"The quality of your life is in direct relationship to the quality of your habits and rituals." – Stan Jacobs
Most mornings I wake before the sun has had a chance to begin its rise in the east.
My body longs to stay subdued in the comfort of sleep, wrapped up in the nest of my bed.
But alas, the unnatural ringing of my alarm sounds…my que that I must join the swift current of the day.
My body takes time to transition from being immersed in a restful state to being fully alert and productive.
Most people call this, “not being a ‘morning person’”.
I like to think of it as being a, “slow-to-transition-into-the-morning” kind of person.
I’ve spent a lot of time working through ways to make the first hour of the morning a little more pleasant as I adapt from night into day.
Overtime, the creation of a morning ritual emerged.
Now, I know that the term, “ritual” has a very colorful history, with both dark and light associations to it.
I define the word in a simple way: doing specific things at designated times with consciousness and intent.
My morning ritual can be broken down into five main components:
Before I get out of bed, I take seven deliberate and cleansing breaths. Inhale to a slow count of seven. At the top of the inhale, hold your breath. Then slowly exhale and at the bottom of the exhale, hold your breath again. Each inhale, exhale and hold should be done to a count of seven. Repeat this cycle as many times as you like.
When we are asleep our breathing patterns become shallow. This is a wonderful way to oxygenate your body before you get out of bed. Breathing deliberately is also an excellent way to center your mind, body and spirit, so that you start your day out balanced.
I like to find ways to fit these practices into my every day routine. Doing so makes the addition of a ritual easy to incorporate and not just another thing that I need to do in the morning. While I’m cleansing my body in the shower, I will also cleanse my energy field. Usually during this time my mind would be preoccupied with thinking of the things on my to do list for the day, or a conversation from the day before… not anything deliberate or helpful.
Instead of allowing random thoughts to take up my brain space, I now use this time to clear away any energetic debris from the previous day. Simply imagine that the water is not only removing the dirt from your skin, but also from your aura and your chakras. Visualize your energy field being washed clean. It’s really as easy as that!
The energetic body is very similar to the physical body. When the physical body is at rest, all of your bodily functions slow down. Your organs aren’t as active, your breathing slows, even certain areas of your brain take a little break. Similarly, the movement of your energetic body slows as well. Adding in deliberate physical movement to your morning, not only helps to wake up your body, but it gets your energy flowing faster. When your energy is flowing smoothly throughout your body, you’ll feel more alert, energized and also calm and centered.
This doesn’t have to be anything super time consuming. If you have extra time in the morning, doing something like yoga is excellent. But, if you’re like me and you don’t have 45 minutes to practice first thing, you can do a very simple Qi Gong movement that only takes about 2 minutes.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Place your hands palms face up and as you inhale, stretch your arms out, side to side, moving them slowly up toward the ceiling. Once your palms are over your head, turn them so that they’re facing the floor. On the exhale slowly drop your hands down the center line of your body. Do this circular sequence 18 times.
I am a huge advocate of positive thought. Whether that comes in the form of positive affirmations, mantras or even prayers, taking a minute or two to have intentional positive thought can be very powerful in aligning your mind with how you want your day to play out. I am also a multitasker, so as I’m doing my movement sequence, I’ll repeat my mantra, affirmation or prayer, silently or out loud with each breath.
A mantra can either be words or tones like “Om” and are used primarily in accordance with meditation. Affirmations are short, positive statements that help to align your thought patterns with where you want to be. An example of an affirmation would be something like, “My day is filled with light and happiness.” Prayers are typically conscious thought, directed toward a higher entity or being. Whatever your preference, beginning your day with positive thought will build a strong foundation for that positivity to flow throughout the rest of your day.
I always end my morning ritual with gratitude. Sometimes I’ll find something specific to give thanks for, but more often than not, I simply express gratitude that I have the opportunity to experience this life another day.
Out of all of my ritual components, this is the most important one. So, if you were to take only one thing away from this article, I hope that it’s the daily expression of gratitude. Set aside a brief moment to say something that you’re grateful for each day.
As you move throughout your mornings this week, try out one or two of these ritual components.
Which ones work for you and which ones don’t?
As you bring conscious awareness to your morning routine, do you find that you naturally have your own rituals?
Do they help you start your day out from a space of positivity or is there room for improvement?