Up and onwards: Wake up to 2021
Your first-things-first can influence your whole day. Here experts share morning rituals to embrace Ayurveda or nurse an emotional hangover…
Sushma Sagar is an energy healer and founder of The Calmery. In her new book Find Your Flow, she advises that harnessing energy first thing and, crucially, on a consistent basis will positively affect our day positively.
“Are you the kind of person who waits for your mess to build up, or do you like to keep things in check every day? If you have never worked with your energy before, it’s likely that a lot of old things may be causing blocks and have built up over the years.
“So just as it’s easiest to clean your home as you go along, this is the right way to approach cleaning your energy.
“A daily practice to keep the chakras moving correctly is the healthiest way to approach this sort of work, and I think that incorporating activities into your daily routine is the simplest way to keep things in check. You can affect your energy even before you leave the house in the morning!
“When you wake up, say to yourself, ‘Today is going to be a great day!’ This might sound like blind optimism, but it’s entirely possible to direct the course of your life by sending out an intention of how you want things to go. You are literally sending out that vision into the world to pave the way for the possibility of a great day.”
Snooze to a great start
Who doesn’t welcome a snooze, that beloved semi-awake pause before leaving bed to get on with it all? Instead of just lying around, Sushma adds an energetic edge:
- If you can give yourself a 15-minute ‘snooze’ before getting up, place your hands on your body wherever they feel comfortable.
- Start breathing nice and slowly, and imagine heat is building up in your hands wherever they are. If they feel like moving, allow them to move as they want to. Enjoy the feeling of the heat going into your body through your hands.
- If there is something particular you want to happen that day, imagine it happening. This is like a conscious dream – you are awake now, so you can decide what you think about, but you are still in the sleepy zone so you are totally relaxed. The key is to feel the happiness in your body of the thing happening, so picture it happening and how you will feel and react.
- Smile to yourself: you are dreaming your perfect day. It can be anything from giving a successful presentation to having a good journey to work – it’s your dream, so you decide. Top athletes use this technique to secure success; they will picture winning the race well before they compete in it
Extracted from Find Your Flow by Sushma Sagar (Ebury Pop Press, £8.99)
Awaken to Ayurveda
The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, with more than 5,000 years of tried-and-tested back story, is the sister medicinal practice of yoga and an option to explore for a 360-degree approach to wellness.
Claire Paphitis is a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and author of Balance Your Agni. She explains: “Although it finds itself in a very busy market of well-being practices, it stands out because it is the most beautiful and complete understanding of the laws of nature and the Universe. It is a discipline with ancient roots that teaches us how to achieve that very modern goal: mind–body balance.
“Ayurveda has been a massive anchor for me, guiding me through the very choppy waters of 2020,” she says.
“What’s her morning ritual? “I’m an Ayurvedic cliché because in the morning, without fail, I go to the toilet and I scrape my tongue. I use a copper tongue scraper and I do a few gentle scrapes before I’ve even had a drink of water. That way you can get all the toxins off the tongue and it’s good for stimulating the digestive enzymes. Any coating on the tongue needs to be removed as that’s a build-up of toxins and bacteria, then you have a really nice clean tongue.
Her key approach to her clients is to balance your agni (digestive fire) and calm the dosha(s). Modern medicine has now caught up with this Ayurvedic premise of agni as the link between gut and both overall physical and mental health is increasingly backed by scientific studies. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and depending on yours, they will determine what morning ritual suits you, including breakfast.
Claire says: “Depending on your dosha, you may not always feel the need to eat something in the morning. If you are a Vata type, you may not want to eat at all, but it might be wise to have a little something to ground you. If you are Kapha, you should opt for something light. If you are Pitta, you will need a meal to sustain you through the morning.”
Winter is the time of Kapha so it’s heavy, damp and cold. My morning ritual chai will gently warm your agni (and will work for all doshas).
“The simple act of preparing the tea is my morning mindfulness practice, while the warming spices help to gently nurture my body in the colder months by giving me a boost of energy. I have tweaked the blend until the flavour tastes ‘just right’ for me, but you can play around with the quantities and see what suits you best.
It contains many of the spices I list as being good for balancing agni, so you can reap all the benefits of consuming them. It’s a great little daily dosha fire-starter to keep your agni happy, and a delicious and comforting drink to replace your usual tea or coffee in colder months.
The_Ayurveda_Coach’s morning ritual chai
25g/1oz peeled root ginger
10 cardamom pods, lightly bashed
4 whole cloves
½ cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
500ml/17fl oz water 2 ordinary black tea bags
500ml/17fl oz milk or almond milk brown sugar or jaggery to taste (don’t use honey as it should never be heated according to Ayurveda)
Place the ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the tea bags and milk. Simmer very gently for around 5 minutes to infuse the flavours. Remove from the heat and add sugar to taste (I usually add 1 tsp). Serve immediately or keep warm for later. This recipe makes around 4 cups, so I usually pour the rest into a flask to enjoy later in the day.
Recipe extract from Balance Your Agni by Claire Paphitis (Ebury Pop Press, £8.99)
Waking up to heartbreak
If you’re waking up with heartache over a broken relationship, it’s wise to not stay crumpled in a heap for too long, even though it feels like the natural option.
Amy Chan is the founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a company that sets out to heal the heart with a spiritual and scientific approach. She believes that morning is key to the process, least of all because it’s the first chance to establish routine.
“After a separation, your heart, mind, and body are in a state of shock. Reality can seem foggy and chaotic. Routine creates order in the chaos and is something self-made that you can count on,” she says.
“While in survival mode, you may feel like you don’t have control over your emotions, but you do have control over your routine. So, it is time to double down on that practice.”
In her book, Breakup Bootcamp, she suggests:
“Each morning, set aside time for yourself so that you can get grounded and start your day feeling inspired. Ideally, you would have an hour for this, but if you can only afford fifteen to thirty minutes, that’s a good start. Begin your morning ritual before you look at your phone and allow the outside world to start dictating your mood. You’re the boss here — set the tone of the day the way you want: calm, positive and inspired”.
Amy recommends a three-part, first-things-first ritual of meditating, journalling and choosing a mood-enhancing exercise for the day. Something, anything, that isn’t lying crumpled, with the tissues, and leaking misery.
“If you need some assistance to start meditating, try an app like Insight Timer, Headspace, Mindful or Calm. In your journal, write down one intention or goal for the day. When you write, use phrases such as ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ instead of ‘I should.’ Then choose a mood-enhancing exercise to complete during the day. Or the more the merrier. Amy’s list includes watching comedy films and TV and, of course, any exercise to bring on that endorphin surge.
Also key is your focus. Naturally, there’s a grieving process and perhaps a penchant for memory mining. While emotions will be haywire, Amy suggests that your focus must be trained away from self-defeating.
“If you want to move forward into a new way of living, then the goal is to focus your energy on yourself— not the person who hurt you. You’re just giving that person more power, more energy, more time, by staying stuck. Sometimes we hold on to the pain because that’s the last part of the relationship we have left. Directing the pain at the person who hurt you unwittingly keeps you from having to really let go.
Amy adds: “Every minute you spend diverting your focus in vilifying your ex, you are taking a precious minute away from creating a better future.”
As it’s 2021 this weekend, the calendar signals a fresh start and time to create a better future.
Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart by Amy Chan (Rider £12.99)
The views expressed on these pages are the views of the cited experts only and do not necessarily represent the views of Wellness Edit. Please always get a second opinion where specific medical advice is required.
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