They say the best way to start your day is to get moving, and i’m sure it is. Yoga is one of the biggest morning rituals in the world. But if you’re well slept wouldn’t a coffee do the same thing? Well, yesterday I definitely gave myself the challenge of finding out.
After a little *too* much wine the previous night (see: early morning), and only two hours sleep I was up at 7am for a yoga workshop in the Western Australian bush.
We pulled up to a beautiful place called Happs Winery at 8am on the dot. It’s a beautiful art, winery and pottery gallery surrounded by lush gardens on different levels that overlooks the bush land of Dunsborough.
We were ask to choose a mat, find a space and began by doing some soothing stretching and breathing exercises. Our teacher Samarie urged us to think about our intentions- what did we want to work on? How did we want to approach our lives better? I set a goal to be more positive and focused on it.
Two hours of yoga ensued after our first set of stretches. Now, normally I would find two hours of anything a challenge, let alone a physical activity but I went into a totally different place. Starting your day by talking to yourself about what you want to achieve and taking a moment to think about only that really does change everything.
We were told to focus on different sounds; I’d listen to a score of crickets in the back ground, then divert my attention to the kookaburras wooping in the trees and it was like the crickets didn’t even exist anymore. The natural sound of the bush and the woods was almost defining and the most beautiful sound i’ve ever heard. My hangover had disappeared within the first 15 minutes of practice.
After our yoga session (which shot by!) we were served local brand Cape Press’s delicious fruit salad with whipped coconut and home-made granola, and a green juice that I was sceptical about but that was really seriously delicious. We talked about the food. How important it is to drink and eat living ingredients. A Weetabix for example, has the tiny grain of life that was originally in it sucked out by processes and sugars, but this green juice? Well, that’s just sunshine and plants in a jar! Yum.
After brekkie I was feeling particularly good. Next, we got comfy on the grass and began an hours talk and discussion about Ayurvedic Therapy.
I’m all for something natural and i’m all for learning, but I wasn’t prepared to be as genuinely interested as I was about this. This type of holistic therapy has been around for 60,000 years. To put it plainly Ayurvedic Therapy isn’t like the Medical care we receive now. It doesn’t just focus on our bodies, but on our feelings, mindset and how we are feeling spiritually. If you go to an Ayurvedic practitioner with a problem they will also scope our if you’re stressed, tense, anxious etc and take that into account. And so they should. Our mentality has such a huge affect on our health and wellbeing why wouldn’t you!?
What followed was a talk on The Sattvic way of life. Of “Rajas” and “Tamas”, the two states of being. To make it easy for you:
- “Rajas” (fast/energetic) is- when balanced- the achieving, motivated, get-up-and-go side of you. When un-balanced it’s the can’t-stop, burning the candle at both ends behaviour.
- “Tamas” (slow/relaxed) is- when balanced- the centered, calm, taking time for yourself behaviour. When un-balanced it’s the lazy, unmotivated, procrastinating stagnant side of you.
The idea is that you swing between the two of these, enjoying the energy and motivation of Rajas, but then often taking time for yourself to be curious, think and relax with Tamas. By creating a balanced and happy life this way, hopefully you will reach a more “Sattvic” state. The state of ultimate balance and happiness- basically how the Dalai Lama feels all the time. Whatever he’s doing he’s balanced, calm and positive.
I found this really interesting. I acknowledged i’m more of a Rajas character. I definitely have a Satvvic quality to myself, but need to remember to take time to be more Tamas.
It’s easy to scoff at these sort of practices, but really they’re a super helpful scale to make you realise how you behave, what kind of person you are and how you can make yourself happier and more balanced.
All in all I had an absolutely amazing morning. It set me up perfectly, I felt productive and positive for the rest of the day and I really felt like I knew and valued myself and my body that little bit more just from taking the time an decision to focus on it. It’s true that the best way to start the day is to get moving.
I’m pretty sure coffee can’t do that.