Does your morning routine need some adjustment? Or maybe you still need to craft a morning routine? Here are ten top ways in which you can use Ayurveda to have a better start to your day.
Wake up (and get out of bed) early
Early in the morning – before the sun rises – there are sattvic (loving) qualities in nature, says Vasant Lad of The Ayurvedic Institute. This is one reason why it is good to get up early, as the energy this early in the morning can “bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses”.
Lad goes on to say that people can get up at average times according to their most prominent dosha:
- vata people – 6 am
- pitta people – 5:30 am
- kapha people – 4:30 am
However, it’s important to not stay in bed once you have woken up. Although, at first, it may be difficult, you’ll soon find that you get out of bed easier as this becomes a habit.
Before you get out of bed, you can also say a prayer of gratitude for the new day that you have been blessed with.
Once you’re out of bed, you’re ready to start enjoying the new day.
Watch the sun rise and enjoy the dawning of a new day
When was the last time that you saw a sunrise?
Seeing the darkness of the night lift and the sun slowly rise is a wonderful experience not only because of the beauty that’s revealed by the light, but also because of the promise that the new day holds.
And, let’s be honest, by getting up early in the day you can get a lot more done than if you sleep in and end up rushing to start work or school. Morning routines, in fact, does seem to work best if you get up early!
You can also take this time to write in your gratitude – or even dream – journal. This is also a great way to get rid of the remnants of sleep and get your mind up and at ‘em for doing some light exercise.
Do some light yoga exercises
You can do the following yoga exercises according to what your prominent dosha is (Lad, 2020):
- Vata people – 12 Sun salutations, which should be done slowly, followed by leg lifting and then the Camel, Cobra, Cat, and Cow. Make sure that it is all slow and gentle exercise.
- Pitta people – 16 Moon salutations, done moderately fast, followed by Fish, Boat, Bow. Make sure that it is calming exercises.
- Kapha people – 12 Sun salutations, done fast, followed by Bridge, Peacock, Palm tree, and Lion. Make sure that you do vigorous exercise if you are a Kapha individual.
Once you have finished your exercise, you can take some time to do breathing exercises like alternate nostril breaths, cooling, shitali breaths (curl your tongue lengthwise and breathe through it), and bhastrika breaths (which are short and fast).
You can also do other light stretches early in the morning.
Going for a walk outside (perhaps walking your dogs) is also a wonderful way to get your blood moving and getting ready to tackle the new day. It will also give your a change of scenery, which can already do wonders for being awake and being present in the moment.
Meditate and still your thoughts before the day starts
Meditation or prayer can be a powerful force during the day, but especially in the morning as you’re just starting out your day.
In the mornings our minds are usually more relaxed and we don’t have a day’s events “clogging up” our minds and pulling our thoughts away from the meditation that we are busy with.
Some practitioners of Ayurveda – like Vasant Lad – have noted that meditations like empty bowl meditation (Kevala Kumbhak) can be of great help. You can also do any meditation that you are used to and find helpful.
Give yourself an abhyanga oil massage while you shower
Use the time you spend in the shower to also give yourself a quick abhyanga massage with your favourite cold-pressed oil.
Read this article for a step-by-step tutorial on how to give yourself an abhyanga oil massage.
Drink water (and some more)
Now that you have had a abhyanga oil massage, you can start replenishing the water that you have lost during the night.
To do this, drink a glass of warm water (not too hot!) before drinking a glass into which you’ve put a few slices of fresh lemon or some lemon juice. You can also make a delicious tea using ginger, lemon, and raw honey. Be sure to finely grate the ginger and only add the honey once the tea has cooled somewhat. This tea will help your digestion and the vitamins in the lemon juice will aid you in staying healthy.
Ayurveda also teaches that, if you add some sea salt your water, you will be able to cleanse and remineralise your body. It may also raise your blood pressure if it is low.
Eat a light breakfast before 9am
Finally, make sure that you eat a light breakfast before 9am. A large breakfast can make you feel tired and sluggish, so be sure to only eat a light meal in the mornings, for example some fruit, yoghurt, or a small bowl of granola should be enough for a morning meal.
You should also try not to snack between breakfast and lunch. Your lunch should be your most substantial meal of the day.
Eat dinner before 7pm
Just like your breakfast shouldn’t be too heavy, your dinner should also be a light meal. This is to ensure that your body isn’t trying to digest large meals when you’re trying to go to sleep. A lighter meal will also lead to better sleep and you therefore waking up more energised and motivated.
Put your electronics away – yes, even your phone
Switch off and put away your electronics about 2 hours before you go to bed to keep the light from the electronics interfering with your sleep. You’ll find that your sleep improves not only because you are no longer affected by the light from the electronics, but also because you have time now to de-stress and calm your mind and body before going to sleep.
After all, so many times we want to check the news or our social feeds before bed, but the negativity on those platforms may leave us stressed and negative while also trying to go to sleep.
You should also try to go to bed at the same time each evening. Rather than staying up late, go to bed at about 10 pm (depending on how much sleep you need) to ensure that you get enough hours of sleep. You’ll feel refreshed when the morning comes and your alarm goes off rather than wanting to break the alarm and keep on sleeping!
Tip! If you do find that you struggle to fall asleep, you can try some meditation or even white noise to help you drift off. Just make sure that, if you use apps on your phone or tablet for this, that the screen is turned off to keep light from flooding your bedroom.
- Enfield, Leala. (2020). “Yoga & Ayurveda: Ancient Life Hacks for Modern Living”. Prana Yoga Studio.
- Gernady, Lauren. (2020). “Ayurveda Life Hacks: Easy Ways to Bring This Ancient Health Science into Your Life”. Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.
- Lad, Vasant. (2020). “The Daily Routine”. The Ayurvedic Institute.
- Saiisha. (2020). “10 Ayurvedic Things To Do So You Wake Up Feeling Fresher Than Ever”. Lifehack.
- Shaw, Emily. (2014). “Ayurvedic Life Hacks We All Need”. Amaveda.