Bring In Your Day With Ritual.
Let's start with the morning. There are hundreds of resources advocating various morning routines. In the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions this includes waking well before dawn for meditation followed by chanting/recitation of sacred scripture and asana practice. I cannot bring myself to get up that early! But I do believe in the importance of a morning routine; one that includes spiritual nurturing practices as well as physically invigorating ones. Here are some components of morning magic to add in to your early day.
Make the Bed
Tidy room, tidy mind; elevated energy. Do it right away after you rise and emerge from your rest with the satisfaction of already accomplishing one thing.
Light a Candle or Incense
Illuminate, beautify, and refresh your space. This can be a symbolic as you'd like it to be - an offering to something, someone, or just honoring yourself and the new day.
Intention or Mantra
This goes well with lighting of a candle, or could be done separately. Take a moment in a quiet, special place (if you have an altar, meditation corner, or yoga room, these spots are natural energy centers and will bolster your intention and focus) or perhaps outside or in front of an eastern facing window. Feel your intention rising in your heart and then express it outloud with words. You can repeat it as many times as you'd like. Alternately the repetition of mantra or japamala, is a beautiful and potent practice for clearing energy and bringing in the day. Take as much or as little time as you'd like, but begin the day with expression of sound, mantra and intention and I promise you will feel the shift.
Get it Out Honey, Put It In The Book
One immensely beneficial morning practice that I picked up years ago from doing The Artists Way (highly recommend) is doing "morning pages" simply put - writing first thing. The act of writing, whether long or short, can help purge worries, bad dreams, good dreams, get your creative juices flowing, be a place to vent, help develop goals and intentions and generally help clear the mind of clutter. So instead of sipping your coffee or tea while scrolling Instagram, or reading the news first thing in the morning, try writing instead. Don't hold this writing to any standard. Just let it flow, let it out.
It's awesome to practice in the beginning of the day. If you have a space in which to practice, this time on your mat can be as long or as short as you'd like. You can incorporate pranayama, asana, mantra, music, intention, prayer, meditation, yoga nidra. On busy days it may be as simple as running through a few rounds of sun salutations followed by pranayama and a few minutes of meditation. On more leisurely days this practice could be two hours! Work within your life parameters. If you prefer to practice in a class setting find a few morning classes you love and become a regular!
Whether you follow Ayurvedic guidelines, eat Paleo, enjoy fresh juice, or need something quick on the go; devise a meal plan and create a breakfast that serves up protein, healthy fat, complex carbs, vitamins, nutrients and adaptogens. Give yourself the best sustenance that you can each morning. I love smoothies full of powders and potions as they are full of goodness, easy to make and consume and don't make me overfull for teaching. Here's a recipe.
Walk the dog, hike, or just get a few moments of fresh air or light. Pause to enjoy and appreciate the glory of our beautiful mother earth!
*DON'T look at your device until some or all of this is done. Trust me, it's better that way. Engaging with the phone spikes your cortisol levels and frankly, wastes time.