How many of you as kids or teenagers remember desi parents commanding you to wake up because it's 9 a.m. on weekends, only to find out it's 7.30 damn AM. When we were younger, we did not need alarm clocks or phones to wake up. Our healthy body and a perfect morning routine awoke us naturally at a fixed time every day because a sound functioning mind and body require 7-8 hours of restful deep sleep (this is not an attack on folks who love sleeping in). Your best sleep, beauty sleep, restful sleep happen between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
India is blessed with a 5000-year-old science of Ayurveda that instructs a human being on leading a healthy, sattvic life with minimal medical intervention. It emphasizes mainly being one with nature, waking up when the sun rises and winding down as the sunsets. It is believed following this system enables one to live a long healthy, and fulfilling life.
But it is often impossible to follow old tradition in today's fast-paced modern life. However, if you observe & follow successful people of the world, they are early risers. And when we say successful people, it doesn't only mean in a worldly sense. A lot of people who live with mindfulness in their daily lives wake up early. These people are successful in life, too, because their morning habits maintain their mental health, physical health, and emotional health.
Urban lifestyle, work pressure, food habits, and stress does not allow the body and mind to rest, which leads to many hitting the snooze button of their respective apple and android phones multiple times. Despite the numerous snoozes, the person wakes up groggy and with low energy levels for the rest of the day. There's always a lingering feeling of "oh, five more minutes, please". However, one must be aware that hitting the snooze and sleeping for some more time does not guarantee the freshness of mind and body. Due to this collective habit in urban cities, many offices start functioning at 11 a.m. and some even later. The reason? Eating and sleeping patterns are pretty erratic due to a stressful life. Lack of a stable metabolic routine puts the body in a constant state of high alert leading to tiredness, agitation, and loss of appetite. Over time, this results in premature ageing and lifestyle disorders like diabetes and hypertension, to name a few common ones.
The Ayurvedic Way
There is a deep ayurvedic science behind having a good morning routine, as Ayurveda considers establishing a balanced metabolic rhythm fundamental. Ayurvedic way of life outlines creating a simple morning routine that reassures regularity and safety to the mind and body. Having a great morning routine assures one that life is excellent and gives birth to a deep sense of relaxation within reason.
Ayurvedic Dincharya - Ideal time to wake up
A daily routine is also known as Dinacharya in Hindi; it is designed to maintain a harmonious balance of the three doshas that makes one energetic, happy and vibrant. Keeping the doshas balanced aligns one metabolic cycles as per natural processes of the Sun and the Moon. A simple understanding of Dinacharya can negate most of the adverse effects of a hectic life and give the day an early morning start.
Ayurveda considers different parts of the day to be dominated by different Doshas. The time between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is dominated by Kapha. Waking up in this period makes one feel heavy, dull and sluggish.
Therefore, an ideal morning routine is to begin the day early, around sunrise or preferably earlier. At this time, Vata dominates, makes one feel light, fresh and energetic. Ancient wisdom considers the time between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. to be the auspicious Brahma Muhurta, ideal for peace, calm and inspiration. Even a few minutes of meditation during this time can bring in tremendous health benefits and enough time to plan the rest of your day.
Step 1: Become a morning person
Many Indians drink a glass of water or lukewarm water as a morning ritual immediately on waking up. Because as per Ayurveda, morning elimination on waking up is essential to flush out toxins and maintain vitality. Drinking a glass of warm water on waking up helps stimulate bowel movements (unless you suffer from severe constipation). If one does not follow this already, it is an excellent habit to cultivate and train one's body.
Post evacuation of bowels movement, one should move on to brushing one's teeth. While brushing the teeth, it's essential to clean the tongue and gently rub it with a couple of fingers or stainless steel or copper tongue scraper. On some days, you may notice a white coating on your tongue; this is a sign of toxic accumulation in the digestive tract, or that one has not bothered to clean their tongues for a long time. Cleaning your tongue relieves the body of toxins and stimulates digestive activity that contributes towards overall wellness.
Post brushing, one should move on to oil pulling to detox the body. Oil pulling can be gently carried out by swishing sesame or coconut oil for a few minutes before expelling it. Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic traditional concept brought to the limelight by the actresses Angelina Jolie and Anushka Sharma.
Another way to become a morning person is by keeping social media as AWAY as possible on waking up. Instead of mindlessly browsing through social apps in bed, one can cultivate the habit of journaling. It keeps your thought process aligned, helps one be grateful for whatever they are blessed with and spring into a productive day.
Step 2: Cultivate a Healthy morning routine.
As mentioned above, the time between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is dominated by Kapha, which has a grounding and stabilizing nature. This makes it an ideal time to loosen muscles and improve ones blood circulation. Surya Namaskar and Asanas are a great way to bring both energy and balance into one's life.
Follow this up with some deep yogic breathing and set the rhythm for the day. If one has not learned any yogic breathing techniques, sitting with the eyes closed and deepening the breath is a great way to bring the breath into the rhythm. Having a new habit of being aware of one's breath balances the doshas, improves metabolism, and burns fat; if you have a daily morning exercise routine, it's best to do it post-yoga.
Mornings are a great time to practice meditation as it's usually calm and tranquil outside. Spending even fifteen minutes with oneself has a profound relaxing effect throughout the day.
After the routine, it makes one ready to put one's right foot forward. Mornings are an excellent time to identify the most important task of the day, set targets and learn about time management. Use this time to develop a clear, conscious positive frame of mind. A few minutes spent aligning one mental space has a significant impact on an entire day.
Step 3: Shower and Healthy Breakfast
When you feel like it and have the time, meditation and exercise can be followed by a rejuvenating Abhyanga massage using warm oils.
Abhyanga warm oil massage opens skin pores, flushes out toxins and provides a deep sense of well-being. The routine takes about 15-20 minutes. If one is short of time, one may try a quicker version. Do a five-minute massage instead of the twenty minutes and have a warm or a cold shower. However, never shower with hot water as it dries the skin and hair, outstripping natural oils.
Post shower, prepare a good breakfast as per your meal preference. Eat a sumptuous meal in winters and a light meal in summers. Balance the diet according to the doshas, and one is all set to face the day!
What we have seen so far is an ideal start to the morning. Integrating all of this in one go can be daunting. This is why an excellent way to begin a morning routine is to start slow and with the easiest to incorporate. Pick a few habits to start, like as small as not checking social media, spending time with a loved one, or having breakfast.
Indian wisdom tells us that it takes one mandala or 48 days for something to become integrated entirely. As the routine becomes second nature to you, you can add more practices to your morning. Some exercises like oil pulling and abhyanga can be done on alternate days or a couple of days a week.
Be sure to listen to what your body says and personalize your routine accordingly. Ultimately, what is essential is consistency over doing a large number of things. Try not to miss a day, as starting over is always tricky.
Try this routine out, and let us know how your days are!
While you are here - we would also like to tell you about Auric's 100% Natural Beverages made with premium herbs, tender coconut water and refreshing fruits. Making it a great morning ritual.
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- Auric Skin Radiance - For Naturally Glowing Skin
- Auric Weight Balance - For Improved Metabolism and Fat Loss
- Auric Hair Boost - For Strong Nourished Hair
- Auric Body Defence - For Immunity Boost
- Auric Mind Rejuvenation - For Calmness and Better Quality of Sleep
- Auric Giloy Lemonade - For Benefits on Tulsi, Giloy and Ashwagandha
Authored by: Padmaja Rai
About the Author: Padmaja is a healthcare consultant and avid fitness enthusiast. She holds a masters' in bio-innovation and rare diseases from University of Pennsylvania. She is a firm believer in ancient Indian holistic healing.