Whether we sit down and really think about it, or not, most of us tend toward having a regular morning routine. These routines can be so helpful for us to start our day off right. Now, sometimes these routines are not as helpful as they could be. Consider yours. Maybe write out what you normally do upon waking. Then consider if this routine is working for you. Is it starting your day off right or is it starting your day off already with challenge or frantic paces?
Here is an example of an ideal morning routine from an Ayurvedic perspective. Below that is my normal morning and where I would like to develop it, and some the “why’s” of it.
6:00 a.m. (wake up before or at least with the sun depending on where you live this may be earlier or later) – Waking up early gets us going before the Kapha time of day. If we sleep in, we risk being groggy, weight gain, accumulating phlegm in the body, etc. Say a prayer of gratitude. Get up and stretch a bit on way to the bathroom. Use your tongue scraper and neti pot to rid the body of accumulated Kapha. After, drink a large glass of water (ideally with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice) to cleanse the system. Maybe oil pull (swishing oil around in the mouth for approx. 20 minutes). Massage your body with warm oil and let it soak in a bit before you shower. This is a very grounding, loving way to begin your day. Now, some say exercise before the shower, others say after. Go for a walk or do some yoga. Meditate, even for 5 minutes, whatever you can do. If you happen to have the time, vigorous exercise is ideal early in the morning IF you are Kaphic by nature. But, some movement is so important (vigorous is not for everyone!). You can also shower after your workout. Sit and eat a nice warm breakfast (unless its boiling hot out, then a breakfast of fruit or cold cereal may be preferred). (Eat breakfast before 8 a.m.).
So, basically = eliminate, drink water, move, meditate and eat a nice medium sized breakfast in a calm fashion.
Here’s what I do: **see amendment below
5:30-6:00 a.m. – Wake up (usually forget the prayer of gratitude! – need to work on that one); stretch in bed a bit and then again en route to bathroom. Scrape tongue, use neti pot, rinse my eyes with rose water and then have a cup of tea. Drink a large glass of water. Sometimes I oil pull. Check email (not ideal but its stimulating, which you don’t want at night before bed but I find is good to wake me up. Definitely working on changing this one!). I then clean something (do dishes if left from night before; sweep, vacuum, laundry, anything) – honestly, I prefer housework over morning yoga. I’m moving either way! It feels good to get up and get at it! Again, I will work on trying the yoga again – I just always prefer to clean something and there is some sense to that for sure!) Contrary to all the books, I do not like meditating in the morning! I pause and breathe but sitting for a period of time just doesn’t feel good – I start to feel I’m re-accumulating Kapha. After I clean and before exercise, I make our fresh green juice, then we have breakfast around 7:00, after any exercise. I shower after all my work is done. Then I’m ready for the day. I love doing yoga a bit later in the day (between 4-5pm) because my ‘chores’ are mostly done by then and I take this time for me to release tension accumulated through the day and let it be “my time”. And, I prefer meditating in the evening (around 8pm). This allows me to quiet my mind and ground after the day and to make use of the Kapha energy at this time of evening to prepare my body for rest. I walk the dog(s) at least twice a day to get outside into fresh air and be in nature.
Ayurveda is flexible! I may change my routines but for now, this is how it naturally unfolds. Take from Ayurvedic principles what you are trying to accomplish and lose the need to be strict. Get to know what is your minimum daily routine is and how best to incorporate some of the practices into your day.
**amendment – Sept 2016 – since this post I have changed my morning routine to be: get up at 5:30, tongue scrape, evacuate, oil pull and oil massage, shower, net pot and then tea or water and half hour yoga and meditation, breakfast, walk dogs, do some chores and be ready at 8/8:30 a.m. for work (sometimes leaving for work means going into my office). i still prefer more activity in the day and some more yoga around 4pm or before bed.
If you are anxious and rushed, sitting in the morning to breathe deeply and meditate might just transform your whole day. If you feel lethargic and heavy in the morning, get moving! If you want to jump straight into work, consider massaging with oils before your morning shower to show yourself love vs. treating yourself like a workhorse. Or, go for a quiet morning walk in nature. Lots of different ways to add Ayurveda into our lives. All or some. Start somewhere and see what happens.
If you find yourself jumping out of bed after 7 a.m. and running around frantically, eating something on the run while gulping down a cup of coffee…stop that!