Mornings have always been a magical time for me- the peace and quiet that is available is unlike anything I can find amongst the busy day. I have found, for me, it is the perfect time to nourish and cleanse the body, mind and spirit, and to clearly set the path for an open and energized day. Below are my recommendations for a morning ritual. Start with one or try them all! Try it for TWO weeks and see if it makes a difference in your life.
1. Wake before the sunrise- I have found that there is a deep and calming energy to be felt right before the sun rises. I feel rooted in the Earth and a part of the universal rhythm of day and night, rise and fall, open and close.
2. Drink a glass of hot lemon water- Simply squeeze a bit of lemon juice in a hot glass of water. This will hydrate the body and cleanse toxins from the day before. I DO still drink coffee because what can I say... I LOVE the smell and taste. But I usually have my coffee after a few hours of waking and moving.
3. Wash your face- Abhyanga is a form of ayurvedic medicine that involves massaging the WHOLE body with warm coconut oil. Traditionally it is done before the day starts, before you shower and practice yoga. During the week, I tend to simply wash my face with COLD water and apply coconut oil on after. It leave my skin feeling hydrated and smooth. I usually hold the full Abhyanga practice for the weekend mornings.
4. Practice pranayama- I say this in my class ALL the time but the word, "yama" means the creation or the maintance of breath and "prana" is life force or energy. By moving the breath, we can begin to shift the energy in the body. There are all types of breathwork in the practice of yoga but I particularly like to practice KAPALBHATI breath in the winter season. It is short exhales through the nose with a contraction of the belly in toward the spine. It acts as a furnace, heating the body, and is also very energizing and cleansing. A set is 20, 50, or a 100 exhales. Come through two or three sets.
5. Move- Come through nine simple sun salutations- any variation that will leave you feeling good and energized. Move SLOWLY- one breath, one movement, one thought at a time.
6. Meditate- Sit in meditation for 5-10 minutes. The attention can be set on the sensation of moving the breath in and out. You will notice that the mind will begin to wander- either to the past or the future- and this practice is choosing to bring the attention back to the present moment. Don't be discouraged if the mind moves A LOT! The nature of the mind is to move, so see and welcome the wandering as an opportunity to PRACTICE meditation. That is all it is- a PRACTICE.
If you want some guidance, a community or support- come practice with me at Yoga Garden SF. I teach a vinyasa class M/W/F mornings at 6 am and a yoga and meditation class T/Th mornings at 6:15 am. And as I said earlier- keep it simple and attainable in the beginning. Maybe wake 10 minutes early and try one of these practices until it becomes a habit. Then add on. Be curious, stay open and observe the difference it makes in your daily life.
Light and Love,