How a Yoga Health Coach Starts Her Day
As a busy mom, yoga teacher and health coach I have FINALLY, in the last few years, come to the realization, that if I don't have my morning routine crafted, intentional and automated I will not experience the ease, flow and productivity that I desire in my day.
I've always loved the mornings but never really had a structure around them. They were usually dictated by my work schedule in TV. production which was all about "burning the candle on both ends". I then moved to New York City and fell right into the flow and pulse of New York, perpetuating the same, less than life affirming habits, that worked in opposition of the daily rhythms. Again, staying up late, eating late, waking up early to teach yoga classes and running around the city chasing auditions. Next up, I moved to LA and had kids. Kids can put a serious wrench in any parents routine (good and bad) and more often than not, creates a ton of chaos on many fronts.
So if you are a busy, productive person in the world juggling career, family, personal life and all that it entails, it is absolutely imperative that you have a morning routine that grounds you, energizes you and sets you up for an intentionally AWESOME day. If we only have approx. 25,0000 adult mornings (that's another blog post) then how are we going to spend them?
Jumping out of bed to the sound of an alarm clock, hitting the ground running, depending on caffeine to wake you up, and feeling behind the eight ball all day, is over time, going to take it's toll on your health, not just physically, but emotionally, and mentally too.
Imagine waking up early, greeting a new day feeling naturally energized, having time to take care of YOU before the kids wake up, the emails get started and your day shifts into GO MODE. Imagine having time to meditate, hydrate and eliminate before your day transitions into taking taking care of duties, responsibilities and other people.
My precious morning routine has simply saved my life, enhanced my creativity, made me a better mom and spouse. It has empowered me to become the best version of me on so many levels. A regular intentional morning routine will change your life- I guarantee it.
A productive and glorious morning routine HAS to start the night before. If you want to get up early and experience the best part of your day, you need to set it up the night before. Get to bed early so that you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep and eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you do this, you will wake up with the sun, feeling light, energized and ready for action.
I've literally trained my body to wake up at 5am every morning - it took awhile and required an alarm clock, but now the birds are my cue. Such a great reminder to expand my awareness outside the four walls of my room and into the bigger picture- nature. Do you think the birds think "Oh shit, another day here we go" or snuggle back into their nests and pull the twigs over their heads feeling resentful that they have to wake up- NO!!! They wake up and see the morning as an opportunity to feed themselves and nurture their families and take the opportunity to continue their lifeline. We have to learn to take our cues from nature, because there's no denying it, we are a part of nature.
One last thing - I realize sometimes it's impossible to have my routine exactly as I like it. Life does happen with travel, illness and other unexpected events that sometimes play interference. Starting my day right is my KEYSTONE habit (the one habit that if I don't do, everything else falls apart) I will do whatever I need to do to set myself up, even if it's a 5 minute practice. It's all about establishing this self care habit in your day at this time. Once you begin to feel the effects of a positive morning routine you will eventually, do whatever it takes to make it happen, even when life throws you a curveball. It's just one more powerful tool in your wellness/ happiness tool belt and an even better one to teach your kids early in life.
1. Wake up at 5am.
Spend a minute visualizing my ideal day and expressing gratitude for yet, one more morning I get to be alive. I then have my "workout" clothes available so I don't have to think about whether or not I do my breath body practices later on....just roll out of bed and get dressed. This is called setting yourself up for success.
2. Scrape tongue
That white stuff on your tongue in Ayurveda (the sister science to yoga) is called AMA= TOXINS. That's the body trying to rid itself of left over undigested food and gunk. Your tongue is a roadmap to the health of your organ body. Google a tongue map and you can learn to understand what's going on deep inside.
This is not for hydration purposes, this is for peristalsis and elimination. I guzzle a large mason jar of warm water with lemon within 10 minutes of waking up. Think a tidal wave whooshing through your intestinal tract to stimulate a bowel movement. Ever been constipated? Nobody wants to walk around all day with fecal matter stuck in their colon - literally junk in the trunk. Get that s&*t out and THRIVE in your day.
