The morning is my favorite time of the day. A time I can wake up and be just with myself. What I do in the morning tends to lay out my entire day. If I wake up rushed to get out the door, I usually tend to be a bit more stressed. If I wake up with time to get my digestive juices flowing, do some stretching, meditate, and my whole shower routine, I enter the day feeling warm and loved. Here are some of my favorite rituals to do in the morning that I’ve found outline my entire day for the better:
Warm lemon water (sometimes). First, I wake up and drink plenty of plain water (at least 20oz right off the bat). After that I like to drink a cup of warm lemon water while I stretch or do yoga. I take half a lemon and juice it into a mug. Pour warm water over and sip. This is great for stimulating the digestive system and get your bowel moving.
Oil pulling comes next. This is an ancient Ayurveda ritual known to pull toxins from the mouth and body. It is also known for reducing cavities and whitening teeth. Well, you had me at “pulling toxins”. I usually rinse my mouth after drinking the acidic lemon juice and scoop about 1 tsp of coconut oil into my mouth. Then swish it around in your mouth for about 20 minutes before spitting it out. I love the flavor of coconut oil. I also love the smoothness of my teeth after doing this. Finish by brushing your teeth until after as to brush away any toxins that came out and are in my mouth.
Then I prepare to take a shower (I shower maybe every other day so this doesn’t happen every morning). My new favorite thing to do while I’m waiting for the water to get warm is dance naked in front of the mirror. Yes, you heard me. I think this ritual is really important, especially as a woman, but as a man too. We all have been conditioned to think we need to look a certain way or act a certain way. Don’t be naked that’s offensive! Quite the contrary. This practice allows you to really look at yourself. Examine your body parts and love them just the way they are. Appreciate all the jiggles and all the flabs of your body. Love the soft curves and the wrinkles. Those things are what make you, you. Enjoy them.
Dry Brushing is my next step. This is another Ayurvedic technique which helps to work your lymphatic system, get your blood flowing, and exfoliate your skin. Take a soft body brush made from natural bristles, not plastic, and begin by brushing your skin. Start from your feet and work upwards in long strokes. When you come to a joint, large circular motions over those parts are great. Continue to brush from the tips of your limbs towards your heart. Do large gentle circles over your belly and your breast, as they tend to be more tender. This ritual can last for 2 minutes or for 20, it’s up to you.
Ideally, you would take a cold shower. This practice is popular for kundalini yogis and is known to increase blood circulation in the body as well as boost immune function and promote healthy skin. In the summer I am all for it, but winter tends to be more difficult for me. Sometimes I take a warm shower and then end with cold water. It all depends on my day, but I’d love to try to include it more as it is so beneficial to your health.
Finally after I’m done showering, I practice self massaging which basically means moisturizing your whole body with oil. This is yet another Ayurvedic technique known to benefit your skin among other organs. I use almond oil now because it tends to be warming and it’s frigid out. You can use coconut or olive depending on what works best for your skin type and dosha. Similarly to body brushing, start at your feet and work your way up, applying adequate amounts of oil all over the place. I tend to stop at the ears as I use jojoba oil for my face. This ritual warms me up, moisturizes my whole body, and gets my skin feeling soft and supple. This practice is especially important in the winter when skin is dry and cracking. With each season comes changing doshas, so switch up your techniques to suit you.
You don’t have to incorporate all of these rituals at once, in fact, you shouldn’t. If you start doing too many things at once it will get overwhelming. These are practices I have incorporated slowly over the years. I have come to the point where I am comfortable with doing most of these on a given morning. Often I don’t do all of them, and sometimes I don’t do any because guess what? Life happens. Be easy on yourself, and enjoy the process.