Okay, okay. Saying that 5 little things changed my life might be a bit excessive… or is it?
I’ve pretty much always been a morning person. I’ve never actually needed coffee to wake up and in fact have always been at my perkiest, full of motivation and energy in the early hours of the morning. For this reason, I don’t actually drink coffee everyday. Usually I have it 3 maybe 4 times a week just if I fancy it and it’s usually a good 3 or more hours after I’ve woken up already that I decide to have one… just because.
A little while ago, though, I was at my limit with the digestive upset, skin issues, migraines and general feeling-like-crap all the time and cut alcohol out completely while also seriously cutting back (not out!) on sugar. I then stumbled upon Ayurvedic medicine which my dear friend Jaye has always been talking about and decided to give it a shot. While I’ve done an incredible amount of reading/research in to Ayruvedic living (I’m about 70% Vata, 23% Pitta and 7% Kapha if you know what those are), I’m no expert (obviously) but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has completely changed my life. There’s a lot to it all and I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one post SO today I’m sharing the 5 simple morning habits that changed my life.
1. Tongue Scraping
First of all, I had no idea how much nasty shit (read:toxins and bacteria) build up in your mouth overnight. I had always noticed that there was some kind of weird white film on my tongue but didn’t really think anything of it until I learned about tongue scraping. We all know that overnight our bodies are detoxifying everything from the day before in order to keep us healthy. What I never thought of was where it all comes out. Sure, that’s part of going to the bathroom (gross) and why you always need to in the morning BUT It isn’t the only way.
No, our bodies like to push toxins out in to our mouths, through our skin and noses (more on that in a sec) and if we don’t clear it out first thing in the morning, it’s just going to get reabsorbed in to the body and continue to create toxic build up (read: feeling like shit). Tongue scraping is an incredible quick and easy way to pull those nasty toxins out and help us start feeling better. Do this first thing in the morning before drinking water. source
This is the tongue scraper I use. It’s inexpensive and very effective.
Benefits: Better breath, healthier teeth, better digestion, enhances your taste buds and gently stimulates your internal organs.
2. Brush Your Teeth
Okay, okay. I’ve ALWAYS done that in the morning. But here’s the thing, it needs to be done after scraping your tongue, before you ingest water for the same reason you have to scrape your tongue first thing. We want to make sure all of the bacteria and toxins are gone before we start drinking water or we’re just flushing it right back in to our bodies.
3. Rinse Your Sinuses with Saline
Another kind of gross thing… but the mucus that builds up in your nasal passages gunks up your respiratory system and can contribute to mental fogginess. By using a neti pot (or saline) filled with salt water, you gently run the water through your nasal passages and clear all of that mucus out. It isn’t the most pleasant experience… it WILL run down your throat (spit it out!) and all of a sudden you’ll have a very urgent need to blow your nose. I know, it’s gross. But after you’ve done this, you will breathe easier and deeper and you will experience far less mental fogginess. source
4. Oil Pulling
So this is probably the least pleasant part of my morning. I think most of us have at least heard of oil pulling before but in case you haven’t, basically you take 1 tablespoon of an oil pulling appropriate oil (olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, untoasted sesame seed oil) and you swish it around in your mouth for anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Then you spit it out (never swallow!) in a garbage can because you reeeeaaaalllly shouldn’t spit it in your sink (obviously) and then you rinse with warm salt water. You do this on an empty stomach (aka, right after you rinse your nose and before you consume anything including water) and what happens is the oil pulls toxins from your body. This process promotes better oral health and overall health. Beyond oral health, it can help congestion, migraine headaches, reduce inflammation in the body, reduce hangovers, promote better sleep and so much more. You can read more about it here.
For me, these things proved to be true. I’m not awesome at doing this every morning since it can be kind of gross but if I ever wake up with a headache, within 10-15 minutes of oil pulling, my headaches are gone. Every single time. My mouth always feels one thousand percent cleaner and I find myself less stiff that day. I prefer to use sunflower oil because I find the taste a lot more mild and pleasant than any of the other oils.
5. Drinking Warm Lemon Water
This isn’t news to anyone. Hydrating in the morning is incredibly important. You wake up in a dehydrated state and we all know being dehydrated isn’t fun. Ensuring the water is warm is pretty important. Warm water is easier on your digestive system (which is exactly what we’re looking for in the morning) and helps stimulate your organs. The citric acid found in the lemon juice is key for getting your gastric juices flowing. Bonus: It also regulates bowel movements without needing coffee ;). You can read all about the benefits here.
I actually used to be terrible at hydrating in the morning. During the day? No problem. But first thing in the morning, I was always just wanting coffee or a latte and chocolate. Water was the last thing I wanted. Ever since I started making sure I had a good 16-24oz of warm lemon water first thing in the morning (which I’ll typically drink over an hour period), I’ve found myself infinitely more energetic and awake all morning long. I never needed the coffee to wake up… I just really love the taste and I didn’t want to wait to have it. Now, waiting 3 or so hours after waking up, I somehow appreciate it so much more if I do have coffee/matcha latte that day.
While these aren’t the only thing I do in a day, they’re the most critical. Taking 10-15 minutes to stretch my body always feels amazing but some mornings I’m rushing out the door before I have the chance to even think about it. Not everyday is ideal and I don’t always get around to doing all of it… usually if I’m running late. But as a norm, that’s how the very beginning of my days look and it has completely changed how I feel all day long.
What about you? What are your critical morning routines that influence how your day goes? Leave me your favorites in the comments below! Cheers guys!