As summer draws to its end in the northern hemisphere and with it the long school break while down-under shakes off the winter cold, it is the perfect time to make a new and improved morning routine.
Ideally yoga will be part of any great morning routine, but the main thing is to instill a sense of calm to start the day and purpose to guide how it unfolds.
Here are some tips for truly becoming a morning person.
1. Avoid the Alarm (If You Can)
Try to reset your natural body clock to wake up early. This may take a while as your circadian rhythm needs to be brought back to balance that is more akin to waking at dawn.
There are host of things you can do – like inviting in light in the morning and dimming lights at night, avoiding technology and caffeine before bed, and trying to stick with meal-time routines. If you have to rely on an alarm-clock then try to find a soothing wake-up sound.
2. Really Wake Up
Once you have woken, open the blinds/windows and head into the bathroom to splash your face with cold water. Warm water won’t be the same. And give yourself a decent splash, and let the shock really shake out any leftover sleep.
3. Enjoy the Sunrise
If you can get your sleep cycle in sync with nature, or even if you are using an alarm, try to spend a few minutes appreciating the sunrise – if not the first glimmer of light, then the glow of the sky as the sun rises above the horizon.
If you can’t really get a great view of the sunrise, or the weather is cloudy/rainy, then appreciate the morning sounds. Listen for birdsong on the slow waking up of the city.
4. A Glass of Water With Lemon
Make this your first drink of the day, preferably filtered water. This will help kick-start and cleanse your digestive system, ready for breakfast later on.
5. Now It’s Time For Yoga
You may only be able to manage a few postures, but whatever you do will help. Start with standing in Tadasana (Mountain Posture) and really grounding yourself to the earth and the day. After being in a horizontal position while sleeping, standing tall in a vertical position will be a great readjustment for your spine.
Try a Sun Salutation sequence, which is perfect for the morning, or if time is limited, settle for a few deep Forward Folds (Uttanansa) interspersed with a half-way lift to flatten through the back, and using breath to bring you up to standing. Try a baby backbend in between a few folds.
My preference if the house is quiet is to just do a few yoga asanas and use the still and silent time for meditation.
Grab 5 minutes, ten minutes, 20 minutes or half an hour and choose your favourite guided meditation, chakra meditation or work with mantras and breath.
7. Set Your Intention
Now go back into the bathroom in front of the mirror and vocalize your intention for the day – watch yourself intently as you speak with purpose.
Don’t make your intention something from your to-do list, but an overall statement of how you plan to live your day (e.g. Today I will show myself and others compassion, or today I will find peace within the busy moments).
8. Write Your Intention Down
Keep a journal and record your intention, but also (or instead) put a note in your phone so you can check in during the day and hold yourself accountable.
This is a luxury for me to fit into a morning and generally meditation is sacrificed if I decide to write or create for half an hour. There are plenty of authors who will tell you their books were substantially written in the early hours of the morning.
If writing isn’t your thing trying something creative – painting, drawing, coloring in – anything that allows you to stimulate your right brain.
10. Morning Cuppa
Did someone say coffee? Whether caffeine is in your morning brew or not, take time to smell the coffee (or herbal tea). Wrap your hands around your mug and feel the warmth – and the watched kettle or coffee percolator/machine is well worth it.
11. Juice it Up and Then Make a Meal of It
A green juice or smoothie is always a great place to start with breakfast, but brekkie should be a main meal, so don’t be tempted to skip the solid stuff. Oats, eggs, protein, avocado, and whole grain breads are great foods to keep you going beyond the mid-morning snack attack.
12. Make Your Bed
Whatever else makes up your morning routine – presumably a shower, cleaning your teeth, making lunches, perhaps doing a load of laundry, prepping for work, always take 60-90 seconds to make your bed. It will make you feel so much calmer leaving the house, and even better when you walk back into your bedroom later on.
These tips are guaranteed to get you into a new, positive routine. And even if they don't turn you into the world's best morning person, at least they'll get you up and moving. Give them a shot, and let us know how it goes!