As a part of waking up in alignment with the rhythms of the day, a morning gratitude practice provides expansion, creativity and positive imprinting on our neural pathways. This is not only a practice of ancient wisdom but has been shown in modern science that our pineal gland secretes the most melatonin at this time and our neuroplasticity is the strongest. It is vital for a life of health and longevity to align with these energetic rhythms, but there are also some physical practices that Ayurveda teaches which have positive effects of the health of our physical body as well as our emotional body.
The first is cleansing the senses. Tongue scraping is an easy, fun place to start because you can visibly see the build up on your tongue from the day before. The tongue gives us a window to what is going on inside the body (other way we can physically look for signs of imbalance include sweat, urine and feces). Notice the placement and color of the buildup on your tongue. You can learn to read what these things mean in my course 'Expert on You' where we go through the 10 daily habits of Ayurveda. But know that all that gunk needs to come out of the body! We don't really want to re-swallow it when the body has done such a lovely job of getting it to a place it can easily be removed. Some quick easy scrapes from the back of the tongue toward the tip will do the job. Just scrape and spit. This gunk is a representation of undigested food and plaque that is in your digestive system and may be in deeper tissues. In Ayurveda this is called ama. Everyone today has ama and to live a life of health and longevity we want to eliminate it as much as possible. There are many signs of ama and it can be removed in many ways; including diet, exercise, and herbal treatments.
Tongue scrapers are readily available at health food stores and are very inexpensive.
The second is to flush with hydration for elimination. We are all dehydrated. Many of us have had life long problems with elimination. Ayurveda believes that every individual is unique and there are ways to solve elimination problems through the proper use of diet, herbs and lifestyle. Many people don't realize they are dehydrated or require stimulants to properly eliminate. We want to stimulate our elimination naturally by increasing flow of the downward motion. Drinking warm or room temperature water until we have a complete elimination will flush our systems and help us have a full elimination using natures natural force of gravity. We have been laying for 8 hours in our rest and it is important to re-align the north/south axis with stimulation of the downward flow.
Drinking this water in the morning is not a slow sip. It is to drink and flush as much as you can(about a quart or more of water). Some days you will notice you need more, and some days you will need less. This will not be all the water you need for the day, you may actually notice that your body will awaken to this nourishment and keep craving water all day long! To hydrate the body we want to drink slow sips of water, preferably warm or room temp. That is a health priority throughout the day, but not necessarily part of this morning routine. Start as small as you need to with the water to feel comfortable to slowly increase until you have reached the sweet spot of elimination. See if this lessens the need for coffee and teas that may have been required in the past.
Ayurveda believes in having a full elimination within an hour of rising. You will notice a lighter feeling with more clarity when you are not carrying around waste from the day before or even days before. Ayurveda believes that for every physical action there is a mirroring psychological one. So for this action of elimination, which is governed by Vata, the psychological component is negativity. Align with ease in the day, and don't bring physical and mental waste into your fresh new day.