Real Rituals: Mornings with Jolisa
However cliché, every morning is an opportunity for us to embrace a new day and approach it as a clean slate... a blank canvas with which to write our story or paint our life's picture. My early morning rituals are essential to setting the pace for the entire day ahead of me. They are my small expressions of appreciation that set a tone of positivity, accomplishment, and power and perhaps most importantly, they are an opportunity for me to reinforce my values. My habits are heavily influenced by yogic and Ayurvedic principles and my morning routine is no exception. Focusing on morning rituals in the context of the Ayurvedic tradition helps me align my body and mind with the rhythms of nature (prakṛti) balance the doshas (aka: natural tendencies toward dis-ease), and strengthen my self-discipline. I started three years ago with one simple ritual, sipping a cup of lemon water and slowly and organically experimented and built a sustainable morning ritual. I tend to change my routines and rituals with the seasons. I make it a point to wake up 2 hours before my first obligation of the day to accomplish my morning rituals, which means I have blocked off the hours of 7 - 9 AM. Here is a typical morning in my life right now:
I am usually awake every morning by 7:30 am at the latest, no matter what. I haven't always been a morning person though, and it was adopting Ayurvedic rituals that changed how I felt about mornings! Upon waking I take ten deep breaths and say an affirmation or read an inspiring quote to bring myself into the present and acknowledge the day (right now I am reading: Your Daily W.O.W.: Words of Wisdom That Will Inspire, Energize and Empower You Every Day). I get changed right away into workout clothes or sweats then I brush my teeth, tongue scrape and oil-pull. I splash my face several times with fairly tepid water and am out the door with my little Australian Shepherd, Pax, for a good 20-minute deep breathing run, jog or walking meditation (Yes, I am all about the walking meditation) around the neighborhood followed by a short 10 minutes of stretching and joint-freeing (think shoulder circles, etc). Morning walks are pretty revolutionary. Trust me.
The highlight of my morning routine is drinking my mug of lemon water (lately, I've started adding lavender). This ritual helps to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, address toxins in the digestive tract, hydrate and neutralize the body and also boost the immune system with a dose of Vitamin C among other benefits. I begin by lighting a candle or burning incense and then I fill an iron kettle with water to prepare my lemon water. As I wait for the water to boil, I prep my breakfast. I usually rotate between hearty (seasonal) fruit and spice-topped oatmeals, granolas with almond milk, breakfast bowls, or on the rare occasion (organic free-range) eggs on a bed of lightly sautéed greens with fruit, toast, and jam (I am so totally loyal to Bonne Maman Preserves). I love cutting up fresh fruit because I cut up extra to snack on during the day. A box of emergency fiber/grain/bran cereal is always on hand for slow or lazy-days and doing the dishes right away is never a problem.
By the time I finish meal prepping, my water is boiling. I pour some water into a mug with a few squirts of fresh lemon (I use left over hot water for a cup of post-breakfast green tea that I bring with me on the go.) I drop the needle on a record and listen to music as I give myself some time to relax, sipping my warm lemon water, slowly enjoying breakfast and reading whatever table book I am engaged in, usually coffee table type reads, working through a single chapter as I sip along and prepare for the day. Right now I am getting some inspiration for my next adventure so I am flipping through 36 Hours: Latin America & The Caribbean. I'm also reading New York School: The First Generation, Paintings of the 1940s and 1950s. I am a huge book nerd, and can be reading 3 or 4 books at a time, sometimes more. I find a lot of my inspirations and new ideas this way! [See My Reading List]
After breakfast, I review my schedule and quickly rinse for the day. I use a very gentle cleanser, and make sure to hydrate my skin with a good quality body oil or cream moisturizer. I don't usually put product in my hair aside from a few drops of an oil or leave-in conditioner depending on its condition. I spritz on some rose water and a lightweight moisturizer and SPF on my face and off I go.
Morning rituals require making time for them, which is the hardest part! I started with just the lemon water routine, added in reading and the rest. It also requires prioritizing what's important to you! I limit my breakfast to simple oats or granola and seasonal fruit to keep things less complicated. Simplicity, ease and consistency is key to success.
What does your morning routine look like? Is there a ritual that gets your day started and renews your energy for the day ahead?