One of the greatest impediments to my daily practice seems to be an ingrained habit of staying up way too late. Even an hour (or a half hour!) past bedtime effects my ability to get up and find enough will power to get out of bed, let alone go to the gym for a cardio work out or get on my mat for some Sun Salutations. And there are too many evenings I’m up much longer than an hour past bedtime.
I’ve always been more of a night person … or truthfully, I should say, evening person, but my day job for the last ten years requires I be at work by about 8:30-8:45ish and this has continually felt like fighting myself. Over the years I’ve tried to apply a Yogic mindset to the situation, tried to surrender and accept, and with varying degrees, I’ve had success. But, it’s never felt natural and heretofore, acceptance has never managed to slide into any lasting and routine practice.
I’m thinking that deciding to focus might be creating the beginnings of a shift. A small shift, but a shift. I woke up this morning craving Navasana. Craving it. That Asana was in my mind before my eyes even opened and my fingers managed to find the alarm “snooze” button.
Navasana. Huh. Well, OK. I got up, pulled out my mat, and knowing that any strengthening pose will require some bit of warm up after rolling up out of bed, started with some Pranayama (alternate nostril kapalabhati), some half-Sun Salutations and then put my sit bones down on the mat for Navasana.
From a physical standpoint, Navasana is a wonderful pose for strengthening the abdomen, hip flexors and spine. It relieves stress (hmmm … maybe that’s why I’m craving it!!), improves digestion while stimulating the kidneys, thyroid, prostate glands, and intestines. From an energetic standpoint, it activates several main chakras in the body: Muladhara (Root), Svadisthana (Sacral), Manipura (Solar Plexus) and Anahata (Heart). This pose helps root/ground, while stimulating the home of our courage and will — Manipura. Then, it allows our heart to open and soar.
Given all the stress at work with which I’m dealing, I suppose it makes sense. Between helping relieve stress, but more importantly, stimulating the center of my “courage chakra” makes Navasana a pose with timely benefits. So tradition has one greeting the sun with variations of Sury Namaskar (Sun Salutations). Greeting the day with equanimity, courage and an open heart is what matters — not necessarily what particular Asana you do. And in reality, there’s no “wrong” way to start the day when one is greeting it by being present and honoring the Satya (truth) of the moment. That IS practicing yoga.
For good instructions on how to practice Navasana: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/489