A morning ritual is a super powerful tool to start your day in a balanced way. My own yoga home practice developed over the years – when I was younger, I used to do some more vigorous exercise, but as I learned about my own patterns and self-care through yoga therapy, it gradually changed into a more balanced sequence. It now includes some meditation and breathing exercises, sun salutations, sometimes core work and always ends with some nice stretches. My morning yoga practice offers stability in my often busy and hectic life, and I can do it anywhere I want, even when travelling.
Building your own morning ritual
A morning ritual is not a one-size-fits-all thing. For one person, a yoga practice may work, while someone else prefers to go for a run, write in a diary or sit for a mindful moment with a cup of tea.
How do you find a morning ritual that works for you? You can use some principles from yoga therapy here. The first step is to become aware of your own needs and your own patterns. If you tend to feel stressed or do a lot of stuff, you can balance this pattern by seeking more stillness and slow down a little. On the other hand, if you are a slow starter, or often feel fatigued in the morning, you might benefit from something more activating and energizing. This may also vary day by day – the art is to tune in to how you are feeling and adjust your morning ritual to your present state. You don’t have to know this right away and it doesn’t have to work perfectly immediately. It’s a long-term process of finding balance over time.
Learning new habits
When you want to incorporate a morning ritual into your day, this is essentially learning a new habit. So the second step of creating your morning ritual is to get used to your new routine. Psychologists have done a lot of research into habit learning. We know that learning takes time – you might have heard of the rule of thumb that learning new habits needs about 30 days. This is based on a study by NASA, in which astronauts had to wear glasses that turned the world upside down. NASA wanted to know how much time astronauts would need to adjust to a completely different atmosphere when they would go on a space mission. Subjects in the study who were wearing the upside-down glasses all day long, could function normally after an average of 30 days. So this is where the 30-day challenges you can find everywhere come from!
Step by step
The core idea is: take your time and allow yourself to build on your new routine. My yoga therapy teacher told me about the idea of ‘tiny habits’: working towards your new habit step by step. For example, if you want to start running, first you can buy running shoes. The next step is to put them next to your door, so you will get used to this. When this is normal for you, you might start wearing them when you go outside. And the final step may be to actually start running once you got used to wearing those shoes.
The same applies to starting a morning yoga practice: just start with creating a space where you can do yoga, and place your mat there. After some time, you might feel like doing some simple exercises like cat/cow or some stretches. An in time, you can extend your practice with sun salutations, a few yoga poses and maybe meditation. You will start feeling what works for you – you can experiment with different things and then notice what makes you feel balanced. this is also part of the process of becoming aware of your own patterns. Practice and awareness go hand in hand.
Do you have a morning practice? Or do you want to start one? Share your ideas or questions in the comments below.
Have a nice day!