Are you in the midst of experiencing anxiety about Covid-19? Perhaps the effects of stress and burnout are starting to catch up with you. I've heard from several clients about feeling a lack of control over their schedules and the emotions that they experience throughout the day. This is why I want to pull all of our discussions together and tell you about my Ayurveda morning routine.
We've spent the past month discussing mindful morning activities. From tongue scraping to warm lime water to Ayurvedic self-massage, we've covered a number of acts of self-care that will promote health as you begin your day. Now that we have access to these useful tools, let's go over when to use them in an Ayurveda morning routine.
Step 1: What Time Should You Wake Up?
Ideally you should be getting out of bed before sunrise. For all intents and purposes, let's say 6am. For those of who you don't consider yourselves "morning people," this one might be a bit tough for you. But trust me on this one. Think of 6am as the start of your Ayurvedic clock.
I know that for those of us on the western hemisphere, it feels easy to sleep in as the mornings aren't as bright during this time of year. However, According to the science of Ayurveda, 6am is a spiritually fruitful time. Awaking at this hour allows us to maintain steady energy during the day and avoid those groggy, heavy feelings that we typically associate with the morning.
Step 2: Incorporate a Morning Prayer or Affirmation
If you're beginning your day feeling anxious or stressed out, ask yourself, what was the first action you took after waking up? If your answer was scrolling through Instagram, I invite you to consider swapping your phone for a morning prayer or affirmation.
Whether you thank a higher power, the universe or even yourself for getting out of bed, a simple act of gratitude sets a positive precedent for the day. Instagram can wait! Each morning I take a moment to acknowledge my gratitude for the opportunity to do what I love during the day.
Step 3: Cleanse the Mouth and GI Tract
The first action I take once I get out of bed is to turn the water kettle on. This way I can maximize my time during my Ayurveda morning routine. As the water heats, I use my tongue scraper to remove the coating of toxins, or Ama, from my tongue. Then I brush my teeth.
Now that my mouth is nice and clean, it's time for my morning cup of lime water. Not only does this help rehydrate the body, but it helps stimulate a regular bowel movement. By this time the water is heated to the appropriate temperature (around 180°F). I prepare the lime water by simply squeezing a quarter of a lime into the warm water. I drink my lime water in order to cleanse my GI tract, allowing my body to rid itself of toxins via urination or a bowel movement with greater ease.
Step 4: The Power of Abhyanga
One of my favorite aspects of my morning routine is engaging in a self-massage. This action activates digestion, adds a layer of oil to my skin for protection, and allows me to practice self-love.
Now I know some of you might say, "Lauren, I don't have forty minutes to massage myself. I have to get my kids to school and get to work on time." I get it. Some mornings I don't have much time for self-care either. This is why I budget out whatever time I can for my self-massage. Whether you have a quick 10 minutes or a luxurious half hour, self-massage will still benefit you.
No matter how much spare time I have, I always coat my skin with oil. This extra layer acts as protection for my skin and body against any toxins and bacteria I may encounter. Be sure to use an oil that suits the season and weather (warm oils for Vata times of year and cooler oils for Pitta weather).
I begin by oiling my ears, nostrils, and sometimes, I'll swish some around in my mouth. Then I'll work my way down my entire body. On some days I also oil my hair. If you have time, you can begin by massaging your head and face, then work your way down to your toes. All the while I like to play soothing music to activate my sense of hearing.
Once you've completed your massage, take a relaxing shower. Rinse the oil but don’t use soap to remove it. The hot water will open the pores and let the oil sink in. You can wash your pits and parts with soap. Remember, we want that layer of self-protection and your body knows how to clean itself. I promise you won’t smell bad afterwards!
A Note on Your Five Senses:
Some of my clients have asked if I watch the news while going through my morning rituals. While I understand why sipping a hot beverage and watching T.V. sounds relaxing, I would actually avoid most media during your Ayurveda morning routine. This time is just for you to ignite and cleanse your five senses.
According to Ayurveda, good health is about keeping your five senses cleansed and energized. For example, the lime water tends to your sense of taste, self-massage ignites your sense of touch and calming music soothes your sense of hearing. As you cleanse your senses you are preparing your mind, body and spirit for a more successful day. You are essentially giving your senses a fresh start.
Step 5: Try a Morning Meditation
After all of these steps, you can have your morning urination and bowel movement. Some of you may think that you cannot control when have a bowel movement. However, you can train your body to cleanse itself in this way every morning. In fact, your bowels are an indicator of health. If you are having trouble going in the morning, you might consider consulting an Ayurvedic counselor.
Once you cleanse your senses, you can meditate or pray. The order of this sequence of events is important to your Ayurvedic clock, so, shower first. We want to be clean and pure before engaging our sense of spirituality. Think about church. We don't attend a service straight after the gym. We typically clean up first. The same goes for meditation or prayer from home.
Step 6: Time For Exercise
Once you've finished your morning meditation or prayer, feel free to start a morning workout. This may seem counterintuitive. Wouldn't you want to get sweaty before showering? For some of my clients, I suggest they exercise after Abhyanga and before they shower. However, according to Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Vasant Lad, exercise should come after you shower as your skin is warm and blood is flowing, leading to a more impactful workout.
Morning exercise does not have to include a high intensity workout. For some of you, including a workout of this nature a few times a week is beneficial. But keep in mind that high intensity exercise in excess can increase fatigue and stress. Try some yoga or a light a jog to begin your day.
Step 7: Breakfast Time, Finally!
We've come to the end of our Ayurveda morning routine. We can now eat a light and easy-to-digest breakfast. I recommend stewed apples as it is a tridoshic dish. This means it serves the qualities of Vata, Kapha and Pitta. If it's Vata season, try drinking some spiced warm milk to compliment your meal.
As you prepare breakfast, check in with yourself. Notice if you are hungry or not. If you not crave breakfast perhaps you ate too heavy a dinner or did not have a morning bowel movement. These observations are no cause for alarm but will help you monitor the state of your body.
Make Time For Your Morning Routine
I know that making time for an extensive morning routine can be challenging. We are busy people. We have kids and businesses and side hustles and incredible goals. But your morning routine sets a precedent for the rest of the day. Wouldn't you rather conquer your day then struggle to get through it?
I invite you to incorporate any of the above steps in your morning. Even if you can only spare fifteen minutes, perhaps you use that time to try tongue scraping and drinking the warm lime water. Use those fifteen minutes to invest in the care and keeping of you. Your journey to wellness can start at gradual pace and build. The first step is a mindful and grounded morning.
Are interested in changing your morning routine for the better? Are you curious about the techniques that I use? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can begin this important work together!