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Images below, first & second from bottom - The Frog Pose, courtesy Dave King/ Dorling Kindersley.

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Amrit Vela: Rise & Shine

by GURU KAUR

 

Why do you get up in the morning?

To go to work? Have breakfast? Or for yourself? 

How you answer this question will determine what sort of day you're going to enjoy ahead of you.

We all face those duvet moments.  But getting up and getting on with starting your day positively will reap benefits for you way beyond that false security of a few more moments in bed. You'll feel young again, ditch some of those aches and pains, and by making sure you start your day afresh and fresh-faced you'll feel much happier and healthier too.

The human body is designed to s-t-r-e-t-c-h first thing to get things moving again so it's a good idea to start off with that.  It puts you all back together again after your night's rest. 

You also need to sweat everyday to keep your system flushed out and clean: do some exercise to warm up your muscles, circulate the blood and work those joints. Revitalise your lungs and flush out the old air which is in the bottom of them with new oxygen, it'll give you the kick-start you usually get from coffee.  Deep, slow breathing is absolutely perfect for that.

That takes care of the body. 

But what about what you're thinking?  Let go of the thoughts and emotions you're carrying over from yesterday: they're stale, and they are what make you look old, too. 

Retune your inner radio station to one that you want to listen to all day:  listen, deeply listen, to what's going on in your head and when you hear thoughts you don't like, imagine you're turning a dial until you tune into ones you do like.

It's true: early to rise makes you wise.  Since the dawn of time, wise people around the globe have been doing it.  Why? Because the thoughts you have at that time are magnified in their impact.  Get into the habit of re-orientating what you think about before your air-waves get clogged up with other people's thoughts and opinions.

Next, practice slowing your breath down to four to five breaths a minute.  This settles your emotions, bringing them under your control.  You will feel calmer and less vulnerable to stress throughout the day and be far less reactive to other people's problems.

Finally, focus on your intention for the day, and how you're going to make your today better than your yesterday.

Getting up that little bit earlier than you need gives you time to enjoy the little details in life which so often we forget to notice.  Even in the dark mornings of these winter months, embrace the darkness, peace and solitude as your own private practice and find a lightness within you to fuel your optimism for your day ahead. 

Build one day at a time positively, consciously, and you build a lifetime of awareness.

When you get up earlier than you need, you give yourself an added bonus: you build self-discipline.  No one knows you got up, other than you. 

Go on, just try it, for a week and see what a sense of satisfaction you get.

It helps to have a regular morning class to go to, even if only once a week, to keep you motivated or to set yourself a little routine.  Don't set yourself up to fail and aim for 2.5 hours and then never do it.  My first teacher suggested I do a three minute meditation. 

"Is that all?" I said. 

"Yes, just do it every day, first thing".

So when you next wake up and want to roll over for those extra moments, don't stop until you fall right out of bed.  Pick yourself up and say "It's a beautiful day". 

And it will be.

Five things to start your day:

1    Splash your face and body with cold water - to bring a natural refreshing glow to the skin

2    Have a warm drink or a glass of water

3    Stretch and exercise - to keep you feeling young and healthy

4    Breath long, deep and slow - to keep you calm and connected

5    Set your intention for your day - make your day work for you

 

Try this simple exercise and meditation:

Frog Pose: Place the toes on the ground, heels together off the ground, fingers on the ground between the knees and lift the head up.  Inhale, raise the bum high.  Lower the forehead towards the knees and keep the heels off the ground.  Exhale, coming back to the original squatting position, face forward. 

That's one frog. 

The goal is 108, but start with 27.

Sit quietly with the eyes closed, hands on the centre of the chest, palms facing in, spine straight and rock 4 to 6 inches gently forward and back, and whisper to yourself "Love you" as you go forward and "Bless you" as you rock back, for 3 to 31 minutes.

 

[Guru Kaur runs the Be the Woman You Were Born to Be ... Online Course and Community, and is the host of the new series of Regally GracefulTM Teleseminars which offer you, for free, better solutions to traditional challenges.]  

January 7, 2009

Conversation about this article

1: Sevak (U.S.A.), January 07, 2009, 10:55 AM.

Very nicely done. I pray all is well with everyone. Thank you for your kind hospitality. Blessings and joy in service.

2: satvinder  (London, United Kingdom), January 08, 2009, 9:06 AM.

Great article!

3: Tejwant (Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.), January 08, 2009, 10:40 AM.

Most of the religions believe that accountability is only after death, which makes one wonder that as we can take nothing with us when we die, how can we carry all the ledgers of our lives there? This concept was created by a few, sitting crosslegged on their high chairs using fear tactics so that all the ones needing brokers to seek God would fall under their spell, which even happens nowadays. "Farida, char gavaieah hund kei, char gavaieah sun, Lekha rub mangesiah, tun kerei aahoh kum? - O Man, you waste 12 hours wandering around and the other 12 by sleeping, When your time for accountability comes, how will you explain what you have been upto?" A Sikh has a 'Day Book' which he/she opens when rising in the morn. The book is closed shut when we recite Soheila at night: "Deu sajan assissirian, jei hovei sahib seu meil - O Lord, give me thy blessings when I meet you (in other words, when my last breath is gone)". So a Sikh is born (consciously aware) when he wakes up and ready to die when he goes to bed. In Sikh life, accountability is a must and it should happen with every breath we take, the same way a bookkeeper keeps track of every transaction in his day book. Amrit Vela is the first transaction in our Day Book. Now the question arises: what is Amrit Vela? In the old days, everyone used to work from dawn to dusk. So Amrit Vela became the early hours of the morning. But now we all live in different time zones. All of us have different Amrit Velas, depending on where we live. Secondly, now we live in a 24 hour world where people get up at different times to do their Kirat. In Las Vegas, where I live, everyone has a different Amrit Vela. In other words, Amrit Vela is when you are ready to start your day book, not any prescribed hour of the day. I know lots of Sikhs who get up at 2 am, take a shower, do Nitnem and go back to sleep. Would we call this Amrit Vela?

4: Meena Sidhu (Pleasanton, U.S.A.), January 08, 2009, 4:55 PM.

This is a beautiful meditation and I like it.

5: Sukh (Isleworth, England), January 09, 2009, 8:40 AM.

I like the article.

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