It’s 4 a.m. and yoga enthusiast Dmytro Isaiev is getting ready for the day on the rooftop of a Toronto condo.
His mind and body are relaxed and balanced despite the morning chill.
A thick fog has covered the city, hiding empty streets. The only noise comes from the wind blowing outside.
In a few hours he will make breakfast for his wife and dog.
For the past two years, Isaiev has trained his body to be awake and ready for exercise and productivity. He believes his mind and body respond better to yoga and sport in the early morning.
“I think my brain functions better in the morning, while my thoughts are not chaotic. I start with a 10-minute meditation which helps me concentrate on my feelings and makes me really ready to absorb the morning news,” Isaiev says.
Originally from Ukraine, Isaiev came to Canada four years ago to find “a better life.” He is now married and expecting a child. He finished a two-year massage therapy program at Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy and will soon complete the exam that allows him to get registered as a massage therapist with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario.
(Story continues below)
“I think my brain functions better in the morning, while my thoughts are not chaotic.”
“My 4 a.m. experience probably will help our family. I understand that I’m not the best at breastfeeding but I can assure you that there are other ways to help with your baby,” Isaiev says. “Because in the end, it’s all about being there and showing the love.”
According to a 2014 Statistics Canada survey on daily stress, 23 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over reported “quite a bit” of stress, or had days that were “extremely stressful.” Daily stress was highest at 30 per cent for Canadians in the core working age group of 35-54.
A 2016 U.S. study by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance reported that the top five reasons people cited for starting yoga were to relieve stress and improve flexibility, health and general fitness. More than half of yoga practitioners believe that yoga helps to improve sleep as well.
Isaiev decided to add yoga to his routine in an attempt to make his day stress-free.
“My mind and body are full of energy and strength. There is no stress, no reason to be worried that you are going to be late or anything can change your plans, well except the TTC, of course,” he says.
Fatima Alariki, 24, a professional CrossFit athlete, also believes that getting up early makes you value and manage your time so you can finish everything in the morning when the body and mind are less distracted.
For Isaiev and Alariki, the morning routine is a way to be disciplined and fit.
“I wake up when almost everyone around is still asleep and I use that time to focus and do the most important things. This time is the best time of my day,” says Alariki.
“Spend time for meditation, studying and your state of mind. You will see how your strength grows, how you become calmer, but at the same time full of energy. You can do everything faster and without stress,” says Isaiev.
Check out more Toronto at 4 a.m. content here!