This ritual of meditation, body exercise and recipe can help balance your body, mind and emotions.
Hi Refined Rebel, morning rituals are sacred for me. I take time to wake up and start my day. In the past I tended to rush myself from breakfast, to cleaning, to dressing, to running out of the door to catch the bus. Once I was at the office I sat down, turned on the computer and started to work my day away. There was little time to reflect or check-in with myself to observe what was going on within. Once I got home I was depleted, with little energy.
Morning rituals have helped me start my days differently. I may still be focused while at work,
but I feel calmer and less stressed when going through my day.
The following ritual is the full version of my morning routine. On some days I might leave out some practices due to what my body and mind need. I recommend to practice the full ritual for at least a full week first, to see what’s best for you and then adjust to your own needs.
Let’s start with a breathing meditation the moment you just opened your eyes. This allows you to transition from your sleep to being present and awake.
Let’s connect with your ‘hara’ and wake up the body. Hara is a Japanese word and means belly. You can find it about three to four fingers below the navel.
In Asian culture, our belly has a close association with mental stability and physical vitality. It receives information from us (such as; stress) and around us (such as; negativity). When you bring your attention to your hara, you’ll neutralize your emotions and thoughts. The more you are connected with your hara, the more you trust what you do. You’ll feel empowered, creative and will act from your intuition.
A few minutes of the cat/cow pose is a wonderful way to warm up your spine. By combining it with your breath, it can increase your coordination, emotional balance and stability of the mind. It can also help relieve lower back pain and tension in the upper back and neck.
If you’d like to practice a whole morning yoga series, I’d recommend you to practice the following:
Have you ever looked at your tongue? You may have seen a white coating on the tongue. Maybe you have noticed a bad breath along with it. According to Ayurveda, it usually means there is a lot of toxicity in your system. To help your body eliminate these toxins, you can scrape your tongue with a stainless-steel tongue scraper or spoon. I use a spoon. Scraping your tongue stimulates the gastric and digestive enzymes to wake up and work.
Directions: Bring the scraper or spoon to the back of your tongue and gently pull it to the tip of your tongue. Rinse with warm water and start again. Repeat these strokes until your scraper or spoon comes out transparent. Then rinse your mouth with warm water and start oil pulling.
Within the Ayurveda, oil pulling is a natural way of assisting your body to eliminate toxins that have built up in your body. It allows these toxins to be released and removed by the oil.
Traditionally, sesame or sunflower oils are used. However, I like to use extra virgin coconut oil, since it also whitens your teeth. Feel for yourself what fits you best.
Directions: Fill one tablespoon with oil and swish it in your mouth for 15 – 20 minutes. If you do it shorter, it may not give the same benefits. Allow the oil to gently move from side to side. If your cheeks are hurting, you’re swishing too hard. Try not to swallow it. After 15 or 20 minutes, you can spit it out. I recommend to do so in a trash can since it can clog up the sink. Especially if you used coconut oil. Then rinse your mouth well with lukewarm water.
Warm water with lemon
According to Ayurveda, drinking warm water with lemon in the morning is great for digestion and help your body to loosen toxins in the digestive tract.
Make sure that your water is not cold or hot since it can be a surprise to the system first thing in the morning. It won’t help with flushing the toxins like warm water would.
Direction: fill a mug with half filtered boiled water and half filtered room temperature water. Add in the juice of half a lemon. Give it a stir and sip on it.
Note: skip the lemon if on some days you don’t feel like it. However, I recommend to stick with drinking the warm water. You can use a stainless steel straw to sip on your lemon water to bypass acid on your teeth, or you can rinse your mouth with tap water right after drinking it.
Modifications according to your dosha: If you are a Vata type, replace the lemon for 1 inch sliced ginger. If you are a Pitta type, skip the lemon and only drink the warm water. If you are a Kapha type, stick with the recipe. If you want you can add in 1 inch sliced ginger.
To top off the morning rituals, I like to eat a wholesome breakfast, such as the: Buckwheat Parfait with Blackberry Pear Chia Seed Jam.
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