I took a leap (albeit a small one, but an important one), and decided to do 30 days of yoga this January 2018. Yoga with Adriene is hosting a free yoga journey called True, and I invite you to participate, if that speaks to you.
Today, January 2nd, was day one, and it was my first yoga practice in a long time. After moving and breathing for just 24 minutes, I can say two things definitively:
1. Hell yes.
2. Adriene’s style is refreshing and authentic. I really like her teaching approach, and I feel blessed to have found her channel.
As I was meditating on my intention, a theme emerged that will guide me in 2018: Love and Acceptance.
Today’s yoga theme was motive. For what seems like my whole existence, I have been too focused on the result or the expectation of the result, rather than nurturing the act itself. This could be big things like body image and physical performance or little things like brushing my teeth.
But presently, my motive or true desire to act is to embody love and acceptance for myself and others and spread that energy to anyone who needs it. (And I know a lot of us need it.)
For me, acceptance is twofold. It’s about accepting myself as I am and knowing that I am enough, and also accepting situations I cannot change.
I cannot control external circumstances or the actions of others, but I can look within more, breathe more and let go more, and within that, I can live more freely and peacefully.
Morning Routines: An Important Piece of the Wellness Puzzle
Starting your day off with a healthy and balanced frame of mind is an essential part of achieving wellness. If your typical morning consists of:
-waking up in a rush (“Holy hell! I’m late!”)
-a negative mood (“It’s Monday. This sucks!”)
-or a rut (“I just want to go back to bed.” ::snooze button::), then this post will help.
Or perhaps you are already working on creating an inspiring morning routine for yourself – awesome! Hopefully you can take away at least one or two new ideas from this list.
I want to acknowledge that some people may be parents and/or some individuals may feel that their schedules do not allow them to have a healthy morning routine. My response: where there is a will, there is a way. Even if you only implement one or two of these ideas into your morning routine or you try new elements each day, it will still make a difference. It is best to have fun with this and figure out what will work best for your personality, needs, and lifestyle. Everyone is in a unique situation, so you should tailor a morning routine to your life.
So Here it Is… My Morning Routine:
1. WAKE UP BEFORE THE SUN RISES I usually wake up around 5:00 am to start my day. This is a beautiful time when the environment is usually still quiet and at peace. Naturally, I go to bed the night prior at around 10:00 pm, so this works for me. I have worked at this.
2. NO CELL PHONE I started to come to terms with the reality that I was addicted to my phone and social media. I was kidding myself when I thought that there was no way an email response could wait, or that if I was not connected that I would miss important information for work or even breaking world news. I realize that many people are severely addicted to technology in general, in a way that might eventually cause disease in the body. I am still working on limiting my technology use, so this is a work in progress (as she types on her WordPress blog).
To combat the cell phone habit, I have made a conscious decision to avoid using my cell phone until after my morning routine is complete. It has made a big difference in my life so far, and I highly recommend it to others. (Tip: If you use your cell phone as an alarm clock, it is a good idea to use a back-up alarm clock as well. There are lots of neat clocks on Etsy.)
3. WAKE UP WITH GRATITUDE & PEACE I try to wake up each morning feeling blessed and grateful at the opportunity of a new day; after all, I realize that so many others were not given the chance. I take a couple of deep breaths and smile. I give thanks and reflect on everything that I am so thankful for. Basically, I wake up with peace in my heart and gratitude on my mind. I do not leap out of bed as though the world is on fire.
4. BE CONSCIOUS & BE PRESENT
Simple as that. It can be something as magical as listening to the wind, or the crickets, or the birds chirping outside and/or quietly meditating. When we rush through our morning, and our day, and our week, and our month, and our year, and our life, we miss these little miracles that are occurring all around us all the time.
5. SHARE LOVE Every morning, I tell my husband and my companion animals: “Good Morning!” and “I Love You!” To me, and perhaps to them, this makes all the difference.
6. STRETCH & BREATHE I do 5-10 minutes of light stretching and yoga postures, focusing on my breathe. I will eventually increase this to a 15-minute routine. I also like to have a book of inspiration nearby to read a quote or page from at this time.
