Updated: Jan 20
According to Ayurveda…these morning rituals will define and set your day. Kind of like getting up on the right side of the bed! But way better because they are based on 5000 years of experience and not just superstition.
Start with: Oil Pulling – first thing in the morning. One teaspoon full of sesame oil (if you don’t like the taste try adding mixing in some peppermint essential oil) and swish it around the mouth for 5-10 minutes. I know it sounds icky, but it helps to pull out harmful bacteria from the mouth and nourishes the healthy bacteria. In Ayurveda, those unwanted bacteria are referred to as krimi, and oil pulling helps to remove them. Our mouth is our first line of defense for our immune system. With the tripledemic looming around each corner, we should do all we can for the immune system.
While you swish: Try Dry brushing (or if you are more vata, then abhyanga, a quick oil massage) before your bath or shower. Dry brushing is a soft brush used to brush the body, limbs and all, always moving towards the heart. You can use an organic cotton towel if you like, or a piece of linen. Whether you dry brush or do an oil abhayanga, before your bath is best. It gets the lymphatic system moving so that your body can do the work of pushing out unnecessary toxins.
This is a good time for a bath or shower, get any excess oil washed off. Of course, in Ayurveda, we don’t use a lot of soap, except in ‘special’ areas so that we don’t dry the skin. And we also don’t use excessively hot water, again, so that we don’t dry the skin. The skin is the largest organ in our body, and thus the greatest line of defense for our immune system. Be kind to it, and it will protect you.
Next: Neti is on the list. Spit out the oil, not in the sink, but in the trash on a paper towel preferably, and get started with a neti pot. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water with a tiny bit of pink salt. Slip the spout into one nostril and pour the water until it exits from the second nostril. Repeat on both sides. Our nostrils are lined with a mucous membrane which contains all sorts of good and bad bacteria and neti helps maintain the proper balance so that the good guys have the advantage.
After Neti: Nasya is important. This further nourishes the good bacteria and helps maintain the mucous lining so that it can do its job well. Just 1-2 drops in each nostril, and do a mini nostril massage from the outside. If you taste something in the throat, needless to say, spit it out. Nasya not only keeps the nasal lining healthy, but helps with the eyes nose and throat health in general.
The hardest part is: Surya Namsakar, and it’s actually not hard at all. Perhaps a learning curve though. This is a series of movement designed to move and stretch all the major muscles of the body. Gets everything warmed up and allows for good circulation first thing in the morning.
Then move to: Meditation, which is, contrary to popular belief, accessible to all. Just have the intention to sit for 2-10 minutes in the morning and focus on your breath. You can of course follow a guided meditation if that is something you prefer. Slowly, you will find that you no longer need a guide at all…for you are your own best guide.
Most important is: Pranyama, or breathwork. And while there are plenty of breathing techniques which help us with clarity of mind, increase nitric oxide in the body (another article coming soon) and even help to boost our stem cell production, we will focus on breathing slowly through the nostrils only. That is it! Slow down your breath so much that if you put finger in front of your nostrils that your finger cannot even tell that you are breathing in or out. Tougher than it sounds, but if you remember you are in control, your mind will start to cooperate. Slow down the breath.
Lastly...and I guess number 8....get some SUN! so important to get outside and catch some morning sun. Maybe enjoy your nourishing breakfast outside, or take a short walk without your phone, or simply enjoy the feel of your toes on grass!
These daily rituals will set you on the path to true health. Nourish your body, mind and spirit with Ayurveda and boost your immune system for long term wellness!