The morning time is when I suit up for battle. I like to prepare and prepare some more before I even walk out of the door. Even if I’m not going out any time soon I use this gifted morning time to awaken, sculpt and prepare my mind, body, breath, heart and spirit (actually…the spirit is always prepared. I just need to prepare the other 4 so that the spirit can lead) for whatever my day may lay before me. Think about it! Yes…actually pause and think about this for a moment. You wouldn’t climb Mount Everest without first getting, preparing, and testing some of the best gear you can get right? Well the gear is the mind, body, breath, etc. How about running the NY Marathon without eating the right amount of carbs (great energy source for runs) putting on the right footwear or most importantly training for it? Well, that’s why I have morning rituals to start my day. Each day I’m alive (all us of us really) is a MAJOR and AMAZING gift. I know I won’t be here forever (at least not in the physical form) so I want to make sure that each and every day counts. YES! Including weekends, holidays, vacation days, etc. Below I’ve outlined how I start out each day. Remember, I’m not nor will I ever be the ALL KNOWING JUAN CARLOS. However, I am a guy that has trained in, heavily researched and applied these tools to my life with great success. See what works for you!
6 Techniques to Start Your Day Right.
# 1-Wake Up At A Time That Works For You!
First off, it’s very important to wake up at a time that works for you. Not the time that worked for you and definitely not the time that works for someone else. For a number of years I’d wake up at 5AM every morning (please note that during this period of my life I didn’t HAVE to be out the door until about 9AM). And yes…even on the weekends. As my lifestyle evolved waking up at 5AM became an unrealistic wake up time for me. Once this became the case I began experimenting with 5:30AM, 5:45AM, and even 6AM. Each time I’d end up UNCONSCIOUSLY hitting the snooze button again and again. I honestly had no idea I was doing this while I was doing it. It wasn’t until I’d wake that I’d realize I wasn’t dreaming about “snoozing” my alarm. I was actually doing it! Later on during the day I’d feel loopy, groggy, grumpy, dopey, and sneezy. YUP…in essence I’d become 3 of Disney’s 7 Dwarfs. Then one day I realized that I’d hit the snooze button every 9 minutes for a total of 90 minutes. I felt miserable that day. At the end of the day I committed myself to making a change.
After much experimentation I found that waking up at 7AM currently works perfectly for me (and I’m completely open to changing it if and once my lifestyle changes again). In fact, I usually end up waking up prior to my alarm going off around 6:30-6:45AM. This change has allowed me to feel FULLY rested and I generally feel excited to start the day (it also gives me plenty of time for my other morning rituals). No! I am not telling you to go to bed between 10-10:30PM (my VERY important bedtime) and wake up at 7AM. That is what currently works for me and my current lifestyle. What I am encouraging you to do is to experiment with different bedtimes and wake up times to learn what works best for you.
# 2-Drink 8-12 Ounces of Warm (Room Temperature) Water
Once I’ve turned off my alarm I reach for my water bottle and drink between 8-12 ounces of warm water. As you sleep throughout the night your body gets dehydrated. This occurs due to your state of sleep, warmth and the heat generated by your body, bed & bed sheets, frequent changes of breath and room temperature patterns. Even without those factors you’ve gone for HOURS without ingesting any water. By drinking some clean and warm water you get your body re-hydrated and ready to move. You also get digestion going by giving the entire digestive system a nice cleanse after your nighttime fast. The temperature of the water (room temperature) allows you to do this without shocking any of your systems as they would be if you’d used cold or hot water. By re-hydrating you also bring health to the adrenal system…dehydrated adrenal system bad…hydrated adrenal system GOOOOD. EXTRA TIP #1 I add a pro-biotic every morning to further increase the health and functioning of digestion. Digestion is very important in keeping a healthy mind and body. It allows you to release all the stuff you no longer need (along with toxins) making way for the stuff you do (like nutrients). EXTRA TIP #2 Add some warm organic lemon juice to the water. It further aids digestion, boosts your immune system, and much much more.
