Monday, November 14, 2011

Quitting by 6am

I rolled quietly out of bed this morning at 5:41am ready to head downstairs for a bout of some kind of moving and sweating. I’ve learned that getting my 45 minutes of exercise in early sets a great tone for the rest of the day and ensures I don’t find an excuse later on to nix the whole idea. I also know Jennifer Lopez gets up at 5:30am as well and that's got to be worth something. It also allows me to start the breakfast grill at 7am and get the house rocking and rolling with energy behind me.

Secretly, what I love most about this time is that it is all mine. It is quiet and dark and all my little peeps are sleeping in their respective beds. I feel like I own the world. And my only job is to move and flow and listen to my breath in whatever way suits my fancy.

This morning’s adventure started with a tiptoe over the scattered tractors and trains on the living room floor where my yoga mat goes. In a slight bit of a grump, but not too much, I picked up a few toys and eventually decided to head to the other room for my practise, farther away from the bedrooms. But this means waking up the dogs. This room has ‘their’ window from their yard and they surely want in to be with everyone once they see activity in the household. I let the dogs in.

Down went my yoga mat, in the video machine went my yoga instructor and steady on was I. Within seconds I was getting tongue bathed by two very smelly, furry beasts with terrible breath but I repeatedly asked them to take to their beds and pushed the discomfort out of my mind and continued with a viciously focused warrior pose.

Within 20 minutes I heard the pitter patter of little feet coming down the stairs. Apparently their father had given them a flashlight to make it down in the dark. They had told him that I was not home and they wanted to come downstairs to play. Much earlier than their usual waking time, but I was willing to go with it.

Now they were asking for their own yoga mats. I find them yoga mats. Breath. Breath. Breath. My resolve is unwavering. I will not allow these distractions to take over this quiet time I have to myself.

“I don’t like this movie, I want a different movie”, says my son. Mommy is doing her yoga now, if you want to go somewhere else to play you are welcome to. Breath. Sun Salutation.

“This pose is too hard, I can’t do it”, says my participating daughter. Put your feet closer together, like this, there, how does that feel? Better, she smiles.

The whole point of this practise is to prove that I will not be phased by distractions. That the world can go to poop all around and I am still as steady as a mountain. Tree pose, my favourite, the one that combines balance, strength, flexibility, focus, and standing firm and tall. I am starting to grit my teeth more than I would like.

At this time I am wondering how my husband is enjoying his extra sleep. Probably very much considering our bed is usually a veritable circus act or climbing gym every morning before the sun comes up.

The sun is not yet up by the way. The dogs are still smelly and licking me in the face every time I do a Down-Dog pose - which is often. My son now has his chomping, battery=operated dinosaur in my ear and he is testing to see if I can hold my balance while he does this. Peace. Inner tranquility. Undistracted.

Now I’m doing the floor poses. The hour long video is almost up. I can barely hear the teacher over the sound of my son’s drill pretending to make holes in my mat. My daughter is now upset about something and has taken to pouting and glaring at me out from under her freshly cut bangs that are too long (she cut them herself).

Finally, I break. I say a word I can’t repeat here. Nice and loud. The thing is, yoga opens you up to everything. Turns out anger is made more readily accessible just like peace and tranquility too.

My husband comes running downstairs to be met by a toy dinosaur flying across the room.

Now I wonder, is it possible to get some time to myself in the morning? Should I have awoken even earlier? Been even quieter?

Once the dust settled and the dinosaur now missing a leg was pitched in the trash with promises of finding a new one at the store, I was able to explain to my dear, sweet angels what mommy’s intentions are when she does yoga. Mommy needs some quiet time to herself. Mommy hopes not to be disturbed.

My daughter tells me they will come downstairs in the future and play quietly in the other room if they see that I am doing yoga. I think that is a great idea.

Take the dogs with you, I say.

I have to admit that I quit the whole thing this morning. Resigned myself to gaining 100 pounds because I would no longer find the time or freedom to exercise. I would only ever sign up for robot tasks like laundry and dishes and chauffeuring because how dare I try to do something to call my own? I quit the whole thing - for a few hours this morning.

Then something seeped back. The knowledge that the only thing I had to be upset about was that something had been taken away from me. How can something be taken away if you never had it in the first place? I had seen it. The elusive resolve to continue with an exercise practise. It had returned. And been taken away, for only a few relatively short moments.

I’ll be back at it tomorrow. You can't get away that easily.


  1. That sounds like yoga at my house! Only my kids are teenagers and love to point out that I'm not a flexible as the people on the dvd. And there's a couple of cats, one of which tries to sit on my head. But the dog definitely "washes" my face. Or curls up to sleep on one end of the mat.

    Good for you for persevering. It's enough to make a saint scream. As I write this I'm wondering how your practice went this morning?

  2. Thanks for asking! Today will be a running day - the sun is expected to shine. I'll keep you posted. I realize that the most important thing about the morning instead of some other time of the day that I can cobble is that it sets my mood for the day. Important. I also tend to get caught up in the momentum of the day's tasks and find it harder to eject myself into a different inertia. That's just me. I also need to be careful of my expectations. I have often done yoga with dogs, kids and the like but never when I actually EXPECTED to be alone and in quiet. I suppose my morning practise will be what it will be. That's yoga for you.

  3. This made me giggle, because you could see the bad word and flying dinosaur coming early on in the story. Good for you for recognizing that you need this time for yourself in the morning. I hope your family learns to recognize it too!

  4. I have to admit, I had a good chuckle :)
    I'd be the girl in the bed upstairs,and um, well it shows if we're being honest. Good try, hopefully time is your own tomorrow.

  5. Thing is, when I finally have time to exercise I am prone to find something else to do. Something resembling a chore that with great imagination I will call exercise. I'm thinking I need to be called out on the (yoga)mat on this one :O


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