What is it that compels us to practice, even when it requires sacrifice, like dragging ourselves out of bed when we’d rather remain asleep? This essay examines why we dedicate ourselves despite the struggle, by exploring the question of why we wake:
In the first groggy moments upon waking—when my eyes beg to roll back inward so my mind can continue dreaming—there’s a choice to be made. I’m at a terrible disadvantage. The very device with which I seek to make this choice is the one desperately signaling for me to retreat once more into sleep. On some mornings, the pleading wins, and I savor those last liberated moments in bed, a twinge of defeat, but content with knowing that tomorrow will bring another chance.
Over time, however, another voice has grown stronger. One that transcends the whims and needs of my mind. A voice from the core of me that, on most days, wills me up and out of the warmth and comfort of my blankets into the chilly darkness of the early morning. It promises something even greater than the sweetness of my dreams, and I’ve come to know it well enough to believe its assurances, and rely on its subtle insistence to propel me up, bare feet on the cold floor, toward those hopeful, funny acts I complete with absolute devotion.
The hours before sunrise are known as the ambrosial hours. They are quiet, dark, and laden with potential. They are sweet with the promise of intimacy with the infinite. While there are benefits to practice at any and all times of day, yogis consider this time particularly potent. Perhaps because it is difficult to find such stillness elsewhere; perhaps because there is power in attuning yourself to the frequency of each dawning day. All I know is that I find an incomparable feeling of connection in these early hours, as the colors which signal the sun’s first rays swirl on the horizon. Like the world is making me an offering, and all I have to do to receive it is wake.
In honor of all the reasons we rise to meet our practice, we’ve put together a collection of classes that celebrate the magic and meaning of a morning ritual.