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Do I need a morning ritual? And, what is it?

Do I really need a morning ritual? To be honest, I always hated getting up in the morning. Still do. But now I do it with pleasure, and it’s not that suddenly I started enjoying getting up early… what I enjoy is having time for myself, to start the day with the right energy and frame of mind. 

It all started with yoga. It was by creating the habit of doing a bit of yoga every morning that I managed to get up earlier, and earlier… that habit become indispensable for my health. For all aspects of my health, not just physical, but also mental and emotional. And then it expanded. I started adding other things.

Montse in vang vieng, laos

Having incorporated yoga as part of my morning routine made it much easier for me to start incorporating other habits I wanted to cultivate: meditation, journaling, free writing, healthy breakfast, etc. But of course, not all at the same time (and not always all of them).

In the morning we establish our mindset for the entire day, so it’s important to treat this critical period with intention. You may decide that you want to be healthier, more productive, more active, more focused or even more goal oriented in your life or business… therefore choose what you do in the morning to reflect that. And have fun doing it.

Design your routine to help you achieve your goals. To get you closer to the lifestyle you want to live.

The key of successfully creating a routine is by building tiny blocks of habits, that once incorporated into your life will change your lifestyle, even how you perceive yourself. You don’t have to start with yoga, you can start journaling or any other habit you think will take you closer to who you want to be. As you see the changes taking place, in yourself and in your life, you’ll feel motivated to continue or even incorporate other habits.

So, what is a ritual? For starters, a ritual and a routine are the same… but aren’t.

It all depends on the degree of intention you put into it. For example, making a cup of coffee in the morning may be already part of your routine… but are you really paying attention at the way you are making the coffee? making it with awareness… and with joy?

Smiling at the smell and stopping in appreciation before that first sip of the morning will change the way you relate to the simple action of making and drinking your morning coffee. Then a routine becomes a ritual.

Part of your morning routine may include a ritual. Something you do with intention and attention
Photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

It does’t have to be a long or serious ceremony to be a ritual, I’m not asking you to hold the cup of coffee in any particular way (unless you want to) or do any mantra recitation to it (unless mantra recitation is part of your practice). In a ritual you pay attention to what you do in the morning and appreciate it, instead of mindlessly go through the motions.

For me, ‘appreciating’, doing it with joy, it’s key to creating lasting change.

There’s not need to put pressure on yourself, first decide on the habits you want to cultivate or what are the things that will bring joy to your morning, implement them and in time see if you can (or want to) add a bit more depth   and meaning.

In the ebook I made with tips on how to create your own morning ritual, sometimes I call it routine, others ritual, and I use both terms interchangeably. All the suggestions are some of the things I do or have done myself and sometimes are part of a ritual and others… just something I do in the morning as part of my routine.

If you need some ideas on things to create your own ritual in the morning, you can get your ebook here. But remember that they are just ideas, things you can try for a while and see if they serve you.

How long time you dedicate to your morning routine depends on you, it could range from 30 to 90 minutes or even more. One of the biggest excuses I hear, and used myself many times… is ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I don’t have 90 minutes to do yoga every morning’, ‘I would really need to get up way too early’.

Start with a ritual of 10 minutes if time seems to be your main excuse.

In under 10 minutes you could do a good yoga stretch, you could read several pages of a book, read a poem or something meaningful to you and meditate on it, you could memorise 5 new words (if you are learning a new language), you could make a smoothie (and drink it), you could repeat positive affirmations, you could contact a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while (doesn’t have to be a call, write a letter, email or text)… I could go on and on… but you get it.

Photo by Jan Kaluza on Unsplash

Remember, start small and build on it. And if one day you don’t have 30 min to do a full ritual/routine… do 10 min! If you can’t do a full yoga flow, do 3 sun salutations (5 min.) and another 5 of meditation. Instead of a smoothie, have a piece of fruit. And instead of writing for half an hour, write for 10 min. The important thing is to build the habit until it becomes as ingrained in your morning as brushing your teeth.

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