How we start our day is critical in setting the tone and flow of the day. A warming up period, when done effectively, is a game changer for the day that follows.
- WAKE UP EARLY
Ayurveda invites us to wake up before the sun and then proceed with ‘waking up’ as the sun rises. When our internal clock is aligned with nature’s clock, we receive the greatest support from our biological rhythms. Naturally, #1 begins the night before in going to bed at a time that serves the following day.
- POOP & PEE !
Yep, I said it. Eliminating waste material in the morning is ideal for clearing out the body so that it can perform optimally throughout the day. Carrying around undigested material leads to fatigue, heaviness, irritability, and even anxiety. When waste material is stagnate, it can absorb back into the body in the form of toxins. This is why it’s good to avoid excessively heavy dinners and eating late at night. Feeling energetic and relaxed are telltale signs of proper digestion.
Wash your face, rinse your eyes, and gargle! Ayurveda also teaches us the importance of scraping the tongue. Ama, undigested waste material, accumulates on the tongue as we sleep. Scraping the tongue is like taking out the trash. These practices combined leave us feeling refreshed and ready to proceed with our morning routine.
- WARM LEMON WATER
Now that our mouth is clean, let’s flush down some healthy fluids. Our body tends to become dehydrated in the hours of the night. Warm lemon water is wonderful for stimulating digestion and flushing out unwanted materials from the body. The citric acid in lemon supports maximize enzyme production, stimulating the liver and aiding detoxification. The mineral content in lemon helps alkalize the blood. Most disease states occur when the body PH level is predominately acidic. If lemon water is not your thing, try herbal tea as an alternative.
This is wonderful for the process of waking up the senses, rinsing the skin of toxins, and feeling fresh to start the day. Be present to the body as you wash. If you are in your head about the day to come, this is a good time to connect mind with body. Send the body love as you wash. This has a calming effect on the mind, stimulates the organs, and increases circulation.
6. YOGA ASANAS
For a relatively simple and time efficient sequence of morning yoga, I recommend searching ‘Sun Salutations’ on YouTube. You will find various videos that offer instruction. Study the sequence and it will quickly become second nature. Stretching and breathing is an ideal way to stimulate the mind/body system and prepare it for action.
Find a seated, comfortable position for Pranayama. This is a breathing exercise that revitalizes the mind, oxygenates the body, and brings homeostasis to the nervous system. It is effective in treating stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression, optimizing blood pressure, and relaxing the muscles. YouTube is a great resource for learning this basic breathing technique.
Meditation brings us back to ourselves. It allows us to contact and integrate stillness, silence, balance, energy, contentment, and peace, into our daily activity. Meditation calms the mind, boosts our immune system, deeply relaxes the body, and expands our state of awareness. Modern technology provides access to innumerable sources of instruction. I recommend learning in-person from a qualified teacher as this is the most sustainable approach and will provide the most benefit over time.
- GRATITUDE LIST
Spend a couple of minutes and become present to what you are grateful for. I like to write these down as it gets the energy moving. Write whatever comes to mind, big or small. With each object of gratitude, allow yourself to feel the feeling, rather than simply intellectualizing it. Abundance is the fragrance of being grateful.
- PRIORITY TASKS FOR THE DAY
Identify your big fish. I like to pick 3. Write down the most important tasks to complete today. I recommend prioritizing that which you have been putting off and that which serves a larger vision. The smaller tasks are important, but sometimes those can be a convenient distraction from the meaningful, more challenging actions to take. Find joy in the process and completion of committed action.
We recommend a light and nutritious breakfast. If you enjoy coffee or tea, now is the time to indulge. A heavy breakfast is counterproductive to an action-packed day, so keep it light and healthy. Keep exploring how your body feels after breakfast, with respect to what you ate. When you are sensitive to how your body responds, you can nourish it in the proper way.
Now that we have a thoroughly enjoyable and balancing morning routine under our belt, we are ready for dynamic and powerful action. Now you get to reap the benefits of your morning routine throughout the entire day.
What you put in, is what you get out.
All original material copyright © 2016 Matthew Spangler