- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
I have always been fascinated by those hardcore people that get out of a warm bed at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning to exercise or meditate; especially considering at one time, I dragged myself out of bed and headed straight to the coffee pot and computer before I began the hectic race to get 3 kids off to school. But then a few years ago, I developed a morning ritual. I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to be one of "those" people, but I could shift my day by starting it out differently.
A good morning routine begins the night before, by getting a good night's sleep. This means for most of us lights out by 10pm. I wrote a blog previously about my sleep rituals. You can read it here.
It worked. I no longer drink coffee and I don't e-mail, text, or check FB until after 7 or 8 am. Most days are calmer, clearer, more focused when I do just a few simple things to set the tone for the day. Now if you've done any reading on morning rituals, you will probably be overwhelmed. It could take all day. There is everything from morning page to oil pulling to mediation to yoga to exercise to breathing exercise. But there is something to it. The healthiest and most successful people I know have a morning ritual. We've all got to develop our own ritual, but it's important to have one so that our efforts to be healthy don't get lost over the course of the day.
SET AN INTENTION | I know, so yogini of me, but I start most days without an alarm and with an intention in mind. Once I awaken, I put one hand on my belly and one on my heart. I set my intention, and I think of 3 to 5 things that I am grateful for. If you must use an alarm, make sure it doesn't jolt your nervous system.
SITTING MEDITATION and READING | After I lay there for a bit, I pop myself up in bed for a 3 to 10 minutes of quieting. I bought myself a beautiful meditation chair, but I wasn't making it to there (sadly it's in my bedroom). So this is the easiest solution, I don't beat myself up about it. I work with my breathing or a sometimes chant mantras in my head. I have a few (okay hundreds) of amazing spiritual readings that I read a page or two to help ground me. I really love my pocket Pema Chödrön for quick hit of inspiration.
TONGUE SCRAPE | If you don't already own a tongue scraper, go buy one preferably a metal one. Scrape from back to front 4 to 8 times. I personally feel yucky if I don't do it. A tongue scarper is an Ayurvedic remedy to help remove toxins (called ama) from the body. Do this before you drink water.
LEMON WATER | I drink one big glass of warm lemon water every morning. I usually add 1/2 of squeezed fresh lemon. It is said to flush the kidneys and liver, stimulate the GI system, and boost your immunity. Occasionally I add apple cider vinegar and/or ground cayenne.
BATHROOM TIME | No explanation necessary, but just be aware what a healthy bowel movement looks like, and you should not need coffee to go. If you need coffee, your digestion is sluggish and needs some work. If I am taking a shower before I exercise, I try and use my dry brush at this time.
You will notice a difference in your skin if you do this regularly.
BREAKFAST and TEA/INFUSION | Since I have been eating more seasonally, I don't do a green smoothie every day. I do eat a bowl of oats or quinoa most days in the winter. I soak it overnight with a splash of lemon (1 cup to 2 cups water, with a squeeze of lemon), drain, and add water to cook. My favorite spices right now are cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. I love ghee, nuts, and fruit to top. It has been said not to combine grains and fruit in the morning (not well digested). I don't seem to have an issue (I think the spices, ghee, and that I cook my fruit helps), but pay attention if you do have an issue. I plan to write more about nourshing herbal infusions, but I drink a quart at least 5 times a week. They are loaded with nutrients.
MORNING PAGES | I am including this, but I don't usually have time to write first thing in the morning unless the kids don't have school. Morning pages was created by Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way and her lectures, which emphasized the key to the deeper parts of us and the key to our creativity can be revealed when we free flow write 3 full pages a day in our journals. In times when I have been committed and able to do this, I was happy I did. Writing in journals helped me find the courage to write here.
AND BEGIN | Get the kids up, get myself dressed and ready, and off we go to start the day with more presence and positivity than before. After I drop the kids off, I exercise 20 to 60 minutes (which is much healthier for me than before).
I am curious. Do you have a morning ritual?
What have you noticed about the days that you get off track?
Would love to hear your comments below.