Ayurvedic morning rituals
by MITA MISTRY
“WRITE it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year” – Ralph Waldo Emerson Imagine waking up in the morning feeling calm and full of positive energy for the day ahead. Many will spring out of bed, but for those who are not morning people, there is an opportunity to make the most of this time of day by using a morning ritual.
In a previous column, rituals were shown to be a feature of all societies and have been known to us since antiquity. Rituals are a series of repetitive actions that serve as triggers to remind us of the special sacred moment. In doing so, they help shift our awareness into the experience of ‘being’ in the present moment by taking a step back from thinking and into yourself.
And this was highlighted brilliantly when I recently attended Ayurveda expert and author Mira Manek’s event on rituals and recipes for an Ayurvedic morning. Mira talked about finding time in the morning for simple things like breath work, walking or nourishing your soul with Ayurvedic recipes.
We got to try her delicious chai made with warming spices like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon, because foods have an energetic property which can either strengthen or weaken energy depending on your constitution. The beauty is you only need simple things in your toolbox to create a ritual.
For example, my morning ritual starts with a glass of hot water and a slice of lemon to kickstart the physical body, and is followed by some yoga, mindfulness or lighting incense to clear my mind. But you could light a candle, read a book or do whatever fully immerses you to the now.
Mira’s wonderful talk also shone a light on the philosophy of Ayurveda, which to an acupuncturist highlighted how similar traditional Indian medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are, and how the two ‘great traditions’ remain the most ancient, yet living.
With sound philosophical and scientific foundations, both systems focus on the patient rather than illness. And both fundamentally aim to promote health and enhance the quality of life while helping to prevent disease.
For example, the five elements underpin both philosophies. In Ayurveda they are; Ether, Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and in Chinese medicine; Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth. Essentially, we are made up of all five elements, but have a constitutional type (or dosha), which is like our weakest link that needs ‘balancing’ for optimal health.
Balancing can be achieved with a combination of eating foods that nourish your constitution or lifestyle factors like exercise, sleep and diet. Interestingly both systems of medicine also use pulse and tongue diagnosis to determine your weak spots.
But you don’t’ have to see an Ayurvedic practitioner or acupuncturist to apply ancient wisdom to a morning ritual, nor do you have to do anything mystical, because the power of any ritual lies in grounding your heart and mind to the now, which allows clarity to unfold.
You can read more in Mira’s beautiful book Prajna, which is like a box of treasures containing uplifting easy-to-follow rituals for any time of the day. What is your morning ritual?
www.mitamistry.co.uk & www.twitter.com/MitaMistry