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How I Learned to Love Getting Up in the Morning

from guest blogger Jessica Ardis:
This is how I felt about getting out of bed for my first 37 years on the planet:
 
On a good day.
As a child, my mother used to worry I would never be able to hold a 9- 5 since she had to threaten me with torture to get me out of bed on school days.
When I was 21 there was a period of time where I kept vampire hours, rising at approximately 4 in the afternoon and heading to bed around 6 AM.
When my children were young, THEY had to wake ME up in the morning.
The semester that I taught a 9 AM biology class required both the use of the sonic boom alarm clock and a daily wakeup call from my very reliable and patient mother.
Throughout all this, I harbored fantasies of being a morning person.  It was my new year’s resolution for almost two decades, but it seemed to belong to the realm of the unattainable, like climbing Mt Everest or getting my kids to pick their dirty clothes up off their bedroom floors.
But let me show you how I now feel about getting out of bed in the morning:
Well, most days.
How is this possible?
Ayurveda is the science of daily life, developed thousands of years ago in Vedic India.  In fact, it is said that ancient yogis had to practice Ayurveda before beginning the study of yoga.  It can take a lifetime to dive deeply into this topic, but in a nutshell, Ayurveda seeks to align the natural rhythm of the body with the rhythm of the day, the seasons, and the planet.
To that end, the largest meal of the day is eaten between 11 AM and 1 PM, when digestive fire is at its highest, and food is not eaten after 6 PM.  Bedtime is no later than 10 PM, and one rises before 6 AM.
When I first heard of this during yoga teacher training, I resisted. How could my biggest meal be at lunch when evening dinner was the backbone of our family structure?  How could I not eat after 6 pm when I had to teach classes at night?  When the kids had baseball games that end at 8 pm?
But slowly I began to find inroads, making dinner earlier, realizing that I wouldn’t die of starvation if I cut out the 8 or 9 PM snacking.  And miraculously I found that on the nights that I did not eat after 6 PM it was easier to get up the next day!
After just a few weeks of trying not to eat after 6 PM, and getting in bed by 10 PM, rising in the morning became effortless, and my body accepted this new rhythm.
My mother can still hardly believe that I wake up in the 5 o’clock hour without an alarm!
As for the sonic boom alarm clock, I gave it to my teenage son.  Who I often have to threaten with torture in order to get him out of bed in the morning.
 
Jessica Ardis is a yoga teacher in Philadelphia. Her style is gentle and precise, with a focus on alignment. She is a student in Maha Yoga’s current Yoga Immersion, and this blog post sprung from our discussion in the training. Learn more about Jessica on her website radiantyogawellness.com
  1. Unknown

    I've become very interested in learning more about Ayurveda, so thanks for sharing. Any resources in particular you find useful? Also – I'm familiar with some of the practices, but this no eating after 6 seems almost impossible if you're getting home from work at 5:30 or even…6. Yikes.

  2. Maha Yoga

    Totally! My favorite, easy-to-use resource to start with is the book Eat, Taste, Heal (half cookbook, half ayurvedic primer). Agreed, 6 seems tough, but shifting towards an earlier, lighter dinner, with most of the day's nutrition at lunch, is do-able. Like Jessica, I found great success with just giving up evening snacking, and turning dinner into less of a production.

    Keep me posted!
    xoxo
    Justicia

  3. Maha Yoga

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