# 3-Irrigate Your Nasal Passages with a NETI-POT
The Neti-Pot is by far one of the greatest things ever created. Since I’ve started using this “tool of the Gods” I’ve had far fewer colds, allergies symptoms, sinus infections and my overall upper respiratory health has been great. I even feel like my whole immune system has been functioning better. In addition, it gives my mind a sense of calm and clarity. The neti-pot basically clears out all of the toxins (dust, old phlegm, allergens, environmental irritants and a bunch of other nasty stuff) leaving me with a sense of cleanliness, openness and preparedness for my entire day. Especially for the conscious breathing soon to come. By far this little tool has ABSOLUTELY IMPROVED MY LIFE. Note: Be sure to speak with a doctor so that he or she can give you the go and “how to” info in regards to using one (like never using tap water and using a very specific type of salt).
# 4-Yoga Or Any Practice That Ties In Conscious Breathing
This is a fun one that I’ve researched, tested, modified and played with for many years! When I had the time and ability to wake up at 5AM I’d practice my Sadhana (spiritual practice) for 2 hours. That included a centering, yoga asanas (postures), yoga pranayamas (breath work) a 30 minute meditation and closing prayers. Again as my life has been modified I’ve played with a number of variations but always tried to maintain the practices of centering, postures, breath work, mediation, and prayers. Most recently I’ve been centering with 3 deep breaths, practice 13 sun salutations (with varying poses within them such as Warrior 2 instead of Warrior 1, etc.), a few cycles of breath work, a brief mediation and a few prayers to keep me on the right path. In total this takes me about 10-15 minutes and usually has me feeling alive, awake, sweaty, de-toxed and ready to take on a day of living mindfully. Thanks to this practice my breathing stays balanced and my heart feels clear throughout the day. If you have other yoga asanas that you’d like to practice you can go with those. Maybe you’d prefer a brief seated meditation or to do 15 jumping jacks while tying in breath and movement. Go for whatever works for you and allows you to link conscious breathing and movement. I for one have learned to never underestimate that power of conscious breath and movement. Together they have the ability to remove internal blocks and open you up for a clear and mindful day. In addition, the movements can relieve stiffness, align you and EVEN FURTHER release toxins from your body.
Not sure what movements or breath work to do? Check out one of my public yoga classes (Click Here for Details & Schedule) or schedule a private/semi-private session so that together we can customize a practice that will work for you (Click Here for the Details of Private Sessions). Another option would be to sign up for my upcoming workshop (Yogic Tools to De-Stress, De-Compress, & Soothe Both Body & Mind) taking place on August 19th (Click Here for the Details of my Workshops).
# 5- Warm Shower with the Repetition of Mantra/Positive Affirmations
Next comes a warm invigorating and cleansing shower. Combined with everything you’ve done before this will be an EXCELLENT way to seal your practice. I like to add the mental repetition of a mantra or positive affirmation to ensure my mind is on the right track. Sometimes our minds can go into autopilot and without awareness or a mindfulness practice it can derail and take us into dark territory. Remember…you ARE THE LIGHT not the darkness. Keep it that way because this world needs plenty of light. For mantra or positive affirmation suggestions e-mail me at CYT@JuanCarlosOM.com
# 6- Eat A Healthy Breakfast
To close out the morning rituals I treat myself to a balanced breakfast that’s low on carbohydrates, high in protein and has plenty of colorful fruit (greek yogurt is also a HUGE plus…more pro-biotics for digestive and immune system health). Dark berries are a favorite choice of mine because they’re full of anti-oxidants and natural sugar. Try to stay away from heavy meat, too much sugar (pastries, muffins, etc.) and be sure to incorporate some fiber.
Having such a meal to close out your morning rituals is a wonderfully healthy method of breaking your evening fast (break fast…AMAZING HUH?) It’ll give you all the energy and vitality you’ll need to get on with your day no matter what challenges lay ahead.
These are rituals that have worked for me and that have stood the test of time (with some modifications of course). Got any of your own or thinking of trying these? Stay in touch and let me know about them!
In Peace, Health and may you be greeted by Genuine Smiles wherever you go,