Long story short, an email from Meryem in Toronto about waking up early six days a week to practice has turned into the establishment of the Way-Before-Breakfast Club designed for morning-challenged ashtangis.
Since writing about my rough start trying to wake up at 5:30 a.m. — six mornings a week — to practice after managing to maintain a six-day-a-week practice for a year, I’ve had a few responses from yogis who are in similar positions. The question is always how — but in the case of this particular email this past weekend from Meryem (who emailed me cold turkey, by the way — we don’t know each other), it was also about with whom? Meryem felt that perhaps a buddy system is where it’s at, when it comes to trying to start up an early-morning practice at home.
That most excellent suggestion sparked the idea of creating a password-protected section of this website for a small group of people who want to help encourage each other and sustain a good level of compassionate accountability for revving up a committed early-morning practice.
- Prospective members need to be committed to practicing yoga six days a week, and earlier than they want to (so you may work nights, and maybe 10 a.m. is your early morning. The key is that doing this means sacrificing something important to you — e.g., sleep, time for other things, etc. — to make this work).
- Yoga does not have to equal Ashtanga every day, but it should have a strong Ashtanga mix. It’s not that I don’t want other styles of yoga here — I just think it’s better for a community to stay focused on the common ground of this practice. This too is relative — maybe you really sort of hate Ashtanga, but you want to like it, and and practicing it twice a week would feel like a ridiculously strong mix to you. If you already <3 Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, well, that’s a five- or six-day-a-week practice, I’m afraid.
- Members commit to either joining a calendar feed or deciding to skip the feed, but committing to posting a progress update on the page at least once a week.
- Members must commit to keeping themselves accountable, but not beating up on themselves for the days they fall short. We all have to have positive motivation for this . . . .
- . . . . that said . . . . So, life happens. And we fall off the wagon sometimes. But if there comes a point when a member has to give up trying and eight weeks have lapsed, that person will be asked to take a hiatus from the group. This would be done in the spirit of keeping the energy of the group a motivating and focused one.
Since the page is password-protected, I’ll share some of the content from it:
Welcome to the Way-Before-Breakfast Club, a cheerleading squad/support group for those of us who have a deep-seated desire to wake up at brutally early hours to practice Ashtanga yoga.
- Because we’re night owls.
- Because we’re morning people when morning = 7 a.m. or something more sane like that.
- Because we’re really busy.
- Because we’re really, really busy.
- Because we love to sleep.
- Because we love to dream.
- Because we live in cold regions of the world and it’s so damn cold at that hour.
- Because we live in warm weather climates and even though it’s not cold at that hour, it’s still that hour, which is bad enough.
- Because we don’t like to wake up when it’s pitch dark.
If you’re reading this, it’s because you have a password, so you and I have talked, and decided this club might be for you. We’ve gone over the option of you giving me your Google Calendar feed so I can add it to the calendar, my adding you to my Google Calendar feed, or you sending me your stats for the week, if we’ve agreed on going that route.
We’ve also gone over how the most important part is for you to use the comments section of this page to:
- Share tips.
- Announce your victories.
- Find commiseration for your less-than-stellar moments when you kept hitting the snooze button until you were eventually late for work, much less late for your pre-work practice.
How the system works:
I found a WordPress plugin that allows you to pull multiple Google Calendar feeds. This allows the flexibility for members to track their progress on their own calendar, which I can pull in. The plugin is called, simply enough, Google Calendar Events (god bless all the WordPress developers out there!), and I’m keeping it CSS-free and allowing it maintain its default look:
For each day, there’s a simple X/X system:
[Name]: [Yes or No on did you practice?] [Yes or No did you practice at the early-morning goal you've set for yourself?] (Any other notes, such as any detail you want to give, or how Y/N was N/A because it was a moon day, rest day or a ladies’ holiday).
Here’s how it looks when the mouse hovers it:
The idea is to have accountability, so I create each day as just a label (checking the all-day mark) and don’t worry about marking the actual time. Sometimes, though, I might add a little more detail. Like, the other morning, how 5:30 was destined to be a no-go because my husband and I were in Detroit until 11:30 p.m. at a sold-out (and awesome!) Dave Chappelle show. (In case you’re wondering, on days like that, I still practice — but later in the morning, which means I am rushed.)
If you want to join the Way-Before-Breakfast Club, drop me a line at ashtangayogarose [at] gmail.com, or send me a Facebook message here. Update 8/29/12: The group’s Google calendar is going strong, and we’ve created a digital lounge in which we chat about the practice — 99 percent practice, 1 percent posting — here on Mighybell, a new social network (I think of it as Pinterest meets private Google Group) created by the founder of Ning.
As I wrap this up — looking at the time, which is a very late 11:45 p.m. (yikes!), Hold Steady’s Stay Positive album is playing. This might have to be one of my top 10 albums of all time because it’s just so fun and inspiring. So I’ll say that if you’re trying to start that crazy early-morning practice and meet fits and starts, remember: You gotta stay positive.
‘Cause it’s one thing to start it with a positive jam
And it’s another thing to see it on through
And we couldn’t have even done this,
If it wasn’t for you
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
(Graphic credit: The Breakfast Club poster via this site.)
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