Daily Yoga App & Morning Routine For A Calm Mind & Insight – Ekaminhale
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Daily Yoga App & Morning Routine For A Calm Mind & Insight

Purpose of the Daily Yoga App & Morning Routine

1. Create & maintain the habit of a daily Ashtanga Mysore yoga practice to calm the mind and gain insight. (Not for exercise).

2. Organize your day so you achieve purpose #1 and make space for first thoughts first.


Morning Routine: First Thoughts First

I structure my day so I prioritize first thoughts first.

First as being the most important and then leaving the least important for last or not at all.

You'll see which thoughts I classify as most important as you read through the routine but in general there are two main categories

1. Thoughts that arise from within (Most important)

2. Thoughts that come from external sources (Second or not at all depending on source and quality)

To make space for the internal thoughts to arise I block out external inputs from the evening till after my yoga practice.

This allows time to digest the thoughts from the previous day, dream & then using the practice of yoga in the way it was traditionally practiced, calm the mind.

When the new day begins & I enter the world with it's every increasing demands for my attention I can face it with greater clarity and mental strength.

Each step will have its own blog post to go with it eventually but for now you can use some, one, or all of the steps depending on what works for you.

I don’t get it right 100% of the time but this is generally what I aim for.

The zoomed out view of my daily routine looks like this

Step 1. Get up during Brahma Muhurta

Wisdom is radiant and unfading
and she is easily discerned by those who seek her
She hastens to make herself known by those who desire her
He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,
for he will find her sitting at his gates.
(Wisdom 7:7-15) 

Brahma Muhurta is the time of day approximately an a hour and a half before sunrise. 

Yogis and many spiritual traditions recommend this time to do spiritual practices because the world and your mind are the calmest. [1]

I’ve found that practicing at this time also results in two very positive outcomes. 

One is that your practice always gets done because it's the first thing you do. 

It is unlikely anything will get in your way at that time since the rest of the world is still sleeping. (unless you check your phone - more on that next.)

Then the second outcome is that it forces you to go to bed early if you want to get enough sleep. 

I often say most of my worst decisions in life were made after 9 PM anyway.

After a good nights sleep of 8 hours I wake up and then I have water and coffee (coffee optional obviously)

VERY IMPORTANT - No external mental inputs at this time. You aren’t going to get insight if you block it with less important thoughts from books, cell phones etc.

Much like fasting there needs to be time for nature to act. 

***If your cell phone is the only means of contact then you need to set up something different like a home phone for emergencies.

I recommend journalling to clear out more clutter with a a practice called Morning pages. [2]

I also often write what dreams I’ve had or thoughts that came in when just waking up.

Step 2. Do Your Practice - Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Style

Why Ashtanga Yoga Mysore style?

Other than they are probably the only ones up at that time it’s because a Mysore room offers the conditions that support our purpose. 

1. Silence (where else can you practice in silence with a group & teacher?)

2. A focus on the breath - "when a person breathes God is at work" - Sri K Pattabhi Jois [3]

3. Each person can do an individual practice that takes into account the limits of their unique biology. [4]

4. A teacher to guide you and stop you from going into territory you aren't ready for. (This is an in depth topic I discuss in the first email course here)

5. The practice begins with Sun Salutations, the cornerstone of any yoga practice. 

To see a demonstration of how the movements of Sun Salutations are coordinated with the breath click here.

If you can't find a Mysore Program:

I practiced many years without a teacher because there wasn’t one near me. It can work for periods of time but not a good long term approach. At least a couple times each year you should visit an experienced teacher to observe you and guide you.  

WORD OF CAUTION: If you find that your teacher doesn’t support the reason you do yoga then find one who does. Your practice should benefit your life not take away from it but how that looks will be very individual and change over time.

Also i've learned that it is better to not have a teacher than one with no experience practicing themselves. The information you get from teachers who don't practice what they teach just confuses the student and worse leads them down the wrong path.

Step 3. After Practice - Journal

What did you hear? What did you learn? 

I write down what I learned in my practice both on a physical level and also what insights I had.

This approach is often referred to as deliberate practice.

It means you are not just running through another routine mindlessly but paying attention. Listening to what you learn from your body

I also pay very close attention to what arises at the end of practice when I take rest. Often the answer to a question I’ve asked in step 8 is there.

Step 4. External Inputs -  Begin Your Day With High Quality Thoughts

Now that you’ve given space for insight, your body to speak and yesterday's inputs to digest . You can start to “ingest” external information.

The source & quality of the information you take in and the thoughts it creates affects the path you take in life.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny. - Upanishads”

― Upanishads

So just like you want to build your body from high quality food.

Choose to build your mind with high quality thoughts using this practice I learned from Ram Dass’s book Polishing the Mirror.

