Are you a person who dreads waking up in the morning? Put your alarm on snooze, everyday? Is this affecting your ability to work productively? Well, ayurveda has some solutions to kick-start your day so you can be up and running in no time. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, your immune system’s health depends on the choices you make every day. Ayurvedic morning rituals, called as ‘dinacharya’ assist in aligning the body with the nature’s rhythms and balancing doshas which ensures better emotional health.
According to ayurveda, the first item one ingests sets the mood for the rest of the day.
Top 10 Morning Rituals:
1. Scheduling to wake up early
It may be hard at first, but the best way to become a morning person is by having a disciplined schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will take a few days of continuous practice and then your body will get adjusted to the time, soon you may not even need a clock as your body will act like one and wake you up.
2. Wake up before the Sun
It is considered ideal to wake up at least an hour before sunrise. This doesn’t mean you have to check to see what time the sun rises every day. Anytime between 4-6 am is good enough. Between 6-10 am is the Kapha energy phase, so if you wake up before you can benefit from the calming effects of sattvic (energy) in the air. But if you wake up later, that is during the kapha phase, you will feel more lethargic. Once you wake up, place your bare feet on the ground and feel the energy of the earth running through your body, you could do this with pranayama.
3. Morning drink
According to ayurveda, the first item one ingests sets the mood for the rest of the day. If you are starting your day with a heavy cup of creamy, sugary coffee, you’re probably not doing it right. Switch to drinking a glass of lukewarm water flavored with a fresh slice of lemon. The warm water helps in stimulating the gastrointestinal tract. Lemons and limes are high in minerals and vitamins, they also help loosen ama (toxins) in the digestive tract.
4. Cleansing routine
Face: When you sleep, a lot of repair work goes on in your body. Ayurveda recommends a splash of cold water a few times to disperse heat, or leftover pitta energy in your face.
Mouth: Tongue fuzz is a sign of undigested ama in the digestive tract. So, Ayurveda recommends a tongue scraper to dislodge ama, lest it be reabsorbed while eating or drinking. Scrape the tongue gently 14x times, working from back to front. Apart from dislodging ama, the taste buds also get an awakening of the gastric fire required for flavoring food Overnight, trapped heat often dries out the mouth. So take a sip of cool water, swish it slowly and spit it out when it gets lukewarm. Repeat 2-3 times.
Teeth: For healthy gums and enamel, brush your teeth with a soft natural bristle toothbrush. (Hard toothbrushes can cause gum recession, pain between the teeth and gums and damage enamel.) Use a toothpaste free of synthetic chemicals and harsh abrasives. Ayurvedic toothpastes that contain herbs, such as neem, lohdra and kushta, will help stimulate gums and protect enamel. After brushing, rinse your mouth for two to three minutes with warm olive or sesame oil (swish and spit, don’t swallow). Then use the index finger to massage the remaining oil into the gums with small, counter clockwise motions. A gum massage stimulates gum tissue, lubricates cells and cleanses digestive fire. Also, tap the teeth together a few times to stimulate the energy meridians that lie in the mouth.
5. Ear and Nose care
Massage your ears by beginning at the top of the ear and use the thumbs and index fingers to rub the rim, moving slowly down to the lobe. Then place a few drops of sesame oil just outside the opening to the ear canal to keep vata (dry) energy in check. Ayurveda considers nose as the pathway to the brain, so rub a few drops of sesame or olive oil just inside the nostril. This is said to nourish prana, improve voice, vision and clear sinuses.
6. Treat your eyes
In Ayurveda, eyes are viewed as “the seat of the fire,” making them pitta in nature. Splash cool water on open eyes to help balance doshas. If your eyes are extra puffy or irritated, cover them with slices of cucumber or cotton balls soaked in aloe vera, cooled fennel tea or milk. (Goat’s milk is cooler but cow’s milk is also fine) or use one of the following eye washes:
-Triphala eyewash:1⁄4 tsp of Triphala in 1 cup water, boil for 10 minutes, cool and strain.
-Pitta eyewash: use cool water or rose water from organic rose petals.
-Kapha eyewash: try diluted cranberry juice, 3-5 drops in a teaspoon of distilled water.
7. Aromatic oil massages
Massaging one or more energy channels with aromatic oil, floods the mind and body with healing energy. Start by choosing an aroma that matches your dosha.
-Vata: ginger, spikenard, cardamom, bergamont, vetiver, orange, saffron,
-Pitta: sandalwood, lavender, rose, jasmine.
-Kapha: eucalyptus, grapefruit, rosemary, cedar, sage.
Place a drop of oil on the ring finger of the right hand and rub it gently onto the third eye using small, clockwise circles. Deepen and slow your inhalation and exhalation as you count to 11 full breaths.
All three doshas benefit from a quick cleansing, but water temperature varies by body constitution. Pittas benefit from cool water, while lukewarm water is ideal for vatas and even warmer temperatures are best for balancing, cool- natured kaphas. Ayurveda believes that anything put on the skin is eventually assimilated by the body, so lower the body’s toxicity by avoiding products with synthetic chemicals.
9. Exercise regularly
Exercise rejuvenates the body and mind, alleviates stress and fatigue. You can also exercise after an aromatic oil massage, the heat during exercise will ensure better absorption. You need not do very intense exercise. Light-moderate exercise is sufficient, yoga postures like sun salutations or a brisk walk around the park will ensure you get that dose of fresh air and sunlight.
10. Breakfast blues
One must never skip breakfast. A light meal is often best as it won’t overload the digestive fire, which peaks at noon. Fruits, vegetable juice, non-fat yogurt, or grains like Millet, Quinoa or Amaranth are best to consume for breakfast.