Happy New Year’s everyone! What makes this upcoming year different than the rest? The right attitude, mindset and ambition will get you where you want to be while you remain peaceful, happy and enjoying every movement that comes. Start the New Year right with these techniques and a brand new regimen to get you feeling great, energized and ready to start checking things off your list this year!
This is how I start my day and get centered. I’ve been doing this for years with the recent addition of oil pooiling. I recommend you take a new activity, and work on it for a week before adding a new one to your regimen. Overtime, you’ll be doing all of these every day without effort and you’ll start noticing a different, happier, energized and more peaceful you! Cheers to the New Year and your new resolutions!
1. Give gratitude
Upon waking every morning, give gratitude to the universe and to your higher power. This is always the best way to start your day. I also do this every night before going to bed. Just a simple thank you and acknowledgement goes a long way. Doing this helps you appreciate what you have in your life allowing the universe to make room for more.
2. Breathe a little more
I’ve been practicing yoga for over 12 years and have been incorporating pranayama breathing techniques into my practice just as long. There are many for you to experiment with, but here are my top 3. You don’t have to do all 3 every day. However, you choose which one you need most at that moment and go with it.
Lion’s breath-I like the lions breath. I do it almost every morning. It’s invigorating and helps me start my day. You take a slow big inhale through your nose, and then exhale opening your mouth sticking out your tongue making a loud noise. Your eyes will roll back, and your abdomen will tighten. If you’ve ever watched someone do this, you will think they look silly. However, this is very therapeutic and very detoxifying. It helps with oral hygiene, vision, and also stimulates your metabolism and digestion. Start by doing 5 a day and you can always increase when you get more comfortable.
Kapala bhati– Sit in a seated position and take a couple inhales and exhales through your nose slowly. Once you’re settled you will start “belly breathing,” starting with an inhale through your nose and then forcefully exhaling through your nose rapidly. Your belly will start moving with each exhale and you’ll hear an audible sound. In one minute you can do about 30 of these breaths comfortably. This is also known as “fire breathing.” Many hot yoga classes incorporate this style of breathing at the end of the practice. It stimulates your nervous system as well as your metabolism. I recommend starting off doing 30 a day and increase as your get more comfortable with it. You are getting rid of toxins, ailments and detoxing all at the same time! Do this when you need a little extra energy in the middle of the day and you’ll see how quickly your energy shifts.
4-7-8 breathing-This is a very calming breathing practice. You can do this when you’re stressed or you need to center yourself. It’s not as invigorating and it’s great to do right before going to sleep. You inhale through your nose slowly counting to 4, pause for 7 counts and then exhale through your mouth for 8 counts. It’s a favorite of Dr. Andrew Weil’s who taught it to me. He recommends starting off with 4 cycles a day increasing to 8. This is very relaxing and great for people who are anxious in nature and tend to have higher blood pressures.
I have been beyond blessed and fortunate and come from a family of yogis. I learned meditation early on in my life and when I got older learned to incorporate, appreciate and enjoy this special method. I do it every morning and every night for about 5-10min each depending on time. More studies are emerging that meditation helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression as well as improve over all happiness and well being. It really helps jump start my day as I get into a zone of peace and tranquility. This is also a time when I can go inward and connect to my higher power. Praying for a few minutes is also a great alternative.
4. Spit it out
Oil pooling is something newer I have added to my daily regimen. It’s an ancient Ayurvedic technique that helps remove germs, whitens teeth, improves your immune system, detoxifies your GI system, helps you sleep better, among many other claims. There have been studies that show that it reduces plaque and gingivitis as well and improves your overall oral health and hygiene . You do this on an empty stomach, early in the morning before you brush your teeth for about 20 min swishing coconut oil in your mouth and then spitting it out.
5. Bust a Move
I do this almost 5 days a week when I wake up early enough to spare a few minutes to my health. It gives me the energy I need before I get going. I usually spend about 5 min/day and I do push ups and a quick ab-work out. My theory is, if this is the most exercise I do today then that’s better than doing nothing at all. Since I’m a yogi at heart, I’ll incorporate a few invigorating yoga poses as well like plank pose, cobra and a few chaturangas. I really encourage you try this. Yoga has made me stronger and more toned. (See Below for pics)
6. Find some inspiration
Every morning, I read an inspirational quote that I contemplate on. This is very helpful again to get into the right frame of mind to kick start your day! It’s also good to come back to that quote throughout the day when life gets hectic and stressful. It can bring you back to your zone.
7. Set a daily intention
It’s important every morning to set an intention as how you would like your day to be or what kind of goals you would like to accomplish. These can be as simple as “I will be more compassionate today” to “I will listen more.” It can be whatever you want it to be. Again, when life gets going, you can always come back to your intention and reflect on how you can be sure to accomplish it.
Chanting is something I have also been doing for years. I do this in my car, and in my mind throughout the day. Sometimes I change mantras; sometimes I chant phrases, similar to what my intention is for the day. It’s always great to connect to a higher power and being and chanting helps me do that. For some, chanting helps connect to themselves and get into a waking meditative space. Try it, you never know what could happen!