The Ayurvedic approach to health, vitality and clarity begins with daily morning practices that don’t have to take more than a few minutes of your time, but will make a world of difference. Each technique will help harness your body’s own resources to detox after a night’s sleep, diminish stress, stimulate the digestive system, and cultivate the emotional energy needed to face the day ahead with positivity and purpose. You wouldn’t feel ready to leave the house without brushing your teeth, so think of these five basic strategies as a necessary add-on before you step out into the world.
1. Notice and breathe.
Every morning, before you’re fully awake, ask yourself to notice how you are feeling. Rested, stiff, cold, heavy? Identifying the qualities of how you feel helps your mind focus on what your body will need to face the day efficiently and productively. Take a few deep breaths here and imagine that you are filling the lungs like balloons and exhaling all the stale air bringing revitalizing oxygen to the whole system and clearing the old.
2. Stretch and release.
Swing your legs around to the side of the bed and, before standing, increase blood flow to the joints and limbs by circling your ankles, wrists, and head. Gently roll your shoulders, too, and slowly twist side to side. Add a few energizing standing stretches, sun salutations, even jumping jacks, if you’re up for it!
3. Purify to stimulate digestion.
Oil pulling is a technique that cleanses the mouth, gums and teeth. Swish a tablespoon of sesame oil for three minutes. Don’t swallow! Spit it out in the trash to avoid clogging your drains. Scrape your tongue to remove gunky bacteria and give the digestive system a gentle nudge. Use a stainless steel or silver scraper—it’s so satisfying. Brush your teeth as always, then drink hot water with lemon. A cup of this vitamin C helps kick-start the digestive process, promote healthy elimination, and prepare the body for better nutrient assimilation.
Related: Should You Try Tongue Scraping?
4. Brush daily.
Dry brush your body to slough dead skin cells, stimulate lymph flow, and prepare the skin to receive the nourishing oil self-massage. Always brush towards the heart. This little self-massage will promote a healthy glow and kick circulation into high gear. Use coconut oil when the weather is hot and sesame oil when the weather is cooler. Use circular motions over joints and sweeping motions up towards the heart.
5. Just sit.
Take a minute or 10. Establish a gentle rhythm of nourishing vitalizing inhales and cleansing purifying exhales. Then just take a minute or two to notice how your body feels, how your mind feels. Focus you attention on one or two things that you would like to accomplish throughout the day. Anything from staying calm and organized to getting through that to do list. You are the author of your day.
By Lisa Hedley