4 Reasons why early birds get all the worms and much much more!
The statement “I wake up before sunrise!” is quite often met with “How on earth do you manage that every day?!” or “Really?! That is so tough to do!” Yet Ayurveda, being a holistic science that emphasises a balanced routine, strongly advocates waking up before sunrise. One and half hours before, to be precise.
“Brahmemuhurte uttishthet swastho rakshartham ayushah” which translates into “To attain health and a long life, one must awaken in the brahma-muhurtam”. The brahma-muhurtam refers to the last part of the night, from 2 am to 6 am. It is the time of pure consciousness and is loaded with Sattva – which brings us to the first reason.
1. Take full advantage of brahma-muhurtam!
About an hour and a half before sunrise, a great shift in energy fills our space. And about half an hour before the sun lights up the sky, a second boom of energy dawns in the atmosphere. This time is considered best for attaining brahmagyan (meditation and self-analysis), supreme knowledge and eternal happiness. During this time the environment is pure, calm, and soothing and the mind is fresh after sleep.
2. Predominance of Vata dosha.
The time between 2 am and 6 am is dominated by Vata which is a quality of lightness, quickness and movement. Activities pertaining to those qualities will be effortless at this time of the day. Creativity and clarity generally peak before sunrise, students will greatly benefit from razor sharp concentration, focus and a strong memory. Since elimination of wastes from the body is governed by Vata, this is the ideal time to empty your bladder, clear out your bowels, wash off sweat and also rid the mind of the previous day’s mental and emotional wastes triggered by a confusing emotional partner, a boss barking out unreasonable deadlines, that jam at the traffic signal and other annoying sources.
3. Soak in the Sattva
Ever had days when everything seemed to run smoothly, when the day passed like a well-oiled machine? Actions were effortless, the mind felt light, the day seemed brighter than usual bringing a hidden smile across your face – you felt terribly lucky!
That is the effect of Sattva, one of the 3 fundamental gunas, relating to lightness, purity, dynamism and enthusiasm.
The oxygen that the body can receive is highest during the early hours of the morning and this Sattvic quality is further enhanced by spiritual practices like yoga asanas, pranayams, Sudarshan Kriya, chanting and meditation. The energy we need to spend during the rest of the day depends on the quality of these yogic practices – especially meditations. Waking up in Sattva prevents restlessness and grogginess that results from waking after sunrise.
4. Being in harmony with Nature
Nature is a wonder and is intelligent beyond anything our little minds can ever comprehend. She takes care of every leaf on every tree. Effortlessly, she pays attention to everything – from the tiniest of bacteria to us human beings. Nature thrives on rhythm. There is a rhythm in the solar system, in our planet, in our breathing, in our emotions and in nearly everything. A fast-paced modern lifestyle tends to move us out of this harmony and by a simple act of realigning ourselves, we can boost immunity and overall well-being. Rising early gives us an opportunity to marvel at the miracle of existence and allows this miracle to instil a deep-felt reverence for life itself. Rising after having rested, at a time when the day has not yet started and the night has not yet bid us goodbye, might just be the simplest solution for most of our health issues. If your morning routine involves an epic war with the alarm clock and a hectic rush to work, then do try and wake up early – at the earliest! What you stand to gain from this one change in habit far outweighs the couple of extra hours you may get to spend snoozing!
The writer, Dr Nisha Manikantan is an internationally acclaimed Ayurveda Physician, accomplished Wellness and Lifestyle Advisor and Art of Living faculty. Currently she is Director and Chief Consultant for the Cancer and Diabetes Care Program initiated in Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Science and Research, Bengaluru. She also acts as Advisor for Standardization and Quality Control at Sri Sri Ayurveda Pharmacy.