Are you a morning person? It’s amazing how some of us rise and shine before the sun, ready to go, whereas others are more productive in the late night hours and can snooze ‘til noon.
I’m sort of in the middle. Working as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for almost two decades now (whoa time flies!), I’m quite used to the alarm going off at 5am, or even earlier! I much prefer early mornings to late evenings, even though sometimes it is nice to sleep in a bit...which for me is between 7 and 8am!
One thing I have loved during this quarantine is the luxury of not setting an alarm, waking up naturally, lingering in bed a bit, then getting up when I feel the time is right. It’s something I have only experienced on vacations, or occasional mornings off (typically I teach everyday of the week!). It’s something I probably haven’t enjoyed on such a regular basis since on weekends when I was in college!
With this joy of nowhere to rush to and nowhere to be, I’ve been able to be consistent with a morning routine to start my days off feeling energized and bright! I do these things when I can during my typical schedule, but if I’m running late I have a tendency to skip them out of necessity.
It has been fabulous to really nurture myself in the morning with self-care.
Here are some of my favorite morning wellness techniques and the benefits they offer. Many of them are from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, which is a holistic science from India. I will cover Ayurveda in more detail in a future article, coming soon! These practices are listed in order of my favorite way to do them each day upon waking.
Tongue Scraping ~ This technique works wonders to remove bad bacteria from your mouth. It’s perfect to do after you wake up, before brushing your teeth. It helps to freshen the breath, and releases toxins from the body that surface during the night as your body is cleansing and repairing while you’re asleep. Simply scrape your tongue from back to front several times. Tongue scrapers can be found at markets such as Whole Foods, most pharmacies, as well as on Amazon.
Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil ~ Oil pulling is another simple but incredibly effective way to not only clean your mouth, your teeth, and strengthen your gums, but to also “pull” and release toxins from the entire body. Take about a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it actively in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Then spit it out, brush your teeth, and your mouth will feel like you just left the dentist! You can do this with any oil, but the added benefit of using coconut oil is that it contains lauric acid. Lauric acid has anti-microbial qualities which makes it even more effective to fight bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque build up and gum disease. Coconut oil also works as an amazing full body moisturizer!
Dry Body Brushing ~ This is an invigorating practice that I love! It wakes my skin up and makes me feel energized! Dry body brushing helps to not only exfoliate the surface of the skin, but it also stimulates the lymphatic system, helps the body release toxins, and increases circulation. It can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite by breaking up fatty deposits in the tissues. Move from your feet, up towards your head. Create long sweeping strokes upward. Always brush towards the heart. When you get to your belly make circular strokes instead. Be gentle at first, as the bristles can feel rough on a new brush. Dry brush before you shower and moisturize. You can find one at most natural food stores or on Amazon.
Hot Water with Lemon ~ This super simple morning elixir is cleansing for the body. It flushes out toxins, is antibacterial, and contains vitamin C which is a great immune system booster. Drinking lemon water is also a wonderful way to balance your pH levels. It’s beneficial for the digestive system, and can boost weight loss. Enjoy it on an empty stomach each morning.
Gratitude Journal ~ This is one of my most favorite things to do everyday to start my morning with positivity and love! Take a few moments to jot down in a journal, or wherever you like, three things you are grateful for. It can be whatever comes to mind naturally from your heart. Even if you didn’t sleep well, have a busy day ahead, or are working through something challenging, this simple act of being grateful shifts your mindset. It is a perfect way to begin your day focused on the good in your life. When your mind goes to the good, you actually manifest more good things! Abiding by this consistent daily ritual, you will notice a difference in your stress level, and how you react to things throughout your day. It really makes a difference when you come from a place of gratitude and love.
Gentle Movement/Mindful Meditation ~ We all have different times of day we prefer to exercise. If you regularly workout in the morning, then this is already in place for you. If you carve out time for movement in the afternoon or evening, then try taking just five minutes in the morning, to sit still with your breath, or if you have a few extra moments, perhaps do a mini yoga flow, or take a nice walk. This is perfect to do while you’re sipping your hot lemon water, after you’ve written down what you’re grateful for. It helps to get the body moving, the oxygen circulating, and the prana (life-force energy) flowing through your cells.
I hope you enjoy these simple, effective, holistic practices! When you do them with consistency, you will not only notice the difference in how you feel physically, but you will also develop a wonderful sense of self-care and self-love. It’s important to make time to take care of yourself daily, and you may even start to look forward to getting up a little earlier, to focus just on you!
I would love to hear how these work for you! Please feel free to comment and share your favorite morning rituals!
In health and love,