You know the saying, “Begin as you mean to go on”? As a system of holistic medicine that has endured for millennia, proving its capacity to begin well, Ayurveda has lots to say about how we begin our days. While whole courses could be taught on this priceless wisdom alone, I thought I’d share a few simple things you can do each day to bring magic to your mornings and set you on a course of beauty and ease for the day.
Ayurveda Mornings begin here:
- A tall glass of water. Warm is ideal. Room temperature at least. Even in summer. Warm water opens your tissues for better absorption, while cold water constricts (that’s why you put ice on a cut or inflammation). This warm drink helps rehydrate your body first thing while the very weight of the water in your belly encourages peristalsis. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice for extra sunshine and better absorption. It sounds too simple even to be suggested, but most people start their day with coffee, orange juice, a cold smoothie, or even go straight to food. Start with a tall glass of water and you will notice not only how good it tastes, but how good it feels.
- Abhyanga. Love your whole body by covering it head to toe in warm oil – organic sesame, coconut, or almond. Massage vigorously to rev’ up circulation after your sleep so you feel and think energized, refreshed and clear.As you do this, smile at your beauty. Start your day by connecting with the spirit behind your eyes. Acknowledge your body as home. (Here’s a quick how-to video)
- Sweet & Spicy Breakfast Bowls. Whether it’s cooked porridge, fresh fruit, or yogurt & muesli, begin your day with a breakfast bowl and add your favorite “sweet” spice. Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg are my favourites, with a dash of clove in the winter.
Lately I’ve been travelling a lot, but when I am in my own kitchen this is the breakfast I enjoy.
Magic Mornings Breakfast
1 c Organic Plain Yogurt
1 T Pumpkin Seed
1 T Sunflower Seed
1 T Walnut, Pecan or Almond pieces (preferably soaked overnight)
1 t Flaxseed
1/4 c Coconut Milk
Ground Cinnamon, Cardamom to taste
1 T Nut butter, optional
Scoop the yogurt into your breakfast bowl. Sprinkle on the seeds and nuts. Pour the coconut milk around the rim, and season with a pinch or two of each spice. If you prefer your breakfast a bit sweeter, drizzle in a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup. For extra magic, stir in a spoonful of your favorite nut butter.
Why don’t I add fruit? Here are a few surprising things we don’t do in the morning.
3 Ayurveda Avoids:
- Mixing fruit and Yogurt. It’s a mix that can lead to bloating, gas, indigestion, or simply weakened Agni. It has to do with stomach acids, dairy proteins and the sugars in fruit making a sour mess in your belly. Non-dairy yogurt can work.
- Sweet, Cold & Heavy in the Morning. Breakfast is a Kapha time of day. Kapha is already sweet, cold and heavy. So breakfast should balance that. Cereals with milk and bananas are sweet, cold and heavy. Orange Juice is sweet, cold and heavy. Pastries, especially from the refrigerated section of your local coffee shop, are sweet, cold and heavy. Get it? If you heed this rule, and avoid these common breakfast choices, you will soon notice more vibrancy in each day.
- Turn on. I so love the bird song of the morning, even now with that crazy crow incessantly cawing for hours preceding the dawn. But when his sawing blare yields to the soft, echoing symphony of sparrows, robins and larks, plus an occasional coo from the doves, it is time to wake up, sit for a meditative moment, and tune in rather than turn on. Why would I turn on the so-called news? The tv, the radio, or the computer? What news is better than this news of the birds calling us to beauty, wakefulness and the natural song of life?
Speaking of news, here’s some of the good variety: I was just wishing my friend Erin Douglas at Banyan Botanicals a happy birthday yesterday. When she heard about this post she offered a Daily Routine Kit to gift to a reader. In addition to a gorgeous body oil for Abhyanga, the kit also includes a tongue scraper, a Nasya oil and a jar of Triphala tablets. Please just comment below so I know you are interested and we’ll randomly pick a recipient after this holiday weekend.
Love and love always, Namaste.