I have never considered myself a morning person.
If I could have things my way I would stay up until midnight and get up at eight or nine a.m., everyday. But, I am no longer the one dictating my sleeping habits, as I have two sons and a husband that tend to be early to bed and early to rise.
So, I acquiesce and turn in around 10:30pm, as I know I will be woken up at six in the morning.
About a month ago, my sleeping habits took a different turn. It was a Friday morning, my day off from work, and I woke at 4:30 a.m. I tossed and turned and tried to go back to sleep, but thoughts of my day came racing through my mind and I was unable to relax.
I stayed under the covers and meditated for a while in the gentle stillness of the room.
With the warmth of the down comforter and the cat sleeping at my feet, I realized that despite the comfort of the covers, I was ready to face the day. So, I decided to get myself to the early bird yogaclass at six a.m.
I tiptoed downstairs, made myself some hot chai and quietly dressed in my yoga attire. The house seemed to be in a deep slumber and I snuck myself out the door leaving a note for my family as to my whereabouts.
As I backed out of the driveway and onto the quiet, dark street I felt as surge of energy.
It was the same feeling that I have had when I need to get up early to catch a morning flight. My adrenaline surged and I was filled with excitement driving in the dark with only the soft glow of the street lights.
I realized that, for me, it was an adventure to climb out of my warm covers and challenge myself to an hour vinyasa yoga class at six in the morning.
As I pulled into my parking space at the yoga studio, I saw few cars and fewer people. It was as if I was in another world—that of the early bird. I got out of my car happy to have embarked on this early morning adventure.
Making my way thru the yoga class was, however, not as easy. My body seemed to be arguing with me the whole way through. My joints were tight and I had to take frequent breaks in child’s pose to be able to keep up with the class.
My mind was also arguing.
What was I doing at this early morning yoga class on my day off, when I could be lounging in bed drinking my hot chai? What was I trying to prove?
I just kept on going realizing that this was something good for my body and my mind. While lying in savasana at the end of class, the yoga teacher started to sing and I was filled with a deep sense of calm.
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu.
Her sweet, angelic voice filled the room and my body seemed to sigh with happiness. The words for the chant in Sanskrit are:
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and that freedom for all.”
I realized in that moment that this was the perfect place for me to be as I was filled with happiness and peace.
In the weeks that have passed, there have been times when I have risen at that early hour and made it to yoga class in the stillness of the morning. In those moments, driving to the morning class, I have again been filled with a sense of excitement and an adventurous spirit.
Perhaps adventure does not always have to be about traveling on an exotic journey, sky diving or climbing a steep mountain. Adventure can also be about stepping, even a little bit, outside of one’s comfort zone and doing something new. It can be about going to an early morning yoga class, running five miles in the dark or trying a new restaurant.
An everyday adventure can be about stepping just a little off course and outside of one’s routine, doing something a little different, and being filled with a child’s sense of wonder.
So give it a try the next time you find yourself awake at five a.m….I look forward to sharing the yoga space next to you at the early bird class.
Marla McMahon, PsyD, is a mom of two boys and a Clinical Psychologist. In her private practice in Sacramento, California, she works within a mind-body model with patients of all ages, in areas of depression, anxiety and stress reduction using mindfulness-based therapy. In her spare time, Marla enjoys being outside as much as possible and drives the distance to be near the ocean. She also enjoys paddle boarding and hiking, and she is a dedicated yogi and meditator.