“I’m just not a morning person.”
“I’m always so tired when I wake up.”
“I’m just not motivated so early in the AM”.
These are the stories I hear after I tell people that I teach a sunrise yoga class. I want you to know that I hear you and I can totally relate! I am ALWAYS tired when my alarm wakes me up at 5:00 AM. Most days I’m not motivated to get out of my warm and comfy bed, drive to the studio and practice.
But motivation will never get you or I up in the morning. Motivation is an emotion. It’s fleeting, fickle, and completely dependent on a current state of being. If we only worked out when we were motivated to do so, then I’m not sure how many times that would happen!
So we can’t rely on motivation as the cause of our actions. There needs to be something greater to lean into besides our ego, emotions, and mood.
Motivation is an emotion. But discipline is a virtue.
Discipline will be the factor that gets you out of bed and onto your mat. Discipline is not a mood, it’s something greater. It’s a virtue to live your life. Self-discipline is so important, it’s one of the principles of yoga. As the third niyama, tapas, self-discipline asks us to ignite the fire within and to burn away the impurities of the mind and body. We can come to tapas over and over again as it will never leave us; it will never fade away. It is always accessible and attainable, if we choose it to be.
Tapas is not easy. It is asking us to change. To transform. To go to places outside our comfort zone where the real work begins. Energetically, it is expressed in the third chakra, the Manipura or Solar Plexus chakra, that rules our personal power, will, and strength. Visually, imagine the color yellow, a flame burning within. Physically, it’s encouraged to engage your abdominals during practice and activate your Uddiyana Bandha, one of the body’s energy locks. By drawing your navel inwards and upwards, you create heat, lock energy, and encourage proper breathing through your chest and diaphragm. During practice, there are many ways to energetically, visually, and physically experience self-discipline beyond the act of arriving to your mat.
Discipline asks us to practice everyday, not just when we “feel like it”. Experience putting yourself first. Experience choosing you everyday. Experience investing in yourself and filling yourself up with so much self-love your cup runneth over. If you have a job that starts at 9, I encourage you to wake up and work out at 5. That’s the 9 to 5 that really matters. From elite athletes, to the military, and anyone in between, a morning workout will transform your day as you leave vibrating on a higher frequency than when you began. Applying that higher level of being to everything you experience that day. From how you speak, to what you eat, to processing information, and the actions you take. You will experience a higher level of engagement, presence and consciousness. Watch yourself change. Bonus - your nights are free without the pressure of working out after a long day. Enjoy your evenings, rest, and wake up in the morning. And let’s do it all over again. Small, consistent acts of self-discipline have enormous returns.
I took this picture of the sunrise on south beach in December 2019 where I made a commitment to myself to always rise at dawn. My life completely shifted when I realized I was worth waking up for.
Show up for you so you can show up for others. It’s that simple. It’s that hard. Rely on virtues and they will never let you down.
See you at sunrise.