Revolutionizing Your Day
Morning Practices for Mindfulness and Joy
HIDDEN TRUTH ABOUT CHOCOLATE NOBODY EVER TOLD YOU ABOUT
If you are anything like me, your days tend to be packed with work projects, meetings, and more commitments than you can keep track of. So often we plunge into the frenzy of the day only to find our minds racing and then suddenly... the day is over, and we drop into bed exhausted.
While I spent quite a few years in this type of rhythm, my life changed radically when I discovered the importance of well-being routines, and even more so when I committed to practicing them on a consistent daily basis.
An incredible journey began 8 years ago that led me to experiences I never even dreamed of- studying ancient practices with yogis in India, learning about the benefits of sound relaxation, delving into meditations to calm the mind, and discovering simple tools that exponentially enhanced my creativity and my ability to follow my intuition.
When I created a business focused on well-being and healthier snacking, it was never 'just' about how we treat our bodies through foods, though that is an important point that cannot be overemphasized, but more importantly about how we live our lives in ways that foster health and integrity in body, heart & mind.
Based on my own experience as a yoga teacher and well-being facilitator, I came up with several morning routines that are simple and yet game-changing when it comes to setting us up for health and success:
1. Flush your body
As you wake up first thing in the morning, grab a big glass of water (minimum 300ml), pour in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and drink the mixture on an empty stomach.
This seemingly simple routine is a true miracle maker- apple cider vinegar or ACV is known to kill harmful bacteria, boost your body's ability to process or eliminate fat where needed, lower blood sugar levels and induce a more alkaline state in the body, making us less prone to dis-ease on the whole.
Important note: When you buy your ACV, make sure it is unfiltered and still has the "mother", a murky substance that actually gives this luquid gold all its natural healing properties.
Anatomically speaking, our bodies have many ways to breathe, and breathing evenly and calmly is associated with a relaxed state of mind.
The vagus nerve is an essential highway on which information travels between our brain and our other organs, and it also pierces through our lungs where it registers our breathing pattern.
Having a calm breath literally signals to our body and mind that we are safe, and that we can move into a restful, stress-free mode.
To cultivate a more expanded, even breath, try this simple exercise adapted from yoga practice:
Breathe in through the nose to a count of 4.
Hold the breath to a count of 4.
Then exhale to a count of 4.
Repeat this a total of 10-20 rounds, with half of your rounds focused on inhaling into the chest, and the other half focused on inhaling into the belly.
Directing our breath to different parts of the body recruits the many distinct muscles we have available for breathing, training our bodies to breathe more fully and expansively.
3. Open your heart space
The anatomical space surrounding our heart is incredibly fascinating- through a web of soft and hard tissues, it connects to our rib cage, diaphragm, and even our spine.
With the daily habit of slouching forward or staring at a screen, we can literally start to feel as though our hearts are closed off and less open to what's coming to us.
Based on my own experience, it also tends to make us feel and act less open for new situations and opportunities in our lives, simply because our posture already signals a "stay away" message.
Along with the breath work described in point 2, try the following exercise to create more lightness around the chest and upper spine:
Come to lie on the floor with your face up, ideally on a thin yoga mat or blanket (the surface has to be hard, so don't use your bed for this)
Bend your knees, and place the feet on the floor about hip distance apart. Place your hands next to your hips on the floor.
Inhale to a count of 4 and raise your arms from the hips, towards the ceiling and all the way above the head in one fluid motion.
Exhale to a count of 6 as you bring your arms back in the other direction, from the head all the way to the hips.
Repeat this for at least 3-4 minutes. If you yawn, that's a pretty good indicator that your chest is relaxing.
4. Make your first meal a healthy one
The very first foods you choose to put into your body can really set the tone for an energized day- or one that just feels a little bit like junk food, sluggish and slow.
As much as is possible for you, try to focus on healthy, colorful ingredients for your first meal of the day.
This may mean that you grab a smoothie, put together a fruit bowl or simply pick the best option available at your favourite restaurant.
The key is to choose fresh, raw and plant-based ingredients. If you don't have much time for a breakfast, see if you can include some healthier snack options for on-the-go.
Once you have gotten used to the first three steps in this sequence, you will definitely feel the difference of eating nourishing foods in the morning compared to fast food.
Commit to trying these routines every day for a whole week, and notice the difference. I can almost guarantee that once you start yourself on this simple but powerful path, you will feel a change in your day-to-day life.
One word of caution though: you will not want to go back, and these few routines may just change your life 😉
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sanja is a well-being practitioner passionate about helping people create enchanted and healthful lives. Trained in yoga, anatomy, sound healing and fine art, she works to bring wellness into people's lives while inviting them create projects and businesses they believe in.
She is the founder of My Raw Joy, an artisanal food company with a mission to bring the healthiest and most delicious snacks to people across the world- enabling us to live nourishing lives without compromise.