you should set them. And how you can keep them. And what to do if you do if you set so many goals that you forget what they are. Well this is another blog post about just that, but my take on it.

The past 4 months I have been studying to earn my personal trainers certification through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The content is intense, they recommend studying 10-15 hours a week and I definitely do that if not more. There is an outlined syllabus with 18 sections and each section is broken down even further to one or more lessons. Each lesson has chapters you have to read, videos to watch, and quizzes to take. Oh and flashcards. Don’t forget the flashcards! I complete all that, review as much as necessary, then schedule to take the certification course. They recommend taking the test 4 months from when you start the program so the information stays fresh. I am on track to finish studying the material this week (!), I’ll spend all of February reviewing and take the test early March before we go to Mexico. Like I said, this material is super intense. There is more to personal training than just counting out reps and getting paid to wear yoga pants to work. For example, the chapters I read earlier were Exercise Physiology, Fundamentals of Applied Kinesiology, Physiology of Training, etc. As someone who majored in marketing in college because it seemed like “the easiest” major, learning about biology like this does not come naturally. But it’s fascinating! The human body is so amazing and mysterious and strong that I just can’t take it in fast enough. The chapter on nutrition was over 50 pages (front and back mind you) and I read it in 2 days because I couldn’t put it down. I had food strewn out all over our kitchen counters comparing the labels to what I was learning. I already know my next non-yoga certification is going to be in nutrition of some sort. Oh! To further deepen my studying, I try to incorporate saying 3 new muscles and bones a week into my yoga classes so I have a better understanding of what the body is doing. But I digress. This program is intended for the super committed, motivated, self-starter and even though I don’t have a biology background, being intrinsically motivated is in my DNA.

Recently I started teaching yoga at a brand new recovery gym, Fizio, that just opened up across the street. (Funny story how that happened, I had been watching construction happening on the building all summer but didn’t know what it was going to be. One day a sign went up saying that it was going to be a gym. Me, being the inquisitive (ok let’s be real. Nosy. I was being nosy.)  person that I am, started rattling on the doors and peering in the windows, trying to find a way to get in so I could talk to someone. A man quickly came around the corner, like anyone would who sees someone trying to break into his building. Long story short, he and his wife were the owners and after a few weeks of getting to know each other they invited me to their staff to teach yoga. They also asked me if I had ever considered getting my personal training certification because they would love to bring me on in that capacity down the road soon too. They suggested to go through ACE and “the rest is history”. That was back in September 2016.

Up until this point I knew I wanted to do something with fitness/yoga/wellness/life coaching/etc. but wasn’t sure what. I had kind of been wandering aimlessly. I knew I wanted to teach yoga full time, but that by itself isn’t super realistic yet. Now, thanks to this amazing couple who saw something in me and recognized I had the qualities of someone who would make a successful personal trainer, I finally had a clear goal and idea what I wanted to do with my life professionally. They have inspired me and encouraged me to build myself up and increase my value as a human. I have a clear goal and vision, one that is defined and realistic. Short term- in March 2017 I am going to pass my certification to become a Certified Personal Trainer. Long term- by December 2017 I will be doing yoga/fitness/wellness/health/nutrition/life-coaching full time. And in the meantime, I am going to start getting certifications in as many of those other categories as possible.

#BuildAnEdge

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We had our first staff meeting at Fizio the other night where the owners shared their vision statement with us and brought us all up to speed on the ‘why’ behind the Fizio brand. The photo is a bit blurry, but the message is clear. Set a goal, Build an Edge.

I feel so fortunate to teach at a gym that sets, encourages, and embraces our aspirations and ambitions. The owners, staff, and coaches at Fizio all live with the mindset to continually build themselves up and keep working towards the greatest version of themselves. The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. We become like our friends and they help us to become the best versions of ourselves. These are just those kinds of people and I know 100% they will continue to support me on my professional fitness journey.

I had a fun thought the other day. In the beginning when you’re setting out on a new journey towards a new, amazing goal, it’s easy to get frustrated with the preliminary steps. You’re so excited and eager and anxious to reach the end point, the brilliant dream that inspired you, that the preliminary steps just seem like they’re taking up too much time. This is natural. If the dream wasn’t so stunning, it wouldn’t be worth dreaming. Know that the “small victories” that that are the baby steps of accomplishing your goal, are actually huge victories in the overall big picture. For every step you take on Earth, a huge leap, cartwheel, dance party has taken place in time and space, advancing you forward more than you’ll ever know.

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation so that you can make the very most out of your life. Goal setting is the first step in successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It’s when you switch from a passive state to being actively involved in your life. Because this life is so, so good.