7.OIL PULLING I follow this Ayurvedic practice each morning. I swish 1 tbsp of organic coconut oil in my mouth (sometimes with 1 tsp oregano essential oil) for twenty minutes. The theory is that this draws out toxins and helps with overall oral health; it has many other documented benefits as well. I love it. When done, I spit, rinse out my mouth thoroughly, use a tongue scraper, rinse again, then proceed with my oral care regimen.
8.MORNING JOURNAL I have a journal that I use to write down my dreams, my goals, notes, thoughts, inspirations, etc. I journal for twenty minutes in the morning while I am doing the oil pulling. This is a great time to express myself, gain clarity, or just be creative. There are no rules; I just free-write. This is often a time of the day when people will have more fluid experience with self reflection, expression, and creative thought.
9. SPEND TIME WITH THE ANIMALS I like to take the morning to greet all my companion animals and give them fresh water and food, pet them, and spend time with them. I take care of the dogs, tend to the rabbits, hens, and birds, and even give thanks to the honeybees and the gardens. Now that it is getting warmer, I am looking forward to getting some new bird seed and filling up the bird feeders outside for the wild birds to enjoy.
10. 20-MINUTE JOG/POWERWALK This is an item on the list that I have not partaken in this winter, but now that it is warming up, I am going to add it into my morning routine. I think a light jog and/or power walk in the morning will be quite liberating and refreshing.
11. GROUNDING // EARTHING I have recently done research on grounding/earthing and the health benefits of directly connecting with the earth. If at all possible, and you can fit in walking outside barefoot and connecting with nature for even a couple of minutes a day, it will make a difference.
12. DRINK LEMON WATER + TAKE VITAMINS Lemon water is detoxifying and alkalizes the body; it helps the liver, kidneys, skin, digestive tract, you name it! I drink 20 oz of warm water with the juice of 1/2 of an organic lemon to start. I wait 30 minutes before eating breakfast to support optimal digestion. (more on lemon water in a future post). I also choose to take my vitamins at this time. I get most of my vitamins from food, but I do take a couple of supplements for extra support.
13. DRY BRUSHING Dry brushing is excellent for the skin before showering; it helps circulation and it removes dead skin cells, among other benefits. I have a plant-based dry brush that I purchased from my local health shop. You basically brush the skin in a gentle, circular motion starting from the feet and working your way up toward the heart. (more on dry brushing in a future post)
14.SHOWER OR DETOX BATH USING NATURAL GOODIES I do not really have rules as far as when baths are “allowed.” In fact, I love baths so much that if I want to take a bath in the morning, I will, and I do not need anyone to give me permission or reserve baths for a “special occasion.” Life is a special occasion, so if I want to take a bath, I won’t deny myself that luxury. But showers are nice too. Nonetheless, I love using organic sugar and sea salt scrubs and natural soaps (we make them homemade!). I also use apple cider vinegar and salt in my baths, which is wonderful for the skin and body.
15. OBSERVE YOUR BEAUTY & HONOR YOUR LIFE FORCE This can really apply to anyone, but I notice that many women especially partake in negative self talk constantly, especially when looking in the mirror. Some days I still struggle with this myself, but over time I have really healed this area of self acceptance. I try to remember to be thankful for my beautiful, healthy body, which is ultimately the home to my soul. This is why it is a top priority to honor my body and take care of it. Remember: Your body allows you to do amazing things day in and day out. It is incredible! You are incredible!
16.GREEN SMOOTHIE TIME As you can tell from my blog, I really love healthy food and nourishing, nutritiously dense breakfasts. I choose to start my day off with a delicious green smoothie, packed with vegetables and fruits. I have never been a fan of coffee, but if you are a coffee lover and you want to cut back, the lemon water and green smoothies in the morning can certainly help with that.
THERE YOU HAVE IT
It takes me about two hours to get through my entire morning routine. I leave for work by 7:15 am each morning, so this is what has worked for my schedule thus far. I would also encourage good preparation in general; I make sure I have ingredients for lemon water and smoothies, clothes ready, gas in the Jeep the day before, etc. This eliminates a great deal of unnecessary stress in the morning.
Enjoy your mornings, enjoy your days, and enjoy your life. And remember: hating mornings is an option. I choose to love them.