OUR START CAN influence THE whole day. hERE ARE FIRST-THING rituals to embrace Ayurveda and prep your energy to positive. Morning, Sunshine!
The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, with more than 5,000 years of tried-and-tested back story, is the sister medicinal practice of yoga and an option to explore for a 360-degree approach to wellbeing.
Claire Paphitis is is a qualified Ayurvedic consultant and author of Balance Your Agni. She explains: “Although Ayurveda finds itself in a very busy market of wellbeing practices, it stands out because it is the most beautiful and complete understanding of the laws of nature and the Universe. It is a discipline with ancient roots that teaches us how to achieve that very modern goal: mind-body balance.
“Ayurveda has been a massive anchor for me, guiding me through the very choppy waters of the last two years.”
What’s her morning ritual? “I’m an Ayurvedic cliché because in the morning, without fail, I go to the toilet and I scrape my tongue. I use a copper tongue scraper and I do a few gentle scrapes before I’ve even had a drink of water. That way you can get all the toxins off the tongue and it’s good for stimulating the digestive enzymes. Any coating on the tongue needs to be removed as that’s a build-up of toxins and bacteria, then you have a really nice clean tongue.”
Her key approach to her clients is to balance your agni (digestive fire) and calm the dosha(s). Modern medicine has now caught up with this Ayurvedic premise of agni as the link between gut and both overall physical and mental health is increasingly backed by scientific studies. The three doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha and, depending on yours, they will determine what morning ritual suits you, including breakfast.
Claire says: “Depending on your dosha, you may not always feel the need to eat something in the morning. If you are a Vata type, you may not want to eat at all, but it might be wise to have a little something to ground you. If you are Kapha, you should opt for something light and easy on the digestion such as some stewed apples or quinoa flake porridge to sustain you through the morning.”
Morning ritual chai
“Winter is the time of Kapha so it’s heavy, damp and cold. My morning ritual chai will gently warm your agni (and will work for all doshas).”
“The simple act of preparing the tea is my morning mindfulness practice, while the warming spices help to gently nurture my body in the colder months by giving me a boost of energy. I have tweaked the blend until the flavour tastes ‘just right’ for me, but you can play around with the quantities and see what suits you best.
“It contains many of the spices I list as being good for balancing agni, so you can reap all the benefits of consuming them. It’s a great little daily dosha fire-starter to keep your agni happy, and a delicious and comforting drink to replace your usual tea or coffee in colder months.”
- Half-thumb size of peeled root ginger, finely grated
- 6 cardamom pods, lightly bashed or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250ml water
- 1 ordinary black tea bag
- 250ml almond milk
- Optional: brown sugar or jaggery to taste (don’t use honey as it should never be heated according to Ayurveda)
- Place the ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon in a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the teabag.
- Add the milk. Let it simmer very gently for around 5 minutes to infuse the flavours.
- Take off the heat, strain twice through a fine sieve and add sugar to taste (optional).
- Serve immediately.
Wake up to your energy
Sushma Sagar is the author of Find Your Flow and founder of The Calmery. She advises that harnessing energy first thing and, crucially, on a consistent basis will positively affect our day.
“Are you the kind of person who waits for your mess to build up, or do you like to keep things in check every day? If you have never worked with your energy before, it’s likely that a lot of old things may be causing blocks and have built up over the years. So, just as it’s easiest to clean your home as you go along, this is the right way to approach cleaning your energy.
“A daily practice to keep the chakras moving correctly is the healthiest way to approach this sort of work, and I think that incorporating activities into your daily routine is the simplest way to keep things in check. You can affect your energy even before you leave the house in the morning!
“When you wake up, say to yourself, ‘Today is going to be a great day!’ This might sound like blind optimism, but it’s entirely possible to direct the course of your life by sending out an intention of how you want things to go. You are literally sending out that vision into the world to pave the way for the possibility of a great day.”
Start with a snooze
Who doesn’t welcome a snooze, that beloved semi-awake state before leaving the bed to get on with it all? Sushma adds an energetic edge to it.
- If you can give yourself a 15-minute ‘snooze’ before getting up, place your hands on your body wherever they feel comfortable.
- Start breathing nice and slowly, and imagine heat is building up in your hands wherever they are. If they feel like moving, allow them to move as they want to. Enjoy the feeling of the heat going into your body through your hands.
- If there is something particular you want to happen that day, imagine it happening. This is like a conscious dream – you are awake now, so you can decide what you think about, but you are still in the sleepy zone so you are totally relaxed. The key is to feel the happiness in your body of the thing happening, so picture it happening and how you will feel and react.
- Smile to yourself: you are dreaming your perfect day. It can be anything from giving a successful presentation to having a good journey to work – it’s your dream, so you decide. Top athletes use this technique to secure success; they will picture winning the race well before they compete in it.
“I host The Calmery Healing Club every Saturday on Zoom at 11am. I get up on Saturday and I meditate to channel a practice or wisdom that the group will find useful. We meet for a healing practice together, shaking off the week’s stress and heading into free time with a calm, sunny disposition. It’s an intimate and friendly safe space to find stillness and connect with some lovely like-minded souls. A calming anchor in a crazy world.”