Yoga teacher Mini Shastri shares the daily morning practices that transformed and uplifted her life. She recommends these rituals to all those who aspire to a balanced mind and body.
1. Waking up at the same time everyday helps you set a rhythm. Ideally, one should be asleep by what is considered a crucial repair time – between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. – and rise at the vata hour of around 6 a.m.
2. Pull your curtains open when you wake up and come out into your balcony, garden, or your window to allow the sun to set your body clock by stimulating the pituitary gland.
3. To care for the senses, wash your eyes with cool water or rose water. Ayurveda prescribes oiling or lubricating the nose, for which you can use warm ghee or sesame oil. During the change of seasons, you can use anu taila to ward off allergens. You can also hold, or pull, medicated oil or sesame oil in the mouth to dislodge oil-based toxins. Scrape your tongue to prevent the toxins from getting swallowed back and adding to the ama (toxins) in your system.
4. Create a small ritual around a breath awareness practice. You could do this with prayers, lighting an incense stick and/or ghee diya (butter lamp), or plucking a flower for your altar. Alternatively, you could simply hold a few stretches to clear space in your mind to able to turn inwards towards watching your breath.
5. Pranayama in the early hours of the morning helps the mind create an inner intelligence and helps the body eliminate carbon dioxide. It also moves the lymph and the vayus that are stagnant after we wake up. Energy can be directed to the lungs, heart and thymus via the prana vayu (the inward moving breath) and towards the belly and pelvic area with the apana vaayu (the downward and outward flow of energy from the body, governing the waste or elimination).
Mini Shashtri is a leading yoga teacher and practitioner based in New Delhi. She is the founder of Om Yoga Shala