Morning Rituals According to Ayurveda
THE POWER OF ROUTINE
Whether you realize it or not, there are things that we do every day to keep our lives on track. Certain tasks that are engrained into our daily lives, allowing us to move easily and comfortably throughout the day. Whats the first thing you do when you wake up? For me, I have to have my lemon water, brush my teeth, and move through my skin care routine, even if I’ve barely even opened my eyes yet. These are the things that get me out of my house. But after beginning my studies in Ayurveda, I realized that I was really just doing the bare minimum. Yes these things are essential but what if we decided to do more? What if we prioritized our time and made (and kept) good habits? In a recent Ayurveda lecture, we learned about the importance of routine. This blog is truly about the betterment of the Self, so I'd like to share some daily morning practices that can benefit each of us, inside and out.
DON’T check your phone! If you’re like me, it’s very tempting to roll over and let the bright light of your phone screen be the introduction to your day. We’ve really got to stop doing that. Our minds and our eyes need time to adjust and ease into the morning. I love laying in bed for a while before getting up. If this sounds familiar, try instead to recount your dreams, say some loving words to yourself, envision how you’d like your day to progress, or listen to some soft music.
Wake up early. If you are able to wake up early, you should. Waking up before the morning bustle ensues will allow you to start your day with peace. The best time to get going is just before sunrise. This is when the Sattva Guna (the harmonious, loving, holy energy) is most prevalent with and around us. But if this seems impossible, aim to wake up before the morning traffic and noise begins. You’ll be amazed at how serene you feel when the only noise you hear is birds chirping. Exceptions to this would be people who work at night, the sick, young children, and the elderly. For anyone falling under any of those categories, just find some peace when you are waking up.
Drink water. Ok let me be specific here. Drink WARM water. Preferably with a little lemon to really alkalize yourself and flush those toxins! You really think your 98.7 degree body wants to drink a cup of ice cold water after being a warm, toasty little burrito all night? I think not. Let’s not shock ourselves people, it’s too early for this. And if you’re a coffee lover then be sure to drink water before you have a coffee, as coffee is a diuretic. I should be telling you to limit your coffee, so let’s say no more than 2 cups per day. But honestly I’ll just let this one slide (she says as she drinks her double espresso).
Oral care. I’ll just go ahead and assume we all brush our teeth in the mornings. Some of us even go further and floss and rinse with some sort of mouthwash. But have you heard of tongue scraping and oil pulling? Tongue scraping allows you to get rid of bacteria on your tongue that brushing doesn’t always remove. By gently moving a tongue scraper from the back of your tongue to the front, you also stimulate your internal organs. Use a copper scraper and scrape the tongue about 5 times for cleaning. To begin internal organ stimulation, add up to 10 more scrapes! Why copper? It is an essential nutrient for humans and kills bacteria. Oil pulling is swishing some oil around in your mouth for 5-15 minutes to strengthen gums and to remove any leftover food particles that might linger. I’ll admit, the first few times you do it, it’s going to feel weird. But don’t let that stop you! I like to use oil specifically made for oil pulling but feel free to use a spoonful of coconut oil if it’s more convenient! And remember people, chemicals are a No-No! So here’s my favorite chemical free Ayurvedic toothpaste.
Cleanse the face and the eyes. My skincare routine progresses something like this:
massage my face with almond or coconut oil
cleanse my face with Paavani herbal powder
tone with Thayer’s rose toner
apply Honeybelle acne serum on my problem areas
moisturize with a very light, non-greasy facial oil by Prada Lab
take a cold cloth and gently press it against my face to absorb any extra oil and to tighten pores
finish off with a rose water spritz
All of these products are completely chemical free and I adore them. Then, gently rinse the eyes with some cool water to really feel awake.
Oil massage. This is one we may not know in most western cultures. But an Ayurvedic oil massage, or Abhyanga, is the perfect way to nourish your entire body. It drains the lymph, increases circulation, stimulates the organs, and of course softens skin. For dry skin, use sesame oil. For combination skin, use coconut or sunflower oil. And for oily skin, use almond or olive oil. You can shop for oils according to your Dosha type here! Make sure to warm the oil in a double broiler of some sort. NO MICROWAVES! This can be done everyday, but try to fit it in whenever you can; ideally, 3-4 times a week. Here you can see how to perform the oil massage as well as when you should NOT perform Abhyanga. Make sure to do this procedure on an empty stomach! And after applying, be sure to give yourself sometime to sit and relax— at least 20-40 minutes is best. You can also do some light tasks while the oil is absorbing. Follow with a shower and you’ll feel lustrous AF.
Shower. Personally I like to shower in the evenings. But if I do an Abhyanga in the mornings then a morning shower is essential. I wash my face as usual and then use an all natural bar soap or mung bean flour mixed with water as body wash. My favorite all natural shampoo and conditioner are by Island Essence. I found them in Maui and I fully plan to smell like a bowl of tropical fruit until the end of time. No chemicals whatsoever and one of the only all natural haircare sets that fully cleans and moisturizes my hair. Plus they're organic and surprisingly inexpensive.
Mediate. Once you are clean and your mind is alert, take some time to meditate. This can be anything from clearing your mind, setting intentions, visualizing your goals, or just creating stillness. This is arguably the most important thing on the list and yet the most neglected. Do this for yourself, because you deserve it.
Eat a light, nutritious breakfast. Most people think that breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day. But according to Ayurveda, our digestion follows the cycle of the sun. When’s the sun at its highest? Mid-day. So really, lunch should be your heaviest meal. Breakfast time is usually around Kapha time, when we are still feeling sleepy and a bit low energy. So we want a meal that will energize us. I like a big fruit salad, a grain bowl with cinnamon, nuts, and seeds, or some scrambled tofu with herbs and veggies. Add a side of fresh green juice or even a ginger tea and you’ll be ready to start your day!
I know this list is going to seem overwhelming. I mean, who has the time for all of this before the day even starts?? But as with any routine, it quickly becomes second nature. And most of these practices you are already doing on your own to some extent. I’m just showing you how to really fine tune the process. Yes, you may have to wake up earlier and prioritize your time, but these are things you have to commit to if you want to be your best self. How about this: add a couple of these things into your routine one at a time, then slowly but surely add more as the previous additions become more natural.
So make yourself your number one priority and start each day by loving yourself enough to make time for your well-being. Love and light from me to you.
In good health,