Do not fear the Dawn: An interview with our Sunrise Yoga Guru

I will admit it–I have always aspired to be one of those yogis who rises before the sun to practice, ready to face the day with energy, clarity and compassion. Yet my daily routine continues to include staying up too late watching old episodes of Glee on Netflix, and rising grumpily to the sounds of a singing toddler. This is why I was surprised when so many of our students requested that we add an early bird class. Apparently we all have grand visions of ourselves doing sunrise yoga! Luckily, we have one amazing teacher who stepped up to the plate to inspire and guide those who are willing to beat the clock. I decided to interview our early bird teacher, Brianne Nadi, on the merits of the dawn.

KH: What do you love about practicing so early in the morning?

BN: There are many things I love about an early morning practice. I love being with the sun as it rises. I love hearing the city slowly wake up around me – being in the the calm of the morning before the storm of the day– it’s magical! I often feel quiet in my mind at this time, which makes for a deep meditative practice, this helps me listen clearly to my mind and heart and making sure they are on the same team. All of the yogi masters speak of the early morning being the best time to practice yoga, I feel like I’m honoring a timeless tradition when I practice then, like I’m practicing with the great Mystics from before. On the physical level I have found early morning routines to be very beneficial to my sluggish digestion, and sometimes sluggish energy- it increases my stamina through out the day. Practicing deep breathing in the morning clears out my sinuses and has helps me overcome any anxiousness. Knowing I’ve completed my practice early gives me confidence for my day and my path ahead.

KH: How did you get into yoga? Why did you decide to become a teacher?

BN: I found yoga in high school. I was a troubled teen. In an effort to disconnect from unhealthy peers and substances I began taking yoga classes and exploring the different spiritual groups in my hometown, Santa Cruz, CA. Yoga helped me find my inner spirit, and helped me to be present, and to make positive choices in each day.¬†Through college my practice grew, I explored many styles and teachers, I began to find friends who also practiced yoga. A girlfriend and I started a Bhakti Yoga club on campus. We would chant, stretch, meditate, read sacred texts, philosophize and eat yummy vegan potlucks. In college I was a social science major, I wanted to save the world and bring peace and justice to others. In yoga I learned that true peace comes from within. So after college I started my path as a teacher- with a firm belief that by sharing this wisdom I’m contributing to the greater good of the planet. I truly believe in the power of humans to do good things. I believe in the power of one individual to bring peace to all by bringing peace to themselves. I love that yoga really is for anyone- and mostly what it does is help people find personal power from within. I’m non dogmatic in my teaching- I offer new truths from different paths each week that have come to me on my own personal journey with yoga. When I teach it’s a mutual exchange of good things between all in the room- we are all teachers, and students.

KH: What do your early bird students love most about your class?

BN: What most students love about this class is the sense of accomplishment they feel once they leave. They’ve taken time to grow stronger in their body, wiser in their mind, and they’ve found some peace in their spirit. Now the day is theirs! The students that have been coming regularly also enjoy the sense of community that has built up in this class- there’s a real sense of loyalty to those who show up with the song birds! It’s definitely a different vibe from the more packed evening yoga classes. It’s not easy getting up early sometimes, I know. But I encourage all yogis to try it:your body will get in a groove eventually you just gotta stick with it! Love and All, is here.

Join Brianne for her special Sunrise Flow every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30-7:30am! Only at Yoga Refuge, 7831 SE Stark St #300 in Portland, OR.

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