Mornings are one of the busiest times of the day for many of us. We are up and full force before we’ve brushed out teeth. E-mails need checking, kids need dressing, a run would be awesome to fit in…
The AM hours Monday-Friday can be scattered and rushed, leaving little or no time for a few moments of beneficial ritual to ourselves. Yet taking some time to nourish ourselves can be really beneficial to our overall wellness.
Ayurveda,the 5,000 year old holistic healing tradition from India, has a few well-known and widely practiced techniques to start your morning in a better way to benefit overall health and well-being. Disclaimer: you may have to set the alarm clock to be up a little bit earlier, but the benefits are well worth it!
Get ready to rise & shine with these morning Ayurvedic tips!
1.) Warm Water & Lemon: Starting your day with hot water and lemon helps kickstart the digestion process. The combination encourages the liver to produce bile (an acid required for digestion) and flushes unwanted materials and toxins from the body. And most of us are dehydrated after our long night, so this helps get us on track for the day.
Health benefits of Lemons:
- Antibacterial, antiviral and immunity boosting
- Digestive aid and liver cleanser
- Fights infection and are high in minerals and vitamins (magnesium, calcium and vitamin C)
2.) Oil Pulling: Put 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil, sesame or olive oil in your mouth and begin swishing and pulling the oil through the teeth and the gums for 20 minutes. If this seems like too much of a time commitment, start with 10 minutes and work your way up. When “times up” spit the oil into a trash can (not the sink!); be careful not to swallow as the oil is full of toxins and bacteria it “pulled” from your mouth. Rinse well with warm water and brush your teeth afterwards.
Benefits of Oil Pulling:
- Brighter and white teeth
- Rids the mouth of germs that cause gum disease and tooth decay
- Prevents bad breath
- Increased Energy
- Powerful detoxifier
3.) Abhyanga: The Ayurvedic oil massage traditionally performed in the morning before a bath or shower. You can use sesame oil, an herbal infused massage oil, or an aromatic massage oil (check to make sure they are high quality). Warm up the massage oil and gently use your fingertips to apply to the entire body. Let the oil sit and absorb for 4-5 minutes before massaging the body using slightly more pressure with the whole hand- palms and fingers. Relax and let the oils soak into the skin for 10-15 minutes before taking a hot bath or shower.
- Nourishes and soothes the nervous system
- Stimulates lymphatic flow
- Aids detoxification
- Improves circulation
- Boosts vitality
4.) Eat a Smart Breakfast: You’ve heard if multiple times and you’re going to hear it again, don’t skip breakfast! But don’t overload with a huge plate of sausage, eggs, toast, hash browns and a side of bacon, either. The first meal of the day is an important one– the digestive fires (called agni in Ayurveda) is waking up just like you are. You need to fan the flames but not overload the agni (food coma anyone?). Try a light meal that contains some protein and some complex carbohydrates to keep your body full and happy until lunchtime. Here are some of our favorite breakfast recipes that will set you on the right track:
Warm water with lemon image from Shutterstock