In its most natural form, our bodies align rhythmically with the passage of days, weeks, months and seasons. The very beating of our heart synchronizes with our footsteps and the air we breath in and out of our lungs.
All departures from ideal health are associated with departures from these natural bio-rhythms. Our bodies desire to maintain harmony and good health by living in alignment with the natural cycles of the day. As we move in step with the movement of the sun and the mood, we will harmonize in mind, body and spirit.
One of the most important ways that we can maintain this alignment is to start each day with a deliberate and mindful routine. The following five rituals are based on Ayurvedic tradition reaching back 5,000 years and are intended to create the conditions for long-term and sustained health and happiness.
1 – Wake up with the Sun
Ayurvedic principles recommend waking no later than 6:00 AM. In these peaceful morning hours, there is freshness and patience, which eases the senses and the whole body into the day ahead. It allows for peace and calmness of the heart. All of nature is awaking beside us, and invites us to wake with it.
2 – Embrace Gratitude
Each day that we are given is an amazing gift worthy of our thanks and reverence. Resetting this in the foreground of our mind as we process and catch up to the challenges and frustrations that otherwise come at us helps us set a tone for what is to come each day.
Every morning, before even setting foot to the floor, fold your hands over your heart center and give thanks for the new day. Follow this by setting your feet to the floor (the earth), and while sitting on the edge of your bed, place your left hand to your heart center and touch your right fingertips to the ground, sending your love and gratitude to Mother Earth.
3 – Light a Candle
If you are able to develop the routine of waking before the sun and welcoming the sunlight into the world, you’re going to be waking in the dark. Use a lighted candle to illuminate the early morning or use a Himalayan pink salt lamp to bring a sacred feel to the start of the day.
The goal with this is to create enough soft light before the sun provides clarity to your surroundings. Bright lights (especially electrical light) is not recommended while your body and mind acclimatize to the day.
4 – Rehydrate
Many people start the day with coffee in an attempt to shock their system into alertness. Nothing could do more damage to your wellbeing than the stress that this places on your kidneys and adrenals as your mind and your heart are moving out of a state of sleep.
Rather, begin by ingesting 8 to 16 ounces of room temperature water to re-hydrate after sleep. This will help to flush your kidneys, cleanse the GI tract, stimulate peristalsis and balance your pH levels. Make sure the water is not cold, as this too will “shock” your system, forcing your body to use energy to warm the water as it enters your system.
5 – Meditate
Focused meditation trains your to direct your thoughts deliberately while creating positive habits and feelings, self-discipline and a sense of ease and inner peace. Meditation reduces stress and protects against disease and sickness while boosting overall health.
The most critical thing is to find a reliably quiet place to sit in comfort so that you are relaxed and will not be interrupted (and don’t subconsciously fear interruption). Set a timer if required, and do what you need to create a sacred environment with appropriate music and sounds as well as candles or incense.
Relax your whole body and put your hands on your legs with your palms faced upwards. Close your eyes and deliberately breathe through the nose, slowly and steadily. Focus on the thoughts that arrive without judgement, and if you find yourself becoming distracted, bring your focus back to your breathing.
With these routines and rituals, you’ll find yourself starting each day with increasing peace. Be patient as you seek to shift yourself from very well established routines, and don’t worry if you don’t feel what you’re expecting to feel in the first few days and weeks. Learn to make this time a precious resource that is yours and yours alone.