Why are morning rituals so important? They set the tone for the day ahead. Every morning is a fresh start, no matter what has happened the day the before, the Sun will rise again, and its an opportunity to have a great day! Its a choice that we make, life is not by chance.
A few years ago, my life may have been simpler. But, as time has passed, well, not so simple. We all have obligations, responsibilities, personal and professional….and its easy to be overwhelmed by this chaos. These rituals won’t make the hem go away, but they put you in a better place to juggle this thing called life. I’ve found that my days that start with this “me time” always go better. I start the day centered, more confident and with a clearer mind.
- My alarm usually rings at 4:30 am. Why so early? Some of my workouts start at 5:30 am – and I just can’t rush through my morning routine which takes about 45 min to an hour. Which means I need to be in bed by 9:30 pm! aka – no late nights…..something I’m fine with as I function better in this time zone My first ritual is to drink a small sip – maybe 2 tablespoons of water – from my copper jug. A little detail, is that I pour the water in the night before, I don’t leave the water in the jug for days, as I’ve been reading about copper poisoning. Hence, such a small dose. Copper water first thing is the morning is known to kill bacteria growing at night. Also don’t miss my old school alarm clock. I used to use my phone, but made this change in an effort to keep the bedroom device free, and also not be tempted to check email (aka bad news) first thing in the morning.
2. My next ritual is oil pulling – the ancient Ayurvedic practice to detox. I put 1 tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil from HappyHealthyMe in my mouth. And gently swish it from side to side and front to back. What it does is pull out the toxins from your body. For it to be effective, it needs to last at least 15 minutes, so I use this time to read some of my “self development” books. The idea is to not reach out for the phone – no matter how tempting it may be! When you are done, you spit the oil out – make sure to not swallow any. And then I brush my teeth with a new tooth powder we are developing at HHM, with my beautiful bamboo toothbrush. Followed up with cleaning my tongue with this gorgeous tongue cleaner – also an Ayurvedic ritual. I’ve incorporated these after reading “Everyday Ayurveda” by Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya – an easy guide to adopt Ayurveda practices in modern life. By now, 20 to 30 minutes have passed, theres no way you can rush through these!
3. Welcome to my sacred space – my mini Buddhist monastery – inspired by my life changing trip to Ladakh. It was there that I had my a-ha moment to work in health….which resulted in me co-founding my organic food brand – HappyHealthyMe a few years later. My next ritual is to sit down to a zen Pranayama (yogic breathing) practice. I’ve found that, with many years of living with stress, I breathe very short breaths. In fact, when I’m really anxious, I don’t breathe at all! So this practice fills my lungs with oxygen and my mind with positivity. You can eat all the healthy food you want, but if your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs, then you are full of toxins! My routine includes Nadi Shuddhi, Kapala Bhati, Bhastrika, Bhramhari, a sound meditation. This leads to a meditation, where I may direct my thoughts to writing from “The Book of Awakening”, by Mark Nepo. My dear friend and partner Misha gave this to me January 1 – it has a different thought to meditate on daily. Or sometimes I focus on my breath. Can’t say I’ve mastered meditation – far from it. But I’ve begun the journey, and feeling oh so good about it…its only Day 5 I end the practice with gratitude – thinking of all the things I’m fortunate to have, a few gongs from my Tibetan prayer bowl, and I light an incense stick. I want to add that you don’t need a room to do this, you can sit in any quiet place, indoors or in nature.
4. Sambhrami – also known as loban/dhoop. The sprinkling of fragrant resin on a piece of burning charcoal – that smokes and purifies the air. This is more of a biweekly ritual – I love that it makes me slow down and walk around all rooms of my house!
5. Another very important ritual is movement – exercise. I am nothing without this – and my mood completely depends on it! I’m happiest doing triathlon, there is something exciting about doing all 3 sports – you never get bored of one. It engages all the muscles – and you feel strong and invincible! And gives you a huge boost in your attitude and confidence. My mornings usually involve one of the 3 sports – Swim, Bike, Run or a strength training session. Structure works well for me – and by that I mean setting a specific goal like signing up for an event, and working with a coach and training program. My next big goal is the Thonnur Olympic Distance triathlon. And the in between goal is the TCS 10K – I managed to get a charity bib – YAY!
6. Breakfast – is this a ritual?? Yes! Because I make it myself. Indians are famous for outsourcing all our housework. But, this is something I refuse to let go of – making my own brekkie. Makes me feel connected to my wellbeing and nutrition. Also chopping fruit, veggies and making something with your hands in the morning is therapeutic. I make the best dosas anyway, and wouldn’t dream of asking someone else to 😉 Having said that my husband makes the best idlis 😉
7. Hugs and kisses!! The best part of the morning, everyone in the family gets tight hugs and kisses from me. No explanation needed We all should show our love daily. Disclaimer – this works better when school is in session, off late I’ve been dragging the kids out of bed yelling at them for being lazy!
8. A short note about these books. They maybe predictable and tell you things you already know, but the truth is if you practice even a fraction of what you read, you will be in a better place. I’m reading these books with an open mind, and adopted a few habits from my new learnings. (Edited to add – I’ve already given up on “The Power of Positivity” – way too many God and Bible references….I’m not a huge fan of organized religion you see! So much for my open mind!)
I’d love to hear more about your rituals – and hope that this blogpost will help you get started on a few that have helped me greatly!
ps: Did a 1.9 km swim on Day 5!