“Who wakes up early to live the moment where the light is reborn?” (Jalaluddin Rumi)
Waking up in the morning has two meanings: one is physical and another one is symbolic. On the one hand, your body wakes up from sleep. On the other hand, there is a symbolic awakening of a human soul to the Light and its liberation from the erratic illusions of the mind.
It is possible to emphasize one of these aspects during practice or balance attention between them in asana, pranayama, and meditation.
In this context, the depressive moods associated with the loss of activity and a growing sense of frustration are viewed as dwelling in the dark. Performing Surya Namaskar and other energetic practices in the period of Brahma Muhurta has a profound therapeutic effect on depressive personality disorders.
“A healthy person should wake up from sleep in the hour of Brahma Muhurta [from 3 to 6 a.m. depending on the time of sunrise] to protect own life.” (Ashtanga Hridayam)
Why going to such extremes? – The thing is that the nectar of Sattva guna (the energy of goodness) fills the air at this time. There is no better way to absorb it as in the course of yoga practice before dawn.
By waking up after dawn, people lose connection with the attributes of goodness: satisfaction, harmony, peace, tranquility, freshness of perception, optimism, and, eventually, happiness.
“Wake up at 4 a.m., in the hour of Brahma Muhurta, best time for spiritual contemplation, and begin to chant mantra. If you find it difficult, at least try to wake up before dawn. In the early morning hours after sleep, your mind is calm, pure, and fresh. At this time, your mind is like a blank sheet of paper and more or less free from the footprints of daily activities. It is very easy to reach your mind in the time of sattva guna (energy of goodness). Take a shower or wash your hands and start chanting mantra or meditating” (Swami Sivananda “Japa-Yoga”)
Opinions differ slightly as to the span of time constituting Brahma Muhurta. Ayurveda sets the time from 3 to 6 a.m., but notes that these instructions should be followed only by a healthy person.
This practice can be used as an instrument of general health self-diagnostics. My experience is to wake up around 5 a.m. every morning without an alarm. Oversleeping “my” time suggests that, for some reason, it took me longer to recover. I try to determine the problem (overfatigue, getting sick, etc) in the course of my morning yoga practice.
Sivananda yoga sets the awakening time for 4 a.m. Modern practitioners find it possible to shift the required time to an hour and a half before dawn. This time span equals to two muhurtas (48 minutes х 2), and namely, 1 hour 36 minutes.
At Devraha Baba Ashram, tradition I belong to, the morning practice and meditation start at 3 a.m.
The influence of dosha’s activity on the physical health
It should be noted that the period from 2 to 6 a.m. is the time of Vata dosha activity, which realises the principle of movement. It means that the body will be tuned to disposing of waste and toxins. A purified body is a perfect vessel for the practice of pranayama, kriya, prayer, and meditation.
Kapha dosha is active from 6 to 10 a.m. Waking-up at this hour will be followed by the accumulation of slime in the body. As a result, a person might suffer from breathing problems, constipation, intoxication, apathy, slackness in work, chronic fatigue, and the sense of carrying the burden of life.
Pitta dosha is active after 10 a.m. The energy of fire may cause excessive bile flow, irritation, accelerated ageing, anger, vanity, and instigate an unavailing pursuit of elusive happiness and joy.
“He, who aspires to see God, always wakes up at the hour of Brahma Muhurta (before dawn), crosses his legs in Padmasana … he tells his beads and chants mantra quietly” (Swami Sivananda “Japa-Yoga”)
This time is dedicated to Brahma, God of Creation. It’s the time when you recreate yourself for the new day.
The notion “Brahma Muhurta”encompasses the predawn hours, when the human soul and the Universe join in a very special interaction.
Yogis tune up with the subtle vibrations of the macrocosm as a camertone for balancing internal elements (earth, water, air, fire, and ether), doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), and vayus (prana, apana, udana, vyana, and samana).
The designs of our lives are drawn by powers we cannot fully understand or control. However, we can endeavor to embrace every day with joy and open consciousness.
Photos by Michail Aseev