Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What it Takes to be a 6 AM Yogi in Buffalo, NY or How to Address THE SLEEPER

What it Takes to be a 6 AM Yogi in Buffalo, NY or How to Address THE SLEEPER




This blog post is long overdue. I have been teaching 6 AM Yoga in Buffalo, NY for over 3 years. There is a tried and true group that seems to have some sort of genetic predisposition to be able to do this. It is sort of like being naturally good at yoga or dancing. Some people can just wake up and go to yoga at 6 AM. It is their nature.

This blog post is not for them. This post is for those of you who really want to be a 6 AM yogi in Buffalo, but are not sure how to do it.

Here is what it takes:

1.     You have to be in touch with your dark, lazy side—we will call this THE SLEEPER. Even if it does not show up in any other part of your life, if you try to get up for 6 AM yoga, the sleeper will arise from within and sabotage you in ways you never even dreamed of.

2.     A good alarm clock. You can use your iPhone or something like that. But it can’t be one of those chiming, soft, gentle alarm sounds. You have to choose carefully- Suggestions? Foghorn, fire alarm, crying baby- things like that.

3.     A second alarm clock that you keep FAR, FAR away from your bed. Same rules apply for alarm sounds. For added challenge, put it in a dresser drawer or just outside of the bedroom door. Be sure it is at least 10 to 12 feet away from your bed. Know yourself, be brutally honest, know the sleeper inside, and plan accordingly.

4.     A Keurig or other high quality coffee machine. It must work fast. There is no time for boiling water, etc..  The truth is, any-one-thing can be a set-back, the sleeper will arise, and you will end up back in bed. Later, when you wake up with one leg in your yoga pants and your yoga bra around your neck, you won’t know how you got there. The sleeper will have won this round.

5.     A special, warm place for your yoga clothes. You might even consider sleeping in them or keeping them under your covers and changing before you get out of bed. I know this sounds extreme. But in the winter, in Buffalo, the transition from pajamas to yoga clothes is a challenge you need to take very seriously. The sleeper lives here.

6.     This isn’t required, but I imagine it would be really helpful- heated floors-- through your whole house. I wish I knew how great that feels. I imagine it would be super helpful.

7.     A down winter coat that was designed for subzero temperatures and covers your whole body to your feet. Mine looks like a sleeping bag with arms sewed on it. Keep it only for yoga. It will eventually acquire its own scent and you can find it in the dark simply by smell. This can be very helpful in the pre-dawn yoga prep hour. No coat = 1 point for the sleeper.

8.     Do NOT keep your yoga mat in  the car. It will become so cold that it might shatter during the sudden change in temperatures when you bring it into the studio or when you try to unroll it. The 6 AM rookies often make this mistake thinking that keeping the mat in the car will save them time. It doesn’t and the shards of shattering mat pieces might even be dangerous. Fear of the cold yoga mat empowers the sleeper.

9.     A remote starter for your car. I wish I knew what this was like too. I think about this each morning as I scrape the snow and ice off my truck, crack open the frozen door, sit on the icey seat. I think about how nice it would be…. And I get…sleepy, very sleepy…..

10. You have to go to bed at a decent hour. I won’t be too specific because we all have our own internal biorhythms. The range is somewhere between 8-11 PM. Otherwise, you should seriously consider just staying up.

11. It would be a huge advantage to sleep at the yoga studio. I think about this sometimes when my alarm goes off at 5 AM. I think, “I wish I was magically at the yoga studio.” This would be pricey as you would need to buy or rent a building, create a studio, and then sleep in it. But, it would be super helpful.

12. Know that you will not be alone. Know that there are 20 to 30 other yogis that will be there honoring your efforts. Each one of us that stands tall, in the yoga studio at 6 AM taking our first deep ujiyi breaths, knows the brute strength and courage that each one of us brought forth to be there. With each steely-eyed, face-to-face acknowledgement, we practice in our knowing that we are among the strongest individuals in the world (That might be a touch hyperbolic- but it sort of feels like that).

13. Be mentally strong. You know in your heart of hearts that if you go to yoga at 6 AM: (a) you will be done and have the rest of the day for X, Y, and Z, (b) you will feel amazing, (c) you will have your intention of good will and love set for the day, (d) your heart will be open, and (e) you will likely contribute to world peace all day long. Even in this knowing, as you awaken, the sleeper will start to lie to you. He will say, “Just 5 more minutes. No. 10 more minutes of sleep. You can walk into class right after the sun salutations and still get all the benefits of the class. No, you could do a home practice a bit later. No wait, you can go to the 9:30 AM class, the noon class, the 4:30 PM class, the 6:00 PM class, the 7:30 PM class, or even tomorrow….. yeah…… tomorrow, perfect.” The sleeper is powerful and seductive. Be strong.

14. Have a prepared response for the sleeper. Something like this: “Sleeper, I love you, I really do. You are super seductive with your cuddly blanket and heat, and all that. But I promised 20 people that I would go to 6 AM yoga. I posted it on Facebook, instagram, tweeted it, and snap chatted it to hundreds of people. It is out there. I live my life to go to 6 Am yoga. I am strong. I am powerful. I can get out of this bed no matter what sweet, sleepy lines you throw at me. I. CAN. DO. THIS.” At that point, drop your feet to the floor, grab your yoga clothes, and get to the coffee machine.

With these 14 steps you can beat the sleeper and get to class. The sleeper can be tamed, maybe even wants to be tamed. You see, the sleeper hangs around with these other interesting characters and, truth be told, it is not a good crowd. He hangs around with the just-one-more-glass-of-wine girl, the I-can-afford-that-super-cute-shirt shopper, the gossiping-is-not-really-gossiping-it’s-processing-talker, and the my-life-would-be-perfect-if-I-had-an-in-ground-pool-evnier. That group is no good and the sleeper, the healthy side of the sleeper, wants us to get up for 6 AM yoga, and drink, shop, gossip, and envy less, AND be happy more. The sleeper wants to be used for good not evil, like for a sweet nap after a long run, or an afternoon cuddle with a loved one.

Yeah, you can save your sleeper from a life of crime and it’s simple. Come to 6 AM yoga (for how to do this, see all the steps above).

Namaste,

Catherine Cook-Cottone (6 AM Yoga Teacher)

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