What time to practice?
Without a doubt, the best time to do your practice is early morning… there’s a special energy at that time of day. Before the dawning of the early morning sun, there is a special, magical time called brahmamuhurtha. The energy is sattvic, meaning it’s pure; the mind hasn’t woken up and started all that chatter yet.
If you meditate in the evening, of course you will still feel some benefit – but not as much. Your brain has been “on” all day, and you have to clear all that junk of your mind, before you can get down to the actual business of meditating. If you’ve had a busy day, that can mean most of your meditation time is taken up with just trying not to think about that difficult journey home or the argument you had with your boss or whatever else is whirring around in there.
Personally, I am usually on my mat by around 6am – a little later than the traditional yogi time of 4am, but I still find that time just before sunrise beautiful. I love to really savour the moment, the silence. I light candles and just sit for meditation before starting my day; the household is quiet, and there is no danger of being disturbed.
I know it sounds like so much hard work, to be up and on your mat for meditation by 6am, but if you can create this rhythm it truly will help the quality of your meditation. In time you will find meditation much easier, rather than struggling with your mind as it tries to pull you into the external world.
Of course, if you’re waking earlier it’s a good idea to go to bed earlier too. I aim to be in bed by about 10pm and set the alarm for around 5:30-5:45.
I can hear you groaning from here! Nobody chooses to get up super early in the mornings, right? Especially in the deep, dark winter when it’s freezing cold… but I promise you: if you can get into this rhythm you will soon begin to feel absolutely fantastic.
Humour me; give yourself a couple of weeks of early bed times and early waking, meditating at 6am, and see how you feel. It can’t hurt to try, right?
I’ll leave you with this quote from Swami Satchitananda who was a famous spiritual master.
“The best time of meditation is brahmamuhurtha, it means before sunrise there is a special energy, awakening the part of the earth where you are living. The entire nature awakes and it awakens a very beautiful vital energy. On other hand, to meditate is a good thing, and there is never a wrong time to do a good thing.” Swami Satchitananda