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December 08, 2016

We are full of potential immediately after we wake up. While sleeping we have mentally and emotionally integrated our experience from the previous day, our bodies are refreshed and renewed, and our creativity and focus are at their peaks. Too often, we waste this potential mindlessly filtering through e-mail or scrolling through our Facebook feed.

What we do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of our day.

If we lose momentum right after waking up it is a struggle to regain it, and we end up feeling unmotivated, distracted, and sluggish all day. Here are 11 mindful morning rituals to help you harness your potential for purpose, joy, focus, abundance, and awareness throughout your day.


Wake up early and joyfully so you have time to be mindful and present for your morning ritual instead of feeling like you are barely alive. This means going to bed at an appropriate time. Use the bedtime calculator at sleepyti.me choose a bedtime that aligns with your sleep cycles so you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to meet the day.


Starting your day lost in e-mail and social media kills your creativity and snuffs out your joy. Charge your phone outside your bedroom and put an inspirational book or journal on your nightstand instead.


Water is the most essential nutrient for your body. Aryuvedic tradition advises us to start every single day with a glass of lemon water to cleanse our system. Coffee is better than nothing, but non caffeinated beverages like herbal tea, coconut water, and plain room temperature water are cleaner and more hydrating.


It’s okay if you don’t have time to sit on a zafu for half an hour. Take your dog for a morning walk and be present to the sights, sounds, sensations you experience. Water your plants and relish in your ability to nourish and support life. Read an inspiring passage and reflect on it as you shower.


If you have the time and resources to get out to a 6 a.m. yoga class, do it. Taking that time to invest in your well-being before most people wake up feels amazing (by the end of the practice, anyway). If that is not doable, take five minutes to stretch as you get out of bed, turn on some uplifting music and dance around your bedroom naked, or walk briskly on your way to bus stop to get your circulation going.


Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but not all breakasts are created equal. Skip starchy foods like bagels and pastries that do not provide much nutrition and result in a mid-morning energy crash. Instead, choose a protein-rich breakfast, packed with as many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids as you can find. Consider a blending berries, your favorite leafy green vegetable, flax oil, and nut butter or yogurt with ice and sparkling water into a delicious, nutrient-packed smoothie.


Do something that brings you joy. Smear on a rejuvenating masque, diffuse your favorite essential oil, soak in a bubble bath, or indulge in morning sex with your partner. Meeting your need for pleasure at the beginning of the day will free up your energy to be purposeful, effective, and disciplined throughout the rest of your day.


Self-expression helps us process and balance our emotions. Use that journal you put on your nightstand to write down three things you are grateful for every morning; keeping a gratitude has been found to decrease stress and improve our sense of purpose, relationship quality, and coping skills. Or, invest a few minutes in anart therapy exercise. Or, play a song that reflects your mood on your favorite musical instrument.


A to-do list that is miles long is overwhelming. Every morning, ask yourself, “What is essential today?” and write yourself a shortlist of tasks to prioritize. If you have clear, achievable goals written down with a firm deadline you are more likely to achieve them.


Once you know what you would like to accomplish in your day, set an intention in positive, present, inspiring terms. For example, instead of saying “I won’t procrastinate on updating my resume today” or “I will try not to lose my patience today,” say “I finish updating my resume by 5 p.m” or “I embody patience, compassion, and love.” Say it aloud to yourself, and return to the intention statement you created if you get sidetracked during the day.

Power Pose

To give yourself a final boost of confidence before you take on the day spend two minutes in a powerful Wonder Woman stance. It sounds silly, but research has shown that practicing power poses may increasing assertiveness and boldness, while decreasing stress.