How you start your day can set you up for your whole experience of the day itself. I was listening to Marianne Williamson the other day who is an author and student of A Course in Miracles, she likened having a spiritual morning practice to cleaning off the dirt from the day before when you shower. I love that analogy.
What ever happened yesterday, today is a new day and you can choose how you wish to be through out what ever life throws at you. This is the power of setting an intention, one practice you may like to play around with each morning. That is choosing your way of being for that day. For example you could focus on being loving, being peaceful, being accepting of others and yourself, being mindful, really listening, bringing fun into what ever you do.
The time in the morning whilst others are asleep is great for meditation and prayer before your mind kicks in thinking about all you have to do and distractions like emails and calls begin. I personally like to hand my day over to God’s will.
If you find meditation hard then simply sitting and focusing on the breath for 15 mins helps to quieten the mind, by the end you’ll find it much easier to sit in a few minutes of stillness. I suggest the following breathing routine for the morning:
- Set your alarm for 15 mins so you don’t have to worry about the time
- 1 or 2 rounds of Kapalabhati breathing to exhale stale energy from the night before
- 1 or 2 rounds of Nadi Shodhanna ot balance and calm the mind
- Ujjayi Breath inhaling for 6 exhaling for 9. If this is too much then inhaling for 4 exhaling for 6.
Sometimes I just do Ujjayi for 15 minutes, it’s just as effective.
Practising yoga asana is a great way to get the body moving after being asleep all night. We often feel more stiff in the morning so it’s a perfect time for a good stretch. Focusing on the breath and gently moving the body helps to calm the mind and be grounded for the day ahead. If you are someone like me who wakes up and immediately starts to think about everything to do, I find it really helps me to think clearly and slowly rather than rushing straight into things. if you don’t have much time then just a few sun salutations are great for warming up the whole body, start off slow and then you can increase the speed if you feel like it. Make sure you are mindful and focus on synchronizing the breath with your movements to make it a meditation.
If you have 30 minutes then I suggest:
- Yoga asana (eg sun salutations) for 15 mins
- Breathing and then sitting in stillness for 15 mins
- Set your intention for the day
Play around with this though and find out what works for you. You may prefer to do 25 mins of asana and then just sit still for 5. It’s much easier to sit in stillness after you have practised yoga asana.
If you are just looking for a quick positive burst before jumping out of bed then a daily meditation book does just the trick. Personally I love Melody Beattie – Journey to The Heart and Alan Cohen – A Deep Breath of Life. Just reading a short inspirational passage is a great start to the day.
Finally if you really don’t have much time, perhaps you have kids jumping all over you demanding attention, then just ask yourself whilst getting up:
What am I grateful for?
What can I do to make today fantastic?
There are lots of great ways to start your day, these are just a few I have found work for me. I’d love to hear yours, please comment below.