This may be easier said than done for some. Me, I'm like clock work at this point and you want to be too. If pooping is problem, let's nip that issue in the butt. 😃 If you're constipated, your system is not operating optimally and over time that build up of undigested food and AMA turns to inflammation and eventually disease. Never mind the fact that if you're not a pooping machine (it's possible for you too) you're suffering on a daily basis because of it. This is worth taking the time to remedy. Start with a huge morning water flush. If that's not instigating movement, start to look at your diet and where you can add in foods that stimulate the digestive process naturally.
the yogis refer to this time between 2am- 6am as "Brahma muhurta" and call it THE most magical and creative time of the day when consciousness is the most expansive. This is when I settle onto my meditation cushion where I've established a special place to sit for 15-20 min. and open my mind to a bigger perspective, connect with my inner guide and get intentional.
6. Breath, Body Practice
This is usually 15-20 minutes of movement. Here's when we get out of our sleepy heads and into our bodies. If I'm teaching yoga that day- I'll practice my class. If I'm taking a yoga class later in the day I'll balance it out with more of a cardio workout- jumping jacks, burpees, light weights or go for a short vigorous walk. No matter what you have planned "exercise- wise", later in the day, choose a practice that cultivates the opposite. Another example- If you're taking a long run, or have a date with weights at the gym keep your AM practice more fluid like stretching & yoga. Point being, MOVE YOUR BODY FIRST THING in the morning, somehow, some way. If this sounds impossible start with 1 min. of jumping jacks- you'll feel the benefits and naturally want to do more. Build from there.
7. Nourish my Body
I make a green smoothie. This is the best way to get a good shot of chlorophyll into the bloodstream along with all the nutrients that dark leafy greens offer. You want to take this on an empty stomach and if you have a larger appetite after 20m min. eat a healthy easily digestible breakfast like oatmeal, stewed apples, toast and eggs. Lean more towards greens and less towards sweet fruits as it's easy to load up on unnecessary sugars in your smoothies that don't offer the same benefits.
8. Intentionally imagine and plan my day
If and when I don't do this my entire day is a crapshoot- who knows what'll go down. After 45 minutes of taking care of my bodies' needs, opening to a bigger picture of life and moving my body, I now have 15 minutes before the kids are up to curate my day. I'll take this time with my morning smoothie -these can be made in batches the night before and kept in the fridge. I then pull out my journal, open my google calendar and if you're like me I also use other systems to keep myself aligned with my daily/ weekly and yearly goals such as S.M.A.R.T sheets and 12 week year scorecards. I check in with what I have on my calendar and confirm it's doable. If not, it gets moved. I've developed this habit and streamline it every day- this takes 5 min. If I have time I'll tap into this creative time of the day and write for my website, my blog and others. Twice a week I wake 1/2 an hour earlier to JUST write.
A few more "tips" to launch your day into the BEST DAY POSSIBLE:
- Ditch perfection- think most of the time. Start small. Begin with trying 1-2 week and let it grow from there- I guarantee it will. If you can only do 1 min. of jumping jacks and 1 min. of sitting in silence- do that! Don't let the "perfectionist mindset" convince you that if you can't do it all- why bother. There's always something you can do to set yourself up for a better day then if you did nothing.
- If getting up early sounds impossible, just try waking up 15 min. earlier and going to bed 15 minutes earlier and build from there.
- Set yourself up for success. The night before, put your sneakers at the door for your morning walk, or roll out your yoga mat. Have your hot water in the pot and ready to push play. Blend your smoothie the night before.
- Trust that changing habits and establishing new routines takes time, they took time to establish in the first place.
- Most importantly, envision HOW you WANT your day to unfold before you get out of bed. Your habits determine your experiences of your life- pick them with caution.
- Presence spirit and who it is that you want to show up FOR and AS in the world. It's too easy to hit the ground running and remain in "GO MODE" all day then crash, burn and do it all over again. We all want to and need to get things done. Use your morning routine to drop in, and from that place step into your day feeling grounded, vibrant, rested and able to present your best self to the world, for yourself and others.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment. Try one or a few of these practices for one week- I CHALLENGE YOU!!! Then pay close attention to how you feel, what comes up for you and resonates as something that is GOOOOOOD for you
Baby steps in the direction of your goals. Let them build and over time the new way will be the natural way and the old way, the way that wasn't supporting your desired health, lifestyle and dreams, will seem outdated,no longer applicable and totally out of style.
Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!