In yoga, Tadasana, or Mountain Pose is considered the foundation of all other poses. Just as we cannot build a house on a shaky foundation, we cannot build a safe and solid yoga practice if we do not understand what a strong Tadasana feels like. A properly aligned and energetic Tadasana helps us establish a solid foundation, a strong center and creates space in the body. It might seem like a simple pose but the benefits are numerous.
Lately I’ve been comparing my morning routine to Tadasana and have been working to start my day off with a solid foundation. I’d like to share with some rituals that work for me. I know that mornings can be a very busy time, especially when you have children to take care of, so a bonus is that most of these rituals do not require extra time in the morning.
1. Do not log on or check in first thing.
Hands up…who has awakened, rolled over and immediately looked at their cell phone either to check emails or check in to social media? I certainly have! Chances are, at one time or another; you’ve read something that set you off on the wrong foot, even before you put a foot on the floor.
Do not keep your phone on your nightstand if at all possible. If you use it as your alarm clock, practice turning off the alarm without engaging on whatever may be on your screen. Or better yet, invest in an alarm clock. Decide on what you would like to do before it’s time to check in. Maybe it’s saying good morning to your family, having a shower, eating breakfast or meditating. Work to establish a routine and practice.
2. Set an intention for the day before you get out of bed.
Now that you have that extra time while you are still in bed, think about how you would like your day to go. Is there a task you would like to accomplish or a feeling you’d like to embody? Visualize and really feel your ideal day. Then you can get up.
3. Half a lemon in warm water.
Ditch the juice and opt for ½ a fresh lemon squeezed into a glass of warm or room temperature water. It’s great for your liver, skin, digestive system, urinary tract… the list goes on! Not to mention, no sugar.
4. Give dry skin brushing a try.
Say what? Sounds painful. It can be intense at first but it is oh so refreshing for the skin. Like lemon water, the list of benefits is long. It’s great for the circulation, lymphatic system and reduces cellulite! Here’s a link describing the benefits and a how to guide. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7955/why-you-should-start-dry-body-brushing-today.html Once you get the hang of it, it only takes a couple of minutes. I have my brush hanging by my bath mat and do my brushing before stepping into the shower.
5. Start your day off with a smoothie
I think one of the reasons my mom likes for us to visit each other is that I make her a smoothie every morning. I am so addicted to my morning smoothie that I take my hand blender with me whenever I go home. I have my routine down to a science and it doesn’t take a lot of time. Certainly no longer than waiting for a slice of bread to toast or an egg to cook. I do drink it as I’m getting ready, not ideal I know (we are supposed to sit and eat) but it works for me.
There are as many varieties of smoothies as there are people who make them and mine vary from day to day. It’s probably because I’ve never been good at measuring which is why my baking leaves a bit to be desired. I’ve included my ‘not very exact’ recipe below.
A couple more ideas to consider.
The ideas above add very little extra time to your already busy morning, but I’d be remised if I didn’t talk about two more that are near and dear to my yogic heart. They will require a bit more time so if they work then that’s wonderful, if not, you can put them aside for days you do have time.
6. Move and breathe
While it would be lovely to hop out of bed and fit in a sunrise yoga practice or early morning run every day that is not even remotely on the agenda for many of us. However, I will say that if you can even find a few minutes to do a few gentle stretches or even a few hard core pushups, you will feel better. If I don’t practice yoga or run I do the following: 20 pushups, 20 chair dips and a little core work. That routine takes less than 5 minutes in total. It gets the blood flowing and gives you energy to take on your day.
Whenever I can, I take between 5-15 minutes to sit. Cultivating a meditation practice does require time and dedication but the benefits are endless. I have a small alter in my office / yoga room. I close the door, light a candle and incense, set my alarm and sit. My mind wanders a lot but my thoughts are not as quick and scattered as they use to be and when I am able to breathe deeply and focus… well it feels amazing. Plus, I’m much calmer and nicer to be around when I’ve found that space in the morning.
So those are a few ideas for your morning routine to help set the foundation for a great day. I hope you find one or two that can work for you!
Susan’s Powerfully Good Smoothie (Serves one)*
- ½ cup of water
- ½ cup of almond milk
- Full to ½ a banana (depends on the size of the banana)
- Handful of greens (I like spinach, kale or chard)
- 1 Tbsp. Healthy oil (I use Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 blend, available at The Healthy Vibe http://www.healthyvibe.com)
- 1Tbsp of small seeds which could include chia, ground flax, sesame and hemp hearts
- 1 scoop of vegan protein powder (I use Natural Factors Vanilla Bean, also available at The Healthy Vibe)
- Approx ¼ cup of frozen blueberries
- Approx 1 Tbsp of frozen cranberries
Put all ingredients in a blender and mix. If the mixture is thick, just add more water until you have a consistency you like. ENJOY!!
*all measurements are approximate!!