There are many things we do in a day that we take for granted and which we hardly think about consciously. However, it is worth taking a moment to think about everything. Not only what we do, but also how and when we do certain things.
Ayurvedic morning ritual
Getting up early is not a favorite in our society. We like to sleep in – if possible – for a long time. However, Ayurveda has a different view on this: according to Ayurveda, it is good to start the day early, partly because it is vata time early in the morning. The vata dosha stands for movement and you can use it to start the day right.
In addition, the moving energy of vata helps eliminate all the waste that needs to be removed from the body in the morning. Another reason is that according to Ayurveda, meditation (about 10 to 20 minutes) is an important part of the morning routine, and early in the morning is the best time to do it energetically.
Furthermore, it is almost a practical necessity or a matter of time management to get up early, because – as will be seen in the list below – Ayurveda has quite a few things planned for an ideal morning routine. This list is not intended to cause stress: look at it carefully, try to understand why the respective parts are included and try to integrate as many of the parts into your own routine in a relaxed way. Don’t take the ‘ideal routine’ indicated below too absolutely and not too rigorously! The “ideal morning routine” doesn’t exist, just a routine that works for you, in your circumstances, and in your specific environment.
The ‘ideal morning routine’
- Get up before 6 to 7 a.m., or expect the sun to rise (which heralds the end of Vata time in the morning).
- Drink a glass of warm water.
- Go to the toilet and empty the bladder and bowels.
- Brush the teeth and scrape the tongue with a tongue scraper.
- Gargle with some water or some oil. Or chew on a handful of sesame seeds.
- Massage the entire body with a (mild) Ayurvedic herbal oil or with (preferably organic) sesame oil.
- Practice some gentle exercise for 10 to 20 minutes. For kapha types, that exercise may be a little more intense.
- Take a warm or cool shower, depending on the season and basic constitution.
- Dress with clean and natural clothes. You can choose colors that suit the season and your constitution. Colors can act as remedies!
- If necessary, use natural essential oils that suit the season and basic constitution.
- Do some exercise or yoga. For those who practice yoga, see the following three points:
- Do a gentle yoga session, beginning with a sun salutation and followed by asanas, appropriate to your base constitution and in a setting that matches your base constitution.
- Possibly practice some pranayama breathing techniques that belong to yoga practice. It is good to learn pranayama from an experienced yoga teacher.
- Conclude yoga and pranayama with the shavasana pose: lie on your back and relax completely and consciously.
- Take the time for meditation and end it with a prayer or an intention for the day.
- Get ready for breakfast.
Stand up for vata, pitta and kapha types
Of course, a person’s constitution also plays a role in coping with that morning vata phase and the “getting up ritual” that comes with it. Do you want to know which dosha you are? Take the test here.
- vata types: one vata type often needs more rest than others due to the usually high stress on the nervous system to which vata is closely associated. This is one of the reasons why vata types are allowed to sleep in the longest. When getting up, it is important for a vata type to take it easy and follow a regular routine. Warm water for bathing and sesame oil massage are highly recommended. Breakfast should consist of vata balancing food and a good (anti-)vata tea.
- pitta types: a pitta type generally needs less sleep than a vata type, but should allow the body and mind to rest well from the intense use that comes from the pitta dynamic. When getting up of a pitta type it is important to do so with a certain gentleness, and to go into the first hours of the day without stress or competition. Warm or cold baths and oil massages with cooling oils (such as coconut oil) are recommended. Breakfast should consist of fresh and pitta balancing food and a good (anti-)pitta tea.
- Kapha Types: A kapha type actually needs the least sleep (but often wants the most or the longest sleep). A good anti-kapha treatment is to get up early, and as early as possible. Lying down into the kapha hours can literally contribute to extra weight gain – and that without eating extra. When standing up for a kapha type, it is important to bring speed and variety into the routine. Alternating cold and warm showers and a firm dry (brush) massage are recommended. Firm and circulation-promoting physical exercises are extra important. A glass of warm water with honey (honey ‘scrapes’ fatty tissue) is a good way to start the day. It is best for a kapha type to keep breakfast very small or skip it altogether. A good (anti-)kapha tea is recommended.