5 Tips for an Amazing Morning Practice

Most Ashtangis practice in the morning. Many of us, at some crazy early hour, before the sun has even thought about coming up. If you’re a seasoned Ashtanga practitioner, you may have already developed a routine that works for you, to set yourself up for a great practice. Whether you have your own tricks or not, we’re giving you 5 simple tips to have an amazing morning practice.

5 Tips to Make your Morning Practice Amazing!

1. Try and avoid alcohol during the week

Most Ashtangis love a good beer – or if you’re me or Jelena Vesic, a good glass of wine. But I have come to learn over the years that having a beer or glass of wine the night before practice leaves me feeling bloated, over-tired and heavy the next day. This makes the whole practice feel more difficult than it already is.

I’ve found that saving my alcohol consumption for weekends, and Moon-days has really helped my practice.

2. Give yourself an hour or so to wake up before practice

I remember being at Purple Valley in Goa with David a few years back. Each morning there was a small group of us who woke up about an hour before practice to drink our hot water, coffee, and give ourselves some time to wake up. But the rest of the practitioners woke up right before entering the practice room. No water. No coffee.

Giving yourself an extra few minutes of sleep is great, but is often at the expense of your practice. It’s important to give your body and mind some time to wake up in the morning before engaging in such an intense activity.

3. Ideally, practice on an empty stomach

Before I found Ashtanga, I used to eat before every yoga class I attended. I figured I needed some fuel to keep me going in the class. But when I first started Ashtanga, my now husband made sure I didn’t eat before my morning practice. I’ve noticed that when I stopped having food before practice, it’s made my ability to perform the asanas, and vinyasas much easier. Things like Marichyasana C and D are way easier on an empty stomach. Trust me.

If you are someone who performs Noli at the beginning of your practice, you definitely know how hard it is to do on a full stomach!

4. Try adding some MCT/Coconut oil to your morning beverage for energy

Have you heard of Bulletproof Coffee? It’s not entirely vegan (as traditionally it’s made with butter or ghee), but we like a vegan version made with MCT/Coconut oil. It might seem strange at first. Coconut oil in my coffee?! But yes, this fat fueled beverage just might be the thing that helps to give you energy on an empty stomach for those morning practices.

You may have recently heard some bad things about coconut oil in the media – but fear not! These claims that coconut oil is bad for you are untrue. Fat is an important part of our diet and can help keep us fuller, longer. Adding a little bit of this fatty goodness to your coffee or morning beverage can help increase energy, improve mood and cognitive performance. And who doesn’t want that?

5. Stretch, or Foam Roll as a pre-practice routine

This practice can be tough on the body. While performing your stretching shenanigans may not be welcome in the practice room, you can totally do it before as a warm-up. Many practitioners benefit from a light stretching or foam-rolling routine before their practice. Using a foam roller, or acuball(s) can help to loosen up tight fascia or muscles that will help improve flexibility and range of motion.

While this practice isn’t all about performance, the ability to perform asanas and flow through vinyasas with greater ease can allow us to experience the practice more deeply. Try out some of these tips, and let us know how they go!

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Melissa Singh


  1. Shelby on December 13, 2017 at 11:23 am

    This is almost exactly what I do! I put butter in my coffee though, and do yin in a particular sequence to open up, I’m older and believe this helps prevent injury with a 5am practice.

    • Melissa Singh on December 19, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      That’s awesome 🙂 I’m glad it’s working for you!

  2. Maeva on December 15, 2017 at 5:13 am

    Love the tips on opil coco in the coffee I’m gonna try next week !

    • Melissa Singh on December 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Great! Let us know how you like it 🙂

  3. Barbara on September 25, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    I was looking for information on when to perform my daily routine around my ashtanga practice. I usually rinse my face, scrape my tongue, sometimes neti pot and then do my primary series. Nasaya oil after I lay down. So how about all the other routines, like abhyanga? I never drink or eat anything before my practice.
    I will put coconut oil in my coffee though. Which is after my lemon water, if I have a lot of time. Seems to be me I need to know what I should do before practice and after.

    • Melissa Singh on September 26, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Hey Barbara! I think you’re doing a great job with your pre-practice routine, that sounds great! As for post-practice definitely taking a few minutes to breathe and come gently out of practice. Then eating something high in protein, ensuring you’re drinking some water (coconut water or something with electrolytes would be great). I think Abhyanga is best done before bed. In the fall weather (at least here in Toronto) using a more warming oil like sesame would be great. It will definitely help you go off into dreamland. You could also think about sipping so warming, digestive tea throughout the day. And as I type this I’m realizing I should probably write a whole blog post on this! I hope this was helpful 🙂

  4. Earvin on April 2, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Thanks for sharing your best practices, Love to do yoga and cardio exercise. I’ll make sure that i did’nt eat before i do the exercise maybe that’s the reason why i feel so sleepy everytime i’m doing work out.

    • Melissa Singh on April 8, 2019 at 5:22 am

      Great! I find if I eat before, I don’t feel tired as much as I feel heavy. Let us know how it goes!