1.Journaling. I’ve been keeping a daily gratitude/intention journal for almost 6 months now. Each morning I try to write down three things I’m grateful for, as well as set three, positive intentions for my day. Some days I can list a million things I’m feeling thankful for and other days I may struggle to come up with just three. My intentions can be as simple as adding more laughter to my day or as deep as practicing more self-love, compassion, and non judgment. Once I write them out I’ll usually reread my lists a few times over, just to really let the words settle in. I’ve found that this practice creates an awareness around my blessings, no matter how big or small, and it serves as a wonderful reminder that every action begins with a thought, and through positive intentions and affirmations, I hold the power to create my day.
2.Drink a cup of warm water with lemon. This is a popular Ayurvedic practice that is simple, easy, and works wonders. The warm water stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis (the waves of muscle contractions in the intestinal wall that keeps things moving), while the lemon juice helps to flush out toxins and other unwanted materials in the digestive tract and in the urinary tract. Lemons also contain high amounts of vitamin C and potassium which helps to boost the immune system, balances the body’s pH, and gives you clear, glowing skin from the inside out. This concoction helps get things moving in the morning (if you know what I mean) and provides me with energy throughout my day. For some fun variations try adding:
- Honey: Preferably raw, organic honey. Add a tablespoon to your warm lemon water for an extra dose of enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Ingesting local honey, over time, can also help reduce allergies.
- Cayenne Pepper: Add a dash of cayenne to your cup for some heat, kick starting your metabolism and stimulating the circulatory system.
- Turmeric Powder: Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory agents as well as antioxidants and is linked to reversing brain disease, cardiovascular disease, and inhibiting proliferation and survival of almost all types of tumor cells.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: A shot a day is said to help fight cancer, heal the heart, and even aid in weight loss.
3.Meditate. This is quite possibly the most beneficial morning ritual that I practice. Whether I have five minutes or 30, I try to make time for myself each morning to sit down, to get quiet, to feel, and to just breathe. My meditation allows me to get grounded and clear, and ultimately, my meditation allows me to release any lingering negative thoughts or doubts that I don’t want to carry with me as I move into my day. To really feel the benefits of meditation you must commit yourself to a consistent practice.
- New to meditation? Start out by setting a timer for 5 minutes. Come into a comfortable seated position. Sit up tall, close your eyes, and begin to turn your attention onto your breath, focusing on each individual inhale and exhale. No matter what comes up: a feeling, a memory, an item on your to-do list, don’t judge yourself, don’t get frustrated, just feel it, accept it, and release it. Then come right back to your breath. Let your breath be your anchor.
- You can also find some wonderful guided meditations online if you are having trouble
4.Salute the Sun! Wake up and unite your body, mind and soul with some Sun Salutations. A Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) is a sequence of yoga postures meant to get the heart pumping, the blood flowing, and the energy buzzing. There are many different variations of the sequence and many people, myself included, like to make up their own, but traditionally the sequence is composed of 12 asana (I’ll post a tutorial soon!). Most mornings, my goal is to do three, some mornings it’s more and some mornings it’s less, but I definitely notice that when I take time to roll out my mat in the morning I have much more energy (and a much better attitude) throughout the rest of my day.
Spend time in Nature. Practice your Sun Salutations outdoors, go for a nice walk in the park, head to the beach for a sunrise paddle, or maybe just sit on your porch and soak up some Vitamin D while you enjoy your morning coffee (or warm lemon water). Science has proven it, but it’s not very hard to believe, that getting outside is extremely beneficial to one’s health, and that spending time in nature can help boost your mood, clear your head, and help redirect your focus. To me, no matter what the day has in store, a dawn-patrol surf session always makes life a little easier.
6.Read something positive. And I’m not talking about your email. Use a passage from your favorite book, or an uplifting, inspirational quote, or your gratitude list from yesterday to set the theme for your day. Where your attention goes, your energy flows… Place your attention on something positive first thing in the morning and watch your energy follow. I’m a big fan of collecting passages and quotes that inspire me. I write them down and read them often.
Love more. Let love pour out of your heart. Give your full attention to someone or something you love. Take a few moments with your partner, remind them how much you love them. Spend a few moments petting your cat or dog, showing them a little extra love. Water your plants and sing them a little song. Infuse your morning with love and watch how that love trickles over into the rest of your day. It might take a little work at first, but allow yourself to be receptive to the change. Begin by bringing awareness to how your morning routine affects the rest of your day. Take small steps at a time. Notice how your body, mind and soul thanks you when you start your day off on a healthy, positive note. I try to do at least one of these each morning – sometimes I do all seven, sometimes I do nothing – and that’s OK. I’m proud of myself when I commit to my morning routine, but I’m also not too hard on myself when I slack. And I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice: find a healthy ritual that works for YOU and let it be something that gets you pumped up to wake up! As always, I would love to hear from you guys, what are some of your favorite morning rituals/routines?