“Win the morning, win the day”, right? For me, that is one of the truest things. Honestly, if I don’t do anything in the morning, there is a 99.9% chance of me being lazy all day. I might try to do something later on but it’ll feel off and usually won’t work, no matter how hard I try. I thought that today I’d share my morning routine for winter 2020.
At an Ayurveda course I attended a couple of months back our teacher introduced the Ayurveda morning routine. After another consult with her pointed out that I have some severe imbalances in my body, I decided to give it a go. It sounded good and quite simple, even though it seems very elaborate. I will say I don’t do every step but I’ll explain the steps and why I do them or don’t do them.
As I’m assuming not everyone knows, Ayurveda is the ancient Indian lifestyle. While it is mostly known for its health benefits, it is a lot more elaborate than that has much more information on how things should or shouldn’t be done. Recently Ayurveda has been gaining some popularity and become a bit more well-known, which I think is good.
I believe that there are some flaws in the western approach to health, and I think these can be filled in with eastern approaches like Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda. They haven’t been around for 5000 years because they don’t work, right? So here is my morning routine for winter 2020.
The morning routine for winter 2020
So in Ayurveda, what time you start your morning depends on the body type you are, but I won’t overwhelm you with that, as it’s not super relevant for the rest of the post. I also want to elaborate on that more once I’ve learned more about it.
First thing in the morning we have to reset our energy. Ayurveda believes that your energy ‘leaves’ your body for a bit and swirls around you at night.
In the morning it’s a matter of simply bringing it back by making a circle around you with your arms from down alongside your body all the way above your head, then down to your head and your heart. You can also set your intention here. Intentions can be set in whatever way you want; daily, weekly, monthly, whatever suits your needs. I personally think this is also a good time to focus on some things you’re grateful for.
Once your energy is returned to your heart and your head, you get up and wash your face with fresh water.
Next you rinse out your mouth and wash your eyes. You can do this either with a little eye bath, or by massaging your eyes softly and blinking a couple of times. Dry your face. I don’t actually rinse out my mouth as it is too cold and I absolutely hate it. Everything in my mouth starts hurting when I swirl, so I tend to skip this step.
Next you drink room temperature drink water. This is important as you lose a lot of water at night, and as you’re sleeping you’re not replenishing any of it. I drink at least 10 sips but you can drink however much you’re comfortable with. It is also said to flush out the kidneys and wake up the digestive system. The water can’t be too cold or it will shock your system and do the complete opposite.
Time to go to the bathroom!
After you’ve been to the bathroom and washed your hands it’s time to scrape your tongue.
Tongue scrapers are easier to find that you might expect, so no stress here. Basically you do exactly what you think, and scrape your tongue from the back to the front. Don’t try to go too far back or your gag reflex might kick in. No need for that.
You also don’t have to scrape aggressively, be gentle. Ayurveda believes that every part of our digestive system is connected to the tongue, and scraping the tongue is another step to waking up that system. It also gets rid of bad bacteria that cause bad breath.
Now, you brush your teeth for obvious hygienic reasons.
The next step is one you might have heard of, it’s oil pulling! Basically you take ‘a sip’ of oil, and swish it around your mouth. I really only do it for 3-5 minutes, while I do my oil-massage (next step).
The oil is said to absorb the toxins from your mouth and leave it cleaner *. It’s also meant to keep the gums healthy. It seems really weird to oil pull after brushing your teeth, but I promise that’s how you’re meant to do it. Spit the oil out in the trash when you’re done with it.
The is my favourite part: the oil massage. In Ayurveda, you massage your body with oil every day. Traditionally this is part of the morning routine but there are many people who do it at night. Massage oil into your body from the top-down, ending with your feet.
Take your time, as this is meant to be a loving act towards the self. It’s best to use sesame oil in winter and coconut oil in summer. Be careful with coconut oil though as it might clog your drain.
Also put some oil inside your ears and nostrils to lubricate the skin in there. This can help with sinus infections and hearing problems. I also take this time to thank my body for everything it does for me, and speak kind and loving words to myself.
Then as you expected, it’s time to shower off. The warmth from the shower will open the pores so the skin can absorb the oil you just put on, and the excess oil can be washed away. It also clears the mind and the body and gives you a fresh start of the day.
After your shower, you get dressed and start light exercise. Ayurveda typically suggests some light yoga, but I go for a short walk every morning. Moving your body is really important as it helps the lymph fluid move around and get rid of toxins in your body. I take some deep breaths outside and enjoy the quiet of the world.
Then to start the rest of my day, I make some Cumin/Coriander/Fennel tea and eat some warm fruit to start my digestion off easy. When I get hungry again I’ll usually have something more substantial. But I like eating something light at first.
So here is my morning routine for winter 2020! I have never had much of a morning routine before this, and I really enjoy it. It is nice to have a set routine to follow every day, and I have the steps on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror in case I forget anything. There are a lot of steps after all. I also notice that coming back to that routine after a couple of days off is very comforting and makes me feel really good.
It feels like I’m doing something good for myself and not a lot of things make me feel that way. I also think you can definitely adapt this to your own preferences, for example, if you shower at night or not every day you can just switch that to whatever works for you. Move your oil massage and shower to the evening, or do it every other day/whenever you do shower.
And like I said, it looks very complicated but it’s really not. It definitely helps to keep the steps closeby, especially in the beginning, but you’ll remember them fast enough. It really only takes me about 30 minutes in the bathroom to do everything and shower. Try it for a week and see how you feel! If you want to spend a day pampering yourself, read my post on the perfect self-care day.