If you are not a morning person, it can be difficult to set your day on the right path. Personally, I used to really struggle to get up in the morning and would often skip breakfast for the sake ofhaving extra sleep. Since I started doing yoga, I adapted a more mindful approach and devised a system to make my mornings more enjoyable. That way, waking up no longer feels like a chore.
Spending some time to take care of myself before I do things I have planned really helped me, and I hope these few imple steps could help you, too.
1. Belly breath
A great way to start the day is to wake up a little bit earlier but spend a few extra minutes in bed- awake, present and focused on yourself. Lie on your back and find a comfortable position for your spine. You may want to keep the pillow, maybe add a few extra pillows to raise upper back off the bed, or bring a rolled up blanket under your knees. Close your eyes. Bring the fingertips to lower rib cage, allow your elbows to flare out. Listen out for the sound of your breath. Feel the breath move through the body as your belly rises and expands with each inhale and softens towards the ground as you exhale. If your mind starts drifting away, focus on the rhythm of the sound to bring you back to the present.
2. Have a drink!
It sounds very simple but have some water! The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours, so by the time you wake up, you are likely to be a little bit dehydrated. You could have some cold water, and embellish it with apple cider vinegar, add fresh mint leaves or infuse water a few cucumber slices. If you prefer a hot drink, why not have some hot water with a wedge of lemon, or some green tea? Thanks to its high content of antioxidants, green tea actually increases metabolic rate, and the caffeine contained in green tea will give you a little boost in the morning.
3. Gentle yoga flow
Yoga sessions don’t always have to hour-long, and a regular ten-minute practice done in a morning can go a long way. Focus on poses that mobilise and “warm-up” the body, such as child’s pose, cat and cow poses, downward dog, malasana squat or a series of sun salutations.
Our bodies tend to feel more stiff in the morning so don’t be afraid to modify postures with blocks, bolsters or blankets.
4. Five minutes of seated meditation
Historically, asana practice (physical postures in yoga) evolved as a way to prepare the body for meditation. It’s a common misconception that meditation equals no thought, and that it has to happen with your legs in lotus pose (padmanasana). Meditation is actually about mindfully observing your thought processes. Find a comfortable way to sit upright – you could sit on a floor, raise a seat with a yoga block or a cushion, or even sit on a chair. Close your eyes and focus on ujjayi breath. If you’re new to meditation, it may be helpful to download an app for guided meditation sessions.
5. Plan your day
Before you get on with your day, make a plan. Write down a to-do list. Create an order in which you’d like to do things. Plan one self-care action for yourself, such taking as a nice bath, treating yourself to a food you like, or spending some time reading. Remember to create some leeway for yourself so that you are not putting too much pressure on yourself.