Yoga comes in many forms — from the downright strange (goat yoga, anyone?) to the obscure and everything in between. It seems there’s a style of yoga for just about any time and circumstance.
Although not strange sounding, Sunrise yoga is a less commonly known practice, so you’re probably wondering what it’s all about.
Sunrise yoga is the practice of doing yoga as the sun rises in the morning. This time of day is called the “divine time” when a person’s spiritual energy is most active. With the mind still uncluttered by the upcoming day’s events, you can approach your practice with clarity and focus. Ready to rise and discover what sunrise yoga is all about? Let’s go.
Why Get Up at Sunrise?
Early morning has a special quality that other times of the day lack. Everything is still and quiet, and the day’s chaos is yet to begin.
Buddhist monks arise at 4 a.m. to meditate and chant. Indians rise between 4 a.m.-6 a.m. to meditate in what’s considered the “sacred time.” In Islam, the day’s first prayer also takes place at sunrise. Lastly, Sikhs believe the time between 3 and 6 a.m. has the highest spiritual energy. It’s a pattern.
With so many religions and spiritual followings placing significance on the early morning, it’s no surprise that yoga — a highly spiritual practice — also finds excellent benefit in waking up early.
It is believed that sunrise is when our mind is most focused, open, and willing to take in and absorb knowledge, energy, and spiritual energies.
What Is Sunrise Yoga All About?
Sunrise yoga is exactly what the name suggests — the practice of doing yoga at sunrise. Whether it’s a self-guided practice or a group class, many people feel they benefit most from yoga at this time of day.
When we sleep, we sort out and “file” the day’s events away so that our mind is clear and ready to go again when we awake. When you’re not bogged down with thoughts, it is far easier to focus and go deeper into your practice.
In essence, sunrise yoga isn’t a specific type of yoga — it simply refers to the time of day when you practice.
What Types of Yoga Are Suitable for Sunrise?
Whatever your preference in the style of yoga, you can do it at sunrise. Whether you like the relaxing flow of ashtanga, the deep stretches of Yin yoga, or something more energetic like Vinyasa, you can benefit greatly by doing it at sunrise.
Who Is Sunrise Yoga For?
Anyone with the will to get up at the crack of dawn can do sunrise yoga. You just need discipline and the will to get yourself up in the morning.
We all have busy schedules, and fitting a yoga session first thing on a given day is often more achievable than finding time in the afternoon or the evening. The sunrise practice is good for setting you up for the day on a positive note and awakening the mind.
Who Shouldn’t Do Sunrise Yoga?
While anyone can practice sunrise yoga, you should choose a different time of day if you suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia or if you work late shifts. Mamas with newborns (and therefore awake a lot at night) should also probably give it a miss.
Getting adequate sleep takes priority over everything, so it is counterproductive to set the alarm for a yoga session if you’ve spent most of the night tossing and turning.
Don’t forget that yoga is beneficial at any time of the day. If it’s more convenient for you to do a session later in the day, by all means, do so. Get those extra “zzz’s” in where you can and enjoy yoga another time!
That being said, try doing a relaxing form of yoga right before bed; it could help you nod off easier.
How to Get Into the Habit of Doing Sunrise Yoga
One of the most challenging aspects of sunrise yoga is finding the ability to get up early in the morning. Moreover, it’s easier to manage in the warmer summer months than when it’s cold and dark during winter.
Settling into a routine is the first step. Set your alarm clock for a time that’s acceptable for you. Try to make it as early as possible, though you don’t need to be as extreme as the monks and get up at 4 a.m. Stick to it for several weeks, and you’ll find it starts to feel natural. You may even begin to wake up without the alarm clock.
To help you stay on track, adopt an earlier bedtime. If you’re having trouble falling asleep early, you could also do an evening yoga session that’s a bit more relaxed.
Sunrise is an excellent time of day for your yoga routine, but it’s not for everyone. If you find yourself cursing every time the alarm wakes you up, it’s probably not for you, and that’s perfectly okay. We all operate in different rhythms, so find what works for you.
It’s far better to be consistent with your yoga practice than it is to force yourself up in the morning and resent it.