This post is also available in: Suomi (Finnish)
In cooperation with Familon
A couple weeks ago I shared some recipes for sleeping well and I hope you guys have been doing that. Sleeping well, taking some time off to relax and then felt really recharged. This post is the second part of my cooperation with Familon and this time I’m here to talk about mornings and how to start them gently. So in order to do that, I will share my own morning routine and a few ways to start your morning right with some mediation and yoga.
A good day is made from many things but at least for me, mornings are usually pretty crucial for setting the vibe for my day. I’ve always loved mornings, maybe partly because of the fact that you get to eat breakfast then, my favorite meal of the day, but also for the feel of new beginnings. In addition to having a delicious breakfast, my morning routine includes a short moment for some meditation and yoga, for which I’m sharing guidelines below. But before we get into that in more detail, let’s get back to our beds.
To make my days better, I’ve started a small, yet significant new habit: after my alarm has gone off, I don’t jump up immediately anymore, but instead I lie down for a couple of minutes (okay, sometimes a lot more) and give myself a bit time to wake up. And before I get up from bed, I think of a one thing that’s good in that upcoming day. It might be a small thing or a big thing. I might think of the lunch date that I’m having with my friend, a new breakfast recipe I’m about to try, or an episode of my favorite series I’m going to watch when I’m done with work. It can be anything, as long as you seem it as a nice thing to do. This simple habit gives me something to look forward each day, even how busy or challenging my day is going to be.
When I’ve got up, washed my teeth and face, I sit down for a moment. I sit on our livingroom floor, or sometimes in our bed, or just wherever I find some peace. I’d be lying if I said that taking this moment for myself and learning this new habit has been really easy as it’s been quite the opposite. It’s alaways a bit challenging and sometimes I’ve stopped doing it for a while, but still I always find myself returning to this practice. Taking time to myself and sitting down for even just for the tiniest moment.
These small moments bring somehow so much wellbeing and peace into my day, that I thought some of you might be looking for inspiration to start your own practice. So to get you started, you’ll find below my guides for a short morning meditation and for a gentle seated yoga practice, which I do almost every day. Sometimes I skip the yoga part and sometimes I do more. You can modify (and you should!) the practice so that it suits you the best.
Short Morning Meditation
Choose a comfortable seating position. You can sit on your legs or cross them. If it’s difficult to get your back straight, sit on a small pillow or a folded blanket so that you can elevate your hips a bit. Take a few deep breaths through your nose. Tune into your body and pay attention to how you’re feeling. Is there some tightness or an ache somewhere? If there is, think about bringing your breath to that part for a moment. Then pay attention to what your body needs: is your body in need of exercise or rest? Think what would be the most nourishing thing for your body today.
Then move on to your mind and just sense what you’re feeling. Are you happy? Are you feeling anxious or stressed? Don’t get too involved in the feeling, but rather just acknowledge and accept it. Then move your attention to your breath. You can take for example five, ten or fifteen deep breaths through the nose counting them at the same time. Counting my breaths helps me to relax and calm down.
When you’re ready, just sit for a moment and let your mind be free. Let the thoughts come and go and don’t pay too much attention to them. If you notice that your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your breath. And when you feel yourself calm and relaxed, you can move onto the seated yoga practice.
Gentle Seated Morning Yoga
Warming up the neck
Let your head drop to your right, so that you feel a nice stretch on your left side of the neck. You can walk away from your body with your left fingers, which intensifies the stretch a bit. Find a spot that suits you and stay there for a couple of breaths. Then do the other side.
Stretching the sides of your body
Place your right hand on the floor a short distance away from your body. Raise you left arm towards the sky and bend lightly to the right, so that you feel a stretch on your left side. You can look up to the sky, or if you’re feeling tension in your neck, look down to the floor. Keep the pose for a couple of breaths and then do the other side.
Twisting the spine gently
Place your right hand behind your back and your left hand to your right knee. Inhale, straigthen your back and on an exhale twist gently to the right. Think that the twist starts behind your naval and then turn your upper body to the right. You can look over your right shoulder if that feels good. Keep the pose for a couple of breaths and then do the other side.
Waking up the legs and the back
This stretch might be quite intense in the morning, but I like how it wakes up the back of my legs and my back, as long as you don’t push yourself too hard.
First straighten your legs in front of you and keep the legs active, ankles flexed. Place your palms besides your hips and lenghten your back. Inhale and on an exhale start to walk forward, until you reach the point that suits you. Remember to breath and also remember to be gentle to yourself, as we are a lot more stiff in the morning than during the day or night. Stay for a couple of breaths and the roll back up to sit.
Ending the practice and starting the day
To end the practice, take again a comfortable seating position. If you have a mantra that you like to use, you can use that. But for the others, I’ll share mine with you.
I’ve gotten this habit of repeating the same couple of sentences every morning. They prepare me for the new day and they’ve quickly become one of my most important routines. To begin, I tell myself that today is going to be a good day. Everything will go as it’s supposed to go. I then remind myself, that I love my body just the way it is. Every day. Sometimes my body changes, on some days it’s bigger and on others it’s smaller. But nonetheless, I remind myself to be grateful that my body allows me to do so many different things.
You can copy my mantra if you like, or you can choose a few things that you want to remind yourself of daily. And when you’ve chosen those things, go ahead and do that – remind yourself of those small, but important things every single morning.
When you’re ready to start your day, get up, turn on the radio, wear something that makes you feel good, eat a nourishing breakfast and then go and have an awesome day!