Most of us wake up with minds reeling, ready to take on the day. We've created a habit of jumping right into our tasks, training ourselves to believe that we aren't worthy of a relaxing, restorative morning. Taking a few minutes to serve the mind, body, and soul as soon as we rise is an act of dedication to our well-being, worth, and health.
Here are five simple ways to start your morning with more energy and joy:
1. Body scan
This is a great practice to get connected to your body.
Instructions: As soon as you wake, take four deep inhales. Close your eyes and place your attention on your toes; be present with how they feel. Then slowly move your awareness up your feet and legs, through your hips, torso, arms, chest, neck and head, always staying present with sensations in each part of the body. Once you reach your head, move your awareness back down the body, feeling each limb internally and imaging white light flowing through your body.
Benefits: strengthening concentration, stress reduction, enhanced body awareness and connection
2. Dry brushing
Dry brushing is a simple and powerful technique to rid your body of toxins. You'll need a dry brush with natural bristles and a long handle.
Instructions: Get in your tub naked. Starting at your feet, rub the brush against your skin in a circular motion until you feel your skin becoming warm and pink. Keep the movement pushing blood toward your heart. Continue moving up your legs, hips, stomach, butt, arms and back. When you get to your heart move to your shoulders and scrub downward toward the heart. Be gentle on sensitive areas. When you're done you'll feel warm and tingly. Rinse off, and notice how smooth your skin feels.
Benefits: removing dead skin, clearing clogged pores, stimulating circulation, releasing toxins, cellulite reduction
3. The ego eradicator
This is a short and easy way to get your energy vibrating in the morning.
Instructions: Find a quiet space, and sit comfortably with your spine upright. Raise your arms in the air at a 60 degree angle. Curl your fingers so that the tips rest over the pads of your palm with your thumbs sticking out (like a thumbs up). Your shoulders should be relaxed back and down and heart open. Close your eyes, and look to your third eye. Begin Breath of Fire for one to three minutes.
Breath of Fire Instructions: Take a deep inhale through the nose and quickly contract your belly to your spine to push all the air out of your lungs. The inhale automatically replaces itself. As your breathing quickens it becomes rhythmic, and you'll feel your body warming up.
Benefits: increased circulation, emotional blockage release, increased lung capacity, energy, and focus
4. Sitting meditation
Meditation can actually change the brain for the better, allowing us disconnect from our personal sense of self and recharge via our source.
Instructions: Find a quiet space, and commit to sitting still. Close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Simply pay attention. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Recognize that you are not your thoughts, that they are a mechanism of the mind, and the coming and going of them doesn't affect your meditation. Don't judge or compare your practice.
Benefits: stress reduction, increased concentration, creativity, and capacity for compassion and positivity
Dancing moves your energy and makes you feel joyful. Choose a song from my morning playlist to get started.
Instructions: Just move! If you encounter some resistance to dancing start by swaying to the music. Really listen to the music, and allow your body to react to it. This isn't about looking a certain way or emulating someone else's dance moves. This is about allowing your body to express itself in the way that feels right to you.
Benefits: reduced anxiety, increased circulation, cultivation of body awareness, increased energy, joy
All of the above can be done in less than 45 minutes, or you can pick and choose which ones you'd like to add to your routine. I also like to give myself some time to read a book, do some yoga, or write. I find starting my day creatively, spiritually, and healthfully leaves me in a stronger mental state for the rest of the day.