I’m a morning person, I’ve come to accept. It started as me being an insomniac for much of my life and just accepting that since I wake up at 4 am regularly, I might as well just become a morning person.
But just because I’m a morning person, doesn’t mean it’s any easier for me to get out of bed. Especially when I don’t get restful sleep, but my internal clock still gets me up at 5 am. I am most certainly my most creative and productive in the wee hours of the morn, but that initial push to get out of bed is still a challenge.
I’ve recently rearranged my schedule(based on some new projects and work) to have 3 hours in the morning dedicated to my spiritual practice, and my creative work. I want my priority right now (creative work) to be at the time where I’m most energized(morning) and the most centered (spiritual practice.) I love the structure I’ve created in the morning, but getting to it is still 50/50 most days as of right now.
My favorite days are when I wake up to my alarm and say to myself, “Hey, I did it! I got up! sweet, can’t wait to get started.” and then immediately pass back out for another hour and a half.
However, I’ve just recently started incorporating breathwork as the first thing I do when my alarm goes off. As a practicing Yogi, I do breathwork all the time even in the morning, but it wasn’t until I heard my one friend start to do breathwork to get out of bed, that I decided to give that a try. To do a breathwork practice while I’m still laying in my cozy sheets, all warm and snuggly and never getting up to do anything ever again.
There are heating breath practices and cooling breath practices. Heating practices are much more energizing (as the name suggests) and the ones that you’re going to want to use if you try doing breathwork to get out of bed.
I’ve been using Skull Shining Breath or Kapalbhati Pranayama, to start my day. Most breath practices require you to be sitting upright, but for the sake of our goal here, the practice goes like this:
- Laying down in your bed, start to pay attention to your breathing, specifically the rise and fall of your belly.
- Take a breath in through the nose, and sharply exhale by forcefully contracting your lower abdomen.
- After you exhale you’ll naturally inhale without any effort.
- Continue sharply forcefully exhaling, allowing the inhale to come effortlessly, for 20–40 consecutive breaths.
That’s it. It’s a really simple practice and definitely takes some time to get used to, but it gives me just enough juice and energy to feel comfortable getting out of bed without crying.
“Kapal” translates to skull, and “Bhati” translates to light. This practice is essentially illuminating, cleansing, and energizing the mind, hence why it is called Skull Shining Breath.
“Lighting up your skull” sounds weird, but also sounds like the perfect remedy for “brain fog,” doesn’t it? All of us like to plan and schedule our morning routines, modeling them after high performers and such. But few of us ever even make it there. If you have trouble getting up in the morning (like I did this morning.) try Kapalbhati Pranayama, and see if it makes a difference.