By Marcee Murray King
I couldn’t possibly do anything with perfect regularity, perfectly on schedule, or just perfectly.
And that’s okay, because the fact that I have a morning dinacharya, yoga and meditation practice about 70% of the time is perfect for me.
Having found a routine that works for me, it is easy for me to get through. On days of desperation, I cut bits short or out completely. On days of ease, I treat myself to a really long practice and add so much more in.
Here’s my morning routine:
Dinacharya (an Ayurvedic practice):
- Upon awakening, I scrape my tongue to remove any ama, the built-up white scum that is on our tongues, especially on the back. I do this before I drink or eat anything in the mornings in order to make sure I don’t swallow these back into my body. I used to use a spoon, but recently bought myself a nifty copper tongue scraper and am sort of in love with it!
- This is followed by squeezing fresh lemon into warm water and drinking this. In the summer I sometimes use lime instead as it is more cooling
These two I do almost without fail every morning, except for traveling when I sometimes can’t quite manage for various reasons. These take me about two or three minutes. I then start on my first cup of tea.
- Using a neti pot follows unless there is no time. I have bad allergies, so it really helps me with breathing. This involves pouring salt water through one nostril and out the other side, then repeating through the second nostril. This only take about two more minutes.
- Abhyanga, or self-oiling, usually occurs three or four times a week, but I don’t always follow the regular directions listed for how to do it, and sometimes I do it at night instead, especially with an oil to help me sleep if needed. I have my own way. In warm months I use coconut oil, which is cooling, but the rest of the year I use a sesame/sunflower oil blend or a pre-made blend from Banya Botanicals. This takes as long or as little time as I want.
SomaYoga practice follows.
I spend 10-15 minutes on this daily, and can shorten it to five if needed. If I have to cut something, this can be the first to go, as I can incorporate it throughout my day or do it when I get home. When I have more time or a particular need in my body, this can be a half hour to an hour in length.
The Four Purifications as taught by Baba Hari Dass. Instructions can be found in his book, Ashtanga Yoga Primer. These are breath work practices that purify the nerve channels in the body. My quick version can be done in about three minutes:
- Nadishodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)—10-20 repetitions.
- Kapala Bhati (Skull Shining Breath)—About 30-50 repetitions. This depends upon my allergies that day.
- Agnisara Dhauti (Fire Wash)—About 20-30 repetitions.
- Ashvini Mudra (Horse Mudra)—about 20-30 repetitions.
The Three Bandhas work follows.
I work with them as long as I want but usually about three minutes on those rushed days.
And now I am ready for meditation. Keeping in mind that I sometimes do extra meditation work as part of my practice, these are the pieces that I always do. My monkey brain flies around, so I mostly use practices to keep it engaged, all done in silence:
- Passage Meditation as taught by Eknath Easwaran. I have two passages I work with. I do each passage however many times I choose. I have worked with the same two passages for many years with no desire to use anything differently:
- Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson is one I use. At some point, I sort of claimed it and changed most of the wording to the first person, so I repeat “MY deepest fear…”
- The Lord’s Prayer, King James version, except I change the wording from “he” to “she.” Don’t ask me why. It just works for me. Maybe it makes me feel I am loved and cared for by the Universe.
- Japa Meditation with the mantra given to me when I was initiated into the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga.
- Some days, this is followed by sitting in silence for a while, sometimes with other pieces added in.
Meditation takes me as little as 10 minutes or as long 20 minutes. All of this take only about 25-30 minutes of my morning.
Of course there is more…when I can.
One of my new habits is to at least once a week work with my The Faeries’ Oracle deck that I so love by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth, and the newly released A Yogic Path deck by Sahara Rose and Danielle Noel. Both of them are amazing, and checking in with my own inner-guru in such a way is really a fun practice to nurture my own intuition.
My second habit that I am re-cultivating in my life is to follow this up with journaling. I am trying to work with some different books to keep going deeper into unraveling my own shadows and cultivate a clearer, more compassionate mind. When I have time, I read a bit and then write about it and whatever comes up. Today, I am writing this instead of writing in my journal.
I do all of this before I eat! And now, it is off to have some breakfast.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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