In the wee hours of the morning, I often pray for the day to delay its start. I light the candles and unroll my mat before the alter. After a little time on the floor, after my breath has begun to really breathe, after a few adho mukha svanasanas and an extended uttanasana, I stand and embark on Surya Namaskar. When I start, it often feels like these salutations to the still-sleeping-sun are the beginning of my practice. But as the repetitions increase, they become my practice. That's when I start to wish that there were more hours in the day.
Surya Namaskar is pretty perfect. It's a complete practice that fully incorporates pranayama, asana, mantra and devotion. With each bow and lunge my breath gets fuller and more expansive, and these asanas begin to free my body and mind from their dark slumber.
With this familiar set of movements as the beginning of my day, my entire practice becomes exactly what I need every time. What a terrific gift.