Let’s begin at the beginning…
…of your day, that is. Your morning is arguably the most crucial part of your day. It is that make-it-or-break-it time when you set the tone for the following 15-16 hours ahead. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed (literally or figuratively) can have a negative rippling effect on your day that you may not be aware of until you are already feeling defeated, cantankerous, or just downright lousy. Everybody ideally wants to roll out of bed feeling like a million bucks (#iwokeuplikethis), but it doesn’t just happen by magic! Try these 7 tips to help you wake ready to begin each new day with an open heart, healthy body, and satisfied soul!
To really reap the benefits from these tips, be sure to avoid the morning news, your email, and your phone messages before doing these. Even avoiding stimulants like coffee can enhance the perks of this practice. This is all about creating time for you before you begin your busy day and contend with the demands in your life!
1. Let the sunshine in
Before you go to sleep, make sure to leave your curtains or blinds half open. This will help you wake up with the natural light of the rising sun. This sends a signal to your brain to slow the production of melatonin and begin to increase adrenaline production—a sign to your body that it’s time to rise and shine! By the time your alarm clock goes off, you will already be partially awake and you won’t feel tempted to keep hitting that snooze button!
2. Rock out…of bed
Set your alarm on your phone to play something that makes you feel good about waking up! Whether it’s a classical tune like “Morning Mood (Peer Gynt)” by Edvard Grieg or a feel good jam like “Feeling Myself” by Nicki and Beyonce, pick something that will help you kick off your morning feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to greet a new day of possibilities!
3. Drink up!
Drinking 8-16 oz of warm lemon water each morning is important for your body in many ways. It aids digestion, cleanses and detoxes your body, boosts your immune system, balances your pH levels, promotes healing in your body, and hydrates your all important lymph system. Not to mention it is great way to follow up a night of beauty sleep as it also aids in weight loss, helps to keep your skin clear, and freshens your breath even before you brush your teeth!
4. Salute that sun!
Whether you enjoy yoga or prefer a different style of fitness, including a 5-15 minute stretch into your morning routine can improve flexibility of muscles and joints, promote better circulation, and help relieve stress. Check out this perfect morning yoga routine below by the ever talented Sun Kissed Yogi. Always modify your practice according to your body and needs. If this isn’t what tickles your fancy, find an activity that resonates with you!
Standing Back Bend
Begin in mountain pose. From there, reach the arms up and begin to lift from the center of your chest. Press into the feet, pull up the knee caps, and squeeze the thighs and buttocks. Press the hips forward and begin to arch the torso backwards. For more support, place hands in the small of your low back as you press the hips forward to keep length in the lower spine. Stay here for 5 breaths (inhale lengthen up, exhale deepen your backbend)
Three Legged Dog
Begin in downward dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Shift weight into your hands and your left foot equally. Then raise your right leg up to the ceiling while lengthening your left heel down. Keep your shoulders squared forward. Stay here for five or more breaths, then lower your right leg down and switch sides.
Anjanayasana – Low lunge
From down dog, lift your right leg high back behind you. Step your right foot forward between your hands, finding runners lunge. Make sure your right knee is directly over your right ankle and drop the left knee and uncurl your left toes. Sweep the arms up as you inhale and press the hips forward and low as you exhale until you feel a deep stretch in your left quad. Create stability by energetically dragging the right heel towards your left knee and the left knee towards your front heel. Feel your inner thighs engage. You might challenge the balance and gaze up between the fingertips or close your eyes. Take 5 full deep breaths here before repeating on the left for 5 deep breaths.
Crescent Lunge Twist
From downward facing dog, lift the right leg high behind you. Step the right foot forward between the hands and sweep the arms up. Sit low into your lunge (the lower you sit, the easier it is to hold as you lower your center of gravity). Peel your right hip away from your right thigh and draw the floating ribs towards your hip points. Lower your arms and bring your palms together in prayer position at your chest. Exhaling, twist your torso to the right. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. Press your upper left arm against your thigh and draw your right shoulder blade into your back to turn your chest to the right. Stay here and take 5 deep breaths before repeating on the left side for 5 deep breaths.
