Starting your mornings in a balanced way builds a foundation for the rest of your day. When you wake in a blur and rush out the door, the effects can accumulate throughout the day. But taking time for self-care is grounding and energizing. It boosts mood and will help you to feel calm and happy throughout the whole day.
It’s like this: Crazy morning — commute feels more stressful — feeling frazzled at work — crabby mood by lunchtime … well, you get the picture.
Now imagine this: Self-care morning — calm and resilient during commute — balanced and cheerful at work — able to make good lunch choices … and so on.
A good start to your day doesn’t have to take all day. Here’s a simple outline based on the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient holistic system of balanced health.
You don’t need to spend more than just a few minutes on each of the steps, and you can get the items you need for less than $20: tongue scraper, neti pot, oil, and dry brush.
Try it out and see how a steadying morning routine can make all the difference in your day!
1. Tongue scrape: 30 seconds
First things first: get the gunk off your tongue. Tongue scraping cleans your mouth and freshens your breath. But according to Ayurveda, it also helps cleanse ama, or your body’s waste energy, after it has accumulated overnight. Use a tongue scraper or a toothbrush. Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning and follow with a swish and rinse of fresh water.
2. Neti pot: 3 minutes
Next, improve your breathing by cleansing your nasal passages with a neti pot. This type of nasal irrigation removes irritants and buildup, while soothing irritated sinuses. Use distilled or previously boiled water and a bit of salt: 1 tsp. to 1 pint of water. Let the water flush evenly through each nostril until the pot is empty.
3. Oil pull: 5 minutes
Now that your tongue and nose are clean, it’s time to pull the ama from your gums. Oil pulling has become really popular in the last few years, but it’s actually an ancient practice. Swishing oil between your teeth for at least 5 minutes a day can help keep your teeth clean, but it can also help pull deep-seated gunk from your gums, keeping your whole mouth healthy. A lot of people love using coconut oil, but this minty one is my personal favorite. Swish for 5–20 minutes, then spit and rinse your mouth with water. While you’re swishing, heat up some water for the next step.
4. Drink warm lemon water: 2 minutes
You’ve heard me mention it dozens of times before, but it’s truly my favorite tip. If you only do one of these steps, choose this one. Warm lemon water gently wakes and cleanses your digestive system, while alkalizing your body and providing a burst of vitamin C. Starting your day with a clean and regulated digestive system will help your entire body feel balanced and energetic for the whole rest of the day.
5. Gentle exercise and meditation: 15 minutes
Start with some Sun Salutations, moving at an easy pace. Don’t push it. There’s no prize for going fast, strong, or hard right now. Once your blood is flowing, try some spinal awakeners, like Rolling Like a Ball. Add in a few crunches, push-ups, or squats if you want, or do some Tai Chi or Pilates. Follow up with a 5-minute meditation to empty your mind.
6. Dry brush: 2 minutes
Peel off your workout clothes (I mean your jammies — I know you just exercised in them, haha) and spend a couple of minutes brushing your skin with a dry brush. This practice boosts circulation, exfoliates dead skin cells, and helps cleanse your lymphatic system of waste. Use small, circular motions and brush towards your heart.
7. Self massage: 2 1/2 minutes
Finally, treat your whole body to a massage. Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic term for daily self massage with oil. Choose a gentle oil like sesame, coconut, or jojoba, preferably warmed slightly. Pay special attention to your feet and hands; they are absolutely filled with reflexology points that will help balance your whole body when stimulated.
When you’re done, hop in the shower or a warm bath and cleanse like normal. You will probably be feeling pretty darned good at this point, so pay it forward and share your smile throughout the day! It will be returned to you in spades. Namaste!
Stuff to Know:
- This post is not intended as medical advice. If you are unable to wake fully in the morning, or are suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, severe sleep disruption, or any other mental or physical state that is causing concern to you or your loved ones, please seek the help of a professional.
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