Have you been through much change lately? I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when my naturopath asks me this. In the span of 18ish months I’d:
- left my job of seven years
- moved halfway around the world with my partner
- studied full-time for six months to become a yoga teacher
- settled into our new lives only to then decide to return to Texas (with a three-month stint in Asia first)
Change can be disruptive and chaotic, but ritual offers a way to ground yourself in spite of everything else going on around you. It’s a chance to make space for yourself; to bring intention into how you spend your day. It’s all a choice. Today will you be reactive or proactive?
With the traveling we’ve been doing (and all that lies ahead of us), ritual has become especially important. Here’s a peek into what my morning ritual generally looks like.
Moments of gratitude // before getting out of bed or grabbing my phone, I silently list three things I’m grateful for. It usually snowballs into more than three!
Bathroom break // ’nuff said there.
Scrape tongue + brush teeth // tongue scraping helps remove any ama (toxins) from the tongue that have accumulated overnight. I use a stainless steel tongue scraper as it’s tridoshic (suitable for all three Ayurvedic constitutions). I inspect my tongue first to see if anything’s different from the day before; it’s pretty wild what you’ll notice–your tongue can tell you a lot about your health. It’s how my Ayurvedic doctor knew about my acute back pain the first time we met.
Wash face + gua sha scraping // this comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine; it’s a great way to stimulate lymph flow around the neck and face.
Oil pulling // swish 1tsp of coconut oil for 10-20 minutes. It’s said to improve oral health (dental hygienists are consistently amazed by my gums and teeth, no joke), strengthen your jaw, and remove toxins from the body. Sadly I’ve had to let this one go while traveling; I learned the hard way that coconut oil doesn’t transport well.
Pranayama + meditation // I start each morning with three rounds of nadi shodhana (right nostril dominant) and two rounds of kapalabhati. Then it’s meditation with the Om Namah Shivaya mantra. If pressed for time I’ll do shorter variations.
Warm water + lemon // a liver- and digestion-friendly way to gently warm and hydrate your body before breakfast. When traveling I use a drop of doTerra’s lemon essential oil if I can’t get my hands on a fresh lemon.
Morning pages // this is still very much a work in progress as I’m the absolute worst at consistent journaling. But I like to do this while sipping my lemon water.
…then it’s time for breakfast.
Most of these practices are rooted in Ayurvedic principles as part of dinacharya, or daily ritual (more on the Ayurveda page). When establishing your own morning ritual, there are a few elements worth keeping in mind:
Find what resonates with you. Meaning is what gives ritual its potency; what’s meaningful to me may not mean much to you (and vice versa). It’s also what sets it apart from habit. What do you need right now, and how can you support yourself so this happens?
Be willing to experiment with different things. You never know until you give it a go, so adopt what feels right and chuck what doesn’t. Have fun with it!
Smart small + keep it real. It’s easier to stick with your rituals if you start small and build from there, remembering to factor in how much time you realistically have. Reassess in a week or two and take it from there.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Set the non-negotiable elements of your routine, and really commit to them.
Be flexible (and kind to yourself!). What does your ideal ritual look like? What can you still follow when you have to be up at 5 a.m.? Celebrate whatever you’re able to accomplish, no matter how small.
this time you carve
just for you, decadent
in its silence
i n f i n i t e .