The Dark Night Yogi. Yeah, I like that. It sounds sort of, mysterious or like I could be some sort of vigilante. Too bad the sort of dark night I’m really talking about here is the time of day in which I am currently able to fit my practice. Like how do you find the time in your busy schedule to fit that yoga time or spiritual time or even work out time into your day?
It can be super challenging sometimes to find a consistent time, which would be my preference and so I have had to learn how to settle for less optimal times in my day to fit yoga in. With yoga asana and most physical activities, it is optimal to have eaten a meal at least two hours prior. This is yet another parameter to consider with this fit-in type of scheduling. My evening meditation, luckily, has always been consistent with bedtime. Asana has proven to be far more elusive. With two small children, one of which has a very inconsistent sleeping schedule, my usual 4:45am practice time has had to become flexible. I used to get up before the sun, breathe my merry way through my practice and be finished before anyone stirred. Children really have a way of helping inflexible and routine driven individuals, like me, to be more spontaneous or at least able to see other possibilities for many things in life, including practice. I used to be a real planner, always early and on time. Every detail of my schedule could be, for the most part, followed through upon with little discrepancy. I really depended on the familiarity and feeling that I knew what to expect. After my daughter, things changed for a time, but I was able to return to my schedule. Of course, being a bit late or having to cancel were small steps I had to adjust to.
It was after the birth of my son that things got really interesting. He didn’t sleep through the night at all until he was around ten months. Even then, it wasn’t a sure thing, but I was so grateful for at least a 4-5 hour stretch at a time for sleep, that it seemed like a miracle. Now he likes to wake up sometimes and hang out during the night or get up before 6am. If he gets sick, he is up constantly. This makes early morning practice somewhat of a difficulty because then I have trouble staying awake later in the day and that is really undesirable when there is absolutely no chance of a nap in sight. I know anyone with young children can relate to the sleeping debacle. Yet, throughout time, it has really not been a “normal” sleep pattern for small children to sleep solidly through the night. Recently, the one nap my son takes in the am has moved to the pm. My daughter is in pre-school in the mornings, so you can see the dilemma I am faced with, lol. I can’t even squeak in a late morning practice now. I must now practice in the early am a couple times a week and then do the rest after they are in bed at night.
Practicing yoga at night feels extremely different from the morning. For one, even though it has been two hours since I ate a meal, I still feel heavy at night. My mind seems less able to focus. I do feel stronger in some areas, but overall it will take some getting used to. When you practice first thing, the mind is generally fresh and clear. The body is fresh and clear. The day is fresh and clear. The physical and psychological aspects of this feeling are known to morning people for sure. I know that anytime I have left for work, yoga or a trip, the morning has a sense of beauty and untouched openness to it. I see very few people out and about. I feel like the energy of the morning is natural and restored by a restful period of night. It is an inspiring feeling and one that has always given me a very joyful feeling. The sun rises with a smile. I assume that is why morning people are often scowled at by those not morning people who think we are too perky and smiley for such an hour.
It sort of seems like when you get used to something, that’s when things decide to change. Over and over, this lesson has come up for me. To be more flexible and open to it. It’s sort of paradoxical really…always trying to create consistency against the one thing that remains consistent….change. For some reason the quote from Forrest Gump comes up every time I think about this, you must read it with a southern accent, “Life is like a box of chocolates, You never know what you’re gonna get.” Then I laugh my ass off. So for now I will be the Dark Night Yogi and I will continue to let life enrich my ability to relate to the world and most of all, be happy doing it. Hope you are able to find a little spot for you in your busy life too 🙂