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As a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher, I have learned to implement rituals that make my day a tad nicer (maybe more radically charged) and relaxed.
They also give me a sense of accomplishment as I start each new day with gratitude.
These morning rituals set the tone for the day in a serene way that gets me through my activities of teaching art, creating paintings and jewelry, and giving therapeutic art sessions. And at times, getting through the angst of everyday life.
With the emergence of busyness, I must do them daily. Sometimes I add others, but these are my musts.
May they be of benefit.
Eight morning rituals to start the day energized and mentally relaxed:
1. Wake softly.
I find waking up to a soft sound enhances my mood immediately. I have an Apple Watch with two apps that have sounds I like to wake up to. They are AutoSleep and AutoWake. I can set the AutoWake to transition my wake time with some wrist haptics smoothly.
If that doesn’t wake me, I put on a chanting song that does. Although, a side note, the first time I used it for an important wake time (appointment), I felt and heard nothing.
Once I’m awake, I set my Insight Timer app to meditate for a minimum of 15 minutes. There are bells and whistles we can choose from to start the meditation. I stick with the standard Om (aum) for this. Next, I light a candle and burn some sage or Palo alto sticks—I love the smell.
I have to invert. I’ve been an inverting junkie for about 32 years—being upside down, bat-like, enlivens me. I love the inversion table, although I believe headstands are essentials as well. I like the stretching of the spine on the table and the growth of elongation from the headstands.
4. Read short inspirations.
After 15 minutes of meditation and inversions, I read the Yoga Sutras (my third time around). Reading Meditations on the Mat is also a go-to for me and has the Yoga Sutras in it. I also pick a book that I can learn from. Learn the Yogi’s way is my favorite.
5. Nasal cleanse or neti pot.
This is another ritual I’ve done for about 30 years. I use Himalayan sea salt, but I’ve found that if I use too much water or salt, I get earaches, so I’ve limited the amount of salt and water and, voila, no more earaches. I follow by putting oil in my nostrils to moisten the nasal passages.
6. Oil pulling.
I use coconut oil mixed with peppermint oil (not too much oil). The best method I have found is to use a spittoon (a jar with a lid will work just fine) not to clog our drain pipes. I have put the remnants in a jar, and I can say it pulls the toxins out, as the smell in the pot is vomit-producing.
7. Tongue scraping.
I’m rather fond of clean and fresh breath. I’ve found I love to suck on menthol cough drops to clear my airways in the past year, and I also enjoy the menthol rush. I used the plain stainless steel tongue scraper for years but recently found a copper scraper that feels so much softer on my tongue.
In the morning, I do several types of breathing exercises. I also do several breathing techniques, about three times throughout the day. I love alternate nostril and ujjayi breathing exercises. This can be done throughout the day, but I like to do the fire breath with my arms held high as I exalt the breath in and out the yogi’s way.
This may seem like a lot to do in one morning, but it comes down to less than 30 minutes once we’ve practiced these rituals.