Greater than 4 minutes, my friend!
Why Morning Yoga Is Simply The Best …
… for waking up.
I swear on morning yoga. Even if it is only a few minutes or five sun salutations every morning – It is refreshing and makes me feel like I did something for myself before anyone else (family members, partner, clients). You see, if YOU have a good, healthy, soothing, and MINDFUL start into your day, that is just … that is a reward in itself! Plus, it helps you to be there for others. But hold on. What is so good about it? You could just take a cold shower to wake up, right? Or drink two cups of coffee! Why yoga? It’s simple. The mere up and down movements, the upside-down poses, the stretches of your spine, arms, and legs, and the necessary balance and focus will boost your circulation, making the blood and oxygen literally wake up your brain, muscles, and all the other good things. Can you already tell that I love it?
… for productivity.
Another benefit is this: Even if you only do a few minutes every morning, you get better at it. The physical focus and core strength that you are training with yoga movements can, essentially, help you to focus better at work. Having your body and mind in balance and work together can work wonders.
… for freelance translators.
As freelance translators, we tend to sit a lot. Maybe we haven’t invested in a high-quality office chair, wrist support or stand-up desks. Yoga can help out a little. The exercises help to relax your body, can help reduce or even diminish back pains, and strengthen your posture (sitting and standing). I, personally, love exercising. And now, that I work as a freelance translator from home, I see so many benefits in being physically active! But I am aware that for many people it is a challenge to make time in their busy schedules, or to overcome a certain laziness, in order to work out. But 10 minutes in the morning? In your own home? In your PJs? That should be doable!!
How to make Morning Yoga a Habit
The other week, I finished The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It was an excellent read and I actually learned a lot about myself and how to become more productive by changing very small routines in my daily life.
Luckily, starting to introduce yoga into my daily morning routine was a very natural process. It came out of the blue. However, the key was to NEVER think about it as a daily thing. That would have probably triggered my inner fear of commitment. So, I took this venture day by day. Now, having read The Power of Habit, I understand how it worked and I can share this knowledge with you today! Duhigg explains how a habit works like this:
“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future. Over time, this loop … becomes more and more automatic. The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges.”
Now, the good news is that we can change existing habits. Maybe you like grabbing a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, or you take a shower, or you even skip that and grab the laptop instead to scroll through emails and social media. (Which sounds very productive or healthy now, right?) I suggest giving morning yoga a try!
To make it a habit, we need three things:
1) a trigger/ cue
2) a routine
3) and a reward.
The cue for morning yoga is about as easy as it gets. Make it the first thing in the morning! (Although I do splash some water on my face and brush my teeth first, to be entirely honest with you.) Having the yoga mattress ready and waiting for you on your way to the bathroom can remind your still tired brain of this new activity that you want to take on! So, the cues are the morning and seeing the yoga mattress! Or a towel designated for this purpose. The routine would be (1) having a designated space in your house where you do your yoga exercises and (2) a fixed yoga routine. As I tend to get bored by boring stick figures as yoga posture guides that you can find online, I am using the lovely yoga bunny. In fact, I started off with exactly this sheet attached to this blog post. I loved having this adorable bunny in front of me while doing yoga, so, I actually considered it a kind of reward already. But the reward that you need to motivate yourself is up to you. A cup of coffee (although I always feel like having a healthy drink after yoga)? A piece of sweet fruit? It’s up to you. For me, personally, it really is the feeling that I get after my yoga session. That feeling alone is rewarding enough.
Now, to close this post, I would like to quote again Duhigg words from The Power of Habit:
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”