Creating an Ayurvedic Morning Routine in Seven Easy Steps

Kripalu School of Ayurveda

How you start your day is a good indicator of how the rest of it will pan out. So why not kick it off with the healthy, balancing principles of Ayurveda on your side? Here’s how to make a few simple adjustments in your morning routine so your light will burn even brighter all day long!

Wake before sunrise. Just as each dosha (Ayurvedic constitution or quality) rules a season, they also govern different times of day. The hours of 6:00 to 10:00 am are ruled by kapha, which is dense, heavy, and slow. In order to balance those qualities, rise bright and early, before the sun. This is when the birds are chirping and the dog is scratching at the door to be let out—and if your goal is to live in harmony with nature, that means it’s time for you to get up, too! Experiment with an earlier waking time, and see if you feel more energized throughout the day.

Use a tongue scraper. Before drinking water in the morning, scrape your tongue, using either a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper. (The plastic ones are harder to keep sanitary.) Stick your tongue out and allow it to be loose and heavy. Work the tongue scraper back to front five to seven times, gently removing any coating and rinsing the scraper after each round. Tongue scraping is thought to effectively reduce odor-causing bacteria. Follow up with brushing and flossing.

Drink a mug of warm lemon water. First thing in the morning, boil some water and add a squeeze of fresh organic lemon. Drinking warm water in the morning provides a gentle flush for the whole system while also stimulating peristalsis. This beverage is purifying to both the stomach and liver, which in turn stimulates the gall bladder and lymphatic system.

Try a neti pot with nasya oil. Irrigate your nasal passages using a saline solution or distilled water and neti pot. This helps to clean the sinuses of any dirt, pollen, or other allergens. Afterward, apply nasya oil or sesame oil (a drop in each nostril) to help lubricate and protect the inside of your nose. If you skip this step, you might find that the saline solution is too drying. Nasya oil is also thought to soothe sinus infections and relieve tension in the head.

Splash your eyes with cool water, or spritz with rose water. The eyes are governed by pitta dosha, which is comprised of fire and water. You might notice that your eyes get red or irritated at times; this is due to excess heat. To keep the eyes cool and refreshed, splash them with cool water or spritz with pure rose water.

Invigorate your skin. Self-massage, called abhyanga in Ayurveda, has numerous benefits, including softening the skin, nourishing the body, increasing circulation, and strengthening the immune system. Sesame oil is heating, which makes it a good choice for cooler kapha and vata types. If you tend to run on the warmer (pitta) side, try coconut oil. Once you have oiled up, step into a warm shower to open your pores and allow the oil to work more of its magic.

Get moving. The body is at its strongest between 6:00 and 10:00 am, so make this your time to move! Boost your metabolism and shed any sluggishness that accumulated during the night. Go for a brisk walk, do 12 Sun Salutations, dance to James Brown—whatever lights you up. Even if you only have five minutes, get your heart rate pumping and notice how this affects the entire body.

Sound like a lot to take on? Change can be overwhelming, so incorporate these new habits slowly. Choose one item on the list, and add another after a few weeks. Along the way, notice how your mind and body react to your new routine. Before long, you might find that you’re more of a morning person than you ever imagined you could be—and odds are, you’ll find the rest of your day transforming for the better as well, thanks to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. 

Lauren Gernady is the Academic Coordinator for the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, and a lifelong student of holistic living. 

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Lauren Gernady is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, a 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurvedic (KSA), and a former intern and Academic Coordinator of KSA.

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