“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me. I vow to live fully each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
"In the morning a man walks with his whole body; in the evening, only with his legs."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. Wake up before 6a.m. According to Ayurveda, or the natural science of life, waking up before 6a.m. instills the body with the natural energy of the rising sun. Implementing this into one's routine can automatically increase the amount of energy one has for the rest of the day. If you already wake up before 6a.m. for work, try setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to make more time between getting out of bed and rushing to get ready. The following tips will guide you as to how you can spend those extra 30 minutes!
2. Tongue scrape/ oil pull. Another ancient Ayurvedic morning practice is to take a copper or metal tongue scraper ($7.99 ~ Banyan Botanicals) and remove the thin film on the tongue before intaking anything into your system like water or coffee. What this does is remove the toxins, or ama, that get deposited onto the tongue while you sleep. In doing so you can start your day with fresher breath and ensure a cleaner internal system as you prepare to take in food.
Oil pulling with organic, expeller-pressed sesame oil in the winter months is another way to draw in toxins of the mouth. Start with five minutes of slowly pulling the oil between your teeth and then expel into a trash can or into the earth outside. Do not spit into the toilet or a sink as this can backup the drain.
3. Warm water and lemon or lime. Instead of going right for the coffee or tea, squeeze half of a lemon (warming- good in wintertime) or lime (cooling- good for summertime) into a cup of warm or hot water. This acts as both an anti-bacterial as well as a primer for the body's internal digestive system. The warmth of the water kickstarts agni, or fire, in the body, while the citrus reduces harmful gut bacteria. Wait some time before you take coffee afterward as to allow the drink to work its magic.
4. Light incense or a candle as an offering to the divine. Creating a small and contained fire or flame in the morning is an act of honoring fire as a powerful agent of purity and transformation. Fire cannot be polluted; it is powerful, and it always rises. In fact, in ancient India bodies were burned because fire is seen as a vehicle to take the soul. Notice both the calming and invigorating effects lighting a candle has on your mind, body and spirit. You might offer thanks to someone or something that allowed you to take this time aside for yourself.
5. Move/ meditate/ journal. If only for ten minutes, choose something that allows you to become "lost," or relax into a state of flow. Moving the body and mind in a way that is enjoyable first thing in the morning provides a deep honoring of yourself and can set you up to choose positive, healthy things for the rest of your day. If time permits, I typically enjoy reading an excerpt of an enjoyable book or pulling a tarot card and allowing that to prompt me into my work day.