The Morning Routine
It is recommended to have healthy and predictable daily routines for optimum health—this helps soothe and strengthen the nervous system, boost your brain health, creativity and productivity, and detox on the daily. Therefore, a little bit everyday is better than a lot a few times per week or for that one week retreat or two month course when it comes to fundamental health practices that build stronger well-being particularly when exercised consistently over time. This is called preventative medicine!
The Morning Routine is based off of Ayurvedic principles primarily and is meant to act as a guide in building a stable, personally-appropriate morning regimen.
Sustainability in practice is most important, so do things in ways you enjoy, and remember, a little bit is better than nothing! Take it easy on yourself. Start by taking on one thing daily and then add another as you’re ready, so you won’t burn yourself out by taking on too much too soon. With time and perseverance, simple yet vital self-healthcare becomes second nature.
While it’s optimal to practice this list everyday, do what you can with the time you have. Perhaps some elements will make way into other times of your day, although many of these rituals are easier first thing in the morning or derive more health benefits when practiced in your first hour up (or more depending on how much you add into your routine.) Sticking to a morning program also strengthens your self-discipline, which increases self-confidence. Start your day off in a grounded, energizing tone, especially before everyone else is up if you are able—that is a great delight, the peace and quiet before the dawn of a new day!
The details of your practice can change day to day, according to your specific health needs and your time availability. Doing so will fine-tune your listening skills—to yourself! Practice with as much awareness, intention and mindfulness as you are capable. Treat yourself to your ultimate morning routine customized by you for you!
The most essential aspect of the morning routine, especially for those who don’t meditate any other time of day, is to lie flat on your back or sit on your pillow after you wake up and take some moments or minutes to set an intention for the day, give gratitude for a few things, focus on your breathing, or meditate however you wish. This is crucial especially when the mind is racing upon awakening—begin your day with health benefits from meditation and intentional silence, peace, and/or positivity. While you receive more health benefits the longer you meditate—15-20 minutes is ideal—any amount of time spent in silent awareness is better than nothing. Again, do what you are able and always remember, a little bit is better than nothing!
If you don’t have time, motivation and/or energy for exercise or movement in the rest of your day, take some moments for a full-body yawn, twist and curve the spine, raise your arms over your head, bring your knees into your chest, move your face and jaw around—any basic movements and cat-like stretching to get blood and lymph moving and release dopamine. You can add any of these simple movements throughout the rest of your day, too, especially if your life is more sedentary, or you feel blocked in mind or body. Move that body! You’ll thank yourself for it.
In Bathroom (10-20 minutes)
- Clear nasal passageways with Neti Pot
- Pull Oil: swish 2-3 tsp. of raw and unrefined oil in your mouth
- Dry skin brush
- Hot & Cold Hydrotherapy
- Wash with salt, and/or baking soda, or DIY soap, or just water
- Dry off and apply oil on face and body and use any massage techniques
- Apply a DIY Deodorant if desired
- Spit oil in the toilet or wastebasket, salt water rinse, scrape tongue, brush and rinse! teeth and tongue
If you want to pull oil for longer—20 minutes is optimal—you can continue to do so while preparing your lemon water, probiotics, and/or fat & protein, writing the morning pages, or whatever else you need to do!
On an empty stomach drink:
- Purified Water: Room temperature or warm water is simply healthier than cold water
- Lemon Water: Squeeze half a lemon and add warm, purified water for numerous health benefits. Add a touch of Himalayan salt if desired
- Probiotic Beverage: Increase probiotic health benefits taken on an empty stomach with any fermented drink, such as kombucha, diluted ACV, or make your own probiotic brew to save money (seriously!), get creative, and enjoy probiotic health benefits no matter where you are in the world (a kombucha starter, the mother and mature kombucha both, can be traveled with if packaged in your check-in baggage—make sure it’s in a tightly sealed bottle and wrapped up so it doesn’t leak, though!)
- Or mix half of a lemon with your probiotic drink
Fat & Protein
Prioritizing fat and protein consumption early in your day is grounding, helps stabilize the blood sugar level, feeds your brain, nourishes your nerves, and gives you proper calories to stabilize energy levels throughout the rest of your day. Listen to your body and give it what and how much it needs when it needs it, unless you’re a sugar-addict, of course. You don’t have to force yourself to eat if you have no hunger and have stable energy and blood sugar levels, but if you are unstable in the energy-level and BSL department, then focusing on protein and fat morning intake is highly beneficial, if not vital.
Pack in a nutritious punch with chia seeds, unsweetened nut butters, avocado, tahini, seeds and nuts, and raw and unrefined oils. Avoid high glycemic-index/load foods for better health such as dried fruits, processed foods, refined grains and flours, meaning most bread, starchy vegetables, and sweeteners. Everyone, no matter whether hyper/hypoglycemic or not, is more insulin resistant in the morning, so if you can’t resist your glycemic-sweet-tooth, bread, sugars, simple starches, and super-sweet fruits are best to save for later in the day or after exercise.
If you practice asana after your breakfast, think of this as a boost of energy rather than filling up your stomach, and do your best to wait an hour after eating before asana. Otherwise, wait to eat until after asana practice.
The Morning Pages: Write Three Pages by Hand
The morning pages are meant to empty the mind upon awakening, as part of the morning regimen. Write out three pages by hand—writing by hand processes information differently than typing. No need to stop to think, stop to read, go back and read, or write for sake of future reading.
The point isn’t great writing. The point is solely to release thoughts so they and their emotional counterparts don’t plague or distract you. If your mind is particularly stressed, this technique is helpful. It’s also shown to increase creativity and productivity for anyone, not only creative-types and writers. Check out The Artist’s Way for more details, testimonials and health benefits.
Asana & Movement