I'm crazy about a good morning. My brain is wired such that morning time is a priority that sets the tone for my day ahead; productive morning, productive day. Same goes for the opposite; lazy morning, lazy day. While there may be some days that differ, I have observed this pattern in my self, specifically in the past few years. Maybe this routine stems from my childhood-- my dad, naturally an early riser, always stressed the importance of the foundation of a morning routine. Or maybe it's just science; it seems that there is a generality of early productivity as it comes to waking up the body and the mind. I honestly don't care to boil it down to one reason, as I am sure it is a tasty combination of a few explanations. While I tend to enjoy spontaneity, which clearly differs from a set in stone routine, there are some things that must be accomplished in order for my day to be successfully started. Some things that I love to do in the mornings, that are not pivotal for a productive day, might get skipped over if I am in a rush or just simply don't feel like it. However, here's a list of 10 things I make sure to do EVERY morning, no matter what!
While gratitude and appreciation have always been incorporated into my yoga practice, journaling, and meditation, I have recently made a point to list off 7-10 things (sometimes in my head and sometimes on paper) that I am grateful for before I get out of bed. To avoid monotony, I like to give myself a specific task to make my list unique each morning such as only emotional gratitude, or only gratitude for things I can physically touch right now, or only gratitude for specific thoughts, etc. I tend to revisit the idea of gratitude in my practice, my journal, and my meditation, but this is a fun and creative way to start the morning with a big smile and lots of gratitude.
2. MOVE to the groove
Every morning, before coming fully into consciousness, I make sure to draw my awareness inward to my body. Sometimes this looks like an hour or two flow of yoga, sometimes this is a 10 minutes flow in which I begin to wake up and move my body without ever leaving my bed.
I have come upon so much insight from keeping a journal beside my bed to reflect on my sleep; whether that be documenting an intense dream or simply reflecting how that 10 hours of sleep made my body feel. From physically recording this in my journal, I have begun to notice behavior and emotional patterns, which has provided me with awareness in all aspects of my life.
Before my toes touch the floor, 8 oz of water must be downed! I usually try to keep a big glass, about 32 oz, on my bedside table but sometimes I only have about 8 oz left by the morning time when I am fully conscious. For me, this jumpstarts my body into the day. However, from a health standpoint, there's endless benefits to starting your day with water.
Breathing exercises are my absolute favorite to bring awareness into the body. For me, this is an easy way to avoid distractions as all attention is focused on the constant breath. Oxygenating my body, anytime but specifically in the morning, lifts my vibration and wakes up all of my chakra centers such that I am more in tune with my body, generally more focused throughout the day, and usually more motivated.
Usually I begin and end my yoga practice with a brief mediation, sometimes meditation is thrown in with my breathing exercises for that given day, and sometimes I am able to make time apart from my physical practice and my breath to meditate. I felt that it was necessary to include, first of all because meditation is vastly important, but also because I visit and revisit my meditation multiple times throughout my morning, as well as the whole day. Meditation is important to me for many reasons, including reflection, manifestation, release of emotions and energy, but most specifically setting an intention for the day ahead. While I guess this could fall under the manifestation category, I think setting an intention, or multiple intentions, for the day is absolutely and uniquely necessary. The motivation is usually there for me initially; however, whether it be in thought or verbally, setting an intention for my day helps to put my motivation into physical action. I have found it to be hard to actually set an intention during morning meditation and not follow through with the necessary actions, simply because I feel so empowered.
This category looks pretty diverse for me; sometimes I will read before getting out of bed, sometimes I will watch a youtube video while I eat breakfast or practice yoga. Moral of the story: I think it's important to intake information before I leave the house and formally start my day because the mind constantly has something to think back to and process throughout the day. Sometimes what I absorb helps to shape my intention for the day, and other days I am continuously reminded and provoked into thought which inspires me throughout the whole day.
I don't understand the phrase 'skipping breakfast'. It does not resonate with me, it doesn't work for me ... BREAKFAST IS A MUST. Besides the fact that I usually wake up with food on my mind, motivated to create something fun in the kitchen, science tells us just how important breakfast is: the most important meal of the day. I totally understand that everyone's body works different, so this may not be the case for everyone even though it is a generality, but breakfast works for me. Not just breakfast, a big breakfast full of colors and energy.
9. Hot tamale
Sometimes I think I need that cup of joe, and other days when I am feeling energized I skip the coffee and opt for hot tea. I try to keep my apartment stocked with different organic herbal teas so that I can always have a little fun choosing a flavor and function. There's something about hot liquid in the morning that awakens my drive and qi energy.
10. Burn it up
One of the many great things about a new day? A new opportunity to clean your space! I'm kind of crunching smudging and cleaning into one category because I don't clean my whole apartment every morning, but I do make sure to smudge! Smudging with sage cleans and purifies the air, as well as the energy in the room. I felt that mentioning cleaning was necessary because I feel that it is so important to maintain a tidy area to be productive. I know that this is somewhat just personal preference, however Feng Shui tells us that energy can easily move freely when a room is kept tidy and uncluttered. I usually take a few minutes after, or while, I burn sage to sweep up, wipe off countertops, put up any belongings that don't belong, and organize decor (such as throw pillows and crystals) so that my space is exactly how i want it to look and feel.