Brahma muhurta is a period of two muhurtas , or about one and a half hours before dawn. In the Vedic tradition this period is considered as the ideal time for spiritual practices like prayer and meditation. Waking up during brahma muhurta also has many health benefits. The very first verse written in any Ayurvedic textbook while explaining about the daily regimen to be followed for health and long life is about the importance of brahma muhurta.In the Ashtanga Hridayam its written “brahma muhurtam uttishthet swastho rakshartham Ayusha:tatra sarvartha shantyartham smareccha madhusudanam” .The line translates as: ‘One should wake up in the brahma muhurta for sustaining perfect health and for achieving a long life span, as desired. ‘
About an hour and a half before the sunrise, a great shift in energy fills space. . Hope, inspiration and peace manifest at this time. This time is considered best for attaining bhram gyan , supreme knowledge and eternal happiness. At this time, the environment is pure and calm and soothing and the mind is fresh after sleep.This is the best time to start your day with yoga or exercises..
The daily routine or Dinacharya.
At brahmamuhurta, a high level of prana (vital life energy) which is necessary for the body is adequately present in the atmosphere. The pollution is at its minimum. The cheerful atmosphere has a considerable effect on the body and mind.In Sanskrit, the daily routine is called as Dinacharya. ‘Din’ means ‘day’ and ‘acharya’ means ‘to follow’ or ‘close to’. So, Dinacharya is an ideal daily schedule taking into account the nature’s cycle.
Vyayama or physical exercise comprises usually of some yoga postures like Surya Namaskaror sun salutation and breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhan Pranayam. But it can be anything including a walk or a swim. Early morning exercises remove stagnation in the body and mind, strengthen the digestive fire, reduce fat and give you an overall feeling of lightness and joy as it fills your body with good prana.
Ayurveda has given a deep thought to the daily routine, which when followed aligns our day perfectly to express our maximum potential and capabilities. This starts with getting up in the morning. The quality of our waking up decides the energy level for the day. A peaceful fresh start is always better to a dull, lethargic start with a heavy feeling. Scientific research has determined that in brahamuhurat, the oxygen level in the atmosphere is most (41%), which is beneficial to lungs.
Tuning our biological clock to the rising and setting of the sun, is the best way for reversing the aging process. Waking up during this brahma muhurta puts us in perfect synchronization to the natural clock.Because of the above time frames, the very first activity of the daily routine, i.e. rising, should be done shortly before sunrise.
Studies proove that early risers generally have a lower BMI (body mass index) and consequently are less likely to suffer from obesity. According to the same study, the earlier you get up the less likely you are to develop diabetes, or suffer from depression or insomnia.
I would prefer doing yogasanas and yoga rather than only exercises after I get up early morning before dawn..Exercises are aimed at building your muscles and physical strength and endurance. Exercises involve repetition of certain movements aimed at building a certain group of muscles, thereby increasing the muscle weight and improving strength of those body parts. It increases the blood supply to those parts. Most exercises increase your breath rate and heart rate. You consume more oxygen during exercises than when you are doing your daily routine activities.
Yoga asanas on the other hand, work in a totally
different fashion. The idea of asanas is not building muscles, but harmonizing
the body, breath and mind, thereby contributing to the overall health of the
individual. In the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, asana is described as “Sthiram Sukham
Asanam”, which means that which gives steadiness, stability and Joy is called
Asanas has to be done in a steady and calm manner and should induce peace and sense of well being. The oxygen consumption during asanas is lesser than your daily regular activities. Asanas reduces your breath and heart rate. Yoga decreases your Basal Metabolic Rate while exercises increase it. When performing asanas, your body is learning to use much less resources and be more efficient.Asanas are very scientific as each asana benefits certain organs and together we revitalize our whole body system.
Yoga asanas help in eliminating toxins. Asanas help in optimal secretions of the endocrinal glands, thereby balancing the emotions and improving relationships and social interactions.The effect of yoga goes beyond the body. Benefits of yoga include not only strength and steadiness of the body, but also physiological and mental health. Yoga prevents as well as alleviates health problems.
Yoga literally means integration or union of the mind and spirit.Asanas are prerequisites for the higher practices of pranayama, meditation and samadhi.
Asanas followed by pranayama, meditation
Pranayama ie breathing exercises for controlling breath or prana and meditation should be done after the asanas.Controlling our breath we control our mind from distractions by concentrating on the breath.Meditation is the process to reach the stillness of mind.A quality blend of asanas, pranayam and meditation at the brahmamuhurta for one hour is a good start for the day.It revitalizes body , mind and spirit.We unlock our hidden potential through this practice.In patanjali yogsutras great emphasis has been given on anusashana,abhyasa and vairagya.Or Self discipline.practice and detachment.For keeping our dinacharya or daily practice we need self discipline.It cannot be imposed by others.Abhyada or daily practice makes us perfect and centered.We become masters by practicing detachment from the distractions of mind and its desires by being in the witness consciousness rather than in our ego.By being in the present moment with awareness and focus if we practice the asanas,pranayamas and meditation regularly we accrue large health benefit and emotional and intellectual well being.
In patanjali yogasutras emphasis is on cultivating “chitta vritti nirodha”.That is controlling the vrittis ie emotions and distractions of the chitta or mind.So practicing yoga leads us to acheiving the stillness of mind by freeing the mind of all distractions.This stillness is the great source of energy which Nikola Tesla called scalar energy.Yoga is for the purpose of cultivating direct seeing or perceiving without imagining.Yoga leads to gnosis ie knowledge which is quite different from rational knowledge.The real known who is called the SEER.The seer resides in its own true nature ie stillness.Our journey of life is to unveil the ego consciousness and reside in our true nature ie stillness and become the Seer.So practicing yoga regularly we increase our perception, potential and well being which encompasses body, mind and the spirit.