This woman who used to shuffle through life has long since been transformed. When I traded my late nights for early days, I found something quite fascinating: I actually enjoy the silence of the mornings. When I began setting my alarm to make it to 6:00 a.m. yoga asana classes, I knew that something had shifted in me that would never go back.
Good thing, because when I had a baby, I learned how important it was to make friends with early mornings. Having a baby means I wake up very, very early. But I don’t wake up because she’s crying or because she wakes me up. I actually set my alarm to wake up several hours before her, and it is my secret to finding my grounding as a mother.
Waking early to get the most out of the day
For me, getting up this early is actually the second best part of my day. The best part is when my daughter comes running out of the bedroom around 7:30. I am usually putting the finishing touches on breakfast or packing up her lunch. I greet her with a hug, a kiss and a cup of warm water to sip. Then we have a few cuddles on the couch before we sit down to eat breakfast as a family.
I’m don’t think that I would be as delighted to see her if I didn’t give myself these hours before she wakes up. A few years before she was born, I began to carve out time in the early mornings to bathe and practice pranayama, meditation, yoga asana and do a little journaling. Since doing so, I have grown to have a lot more patience for life. I’ve become much better at handling the kinds of disturbances that young children are so very good at creating. That is not to say that I have transcended my emotional responses to traffic jams or a teething toddler. It just means I am learning how to breathe through them.
Morning time is mama time
I spent many years attempting to engineer every aspect of my life, only to find that life cannot be managed that way. Motherhood taught me this -- our days need structure, but my mind needs flexibility. While some days I find myself wishing I could join a friend for a last-minute invitation to a hula class or take a spontaneous camping trip without wondering where I would plug in my rice cooker, mostly I love the simplicity of our dincharya. I’ve grown to embrace the routines of cooking, eating, cleaning, working and playing in a way I never thought was possible. It is a service to myself and my daughter.
Honoring myself through dinacharya
This morning routine is an heirloom seed, passed on to me by many great teachers of Yoga and Ayurveda. I hope that my daughter will accept this gift from me, to see it shine in the first rays of morning hit the sky. If I can give her just one thing in this life we are sharing together, my hope is that it is this: We offer the best service to the world when we give to our higher selves first.