As much as we wish we could always rise and shine, sometimes it’s hard enough to get out of bed, let alone feel ready to take on the day. When we’re struggling to get moving in the morning, a little self-care can go a long way. Here are three tried-and-true rituals that we turn to when we need a little a.m. boost.
Detoxify with Oil Pulling
Practitioners of Ayurveda have long used oil pulling (called gundusha in Sanskrit) to whiten teeth, freshen breath, detoxify the body, alleviate migraines, and improve digestion. Studies have shown that swishing oil in your mouth reduces harmful bacteria that collects there, including Streptococcus mutans—the strain which contributes to plaque, cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
- After brushing your teeth and scraping your tongue, put 1⁄2 to 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (for vata), coconut oil (for pitta), or grapeseed oil (for kapha) into your mouth and gently swish it around.
- After 5-20 minutes, spit out the oil into a trashcan or your toilet. (Don’t spit oil into the sink because it will clog your drain over time.)
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to gently kill any leftover bacteria.
—Sahara Rose, best-selling author and host of The Highest Self Podcast @iamsahararose
Check off six powerful Ayurvedic rituals while taking your morning shower. First, fight plaque and bad breath with oil pulling (see above). After washing, practice abhyanga, a gentle massage with sesame oil. Make circular strokes over your joints and belly, and long strokes over your arms and legs. Give your head a vigorous massage to stimulate the 37 marma points on your scalp. Next, put three to five drops of nasya oil in both nostrils. Sniff deeply to clear your sinuses. Then use a couple of drops of nasya in each ear for karna purana, or ear oiling; fold your ears down and massage for 30 to 60 seconds. Finish your shower with two minutes of cold water to boost healthy brown fat, lower blood sugar, stimulate your metabolism, and turbocharge your day.
—John Douillard, DC, CAP, Founder of Ayurvedic clinic LifeSpa
Savor Your Morning
Getting a pour-over coffee maker changed my relationship to java, making it a mindful ritual instead of a crude fuel. First, I fill the kettle, set it on a flame, and grind some beans. Once the water boils, I guide the kettle’s long gooseneck spout in concentric circles as I pour water over the coffee. I notice how the grinds puff up and deflate as the water drains. I inhale the bittersweet fragrance. Then, I’ll pour the hot beverage into my Brooklyn mug, add cream, and sit in my favorite chair—the one my partner forbids me from ever associating with work. If I wake up at 6, I have time to make a dent in my book, watch the sunrise, or giggle at TikToks until it’s time to fire up my laptop.
—Deanna Michalopoulos, Yoga Journal senior content marketing and online education production manager