As a yogi having studied Ayurveda, I have become accustomed to a little Ayurvedic morning ritual that really helps me to get up and go. I find this especially helpful when it’s Winter in Australia.
According to Ayurveda, if we stick to a morning ritual that align our body with nature’s rhythms, we will have more energy throughout the day and feel great!
Here are 8 steps for an Ayurvedic morning ritual to incorporate into your day
You can just start with one or two if you struggle with time in the mornings.
1. Time to Wake Up-
Setting the clock for the same time everyday is important and a great way to get into an Ayurvedic morning ritual, making it easier to get up and face the day.
According to the Ayurvedic doshas, 6am – 10am is the time of the Kapha aggravation. Thus, if we don’t get up before sunrise and wake up the body, we enter into the Kapha time period which is characterized by sluggishness and lethargy, making it even harder to get out of bed the later you leave it!
Traditionally, families always just woke up with the sun. Sunrise is an auspicious time and means it’s time to get moving.
– Michael Sullivan, Riverview Ayurvedic Spa, Virginia
2. Wash the Night Away-
Ayurveda recommends splashing your face and eyes with water as soon as you wake up, seven times. An auspicious number in Ayurveda, seven represents the body’s chakras, or energy centers.
Lightly splashing cool water into opened eyes helps balance the doshas. The eyes are viewed as “the seat of fire,” meaning they are pitta in nature and overheat easily. Thus, the cool water helps to disperse heat and prepare the skin for the day’s challenges, namely heat, stress, and pollution. It also rehydrates the skin.
3. Tongue scraping
Before even taking a sip of water, Ayurveda recommends we scrape away any white coating on the tongue. This coating is perceived as accumulated undigested ama (toxins) lurking in the digestive tract. The scraping allows us to avoid ingesting this ama.
A lot of white coating may suggest Candida. However, we all generally have a little first thing in the morning since our bodies detox overnight.
Plastic and metal tongue scrapers are available at most health shop. Scrape from back to front and rinse the scraper every time.
4. Oil pulling-
To get rid of any further lurking toxins, oil pulling is a great Ayurvedic ancient ritual that has numerous benefits.
- The fat enzymes grab bad bacteria, congestion, mucous and expel it from the body, thus having a detoxifying effect.
Oil Pulling Can Help:
- reduce gum disease and inflammation
- reduce the dryness in the mouth and skin
- stop bad breath
Helps with more systemic benefits such as:
- Enhancing the Senses
- Increasing Clarity
- Invigorating the Mind
- Reducing Exhaustion
- Anorexia and kapha imbalances
- Soothing a sore throat
- Coconut oil is a great option, and more palatable than sesame oil. Sesame oil is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and has enzymatic properties. Oil pulling has even been linked to fighting Strep bacteria.
- Oil pulling is best done first thing on an empty stomach when the body is still in its natural detox mode. Simply pop a teaspoon of oil into your mouth upon rising. Swish the oil around the mouth for at least 3 minutes, if not up to 10-20 minutes, just like a mouthwash.
- Don’t swallow, as you are pulling toxins out of the body and mouth so you don’t want to put these back into the body. It can feel hard at first but build up slowly.
- After oil pulling, rinse with warm water and optionally a bit of rock salt. Then it’s time to scrape your tongue (if you haven’t done so already as in the above point). Clean your teeth for an extra sparkly and fresh mouth.
- Use a natural toothpaste free of SLS and fluoride. Vicco, is a terrific brand of Ayurvedic toothpaste that uses herbs such as neem and licorice.
5. Oiling the Body-
A shower can be very drying to the skin, especially with the quality of our water these days. Therefore, giving ourselves an oil massage before showering not only stimulates the nerves, relaxes the muscles and lubricates the joints. The oil also acts as a protective barrier against the dryness of the water and any toxins. It also prevents dry skin, hair and nails.
Warm sesame oil is great for Vata types, especially in winter as it’s a beautiful warming oil. Coconut is more cooling, but great for Pitta types or in the summer to disperse some of the Pitta heat from sleeping. Pay particular attention to the joints to help avoid arthritis. Massaging oil into the body helps to release toxins deep in our tissues and bones into the circulation for elimination.
Brahmi oil is known to help stimulate the brain and bring more mental clarity. You can also add some aromatic oils, according to your dosha. To balance vata use ginger, cardamom, or orange; pitta prefers the cool, sweet scents of sandalwood or lavender; kaphas respond best to eucalyptus, rosemary, or sage.
– Yoga Journal
6. Skin Brushing-
You can do this on dry skin, but I sometimes get my brush after my oil massage and do light, quick brushes all over the body to get my circulation going. You want to target the lymph. Don’t press too hard as the lymph is very close to the surface of the skin.
Use a nice brush with a long handle. Do light brushes upwards towards the heart, starting with the legs, torso, arms, very lightly on the face and then the back.
Skin brushing spreads the beautiful oils that you have just massaged into your skin. Skin brushing is great for the lymphatic system helping to get the blood circulation going. It moves the lymph and wastes moving around the body for excretion, which is great for detoxification of the body.
Learn how to do an at-home garshana or Ayurvedic lymphatic massage.
7. Sitting Still-
Once you’re oiled, brushed and the mouth is fresh, it’s a lovely time to take 10-15 minutes to sit and meditate. You’ll be amazed at the benefits as you feel more relaxed and calm throughout the day, even when faced with challenges.
8. Shower Time-
Oiled, calm and collected, a bath or shower in the morning is great to help reduce fatigue. Pitta constitutions benefit from cool water, while lukewarm water is ideal for Vatas, and even warmer temperatures are best for balancing cool-natured Kaphas.
Remember that the skin absorbs anything you put onto it, so lower the body’s toxicity by avoiding products full of perfumes and synthetic chemicals. This includes parabens and SLS. Favor natural goat’s milk soaps, Ayurvedic soaps and shampoos ,or Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps instead.
Happy Morning Rituals!