I have always been a morning person. The morning has been my time for space, quiet, and reflection as well as goal-setting, self-care, and exercise. Yet, while I naturally awaken early, it has taken discipline, commitment, and, most importantly, time to use the early morning hours in a way that benefits my whole day. Waking up and creating a meaningful, consistent routine is not always easy, yet the benefits are HUGE.
How you wake up and begin your morning sets the tone for your entire day. Creating supportive daily habits first thing in the morning is highly grounding, goal-oriented, and benefits many aspects of our lives, from our mental health and clarity, to physical well-being and fitness, to our spiritual connection. Beginning the day with time to cleanse, move, care, learn, and reflect benefits us on every level.
Do you want your first action of the day to be hitting snooze and going back to bed? Or, scrolling through Facebook and emails, thinking about all of the tasks in the day that need to get done? Morning routine allows us to start each day with an energized, clear focus and loving presence that ripples out into how the rest of our day unfolds and feels.
Wake up with the sun, around 5:30 or 6 AM, and begin your day with some of the following BEFORE hitting snooze, checking facebook, reading emails, or eating breakfast. Commit to prioritizing your routine for 30-days, and I promise you will not want to go back!
1) Say a prayer of gratitude before your feet touch the ground:
As soon as your eyes open for the day, create a habit of listening to the words you speak to yourself. Oftentimes they may be of worry or dread towards the upcoming day, or resistance to awakening. After listening and allowing your thoughts and resistance to exist, say a morning prayer. Consider what you feel grateful for and send loving-gratitude to every person, place or thing that is on your gratitude list. Keep it simple, like gratitude for food, water, air, or simply aliveness.
2) Drink a large glass of warm water with lemon:
After a long night of sleep, we often wake up dehydrated. One of the best methods for rehydrating the body is drinking warm water with lemon. Not only is it a refreshing way to awaken the body and mind, the lemon and warm temperature of the water encourage absorption and hydration. Furthermore, the first thing we ingest sets our dietary mood for the rest of the day. By drinking warm lemon water, rich with vitamins and minerals from the lemon, we are stimulating peristalsis and loosening toxins from the digestive tract.
3) Go outside to experience nature, sunlight, and fresh air:
There is nothing better to beat the morning sluggishness that stepping outside, bare feet on the earth, and facing the rays of the morning sun. This biologically and hormonally awakens the body and prepares the mind for an enlivened vigorous day. Bonus points to add on some morning meditation and pranayama in the light of sun and fresh outside air.
4) Journal, meditate, and practice breath-work
Set your mind up for the day ahead by giving it some space to do nothing. Journal about your dreams or things you feel grateful for. If your brain feels distracted and full, do a "brain-dump" where you write down on paper all of the things that are distracting your mind from Being.
Leave space and time for breath-work and meditation. You can follow a youtube video, or use the Insight Timer app to facilitate your morning practice. Always leave time for 5-30 minutes of morning meditation and breathing. This is key to the optimal functioning and health of the Nervous System (which, as a system, affects your health on EVERY level).
5) Do some light exercise like yoga asana or a 30-minute walk
Your body and mind will give you a big thank you if you start your day off with some movement. Beginning the day with movement allows the systems of the body to awaken. The nervous system discharges excess energy, leaving you calm and focused for the rest of the day and increasing your ability to fall asleep at night. Movement facilitates the lymphatic system in draining toxins and fluid that otherwise would stay stagnant in the body. The circulatory system is exercised and toned, increasing circulation and blood flow. After moving, your body is reoxygenated and refreshed, especially when you exercise outside in fresh air!
EXTRA MORNING TIPS:
- Observe and scrape your tongue with a copper tongue scraper
- Oil pull with coconut or sesame oil
- Practice Abhyanga before showering
- Have a light breakfast after moving and meditating
- Prepare your morning routine the evening before so everything is already set up and easy to follow through with.
Want to learn more? I offer consultations in lifestyle advice in person or via skype.