The morning is such a special time of day, a transition from one realm to the next, awakening from slumber. So often we rush our bodies through that groggy and inert phase of coming back into our usual baseline consciousness, without being able to acknowledge the beautiful process this can be. During the springtime, our mornings are especially magical as nature around us is going through the same transition on a macro-scale. The earth is thawing and with it billions of microbes and plant bodies are waking up as it warms. Likewise, the underground and underwater dwelling mammals and reptiles awaken from hibernation and begin to perform the tasks essential to their survival in the coming months.
When we begin to align our bodies rhythms with the rhythms of life we find all around us in nature, we increase our immunity, we are better equipped to deal with stress, and we align with our center of gravity, making us less likely to cause ourselves injury. The benefits really are boundless.
Signs of excess Kapha in need of balancing:
- cold and flu
- allergies (yes, even if you have always had them)
- persistent cough and mucus in the lungs
- bloating and weigh gain
- fatigue and drowsiness
- mental fog
- difficulty concentrating or staying present
Incorporating just a few of these morning practices will bring you calm and suppress the cortisol surge that is standard to most of us as we awaken to the oppressive workload of our day. Pick and choose the points you think you can add to your routine without adding any stress or sense of obligation to your morning.
- Wake up just before 6 am. The hours between 6 and 10 am are high in Kapha energy which is associated with heaviness and drowsiness, so by waking up just before this period you will avoid the heavy sleepy feeling you can wake up with even after a good night of sleep.
- Drink a cup of warm water. You can add lemon, apple cider vinegar or simply drink your favorite tea. The warmth will stimulate your digestive system and "wake up" your bodily functions.
- Meditate. The morning is the perfect time to bring awareness and intention to your breathe. Let this inner calm set the tone for your day.
- Practice Bellows Breathe 1-3 times per day. Breathe quickly and deeply in and out of your nose with the full strength of your lungs, aiming to fully contract and expand your diaphragm for 30 seconds followed by 1 minutes of easy natural breathe in and out of your nose. This can be incorporated into your meditation.
- Perform Neti followed by Nasya. Do this by irrigating your nasal passages with a neti pot or bottle (found at your local drugstore) and warm salt water flowed by swirling warm Kapha balancing oil of your choice inside the nostril and inhaling deeply. This will also help you with your Bellows Breath by doing it beforehand if you have a stuffed up nose.
- Perform physical activity. The morning is the best time to do your regular workout, or energizing yoga practice. You can also incorporate physical activity into your morning by doing some rigorous house work, yard work or playing with a child. Just move your body in an energetic way. For some, this is easier after their morning meal, but the earlier the better. The goal here is to energize your body and your mood by increasing circulation.
- Self massage with light oils. This is best done after bathing as the oil will help lock in the moisture on your skin. The best oils for the Kapha season are safflower, sunflower, raw sesame or a specialized lymphatic massage oil which is usually a blend of oils. Simply massage your own skin rigorously starting from your feet to your neck and face, massaging in circular upward motions. This will increase lymphatic and blood flow, helping your body to eliminate toxins and buildup from the sedentary winter months.
- Eat your breakfast with intention. The first meal of the day is a breaking of the fast we have been performing while we slept. It is encouraged to eat foods that balance your Kapha (posted here). Most importantly, we should bring our awareness and appreciation to the food on our plate. In Ayurveda it is believed that the nutrients in foods are most potent when our entire being -- mind and body -- is receiving those foods. So turn off the TV and put down your smartphone and just eat. You can go a step further and think of the journey your food took to reach you plate and thank each participant along the way (the farmer who nurtured and harvested the crops, the bees who fertilized the crops, the soil which nurtured the seeds, ect.)
I hope that giving just a few or all of these points a try will improve your the quality of your morning and infiltrate the rest of your day.
Happy Spring xx