Think about how you woke up this morning. Did you hit the snooze button? And then maybe hit snooze again? Did you open your eyes and start scrolling through your phone? Checking emails? Did you rush out of bed, shower quickly and have a piece of toast while checking your friend of a friend’s Instagram story? Maybe you squeezed in meditation or yoga but felt rushed. Or felt guilty about all the things you didn’t do in your morning. You might be sitting there thinking, oh yes, that was my morning. Here is the thing, the morning is like the birth of the day. How we spend it determines how we live the “life” of the day. So, rushing the morning feeds into rushing the day. The first time I learned this, it blew my mind! I thought about all the times I had been distracted through my morning and how I felt distracted throughout the day. Let’s pause and really think about how we spend our mornings. This is one of the most precious times of the day and most of us pass through it without recognition. Well, here is the good news! We have the ability to shift our morning, and shift our day, to feel more calm, vibrant and whole. We do this by inviting daily rituals. The practice of daily routine, or Dinacharya, comes from Ayurveda, the oldest recorded science that focuses on balancing the individual body with the natural elements of the world. The morning ritual acts as a fresh start, a nourishment, a clearing to be able to move through the day with ease, flexibility and flow. Ayurveda understands that when we start our day with a morning ritual, we start to shift the state of our days, therefore shifting the state of our weeks, years, etc. We have a beautiful ability to take time to change the way our life is lived with these small morning practices. Here are 5 Ayurvedic practices to create your morning ritual:
- Wake with the sun: Imagine that you are in a Disney movie and the world is singing to you to rise. While this might not actually happen, when we wake with the sun, we are tuning into the natural rise of the day. You can place a hand on your heart and your belly and take a moment to be grateful for your breath and your body. Just like the world is singing in the sweet sound of your breath.
- Clear the gunk: Throughout our body, there are different areas where we release what we do not need any longer. On the tongue, the coating that you may see is a build up of toxins, or ama, that the body is releasing. To clear this coating, scrape your tongue. After scraping the tongue, rinse the eyes with water, clearing the build up around the eyes. Use a neti pot to clear the nasal passages. Enjoy some hot water and lemon to activate the digestive system to clear the channels for elimination. These practices help open the whole body for new information, experiences, and sensations.
- Move and Meditate: Get the juices flowing, the body LOVES to move! Especially if your day is more sedentary, move to a light sweat. Whether it is yoga asana or free form dance, give yourself time to move. This could mean 10 minutes or 45 minutes, there is no right way, just giving yourself time. After movement, take a couple moments to meditate on the breath, with gratitude, or on your body in relationship to the room. Even by taking 3 minutes to calm the mind and the nervous system, you are retraining the brain to be adaptable and resilient for stressors that may occur in your day.
- Oil up the body: Oiling in Sanskrit is called sneha, which literally translates to love. Abhyanga is the practice of loving self massage. It is as if you are creating a loving and nurturing sheath around the body, preparing the body for the day. This calms the nervous system and brings us into relationship with cells that make up this body we live in. Abhyanga can take 10 minutes, or you can sit with this for 45 minutes. Rinse in the shower with light soap and notice a sense of calm.
- Eat breakfast fit for a Yogi: When it comes to breakfast, most people skip it entirely, eat while distracted, or grab something on the go. You might have heard before, “you are what you eat,” but Ayurveda says “you are what, how, when, and where you eat!” Meaning the way we eat has just as much impact as how we eat. Most digestive disturbances are caused by the way we eat. So take it slow. Eat without distraction, eat to a thorough consistency and eat until you are about 80% full. Eat something seasonal and nourishing. An incredible way to get supportive herbs with ease is by taking Chyawanprash, an Ayurvedic superfood that is crafted from 35 cultivated botanicals, purified extracts and hand picked spices.
Now if you are like me, you might be thinking, “Well, if I am supposed to be doing these morning practices every day, that must take hours! I might as well try to get a job as a full time yogi!” Some days you might want to take hours to seal in your morning ritual, but in reality, we don’t have to do all of these practices every single day to receive their impactful benefits. When it comes to a morning ritual we have the freedom to create what works best for ourselves. One strategy to honor your ritual is to create an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ day. ‘A’ days are when you have all the time to be luxurious. These are the days you can take your time to do your full ritual. This may be your time to give yourself hours devoted to yourself. ‘B’ days are when you have less time, but can pick non-negotiables. Maybe it is scraping your tongue, enjoying hot water and lemon or sitting for your breakfast for 10 minutes. Whatever is going to serve you to connect to yourself. It is important to know that the ‘A’ day is no better than the ‘B’ day. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ days become your perfect mornings, the rituals become a part of you, shape you, and create an open and adaptable body. When you are starting with a morning ritual, notice what speaks to you, know what your heart is calling, listen to what you need. Most importantly, give yourself time, and ask yourself, what am I really rushing for? You have the ability to shift your morning. You have the love to shift your day. You have the space to shift your year. You are here to experience the fullness of your life. Every morning is a perfect morning when you come back to you.