Ayurvedic Morning Routine
The most succesful people in the world all have one thing in common: a morning ritual. Research suggests that incoporating a morning routine (dedicating time to yourself), helps your mind, body and soul ease into the day ahead, enabling you to act from a place of calm and centered focus. You only need think back on a time when you were stressed – possibly a tight deadline – and how difficult and stressful it was to think and act. Now think of a time when you were grounded, calm and focused, how differently you behaved compared to when you felt stressed. This demonstrates the power of being grounded. Dedicating time to yourself before heading off to the world does just that.
Most morning routines draw heavily from the ayurvedic recommendation, because Ayurveda recognises different energies throughout the day that can be used for the best balancing effects. Do the right thing at the right time and everything will be a lot easier.
Lets review some simple techniques you can implement now, to get you started with your own success building morning routine. If the following list feels hard, don’t get disheartened, but make sure to read all the way to the end, where we have listed some tricks you can use to make it fit with you.
1 Go to bed early
A healthy morning routine really begins the night before: by getting good quality sleep, you’ll feel a lot better upon waking up. Shortly after sunset, start winding down by turning down any bright lights – especially blue ones like computer and mobile screens – and do things that are calming and relaxing for you. For Vatas especially, it helps to get into the same routine every day to give your mind the signal to relax. Ideally go to sleep before 10pm to use the calming Kapha energy that’s prevalent during this time. If you stay up longer, Pitta starts accumulating and it’s more difficult to fall asleep after 10pm — that’s why many people find they work very well late at night and are having a hard time going to bed before around 2am.
2 Wake up early
Have you ever noticed how peaceful the world is just around sunrise? Imagined how good it would feel to wake up naturally, without an alarm? Ayurveda has the secret to use this beautiful energy to fuel your day: before sunrise, active Vata energy fills the athmosphere and makes it easy to rouse, so get up with the sun. If you’re using an alarm for the first few days, do not hit the snooze button!
Especially Kapha people should make an effort to get up well before sunrise, because as the sun comes up, Kapha energy starts building up and makes it harder to get up. Many people who sleep in after sunrise don’t get out of bed until 10am or 11am, when the days energy shifts to Pitta. If that sounds like you and makes you think there’s no way you could get up as early as sunrise, just give it a try after you went to bed early, it will be a lot easier at this time of the day than it is later due to the energies.
3 Focus on yourself
Upon waking up, you don’t have to jump out of bed immediately. If you went to bed early, you should feel well rested and awake now and you can anchor this peaceful, happy energy into your day with a short meditation. Get into a position you like, put a hand on your heart if you like and just feel into your body. Say good morning to yourself, sing your favourite song in your head or focus on everything in this moment that makes you feel good. Set your intention for the day and revel in that feeling for a few minutes before you get out of bed.
4 Go to the bathroom
Set up a kettle to boil water for a tea, then go to the bathroom. Splash your face with cold water, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue. Make sure you eliminate to give your system a fresh start into the day. If you’re having trouble doing so, Triphala can help to tone and detoxify your digestive system.
Have your shower (if you have them in the morning) and give yourself a quick Abhyanga massage with coconut oil (cooling, soothing – for Pitta), sesame oil (warming, grounding – for Vata) or mustard seed oil (warming, invigorating - for Kapha) by rubbing a tiny amount all over a body like you would a moisturiser. You can also use those oils to do “oil pulling”: swirl about a teaspoon around in your mouth for some minutes before brushing your teeth, then spit it out. Oil pulling is a very effective way to detoxify your body, remove many harmful bacteria and even whiten your teeth.
5 Drink warm water
After your mouth is clean and before you take in anything else, have some warm water to rehydrate you, flush out your system and fire up metabolism. Feel free to add a bit of lemon, apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger or herbs but use tea (any kind that comes from true tea leaves; herbal infusions are ok) or coffee. If you can, leave some time before the water and your first meal, at least 15 minutes, up to 45 minutes if possible. If it makes things easier you can also drink the water right after getting out of bed; the Ayurvedic idea however is to get rid of toxins and bacteria in your mouth before anything goes into your body.
6 Get active
Before you have breakfast, get moving! Do some yoga, stretch, go for a morning run, a swim or just dance like nobody is watching. Try out different things to see what feels best; a morning run in a hot climate might be too much for Pittas while a swim in cold weather might not be ideal for Kaphas. Half an hour is ideal but even just a few minutes will give you lots of energy throughout the day by activating your whole body.
7 Have breakfast
In Ayurveda, breakfast is not necessarily the biggest meal of the day. We haven’t eaten all night and Kapha energy is prevalent at this time, so your digestive system might not be up for the task of a huge meal yet. The typical Western cold-milk-and-cereals are hard to digest and could slow your system down instead of giving you energy. Opt for something warm and light instead and keep the meal size small. How about some pumpkin with a few pepitas, nutmeg, oregano and a bit of parmesan? If you’re going to have cereals, try to get some natural grains and soak them in yoghurt over night (preferably outside the fridge) or prepare some baked oatmeal on the weekend. Natural yoghurt has bacteria that will help your digestive system and will also ferment the grains a bit to make them easier to digest. If you’re Kapha, you could give intermittent fasting a go and just skip breakfast; only make sure to fire up your digestive system before lunch – maybe with another cup of ginger tea.
How to get started if you don’t think you can do it
Ayurveda (and probably every Eastern Philosophy) believes in gradual changes. Don’t get disheartened if the above list seems complicated and time consuming. You’re probably just very used to doing things at the “wrong” time of the day. If you’re worried how you can fit everything in or don’t know how to get your whole day done before sunset, don’t give up just yet. Try making small changes and if they feel good, you’ll notice that everything else just naturally follows over time. You’re benefiting from every small thing you can do for yourself, no matter how insignificant it seems. Just setting an intent alone makes a huge difference.
Start by establishing a (even small) routine before you go to bed – most importantly turning off all blue lights as soon as you can; install flux on your computer to take out the blue light if you need to look at your screen after sunset. When you notice that you fall asleep easier, try and go to bed earlier. This is the main step to a healthier morning routine, if you can go to bed early, you’re over halfway there. Leave the blinds in your bedroom open to let in the first daylight – it will signal your body to stop producing sleep hormones and make it easier to get up.
If you still find you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, try the routine on the weekends and see which activities you like best. Focus on fitting those in first, even if as shortened versions. You can try and stack things, too if that doesn’t feel stressful – like doing oil pulling under the shower and dancing around while brushing your teeth. If the only thing you can do is spending time with yourself and setting an intent for the day for a few minutes before you get out of bed, you’ve done the most important bit.
Whilst appreciable care has been taken in the preparation of this web site, the information provided do not replace treatment from a legally qualified medical practitioner. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any action. AyurvedaDosha does not take responsibility for any issues resulting from the use of the provided information.