Those first few minutes after we have awakened our bodies and minds are of the utmost importance. What we do, hear and see can truly affect the way we feel for the rest of our day. There are many ways we can begin our day on the right foot, so choose what works for you and discard what does not. My morning routines have changed dramatically over the years and will continue to do so as I develop.
When creating a morning routine, be it a gentle yoga practice or the simple habits we often tend to overlook, my number one advice is to be realistic with your time. From my own experience, if you try to cram in too much, you will have trouble getting your routine off the ground. Also, avoid being too attached to your routine. I’ve found some things have suited me well for a while, then something else comes along which suits me better.
Here are my favorite ways to start the day:
1. Tongue scraping
Each morning begins with this Ayurvedic ritual. This is done with a little metal tool called a tongue scraper. I scrape my tongue nine times starting from as far back as I can comfortably reach. I do the middle line, right and left sides of the tongue. I repeat this three times. After sleeping, residue builds up on our tongue. In Ayurveda, this is referred to as Ama – any toxic residue accumulated in the mind/body. We gently scrape this coating off the tongue after sleeping, allowing for better oral health and assisting the body in expelling any toxins built up in this area.
2. Mindfulness meditation
After my tongue scraping ritual, I sit down and meditate. I practice mindfulness meditation (from the Tibetan Buddhist lineage) somewhere between 10 to 30 minutes. This allows me to really check in with the emotional and physical sensations present in my body at that moment, which I find sets me up to be more present throughout the rest of my day, as I have truly “listened” to my body during those sensitive moments in the early morning.
3. Gratitude journal
This is a great way to get into a positive, grateful mindset before beginning my day. I have a little notebook by my bed and each morning I write 10 things (i.e. people, experiences) that I am grateful for. I write how they make me feel, rounded up with three “thank yous” (thanking the object or person, thanking myself and thanking the higher power I believe in). This can look something like this…
“I am grateful for my morning routines, I feel centered, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
4. Get that body moving!
For this, I don’t stick to any specific morning routine. As long as I get my body moving, it can be a gentle yoga stretching session, perhaps running around with my dogs or dancing in my lounge. Getting that blood pumping and my endorphins going is the key!
5. Phone stays on airplane mode
I sleep with my phone on airplane mode and I don’t turn it on until I have finished my morning rituals. It can often be off for up to an hour after waking up. This has a huge impact on my day, as my mind is allowed to wake up naturally and be set on a good trajectory before I am bombarded with emails, news and social media.
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