Many recommendations are made with optimal health in mind and what is thought best for everyone. While there is truth in this, know that there is flexibility and an opportunity to build your day based upon your own rhythms and needs.
It’s all well and good for someone to recommend that you get up before the sun, eat breakfast before 9am and ensure you practice yoga in the morning to establish good flow for the remainder of your day. However, we all know that not everyone is a “morning person”. We all know that person who can barely keep their eyes open past 9pm and those that fight off that afternoon 2pm nap feeling each day. Some people find it really difficult to eat first thing for example, as it may make them feel nauseous. So, with this in mind, let’s try to find a pattern of self care that works for ourselves that is somewhat personalized.
Some folks practice asana (postures) to gain more physical flexibility, but keep in mind that when we practice yoga, we also need to find flexibility in our minds in allowing each person to make changes, establish routines and find their own rhythm at a pace that works well for them. As with all things yoga, we need to find a balance between what is healthful for us and what we can manage, maintain and sustain as a wellness plan. As we begin making healthful and lasting changes to our self wellness routine, trying it in incremental steps can be important in establishing set patterns that we can remember, are dedicated to and are consistent with.
Just like our physical asana & pranayama mat based practices, following a yogic lifestyle of health care may be gloriously simple; however, it is not usually easy. It will take time, dedication and care. Over time, patterns are built and consistency will build gradually. Eventually, daily care will be maintained with more ease. Again, this is very simple, it’s not necessarily easy.
Vital things to be done each day:
-Morning rinse of mouth with warm water (swish & spit)
-Splash or rinse face with warm water or spritz with hydrating toner or floral water to awaken the senses and freshen your face
-Urination upon rising
-Defecation upon rising or after a bit of physical movement (better to have 2 or 3 solid, formed movements each day)
-Take a few deep breaths (repeat often throughout the day)
-Establish a time to move - pick one below:
*Stretch, compress, bend forward, bend backward, flex your muscles, relax your muscles, move, rotate at some point in the morning – now is a good time for a yoga practice if you can
*Stretch, compress, bend forward, bend backward, flex your muscles, relax your muscles, move, rotate at some point in the afternoon – now is a good time for a yoga practice if you can
*Stretch, compress, bend forward, bend backward, flex your muscles, relax your muscles, move, rotate at some point in the evening – now is a good time for a yoga practice if you can
-Eat 3 meals each day (preferably home prepared/cooked with real food ingredients – fresh, living elements, whole foods, local or organic when possible)
-Brush teeth & gums, rinse & spit at least twice per day (after each meal is better)
-Enjoy a cup of herbal tea or warm water w/ lemon & honey (more than once per day is good, but first thing in the am is a start)
-Bath, shower or spot wash body as needed for daily self care.
-Apply oil toe to head daily (find a time that works well, morning is good, but anytime is better than no time).
-Take supplements/ medications (if applicable) daily to support your wellness as based upon guidance of your health care provider(s).
-Establish a good bedtime routine. Take time away from electronics (at least 30 min, better yet – much longer) before bed to encourage the natural energetic rhythms of your own body for enabling healthy sleep. TV, tablets, phones, etc – anything electronic can stimulate the mind and disrupt the energy pathways that flow through your body whether you realize it or not.
-Set a wake and sleep schedule as best as you can. Try to be consistent (with certain flexibility as needed).
Whether you are a morning, afternoon or evening person, do your best to find a schedule that will work with your lifestyle, with the understanding that your own health should take priority over certain other aspects of your life. Starting to establish new routines can be difficult for both you and your loved ones. If you have many constraints and commitments that take your attention away from self care, we must all make choices that will serve both ourselves and our loved ones well. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. And know, that tomorrow, things might change.
Do your best to set an example for those around you with good self care. Hopefully these principles will be shared, honoured and respected. Allowing each person to experience and understand the benefits that go beyond our own needs and extent out into those around us. When we ourselves are better cared for, nourished and filled with prana, we can more easily share those things with those we love and care for.
The joys of giving from an overflowing well; instead of a well that has run dry.