by Eric Stewart
Beginning the week of September 16, Solaluna will be offering free, early-morning practice sessions. This is an opportunity for people to explore a personal practice in a space where others are also practicing.
Sessions will take place Mondays and Fridays and will run from 6:30-7:45 AM.
This brings up a very important question that may be running through your mind as you are reading:
What are we thinking with that 6:30 AM time?
We realize that we are not going to have hundreds of people beating down the door at 6:30 Monday morning all pepped up to do their yoga.
The people who do arrive will most likely be slow-moving and will look a little bleary-eyed at first.
And when these sleepy practitioners begin, it is entirely possible that they will experience sluggish, mucky resistance to yoga, accompanied by persuasive internal voices encouraging a retreat back to bed.
Which is surely just the thing you’ve been seeking to fill that early morning Monday & Friday slot on your calendar, is it not?
Mention of mucky resistance might seem an ineffective way to promote something that already doesn’t seem to have much going for it. Yet the resistance has to be mentioned 1) because it happens (if you’ve taken even a few yoga classes, you’ve experienced it), and 2) because it is intertwined with all the very good, truly wonderful reasons for practicing.
When I was just starting to teach yoga, my friend Chandler and I would meet early in the morning once per week and do sun salutations. I can tell you that I had a tremendous amount of resistance to waking up. I also had an equally tremendous amount of resistance during the first several cycles of the practice.
Then something magical would happen: the resistance would melt away, the practice would become supple and alive. It would become without question the thing I most wanted to be doing in that moment. A day with an early morning practice at its beginning was much more likely to be one that flowed and felt present and productive.
The benefits of an early morning practice are substantial. Yet accessing them requires coming to terms with something that appears diametrically opposed: that pesky resistance.
When I practiced with my friend, we were setting up conditions that were favorable to overcoming resistance. First of all, we had done enough yoga in classes and on our own to be familiar with the process. We had experienced resistance enough times in the past to know that it was temporary (even with such understanding, resistance can still be very compelling. It has a job to do after all. Resistance doesn’t mess around.)
Second, doing yoga with a friend reinforced the intention for both of us. Practicing consistently on dedicated days, always at the same early morning time further reinforced the intention.
Third, sustaining the practice over time created a history that further supported motivation while also making the pull of resistance less compelling.
Here’s What We’ll Do
If you feel capable of doing asanas for 45-50 minutes on your own and are curious about the benefits of an early-morning practice in the company of other people, we encourage you to come try it out. We will sit at the beginning for 10-15 minutes, and end with 10 minutes of savasana, with asana practice in between.
Maybe it’s a hard sell with the time and the resistance and all, but practice is a jewel. It’s really worth doing and it is a wonderful thing to experience alongside other people in the quiet of the morning. It will alter the rest of your day.
It’s just not something that can be sugar-coated. Practice waxes and wanes. Practice is a gift precisely because it has sluggish, frustrating and resistant patches in addition to the joyful, centered, insightful ones.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna mentions to his friend Arjuna that there are some things in the world that appear to be poison but turn out to be ambrosia. Sometimes practice is one of those things.