From Oprah Winfrey to yogic tradition, most agree that one of the best ways to build a life worth living is to develop sustainable habits, which in a way, means to ritualize our lives.
Having a morning yoga routine is a great way to kickstart your day with intention and with better awareness and connection to yourself, while moving your body and improving your overall health.
In this article, we will share:
- The Importance of Morning Routines
- Morning Routines According to Ayurveda
- Designing Your Morning Yoga Routine
- A Beginner Morning Yoga Routine for Balance
The Importance of Morning Routines
When it comes to increasing productivity as well as finding a better balance in your life, setting yourself up for success in the morning is paramount.
It may be daunting to think that you have to add more to your plate when you already live a busy life, but in truth, creating a morning routine isn’t really about making things more complicated and adding stress into your life, but about shifting.
When you think about it, your morning is probably already ritualized.
If you’ve ditched your alarm clock and now use your cell phone to wake up every morning, chances are that you are beginning your day by scrolling on social media or answering text messages and emails.
That in itself is a routine, but perhaps not the healthiest one.
The good news is that you already have a morning routine, the difference is that now that you’ve decided to, you can utilize the time you already have more purposefully.For a few days, consider not changing anything, and with as much honesty as you can, observe how you start your day and what you do between the time you wake up and the time you have to sit down at your computer, take the kids to school, or leave for work.
Write it down along with how it makes you feel.
Observe your habitual patterns with kindness and compassion toward yourself.
Morning Routines According to Ayurveda
- Kapha – slow, dull, heavy, wet, smooth, slimy, etc.
- Pitta – sharp, hot, oily, liquid, spreading, etc.
- Vata – light, rough, cool, quick, mobile, subtle, etc.
Each Dosha manifests in all being things in different quantities and balances, but separately, these Doshas are:
In Ayurveda, the Doshas rule the seasons:
- Kapha – Late Winter to early Spring
- Pitta – Late Spring to Summer
- Vata – Autumn to early Winter
Vasant Lad, B.A.M.&S., M.A.Sc., who has written many prominent reference books on Ayurveda and how to utilize it to benefit our lives writes:
“A daily routine is absolutely necessary to bring radical change in body, mind, and consciousness. Routine helps to establish balance in one’s constitution. It also regularizes a person’s biological clock, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and longevity.“Vasant Lad
In the ayurvedic tradition, there is a specific morning routine that we’re invited to follow according to our composition called Dinacharya.
Designing Your Morning Yoga Routine
When you consider developing a morning yoga routine, take the time to figure out what you will do, and why you choose to do it.
There are a few elements that you should consider when creating your morning yoga routine, or your Sadhana.
1. Intention Setting for the Day
When we put intention into our habits and our routines, it becomes a lot easier to stick to them; it’s all about knowing what you do what you do.
In yoga, this is called a Sankalpa, and it is meant to get you in alignment with your higher purpose and how to move forward in your life.
When considering your intention, ask yourself what it is that you need physically, mentally, and emotionally to find more balance and harmony in your life.
2. Journaling (or morning pages)
In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron invites us to take on the challenge of writing 3 pages every single morning, first thing, before you check your phone, before you eat anything before you talk to your significant other or answer a single email.
When you spend time at the beginning of the day to journal, you create a habit of getting in touch with how you feel and what you may need before you interact with the world, allowing you to make better choices as you move through life, simply because of having put to paper some of the clutter that inhabits your mind.
Consider writing 3 pages (or whatever feels manageable for you) every morning for 21-days, and simply observe what happens.
Numerous psychology studies have concurred that practicing gratitude daily can lead to greater levels of happiness and well-being.
Taking some time during your morning yoga routine to express gratitude for those things you have in your life is an impactful way to set yourself up to start the day in a good mood and with good intentions.
You can combine this with your journaling practice if you’d like.
For some prompts and inspiration, check out these 50 gratitude journal prompts.
Meditating doesn’t require you to blank your mind or become enlightened.
Rather, meditation is a practice that has been performed by many cultures all over the world for thousands of years. In the yogic tradition, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Meditation (Dhyana) is the seventh of the 8 Limbs of Yoga and it has benefits for mind, body, and spirit.
Meditation takes practice, and we recommend you start small; commit to meditating every single day even if it’s for one or two minutes. After a few days, you may find yourself staying for 3 or 4 minutes, and so on.
Returning to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga asana, the physical practice, is considered the third of the 8 limbs, and it is what the mainstream considers to be yoga.
The asana practice should be an important part of your morning yoga routine, but remember that it is not the only part. You could go a day without practicing any yoga shapes, and still practice yoga!
Some of the most important components of creating a morning yoga routine are related to ancient yogic philosophy and wisdom.
Pranayama, the fourth limb of the 8-fold path is another simple and accessible way to have a morning yoga routine that doesn’t only focus on physical movement.
There are many pranayama techniques and they range from accessible to everyone breathing exercises like Dirga Pranayama to advanced practices that combine breath, breath retention (kumbhaka), and even mudra (hand locks) like Nadi Shodhana.
A Beginner Morning Yoga Routine for Balance
If you are new to creating a morning yoga routine for yourself and you’re not sure where to start, here is a simple example that you can try out, explore, and modify to fit your life.
Grab your journal and your favorite pen and give yourself 5 minutes to write whatever comes to your mind, or perhaps use the following prompt: “What do I want to invite more into my life today that will get me more aligned and in harmony with my dreams?” allow yourself to be completely raw and honest.
In the same notebook, write a few things that you are grateful for today, big or small. Some days the list may be longer than others, let that just be more information on how you feel on any given day.
Sit with yourself for five minutes in a quiet place. If you’re able, find a space where you can be with nature, whether that’s by sitting by a window, in your balcony, or your garden.
If you’d like a guided practice, check this one out.
Depending on what you need in the morning in order to find balance, consider these two different options:
Sun Salutations: perform 1 to 5 of them in order to awaken your body and mind and get the energy moving. Ideal if you tend to wake up a little sluggish.
Give this Youtube class a try:
On the contrary, if you feel like you wake up a little scattered and with your energy all over the place, perhaps a slow flow practice would be more beneficial to balance out your energy.
Try this class:
A simple pranayama that can be very effective in helping you regulate your energy is Sama Vritti. Here is a video for you to give this breathing technique a try:
A morning yoga routine should be designed to fit your life so that you can maintain it through the good and the bad days.
Make it sustainable by staying flexible and compassionate with yourself, and readjust when you need to.
For more on daily routines, read this piece.