"A more skillful use of the intellect is contemplation. It is also a form of Jnana yoga, the path of knowledge and wisdom. In this Yoga of the mind you use the mind to reflect on itself. For example each morning, take out a holy book and work with a thought. Don’t read many pages, just take one thought and sit with it for 10 or 15 minutes. Think about it throughout your day. If we reflect on the qualities of Christ’s love, or of equanimity, kindness or compassion, we begin to take on those qualities. Sri Ramakrishna said , “If you meditate on your ideal you will acquire it’s nature. If you think of God day and night you will acquire the nature of God”

I integrated the ancient practice of meditating on a powerful thought into the daily routine with the App.

When you start to use your phone for the day I recommend the first thing you do is to check off that you’ve practiced.

Right after you will receive the wisdom quote to meditate on throughout the day.

I’ve curated all the quotes so they are “high quality thoughts” from holy books or wise men and women who had a connection to nature & the source.

People like Alan Watts, Carl Jung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Black Elk, Henry David Thoreau and more. 


5. Do your work - Makers Morning

What is the difference between humans and machines?

With more and more tasks being done by computers and next artificial intelligence  it’s a question I’ve thought about a lot.

To me it makes no sense to compete with a machine to do repetitive tasks because I’ll lose and I don’t want to do them anyway. Let the machine do my banking.

My approach to this new world with advancing technology has been to develop what computers can't do. My human qualities.

Deep question which I'll touch on here. What makes me human?

I asked myself - what is it that I can do but machines can't?

One is that machines don’t dream. They don’t have access to the unconscious like we do.

The unconscious is that bottomless source of creativity which allows us to bring forth into reality something new. Art.

Machines are different. They work with what is known and in the past. Machine’s replicate. They don’t create. At least not from the unconscious. 

Connecting to the unconscious and then creating with that wisdom is the central idea I teach about in my email series and the main reason I practice yoga.

My creative outlet is writing so in the morning after yoga I spend that time doing just that. Bringing forth into the world what I’ve learned from looking within.

I also learned this was a common routine for artists in the book Daily Rituals - How Artists Work. [5] & a post I share in Step 7.

A large majority would do their creative work in the morning then use the afternoon for the communications.

Step 6. Let Nature Affect You

By lunchtime I've pretty much won the day at least by the first thoughts first metric. Now I'm ready to allow in the less important external thoughts but first I try and find some nature to take a 15 to 20 min reboot. 

The benefits of being in nature and actually touching the earth (that we even are aware of) are far too extensive to mention here. You can read my blog post for more information

Step 7. Manager’s Afternoon

Finances, emails, messages, things I have to do etc all get done in the afternoon. This is the “little” stuff in life and I often don’t finish. What I've found is that If something is really important then the person who messages you on Facebook will call you.

This method actually filters out a lot of the stuff that simply makes no difference to your life. 

I learned how to break up my task like this from Paul Graham's Post where he also talks about separating your day like this makes you more effective [6]

Step 8. The Best Advice You Can Get

I learned this from Josh Waitzken in a podcast he did on the Tim Ferris Show.

Each day when he finishes his work he would ask a question to the unconscious. Hand over a problem for it to solve. Could be any problem you are dealing with in your life that you may need help with.

So what you do is write down the question in your journal then forget about it.

Step 9 helps with the forgetting. At some point the answer will arise. I've found often in the morning or after practice. (that's why you don't want to block it!)

9. Get Offline & Get Onland For Yoga Practice 2

I do a “digital sunset” which basically means ending the workday and getting off the screens. I  wrote all about why in the Yoga Blanket post here.

There are so many reasons to look up from your screen at this time of the day. You'll be less confused, you reduce your exposure to blue light, you get outside, you can connect with your family. 

We try to spend time outside as much as we can or at the climbing gym but often this time is spent with family making dinner, walking the dog and cleaning up etc. 

I used to hate cleaning and chores so much but now I think about the affect it has on my mind and my body and I find it enjoyable. 

Letting the day have its end digitally helps me reduce stress by blocking out the demands that can wait till I'm back at work.

It's called living in day tight compartments which has been lost due to our work phones and home phones being integrated. I explain more in the Yoga Blanket post. 

This is what  typical day looks like (Monday to Friday). Its not much different than how we used to live but it is much different than how people are now living. Im trying to find the best way to still take part in this new information rich world we have access too but not be taken over by it's highly addictive nature.  

Can anything we find outside ourselves be worth losing what is in us? 

Neitzsche said:


“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.”


These practices give us access to it. 

This post is part of a series when you download the app and sign up. You can download the app here:

Ekaminhale Daily Yoga Practice App

References & Further Information

Brahma Muhurta

2. Morning Pages How To From Julia Cameron and the Artist Way

3. Why the breath is important in Yoga 

4. Why it's important to respect Nature in your practice 

5. Ekaminhale Email Series

6. Daily Rituals How Artists Work

7. Maker's Morning, Manager's Afternoon Blog Post by Paul Graham