Creating a healthy lifestyle that works and that you can stick with can be challenging. Ayurveda understands this, and encourages us to work slowly and consistently when making lifestyle changes. I always tell my clients to practice simplicity over complexity (our lives are complicated enough) and choose constancy over intensity. In Ayurveda this slow, steady path is achieved through daily routine, and it is essential for real, lasting change. By following a simple morning routine you are creating a wonderful foundation for your healthy lifestyle.
Ayurveda’s morning rituals work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the body and mind, foster a positive self-image and help to prevent disease. Start slow and begin with just one or two tips. Try those for a month then add on. Adopting just one or more of the following practices for a month can radically alter your experience of the day. I personally love my morning routine and can’t imagine starting the day without it. Try it and let me know how it goes!
Sleep Well. How you feel in the morning really begins the night before. Try to be in bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. the body renews and detoxifies itself. During this time all of the undigested material from your day gets processed. If we do not sleep between these times then we start the next day still carrying yesterday’s mental and physical junk. See my sleep guide for more tips on sound sleeping.
Rise and Shine. Generally, waking up around sunrise is ideal. Upon waking, try to get out of bed right away. Resist the urge to snooze. Be aware of your body, your breath, and a connection to gratitude.
Set an Intention. I always say something positive to myself as I wake up. It can be simple like I am grateful for this day and its going to be amazing or today will flow with ease. If you have a specific event that day like a big meeting or an important event set your positive intention around everything going smoothly.
Wake your Senses. Splash some warm water on your face and wash your hands. If your eyes feel dry or red, you can splash them with a little rose water. Scrape your tongue and oil pull. These are two of my favorite Ayurvedic health tools! Buy a silver tongue scraper and scrape from back to front 10-12 times. Tongue scraping has been shown to help prevent diseases of the oral cavity, improves our ability to taste, gets rids of old food debris and prevents bad odor in the mouth. Plus, if you don’t get rid of that gunk first thing in the morning, it will end up back in the body. See my blogs on tongue scrapping and oil pulling for more information.
Mind your pH. Drink warm lemon water. Squeezing half a fresh lemon into some warm water will help to wash the GI tract, flush out the kidneys, balance your pH and stimulates good bowel health.
Eliminate. Going to the bathroom upon waking will help clear your digestive system.
Sit Quietly. I like to mediate after my warm lemon water. Create a quiet space and sit for 10 to 15 minutes focusing on your breath and connection with your intention for the day. Keep it positive and create your own ritual around meditation. When I first started my morning routine I just sat quietly while sipping my lemon water. Over time my practice has deepened and evolved. Remember to be simple and consistent.
Get Moving. Do some light exercise. Sun salutations are perfect. I always do a several rounds after my mediation practice and then I jump on my rebounder. Remember it doesn’t have to be anything exhausting but when done regularly, exercise grounds us, boosts the digestive fire, burns excess in the body toxicity and clears your mind.
Try Abhyanga. Abhyanga is the practice using oil for self-massage. Massaging your skin daily nourishes and soothes the nervous system, stimulates lymphatic flow and aids in detoxification. It also improves circulation, boosts your vitality, and makes you feel more balanced emotionally and mentally. Use a high-quality organic oil such as sesame, sunflower, or coconut. Warm the oil in your hands, then rub down, making sure not to skip any parts. Let the oil soak in for at least 20 minutes and then shower.
Nourish Yourself. I can’t tell you how many people I see that skip breakfast and then wonder why they have no energy for their day. Eat a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit, warm grains or similar while seated. That’s right! Don’t eat while driving your car or standing at the kitchen counter. Eating a proper breakfast boosts your digestive fire (agni) and will give you the fuel you need to start the day right.
Wishing you a healthy start to your day!