Great things have been written about the benefits of having a recurring morning routine. Many famous historic figures that had a great impact on the world are known to have had some kind of morning ritual. And successful business people and actors are regularly quoted saying how starting the day with meditation, Yoga or journaling changed their life for the better.
I guess there is something really powerful in doing a set ritual right after waking up. You are nicely rested, you mind including your subconsciousness are still calm and empty. Because of that, the first thoughts we think and the first impressions we get are likely to effect the rest of our day.
Many people, including me in the past, check their e-mail and social media first thing in the morning. Other people turn on the radio or TV. This is a bad idea! It’s like putting a bucket of mostly negative and almost always completely irrelevant stuff into our mind.
And once those irrelevant things have occupied our minds, they keep following us for the rest of the day, keeping our focus shattered.
What, if instead we would choose to occupy our mind with things that are beneficial to us, help our focus and creativity and make us deal with those things first that are truly important to us.
What, if we would do things within that first hour of the day, that ‘d contribute to our health and ‘d focus us on purposeful action, setting the day out for success on every level.
In Yoga we are taught how starting the day early before sunrise and practicing some kind of Yoga is the most beneficial. Our mind is still calm and we are much more likely to stay present.
The morning mind is still empty and full of potential – fill it with a powerful intention for your day
The Sanskrit word sankalpa means intention or wish. In the morning we can consciously create our intention for the day that is in front of us. This new day is pure potential, and we can decide – each and every morning again – what we want to do with it.
The intention of the day goes in the same direction as what e.g. Benjamin Franklin asked himself each morning:
“What good shall I do today?”
Imagine everybody would start their day with putting the intention of doing something good and beneficial and using the potential that lies in this very day.
Unfortunately we often take each day for granted and live it similar to any other day, hoping that nothing irregular will happen to us.
So, if nothing else, I would suggest anybody start their days with setting a beautiful and powerful intention for the day as their morning routine.
Nothing else, just 1 minute of being aware of yourself, the gift of the new day and asking yourself how you want to use that day. Everybody has that ONE minute, we just have to decide to do it consistently.
But you can take it further:
The power of a morning routine is that you set up a system that will effect your life as it introduces beneficial actions on a regular basis. And that is much more powerful than setting goals to change your life.
You build a system for better living.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by system.
If you would want to be more healthy, you could build a morning routine for your health:
You could start your day with a glass of fresh lemon water and prepare a smoothie for when you first feel hungry. That way you build a system that will feed you healthy food (almost automatically) until lunch instead of asking you to decide whether to take the good or bad food that you find when becoming hungry.
In the same way your daily asana practice is a system for staying in the present moment and gaining better awareness.
Moving with your breath every morning for 10 to 20 minutes in your asana practice will improve your posture and breathing rhythm as much as focus your mind and increase your self-awareness for the rest of the day.
Get started now with your morning routine
2015 has just started and you might have already abandoned your New Year’s resolutions. Well, start again and try out the morning routine, even if it’s just 5 minutes.
I truly believe a routine that you do each day can be very powerful, obviously depending on what exactly you do in it.
Just a couple of weeks ago I re-evaluated my morning routine, as I had slipped a bit at the end of last year.
Being more consistent for the last couple of weeks, I already feel the shift in my focus.
I have experienced the benefits of my morning routine over a couple of years now, consisting of Asana, Pranayama, Intention and more and I can only recommend it to anyone who is open to try it out.
If you want to change only one thing in your life, create a morning routine and do it consistently. If you want to change 2 things, add a evening ritual. 5 minutes of intention and meditation in the morning, 20 minutes of reading a good book before going to sleep in the evening. Easy to implement and powerful in its effect.
Even to do a small morning ritual is powerful.
„In these practices no effort made is lost, nor are there adverse effects. Even a little practice of this dharma protects one from great fear.“ -Baghavad Gita II.40
Do that and see how your life slowly changes.
Decide what your new routine consists of and keep in mind to start small: Don’t try to start a routine with 20 different things that take one hour. Instead use 5 minutes each morning but stick to it religiously. Start with one thing and do it consistently, then add more. Go for a ritual, not a result.