This Ayurvedic Morning Routine Will Help You Start Your Day Mindfully
Whether you're a proud "morning person" or more of a "night owl", the benefits of establishing an effective morning routine can help you to hit reset daily on your health and wellbeing. If what you do in the mornings affects how you spend the day, optimising that time can help you to live your best life.
Traditional Ayurvedic practices are increasingly popular ways to detoxify and support our natural systems. From digestion to immunity, there is likely an Ayurvedic wellness technique to support you.
Read on for our four-step morning routine, combining the principles and practices of Ayurveda that could help you start your day more mindfully.
Whatever you do, don't delay in waking up and actually getting out of bed. Scrolling on Instagram for an hour doesn't count—you need to actually leave the cosy comfort of your bed to complete this step properly. If you do struggle with sleep inertia, assess your overall sleep hygiene—are there areas that could use improving? And if 6:00 am sounds ridiculous, try rising a little earlier than usual each morning until you hit your sweet spot.
Just remember that once you get into the groove of rising early, you may also start drifting off to sleep earlier and without assistance at night.
First things first—it's time to clear your evacuation channels. Ayurvedic texts emphasise the importance of clearing each and every elimination channel—bladder, bowels, ears, nose, mouth—so it can be helpful to get into the habit of doing this even if it's not an "emergency". If you're having trouble clearing any of these channels, talk to a doctor or health professional about herbal assistance.
Ayurveda recommends urination and bowel movement each morning. It's an important part of the detoxification process and a way to support your immune health and prevent fatigue.
Next, remove any ear wax and blow your nose—this is especially important if you're one of the many people who wake up every morning with a stuffy nose, even when you're not sick. It's called rhinitis and it's most likely due to household allergens such as dust mites and pet dander.
Now, the good stuff: oil pulling, tongue scraping, teeth brushing, flossing. This is a thoroughly satisfying and essential part of any Ayurvedic-inspired morning routine. Oral health is a vital part of Ayurvedic medicine, with possible benefits including an enhanced sense of taste, more thorough detoxification, better digestion and stronger immune health.
To finish off this step of your morning routine, clean your face with warm water. If you prefer to use a facial cleanser, choose one that is gentle—unless you're washing off residual make-up from yesterday, you shouldn't use anything too strong for your morning cleanse.
Buckle your seatbelts because the third step is the most luxurious, but no less essential than the others, as it aims to stimulate blood flow and arouse the senses.
Now that you've showered, it's time for dry body brushing. Take a clean body brush with soft bristles and pull it firmly yet gently all over your body towards your heart. This will help to exfoliate your skin, stimulate your lymphatic system, increase circulation and energy and even support your immune system. After you're done, take a quick 30-second shower to remove any excess skin cells.
Next, using circular motions, massage a hydrating oil onto your face and outer ears. Then move to the front and back of your neck, and on to your shoulders and upper back. Continue to your chest, over the heart and on to your upper abdomen and then down to the legs using a long motion over the leg bones and a circular motion over the joints. Last, the feet—use an open palm to massage back and forth over each sole. Wait ten minutes, then take a warm (not hot, not cold) shower—or a bath, if you're feeling extra fancy. The warm water will help the oil to soak into your skin.
Now is the perfect time for some gentle yoga, which will help increase blood flow to vital organs. When you're finished with yoga, prepare your mind for the day ahead with a 20-minute meditation, which can help to regulate cortisol and reduce stress as well as increase serotonin.
It's finally time to eat. Ayurvedic texts favour a light breakfast that aids digestion, so you should choose foods that fuel you, such as oats with fresh fruit. You may even choose to wait on food and instead treat yourself to a herbal tea or some warm water with lemon.
Ultimately, pastries and pancakes are not recommended in any Ayurvedic morning routine, as these sorts of dense, sweet foods will lead to you feeling sluggish and tired throughout the day. If you're well on your journey to healthier eating habits you might be accustomed to a refreshing smoothie in the mornings, but keep in mind in the Ayurvedic tradition they may be too cooling for certain body types, causing bloating and constipation.
Whatever you consume, be mindful that breakfast should kickstart your digestive system for the day and get you going.