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Photo Credit: verchmarco Flickr via Compfight cc

For about three months now, several days a week the first thing I do upon waking is yoga. I have a new space, closed off from the rest of the house, so I can do it in silence and without waking anyone else.

The practice has been wonderfully calming, a great way to start the day. I cherish the quiet time since I know that is the only true quiet time I will get during the day.

This routine has been fairly easy to maintain so far. I was on break for about three weeks and I stopped teaching an early-morning yoga class, so my schedule was a little more free-wheeling. But now that school has started, I am wondering how I will be able to maintain this routine.

I don’t do a physical yoga practice every time I go into my room. On occasion I do a meditation practice. More and more I’m seeing the similarities between yoga and meditation, the only difference is that the former is more physical. But my brain still works in the same way doing both.

The challenge right now is finding time to do two things that are very important to me: yoga/meditation and writing. Traditionally, the early morning was my writing time. Once the rest of the day “hits,” it’s difficult to carve out time to write. Reading and research, yes, but not actual writing. I suppose I could awaken around 5 a.m. and do both, but at this moment I’m resistant to that solution! That may change, we’ll see.

In the past couple of weeks, I have chosen to write upon waking instead of going into my yoga room. I’m trying to not feel guilty about this — yoga has helped me to let go of the “shoulds” in my life. I’m trying to do a better job listening to my instinct. Some mornings I wake up and I feel called to write.

I’ve been honoring that instinct. And you know what? Sitting at my computer, typing out thoughts, coffee at my side, feels exactly like the feeling I get when I’m practicing yoga or meditation. It’s quiet and I’m in the moment with my thoughts. I feel calm and relaxed, and that’s the tone I want to set for the entire day.

So I’m not going to set rules for myself, such as “practice yoga five mornings a week” or “write five mornings a week.” My goal instead is to have that quiet time each morning. Maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s writing, but whatever it is, it’s going to be meditative.

What’s your morning routine? When you have competing interests, how do you decide what to do?