Since moving to Costa Rica, I’ve been struggling not to wake up at 4:30 every day. This is strange, as Costa Rica is a much quieter country than Nicaragua. There’s hardly any street vendors, I haven’t seen any day time parades, let alone one at four o’clock in the morning, and I’m surrounded here by jungle instead of the bustle of family life. When I wake, I hear the sounds of Howler monkeys as if they’re moving in waves through the forest. The birds make their welcome day sounds and the insects drone their different tunes, all blending into a soft melody that should be easy to sleep to. Here’s a sample I recorded at 5:00 this morning:
One little bird seemed to know I was recording. He perched on a tree right in front of the computer and chirped his little heart out. If you listen very closely, you can hear the low rumblings of the Howler monkeys in the background. The alarm at the end belongs to the boy who lives on the property
My teachers always recommend waking early to practice yoga and meditate. It’s called Sadhana, or a personal spiritual practice. Sadhana could be different for each person. For many regular practitioners of Kundalini yoga, Sadhana means waking early and practicing in a group together. For others, it means committing to a practice at the same time each day.
I’m pleased that my wake time has naturally moved forward several hours since my life once-upon-a-time in Texas. When I left Nicaragua, I was waking naturally at 6 am, and that worked well for me – allowing me enough time in the morning for my practice and breakfast before heading to work at the hotel. Now, I have an even later start time for my days, which should mean I get to sleep later, right?
Not so much. Sweet sunshine, a busy mind, or howlers each day have conspired to wake me earlier and earlier. Today I surrendered. Instead of laying in bed hoping to find my way back to sleep, I woke at 4:30 and rolled my yoga mat out. I then fell into the most amazing meditation. One meditation technique that I often utilize is following my breath. I’ll watch the natural rise and fall of each inhale and exhale and I’ll notice which parts of my body resist the inhale, or where I’m able to soften with the exhale. I’ll also subtly tune into the energetic effects of each breath.
This morning, my breath caught my attention like never before. I was able to be utterly present and drop completely into el momento. When I opened my eyes after the meditation, the sky had lightened to let in the sun. Pale pinks and purples streaked the sky as a precursor to the day. I moved my mat outside to enjoy the dawn with some sun salutations.
The practice was rejuvenating and a beautiful way to begin un dia libre, my day off. I’m not making a commitment to wake at this time every morning, but I am making a commitment to stop resisting if this is the path that my body and soul feel is right. It’s lovely to drop into a routine here, and it’s truly a gift to have time for the spiritual, the creative, the work, and the fun. Pura vida indeed!