5 Ayurvedic Practices to Start Your Morning Right.
When I was younger, I hated routine. I felt it took away the spontaneity of life. Yet, over the years I’ve come to appreciate the importance of regularity, particularly when it comes to managing my health and wellbeing and starting my day well. Dinacharya (daily self-care routine) is one of the foundations of Ayurveda (Yoga’s sister science). The principles of a Ayurvedic morning routine rest on the importance of consistency, including when you eat your meals and also your sleep habits.
Before I discovered Yoga and Meditation or began following the principals of Ayurveda, my morning routine was to stay in bed for as long as possible, eat breakfast in a hurry, followed by a mad dash for the bus to get to work!
The free loving spirit in me still exists, but I recognise now how adopting a daily routine helps to keep me grounded. This is particularly evident in how I start my day. When you follow a morning routine that consciously factors in ‘self care’ then that really does set you up for the day ahead.
The practices I’m sharing with you in this article are ALL part of my daily morning routine.
There are other practices you can include into your Ayurvedic morning routine like Abhyanga (self massage) and using a daily Neti Pot. But for this article I wanted to focus on the practices that I believe are those that can be committed to on a consistent basis. Practices that have made a significant difference to my wellbeing.
1. Rising at the same time every day
Typically, the ancient Yogic and Ayurvedic text suggest you should wake before sunrise as this is the best time for self-reflection, (more on that later in point 5). It is believed that waking after sunrise leads to the cluttering of your communication channels with external impurities that dull your mind.
I know I am not a morning person. To say to you that I get up before the rising sun each day would not be true! Sleep is the number one thing we all should be prioritising!
However, I do believe that getting out of bed consistently at the same time every day even on weekends is the best thing for your wellbeing. Why? Well, this creates a habit that your body and mind will appreciate.
I feel fresher when I don’t over sleep. Whilst it’s not always possible to rise with the sun. I highly recommend committing to waking at the same time for as many days as you can.
Have you ever experienced waking up with an unpleasant taste in your mouth and a coating on your tongue? This is usually an indication of what you consumed the previous day or if you have an upset stomach, and the coating can persist on your tongue. Tongue scrapping can fix this.
Tongue scraping is an essential part of my Ayurvedic morning routine and is as non-negotiable as brushing my teeth, occupying a prominent position on my list of morning rituals.
Why is it important?
Tongue scraping is one of the best ways to eliminate unwanted toxins from your body. The layer of coating on your tongue that you experience in the morning is actually a buildup of toxins and bacteria from the previous day, which are referred to as digestive impurities or Ama. If left unattended, these impurities can negatively impact the functioning of your digestive system.
Frequently, these toxins have travelled from the gut and have accumulated in your mouth overnight. By practising tongue scraping, you prevent the toxins from re-entering your body and also reduce the presence of bacteria responsible for causing unpleasant mouth odours.
Tongue scraping not only cleanses your tongue but also enhances your sense of taste. By removing the buildup on your tongue, your taste buds can fully appreciate and intensify the flavours of your food.
How to use a tongue scraper.
Firstly you need to chose the right tongue scraper for your Ayurvedic constitution. It is recommended to use a stainless steel or copper scraper, as they are easy to clean after each use.
To use a tongue scraper, begin by brushing your teeth, then place the scraper at the back of your tongue and gently scrape the surface of your tongue forward around five times. Finally, rinse the scraper with hot water to ensure it is clean.
3. Hot water and lemon
As a child, I recall my Nan starting her day with a glass of warm water and lemon. Although I didn’t realise its significance back then, it has become a daily ritual for me and how I start my day.
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, this practice is an ideal way to jumpstart your digestive system each morning. It ignites the digestive fire in your abdomen, flushing out any toxins and helping to maintain a healthy immune system by keeping the fire burning.
Moreover, it has purifying effects on the stomach and liver, while also stimulating the gallbladder and lymphatic system.
Whenever I feel like I’m coming down with a cold or feeling a bit under the weather, I’ll add a slice of fresh ginger to my warm lemon water.
4. Bringing movement into your Ayurvedic morning routine
As a yoga and meditation teacher, it’s natural for me to recommend committing to 15-20 minutes of yoga asana each morning to enhance your physical and mental well-being!
During the weekdays, I have limited time to practice, so I use the 20 minutes to energise myself with Sun Salutations and release tensions in areas like my neck, shoulders, (always tension there) and spine. On weekends or days off, I practice for a longer duration. However, dedicating myself to daily sadhana (practice) has significantly improved my overall well-being.
Starting your day with movement, what ever it is, Yoga, walking your dog, going for a run, or even dancing around your kitchen, will boost your metabolism and alleviate any sluggishness. It’s important to find a modality that works best for you, one that you can consistently commit to and enjoy.
After movement comes pranayama (breathwork). Depending on how much time I have in the morning the one practice I always include is Nadi Shodhana. It is a balancing pranayama practice that brings a state of balance to the body and mind. You can learn more about this wonderful balancing pranayama and how to practise it by clicking here.
5. Meditation – another non-negotiable!!
Although I’m not a morning person, there’s something really special about meditating as the sun rises. The peaceful energy of a new day inspires me as everything around begins to awaken. Meditation in the morning is the best time to connect with yourself and be with your thoughts.
Your mind is clearest in the morning before the day’s distractions set in. When you meditate in the morning you go into the day feeling calmer and with more clarity and improved focus leading to increased productivity throughout the day.
Committing to just five or ten minutes a day can make a world of difference. You may need to make a promise to yourself to set your alarm a little earlier, or resist hitting the snooze button!
But if sitting in meditation isn’t your thing, there are alternatives, such as a walking awareness practice, where you tune into your senses and surroundings. Listen to the sounds of the morning and take in the sights and smells around you.
Introducing your Ayurvedic Morning Routine – One step at a time
Incorporating all these practices all at once into your busy daily routine may feel overwhelming. Take it step by step at your pace. Finding the modality of movement and meditation that suits you best and brings enjoyment. This is the key to maintaining regularity.
As I mentioned earlier, the practices I shared are designed to be easily integrated into daily life with minimal disruption to your routine.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like to read…
How to add Meditation into your daily routine.
The Ayurvedic approach to food and diet.
10 Ayurvedic tips to balance Pitta in Summer.
Free Meditation Practice.
To support you on your journey with Meditation, here is a link to access a free 10 minute practice. Remember, little and often is important. Committing to 10 minutes a day will make a difference to your wellbeing. CLICK HERE >> FREE MEDITATION