Are you one of those people who hits snooze on their alarm, before rolling out of bed, grabbing a coffee on the way out the door and then hitting the road cranky and stressed. If you are, by the time afternoon rolls around you are probably stressed and not quite hitting the goals you had hoped.
Imagine waking up naturally – before your alarm goes off – and spending the morning doing a few simple and invigorating things for yourself. You then head out the door grounded, calm and ready for whatever the day brings.
The way you start your morning affects the rest of your day and a good morning routine has the power to boost your emotional wellbeing, energy levels and overall long-term health. It also helps you feel grounded in our fast-paced, busy lives.
Here are some tips on how to manage your mornings routine so that you can start to maximise your energy throughout the day.
1. Wake up at the same time every day (without the alarm)
In Ayurveda the importance of a consistent daily routine can’t be underestimated. It sets the tone for your entire day and gives the mind, body and soul a chance to ground and cleanse.
The first thing you want to consider, is how you wake up. Once you’re in a good sleep rhythm you should be able to get rid of the alarm clock – it’s better to naturally come out of a deep sleep on your own accord because that means you’re not interrupted mid-sleep cycle. You can always use the alarm as a back-up.
Here is how this works - we need to sleep in 90 minute blocks to not wake up mid-cycle. Ayurveda suggests being in bed by 10pm so you are asleep before you enter into the second digestive phase - this is when the liver cleanses your body (if you have a fatty liver you really need to be asleep by this time). If you are in bed by 10pm then you will be coming out of the 90 minute sleep cycle at 5.30am. Set your alarm for 5.35am as a backup plan and speak to your unconscious mind, by repeating to yourself at least 10 times ‘it is 10pm and I will wake up at 5.30am’. It will take less than a week to set your internal alarm clock. You would have just slept for five x 90 minute sleep cycles. After many weeks of this routine you will turn the power of your sleep routine and energy around.
I wake up at 5.30am every morning – it doesn’t matter if I’m in a dark hotel room or in my own bed. I never dream either as I’m not getting woken out of sleep cycles.
If you’re waking up early, just make sure you’re in bed by 10pm as that’s when your liver is regenerating. Your body is designed to restore itself while you’re sleeping.
If you’re eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol late at night, it’s going to impact your sleep patterns. It also puts pressure on the digestive system and kicks the body into overdrive at the time it wants to rest. Here’s a whole article I wrote on sleep if you want to read more.
2. Tongue scraping
As soon as you wake up, use a tongue cleaner to remove the bacteria coating on your tongue. It only takes 30 seconds and it not only gets rid of the heavy-duty toxins in your body, it will also give you an idea of how healthy you are, and how much room for improvement there is. When you’ve done a detox, you’ll notice there is hardly anything to scrape as your body will be working efficiently. This is a great way to massage your digestive system first thing in the morning as the tongue represents all of your organs.
3. Something warm to drink
Rather than going straight for a shot of caffeine as soon as your feet hit the ground, a better option is a hot lemon, ginger, honey drink. When mixed together and sipped first thing in the morning this drink is great for kick-starting your digestive system.
The ginger stimulates the digestive fire; the lemon has a scraping component, which stimulates the liver to gently remove toxins and the honey binds it all together.
This drink will also awaken the digestive tract, hydrate the tissues and encourage a bowel movement in the morning.
4. Oil pulling
Swishing and gargling with warm sesame oil helps strengthen the teeth, gums, jaw and voice, while improving your sense of taste. It also stabilises the good bacteria in your mouth, is great for oral hygiene and helps you stay fighting fit.
What you want to do is swish one tablespoon of edible oil in your mouth (if you’re not a fan of cold pressed black sesame oil, a good high-quality coconut oil works well too). If you can, aim for 20 minutes and make sure to move the oil in front of, behind and through the teeth.
At first 20 minutes might sound like a long time, if you can’t go for that long, try for at least five minutes and it’s fine to do other things during that time – I like to prepare my breakfast or lunch while I swish.
By oil pulling you’re basically cleaning all of your upper neck channels including sinus, glands and bacteria in the mouth.
If you missed my article about the health benefits of oil pulling you can read all about it here.
5. Move your body
Next try to get a bit of movement in to stimulate your blood and energy. Yoga is a great way to strengthen the body and clear your mind.
If you don’t have time to make it to a full one-hour class, there are so many online yoga apps – for example Gaia or searching on Youtube. These range from a short 20-minute program, to longer ones which go for an hour or so.
A brisk walk on the beach, a stroll with your dog, or a gym class is also great – whatever works best for you in the morning. You can check out the article on exercise for your body type to get started in a personal path.
If you can ground your mind with a meditation next, that will really set you up for up for the day. Again even five minutes is a good start and there are some great options with the Art of Living program.
Next take a shower, then get dressed in something that makes you feel good. You’ll be ready to take on the world!
6. Warm nourishing breakfast
For breakfast you want to eat something that will clear your mind and set you up with energy for the day.
Good staples are warm rice porridge with nuts, spices and coconut or a buckwheat pancake, cooked with ghee and spread with avocado. Here are some great recipes for you to enjoy.
At the start of the day, between 6am and 10am, our agni (digestive fire) tends to be quite low and it’s not easy to digest a big breakfast, so go for something that nourishes the body by giving it the fuel it needs, without overwhelming it.
The benefits of a routine
In Ayurveda, the importance of a consistent daily routine can’t be underestimated. It sets the tone for your entire day, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. It gives the body, mind, and spirit the chance to ground and cleanse, to start afresh.
This whole routine, doesn’t need to take more than an hour and can be easily tweaked to fit where you’re at. Once you’re used to doing these practices, they are pretty easy and you’ll be feeling great.
Many people like to start off by choosing one or two of these things and building up to the whole routine slowly. Essentially you should just do what fits with you – because whichever of these practices you choose, they will be benefiting your body and you’ll quickly feel the amazing results. Small things can have a big impact.
Commit to doing this for two weeks and note down the benefits you are feeling. When we run our 7 day detox retreats the participants are so shocked to see what happens once we put them in a routine. Your body really does start working for you.
Have a fantastic day!