Paving the way to a happier and healthier you each day arguably begins with a strong morning routine that fits your personality and lifestyle.
A morning routine helps us set the tone for the day, allowing better focus and energy towards the things that will help us feel more fulfilled and happy, and less anxious stressed, or overwhelmed.
Many great spiritual teachers (Tim Ferris, Eckhart Tolle, Joe Dispenza), motivational speakers (Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey), successful business leaders (Steve Jobs, Barack Obama), writers (Julia Cameron, Ernest Hemingway), and artists (Andy Warhol), have sworn that maintaining a consistent morning routine has helped them achieve incredible feats in their daily life.
"It's been said that the first hour is the rudder of the day. If I'm lazy or haphazard in my actions during the first hour after I wake up, I tend to have a fairly lazy and unfocused day. But if I strive to make that first hour optimally productive, the rest of the day tends to follow suit" - Hal Elrod (author of The Miracle Morning)
Mason Currey, who wrote the highly acclaimed book 'Daily Rituals: How Artists Work', takes a look at the habits, routines, and rituals of hundreds of established artists throughout the years and how their individual steps or routines helped them cultivate an optimal state of mind.
Understanding the difference between a habit, a routine, and a ritual is an important key to establishing what to introduce into your morning routine:
- Habits are things that we do automatically. They are small decisions you make and acts you perform every day. What you repeatedly do (what you spend time thinking about doing each day), ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality you portray. Your life today is essentially a sum of your habits.
- Routines are predominantly a collection of habits that you have or actions that you take on a regular basis to bring order to your day or evening. In comparison to a habit which usually manifests itself as an automatic urge to do something, a routine requires deliberate practice.
- Rituals are like routines, though the difference is the attitude behind the actions. As the renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins teaches, most routines could be turned into rituals with a change of perspective. Rituals are viewed as more meaningful practices which have a real sense of purpose.
There are hundreds of ways in which you can establish what your morning routine looks like. The more you research and adapt practices or teachings to your own routine, the more you will see that many fall under similar umbrellas.
Common morning practices are:
- Drinking a full glass of water when you first get up
(warm and with fresh lemon is also popular).
- Staying away from technology, phones, and emails for the first couple of hours of the day.
- Doing some form of morning exercise or stretching.
- Meditating or practicing breathwork.
- Journaling and affirmations
- Creating a gratitude list.
- Taking a cold shower.
- Drinking a full glass of water when you first get up
So why all the hype around establishing a morning routine that works for you?
Scientifically, we know that a lot takes place in the first couple of hours after awakening and that the mind and body are highly influential during this time. Research shows that your cortisol levels are naturally higher for these first few hours after rising. Higher cortisol levels help to increase alertness, productivity, focus, energy, and most importantly mood and mental health.
The key is finding the routines that work for you and maintaining them consistently. The motivation to start your morning routine comes down to your own research and experimentation. It’s important to remember that there is no right or wrong. What may work for someone you admire, or for friends, may not work for you. You may also find that over time, you need to expand or change one of your rituals. That is totally fine and encouraged as we are ever-evolving and bio-individual.
Only YOU can establish practices that resonate for the best start to your day.
For yogis, a key part of a morning routine usually includes the practice of asana and meditation or breathwork to some degree. In the Ayurvedic tradition, a daily routine is also referenced as ‘dinacharya’, which works alongside the Ayurvedic clock (image on the left).
This clock stipulates that the hours of our days are governed by the doshas, and that we should choose our activities based on the benefits that each dosha brings and to align with our circadian rhythms (physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle).
- tongue cleaning, oil pulling, & gum massaging
- drinking warm water and lemon
- toxin elimination (bowel)
- neti & nasya (nasal passage cleansing)
- self-abhyanga (massage)
- ear oil & eyewash
- asana, pranayama and meditation
- shower & skincare
- breakfast & tea
Ancient Ayurveda wisdom teaches us to follow a daily schedule of eating, sleeping, digesting our food, working, and exercising in accordance with our natural doshic rhythms, in order to achieve optimal health.
The closer our daily rhythms are aligned with the rhythm of nature, the closer we are to achieving mind-body balance and wellness.
This month we are focusing on what we currently have in place as our 'Morning Medicine' or morning routine and what we can put in place to help ourselves thrive. We take a look into how establishing morning habits, routines and rituals help you within your practice, but also, as always in yoga, how this translates when we take it off the mat. We will also use our practices to set daily intentions, create space in the physical, mental and emotional bodies, expand your mindset, and tap into your energy systems to help release stuck emotions and blockages. A perfect opportunity to experiment with what morning routine or rituals you would like to introduce with Soul Sanctuary’s guidance.
Each practice in this month’s theme will bring a different energy to your morning:
* In our first week, we focus on bringing fire into the mind and body as we feel into Manipura and svadhisthana, in order to ignite your day.
* In our second week we celebrate International Women’s Day with a beautiful wild and feminine flow plus an energising and dynamic flow that focuses on lower body power.
* In the third week of March, the full moon will rise and we match this with a full moon meditation and also our monthly movement breakdown for Eka Pada Koundinyasana II.
* In our fourth week, we have a wholesome 45-minute morning slow vinyasa flow that opens with meditation and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Tapping.
Founder of EFT - Gary Craig explains EFT Tapping as - “a universal healing tool that can provide impressive results for physical, emotional, and performance issues. EFT operates on the premise that no matter what part of your life needs improvement, there are unresolved emotional issues in the way … “. Find out more HERE.
* During this week we also have our Yoga Philosophy class with Angie Tiwari, who will be educating our members on the 3 Paths (marga) of Yoga from the ancient scripture the “Bhagavad Gita”.
* In our final week of March, we have an easy morning flow that will help iron out any kinks from sleeping in the neck, shoulders, and spine. A great practice to come back to time and time again.
* We also have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows (in black) that align with this month’s theme, mapped out below in our monthly printable calendar. You can link these additional practices in the Calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership via desktop.