From plank pose, shift forward so that the shoulders are more forward than the wrists. Lower slowly to low-plank, bending the elbows straight back and hugging elbows into the ribs. Try and create a 90 angle. Energetically extend forward through the crown of your head and backwards through the heels. Fire up the legs and feel the knees draw up into the quads as the thighs float. Keep an active core and feel the navel draw back towards the spine as the hips fall in line with shoulders. Take 5 smooth breaths.
Upward Facing Dog
From Chaturanga, scoop your heart forward and up pressing palms actively into the mat as you lift your heart. Press the tops of the feet into the mat and float the thighs. Feel the knees draw up into the quads as you activate your legs. Keep lifting the chest, spreading the collarbones and drawing the shoulder blades down the back. Hold here for 5 deep breaths.
Tree Pose, Vrkasana
Standing in mountain pose at the top of your mat, shift your weigh into your left foot, coming onto the ball of your right foot. Find a stationary point of focus to steady your gaze and bring your right foot to rest anywhere against your left leg where you feel balanced (anywhere but the knee). Place the hands on the hips to support balance. You may rest your hands at heart center or extend the arms overhead like branches on a tree. Grounding down through all four corners of the left foot will help you to maintain better balance in the pose. Hold for 5 deep breaths before repeating other side.
5. Get grounded and grateful
Starting your day with as little as 5 minutes of stillness can brighten your perspective, enhance your awareness of your present moment, alleviate stress and anxiety, and boost your overall well-being. In my personal practice, I combine my meditation with a mental expression of 5 gratitudes. I bring my energy and mindset into a positive and peaceful place by beginning my day in a quiet mindset and focusing on that which I feel blessed with. Further, by expressing my gratitudes in a space where I already feel connected to Spirit, I believe that I enhance my ability to manifest further blessings and abundance into my life. If you are just beginning a gratitude practice, consider this idea: “Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only that which you said ‘Thank you’ for today.”
6. Mirror mirror on the wall…
Studies have shown that smiling increases brain activity that promotes happiness. Smiling at yourself for 30 seconds in the mirror each day promotes a stronger attraction to yourself overall (internally and externally) and enhances your relationship with yourself, and your self-esteem. Whether you choose to grin widely or provide yourself with a little “I got this” smirk, show yourself how happy you can be! Bonus: This would be a perfect time to share some positive affirmations or quotes with yourself! Write them out on a post-it note and stick it up by your mirror. After you brush your pearly whites, shoot yourself a smile and tell yourself something amazing about you, your life, or the day ahead. Once this becomes a habit, you will undoubtedly notice a significant shift in your overall happiness!
If you are like me, chances are you wake up and almost immediately begin to worry about the million things you need to accomplish, the places you need to be, and the responsibilities on your plate. However, it is important to determine what on that to-do list is really a priority, otherwise those things may fall through the cracks. To help make sure that you are clear on what you must really get done that day, write down your top 3 tasks that you MUST complete. Once you build this habit, you increase your confidence to begin to accomplish greater and greater projects and responsibilities. Make sure though that you only write down 3, no more, no less. If you begin to get carried away adding item after item, the exercise loses its purpose and you will undo all the wonderful centering work you did during your meditation!
Which of these tips are you willing to incorporate into your life today to help you greet the morning with openness, peace, and positivity?
Also, thank you to our yogini Paige! About Sun Kissed Yogi…
Paige first discovered the emotional healing benefits of yoga after struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. Searching for a better alternative to medications that she had been using to treat her symptoms, she instead decided to treat the issues that were causing them. While building her inner strength, she noticed her body was getting stronger as well. Paige received her 500-hr teaching certificate from The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ. Paige is currently teaching Yoga and Mindfulness in Los Angeles, California.
Also by Zoey: 10 Signs It’s Time to Leave an Unhealthy Relationship
Related: My Morning Vegan Skin Care Routine
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Paige Rene