29 Jul 2015

Rise + SHINE: 12 Morning Rituals to kickstart your day

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"Every morning marks a new page in your story, a new beginning, a new opportunity."

As the sun rises on the another day, you have the opportunity to rise with it and shine... Or not. Your morning should be sacred, not rushed. Within this space is your chance to prepare mentally, physically, and spiritually for the day ahead.

These rituals that can be incorporated into your morning, setting yourself up to shine throughout your day. Completing all twelve of these rituals may not feasible every morning, so choose 3 - 5 that you can commit to, and create a weekday routine for yourself. As the days and weeks pass, you will begin to notice an improvement in your productivity, your outlook, and your overall life.

Rise at least 2 hours before you have anywhere to be.

First and foremost... You've gotta get out of bed! The time you wake up literally sets you you for the day ahead, determining how many waking hours you'll have to enjoy the gift that is today. The time you rise affects your mood as well, dictation whether you'll be rushed, frantic, and frazzled, or calm, ready, and awake to step into your role for the day. Start work at 9? Wake up at 6:45, giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for your day.

Sound hard? Some tips to stick to it: set your alarm, and when it goes off - get up. Do not hit snooze. Do not repeat. The hardest part of getting up early is getting out of bed, and it doesn't get any easier the later it gets.


Hydrate

Your body is naturally dehydrated after 6-8 hours of unconscious resting. Start your morning with some serious hydration. Forcing yourself to drink a big glass of room temperature water is good way to get a jump start on the 2 litres of water you should be consuming each day.

Up for a hydration challenge? Challenge yourself to drink one litre of water BEFORE you get to work in the morning .

Move It!

A wonderful way to wake up is to get your body moving. Whether it's a 20 minute yoga video, a 5k run, or 10 bedside jumping jacks, movement wakes up your physical body, and clears any mental cobwebs before starting your day.

Looking for a great 20 minute yoga video to do at home in the mornings? I recommend investing in Rachel Brathen's video series for a variety of sweet morning practices that get you moving.

Meditate


Morning rituals, Rise and shine, rachel taylor, casey nolin photography, yoga girl, ayurvedic tips, prairie yogiEveryone can practice this simple meditation, and the benefits of this practice are aplenty. Find a place to sit, preferably somewhere calm + clutter free. You can prop your sits-bones up on a folded blanket. Take ten full breaths. Follow your breath with your awareness, notice the temperature of the air as you inhale + exhale, feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. The idea of meditating can be intimidating, but it's really just mindful breathing, which we can all do for at least a few minutes each morning. Morning meditations calm the mind and help keep you focused throughout your day. Long term effects of daily meditation are scientifically proven and offer health to your body, mind, and spirit.

Start with 3 minutes the first week, adding an extra minute each week until you're up to ten or fifteen minutes. Set a timer and stick to it. Even it if it feels like nothing is happening or your mind is racing during this time, keep still, keep breathing, and trust in the process.

Nature appreciation

Morning rituals, Rise and shine, rachel taylor, casey nolin photography, yoga girl, ayurvedic tips, prairie yogi
Take a moment or two to connect with nature, in the stillness and beauty of the morning. Take a look out the window and simply observe nature in all its majesty. Enjoy your morning tea beneath the tree in your backyard. Take a moment to look up at the sky on your way to the bus stop. Inhale a deep breath in this moment and feel gratitude for the simple things: the air, trees, the grass, the wind... Taking a moment to appreciate nature is its own little meditative moment, and can help you be more present, grateful, and calm throughout the rest of your day.

A simple nature meditation: have a seat in nature and look around. Pick something around you and draw your focus to it. Silently ask it "what is your secret?" and listen intently. 

Take Sparky for a walk

We can learn a lot from our pets. Like if they don't get their morning walk, they go a little stir crazy and accidents are more likely to happen. Whether it's just around the block or to the park, your fur baby and your body will thank you for the movement and fresh air.

This practice is also an efficient way to incorporate movement and nature appreciation into your morning. Three birds with one stone.


Lemon water

According to Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga,  a cup of warm water with the juice from half of a fresh lemon (organic, if possible) first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, cleanses the digestive tract and detoxes the body. The sour taste kindles the digestive fire and sets the body up for good digestion and metabolism for the rest of your day.

Tip: Add a little bit of organic, local honey to your lemon water for a touch of sweetness.

Nourish yourself

Breakfast has a longstanding reputation for being the most important meal of the day, and with good reason. A healthy first meal fuels your body with essential nutrients, and eating breakfast has been proven to improve cognitive function throughout the day.  And with many temptations to consume less-than-healthy meals at lunch and dinner, you'll take piece of mind in knowing your breakfast choice was a healthy one.

Ayurvedic counsellor Adrienne Shum recommends eating the some thing for breakfast every morning, getting into a healthy routine that sets your body up for success each and every day. My personal choice for oatmeal with fresh berries, honey, and hemp hearts.

Green smoothie

While you're making your breakfast, it only takes a few extra minutes in the kitchen to whip up a tasty green smoothie to take with you (aren't you happy you woke up early?!) Use whatever fresh or frozen fruit you like/have on hand, throw it into the blender with a handful of spinach or kale and pour into a mason jar. Voilà! Your morning snack is ready (store in the fridge at work to keep it cold and yummy until you're ready for a smoothie break,)

Smoothie tip: a smoothie with a drinkable texture, requires liquid in the mix. Use homemade iced green or white tea (I like to make a big batch of this on Sunday for the week) to add a little bit of flavour + nutrition without adding any extra sugar or calories.

Coffee

As the ancient yogis said: no coffee = no prana. The coffee debate continues as to whether or not it is a healthy choice, but my personal stance is - if you enjoy it, go for it. Don't overdo it with an excess of sugar and cream (except on Sundays for a special treat,) and enjoy in moderation. My personal limit is one cup a day, and I like to enjoy it after my lemon water, 1 litre of water, and eating a nourishing breakfast.

Instead of seeing your morning coffee as a 'need' that you consume mindlessly on your drive to work, make your morning coffee a sacred ritual, one that you take the time to enjoy and sip leisurely.


Connect with your partner

Remember, mornings are a sacred space to set your intentions for the rest of the day.  Practical intentions, like being productive and focused, or accomplishing goals, are great... Don't forget about love. Take a moment to create a space to look each your partner in the eye, give a genuine complement, or send a sweet "good morning" text.

My partner and I shower together almost every weekday and then eat breakfast together. In this space, we laugh, connect, and prepare for the day ahead by sharing our respective goals and to-dos for the day.

Set your goals

Before you leave the house, set 5 "little wins" for the day, in order of priority. They can be personal or professional tasks for the day, but no more and no less than five. Keep this list with you and as tasks come up that aren't on the list, bring yourself back to your list throughout the day to ensure you get at least 3-4 of them complete. This helps to reduce the amount of busy-work or social media surfing you do throughout the day and will make your day more productive by keeping you on task for the things that matter.

Tip: use these "little wins" as an opportunity to work towards a bigger goal or vision.

The Dark Side of Yoga, Path to being enlightened, 30 day challenge, yoga girl, bliss yoga cayman, prairie yogi, Rachelle Taylor, Pantel Photography,
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy sprit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty, and bliss only to return home to Winnipeg where she co-founded Prairie Yogi Inc + Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for creativity, yoga, and community.