As a retreat organizer, I am often asked by the people I teach to give them advice on what they can do to enhance their well-being. Time is limited for everyone, of course, but many look to me for learning the little things, the litte secrets that can make their lives better naturally.
As you know I'm not running juicing and harsh detox retreats, because I wanted to offer people a simple but powerful tools to create a lifestyle that will support us daily, and deepen our sense of wellbeing.
A good place to start is to work with the circadian rhythm (a biochemical oscillator that synchronises with the sun: darkness and light). Many studies now show that when we have an irregular lifestyle our endocrine system is out of balance and as a result we gain weight faster, our health is at risk and we're more prone to depression.
All the ancient medicine systems emphasises that in order to support the hormonal system, the nervous system, and the mental health we must coordinate our lifestyle with nature's cycle. In ayurveda they call it Dinacharya, or the daily routine.
Think about it, if there's a huge orchestra playing a wonderful rhythm, do you really want to dance out of tune?
1. Wake up with the sunrise
Our bodies are designed to wake up when the sun rising. This is why sun salutations have such an important role in yoga practice, too.
Different hormones and chemicals rise and fall over the course of a day, allowing you to feel awake or tired at times that are quite predictable.
When we wake up with sunrise we support these hormones and chemicals and we can feel balanced, and our emotional state and sleeping habits will improve.
Also, the sun gives us prana, life force, aligning ourselves to this miraculous planet that have direct effect on our bodies.
When the sun rises there are “Sattvic” qualities in nature that bring us a sense of purpose, peace, power and freshness to our senses.
2. Take a few deep breathes and welcome yourself
Taking long deep breath in the morning will massage your internal organs, and stimulate bowl movement.
Bring prana, vital force will help to ground you back in this reality from the dream world.
Think about moments when your parents use to wake you up with a loving touch, how it effected your wellbeing, now you are an adult, you can do it for yourself, wake yourself up with a gentle smile and a loving touch.
3. While you are still in bed give thanks for three things, everyday 3 new things
If you only have time for one practice, choose this one. Just this practice can bring you so much balance and success, you won’t be able to believe it. Starting the day with gentle, caring attention towards ourselves can effect our physical and mental health, and our environment.
Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health.
In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, the participants kept a short journal.
One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.
In the study led by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit. Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more tehnically, their “pro-social” motivation.
4. Brush your teeth the ayurvedic way
Image source: Organic Beauty Recipes.
We all know why, but my suggestion will be to make your own, fluoride-free tooth paste. It’s super easy!
- Mix in a jar 3 tbsp coconut oil and 3 tbsp baking soda .
- Add 10 drops essential oil (whatever you prefer— I like eucalyptus and grapefruit), optional
- Add 3 drops of stevia if you want it sweet.
- Seal the jar until ready to use.
It’s delicious, whitening and really good for your gums.
For mouth wash use hydrogen peroxide, food grade, 1%-3%.
Using hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash will kill bacteria and viruses in your mouth.
Gargling with hydrogen peroxide will get the hydrogen peroxide in contact with the back of you mouth and throat. The longer you gargle, the more time it has to kill germs.
Some people feel that 3% is a bit strong to use as a mouthwash. You can try 3%, or water it down with some water. (Some 3% hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of water added will give you 1.5% hydrogen peroxide.)
5. Scrape your tongue: Jihwa Prakshalana, or the Ayurvedic self-care ritual known as tongue scraping
The film that develops on your tongue while you sleep is a bacteria and/or a fungi that related to many common oral care and general health problems and can be a leading cause of bad breath.
Get tongue scraper rather than using your tooth brush, it’s cheap and easy to get, and you will get hooked with time, I promise.
6. Evacuate waste at the first hour of the day
You can train your body. Just sit till you poop.
Sit, or even better squat, on the toilet and have a bowel movement. Improper digestion of the previous night's meal or lack of sound sleep can prevent this. However if you sit on the toilet at a set time each day, it helps to regulate bowel movements. Alternate nostril breathing may also help.
7. Practice 15-30 minutes mindful yoga
Anything we will repeat will become a habit. Starting the day with 5-10 sun salutation, or moon salutation if you feel less energetic can boost your metabolism, centre your mind, calm the nervous system and give you a sense of self confident.
It will also help with regulating your sleep pattern and over whole support to your mental and physical wellbeing. Everything you will practice on the mat will effect your life off the mat: more flexibility, strength, determination, integrity and alignment with your truth and the environment you live in.
Meditation can be as short as 10 breaths, where you really sensing who you are, what’s your needs are.
Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, chronic conditions and bring more sense of wellbeing. Another great benefit that I find is that, magically, the more you meditate, the more time you have. Go figure.
9. Go to bed at 10 PM
Your body regenerates and rejuvenates the most between 10 PM and 2 AM, so let your precious body heal you.
There’s a famous saying that early to bed and early to rise, make a person healthy, wealthy and wise. It really works!
Try to repeat this daily routine for for 30 days. Life will never be the same, I promise.
Remember that we only grow when we stretch ourselves, and the best thing about growth is that everyone around us will get the benefit.
Do keep me updated; I would love to know how you're doing!
Want to practice your well-being routine with Rina? You can reach her at one of her amazing yoga retreats.