Do you have a morning ritual?
I’m not talking a set of expletives F#*!sh#@as*#ho#e that you greet the day with. Or that daily battle with your alarm’s snooze button. Or a s#it scramble, scream and screech to get the kids (and yourself) out the door to school, daycare etc.
Of course I’m talking about a morning ritual that gets you set for the day…..the kinda day you actually want to have.
This doesn’t have to be a long meditation, or a yoga stretch session (a la Salute to the Sun) or even a daily jot in the journal of all your goals and wishes (although it can be these things).
For Mr Yang, it’s a slow morning cuppa, relaxing on the recliner, with no-one bothering him (if that recliner could rock I’d be calling him Grandpa).
Mr Yang just naturally does ritual well, and never seems to get bored (old man, stuck in his ways?).
I’ve always struggled with finding a ritual. I rarely set an alarm (kids having helped out with that over the years). Yet like most people, I treasure any time I get to spend awake before the rest of the household. I rarely hit snooze.
In the spirit of going with the flow, sometimes I write, sometimes I read.
I often try to do at least 5-10 minutes of meditation, and sometimes that will turn into a few yoga stretches also.
Other times I do a Mr Yang, grab a cuppa, and sit outside listening to the birds and the morning wake up, watching the sun’s early rays crystalize the lake and hopefully my thoughts for the day.
Sometimes I’m ‘up and at ‘em’ for a brisk walk and occasionally I’ll go out to a morning yoga class.
I make this admission about being routine-less, when some of you may see me as a ‘mediating mumma’ with my practice sorted.
Sorry to disappoint – but I’m practicing to develop a practice!
And here’s one simple, powerful practice that literally only takes a few minutes that I guarantee will even make you taller! (not to mention calmer, clearer and more centered).
Remember when your Mum (and quite possibly your teacher) used to lecture you about posture – shoulders straight, don’t slouch, get your eyes up off the floor etc.
Well there’s the most basic of yoga asanas (poses in other words) that is designed for good posture, but has other benefits too. It literally sets you up for your whole practice (or day as the case may be).
Simply stand up straight, only its not that simple (well it is, but let me break it down).
Tadasana – Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet together, touching at the ankles and toes. Push your heels into the ground and then lift your toes. Spread them out as you plant them back down, allowing some weight to shift into the balls of your feet.
Your feet should feel firmly planted with your weight even (it’s ok to wobble a little as you get the hang of it).
Now consciously lengthen your legs. Straighten your knees, pull your kneecaps up so they are locked. Roll your thighs in and up as you straighten. Tuck your tailbone under and let your hips relax outwards.
Lift your back up from the base of your spine. Feel the curve in your lower back and then pull your stomach backwards towards your spine as you straighten, pushing your chest (and heart) up and out.
Lift and then square your shoulders, relaxing so you arms hang comfortably down by your side. Fan your fingers out, as your arms lengthen towards the ground.
Feel your shoulder blades move towards the middle of your back and lengthen your neck, so that your head is upright and your chin straight but your muscles are not strained.
Gaze straight ahead and then feel a final lift upwards, as though you are being pulled towards heaven by the crown of your head.
See how you’ve grown a few centimetres, and see how you feel centered, grounded in the earth, yet at the same time reaching into the universe.
Close your eyes if you can (it’s OK to wobble). Imagine yourself as a mountain – you can ‘move mountains’ today. Oh an don’t forget to breathe fully!
Say a simple mantra about how awesome you are, how strong like a mountain you feel, or whatever it is that gets you motivated for the day (it’s OK if you just want to think your mantra, but it works extra well when you talk to yourself)!
And now go away and be grounded, reach for the heavens (and your goals) like a soaring mountain peak. And do it all again tomorrow.
Do you have a morning ritual?
How do you get grounded and ready for the day?