The Magic of the Morning Ritual

The Magic of the Morning Ritual

For years, science has backed the idea of a morning ritual. Neural pathways are the most malleable in these early hours of the morning. Creating a routine to prepare your mindset and body to support your day provides a well of resilience for the twists and turns of life. The ritual can change over time, be it meditation, movement, or breathwork. It’s the time of day that stays the same. The practice is about showing up for yourself. 

We also see evidence in current cultures across the world, of a morning practice being passed down from the ancients. The mystics of India called this time of day, just before dawn, the Brahama Muhurta. They say it’s the most sacred time to align the inner cosmos with the outer. 

For example, Ayurveda’s recommendation for easing depression is to walk outside and get sun in your eyes first thing in the morning. Science has confirmed that this helps reset the circadian rhythm with the biological clock and supports the vitality of several health-related topics, including a good night’s sleep. 

So, there are plenty of reasons why a morning ritual is a great way to start the day. Perhaps the bigger question is…how? 

Neuroscience continues to provide valuable information on building new, healthy habits and dissolving the less desirable ones. For starters, we don’t need to rely on sheer willpower. Atomic Habits author James Clear quotes Greek poet Archilochus: 

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

This means if you aren’t meeting your goals for a morning routine, don’t take it personally. The key to success in building a ritual is to troubleshoot your systems, not your willpower. 

Clear says there are four essential elements to setting up a process that makes new routines achievable.  

Building New, Healthy Habits

  1. Make it Obvious: For a new habit to be successful, create a time and space for your ritual. Set your alarm. Add a block of time to your calendar and prepare your space by laying out clothes ahead of time, your tea cup, journal, or yoga mat.
  2. Make it Attractive: Add something you know you’ll enjoy to your ritual.  Perhaps your favorite music plays in the background during your yoga practice. Or learn about some of your favorite topics while hydrating with your morning tonic or smoothie.
  3. Make it Easy: If a guided meditation is part of your morning routine, pick one ahead of time and have it ready to go on your device. One recommendation is to have two duration options available. If you are short on time, you can still accomplish the shorter routine at the time you set aside. Build the muscle of showing up at the time and date you have set aside for yourself, even if it’s a shorter practice.
  4. Make it Satisfying: Hopefully, after following through for a week of your ritual, endorphins will begin to flow and confidence will build. You can always try habit-stacking and let your morning coffee or breakfast be the reward for completing your ritual practice every day.

Breaking Unwanted Habits

If you have habits you want to release, ask yourself the opposite of the questions above: 

How do I make this habit less attractive? 

How do I make it more difficult to engage in this behavior? 

If you are building your Morning Ritual with Gaia, we recommend using our Playlist feature. Create as many Playlists as you like for specific days of the week or for certain durations.  

Most importantly, go easy on yourself. The Morning Ritual that suits your lifestyle may change over time, and creating new routines can also be fun. Just as the Willow tree bends in the wind, allow yourself the flexibility to adjust what works for you as lifestyle changes arise. Ultimately, your unique ritual is meant for you, to grow your sense of self-love and increase your love of life!  



Vernal Equinox: Rhythm And Ritual Through Yoga

Vernal Equinox: Rhythm And Ritual Through Yoga

Over the course of each year, our playful planet performs an elliptic dance around the sun while simultaneously spinning about its own imperfect axis, which tilts roughly 23 degrees from vertical. Born of the primordial fire, the terms of this intricate cosmic relationship are responsible for all of the natural rhythms that inform our daily lives — from changing weather patterns to reliable zeitgebers that regulate our internal clocks.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

-John Muir

THE STORY OF A BLUE SPHERE AND A FIERY MASS

As Earth diligently revolves around the sun each year, there are four distinct sandhis, or junctures, where a clear seasonal shift occurs from our terrestrial perspective. The vernal equinox is one such juncture, marking the transition from winter to spring.

Download The PDF Of The Vernal Equinox Yoga Sequence

As we welcome the appearance of new life in nature, many of us remain blissfully unaware. We may neglect or even override the innate curiosity that seeks to understand how our cozy blue sphere and its fiery solar star orchestrate this magnificent show year after year. The truth is, when it comes to their relationship status, “it’s complicated.”

A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO VISUALIZATION

Imagine yourself sitting in a camping chair with your feet warmed by the heat of a well-burning fire. Fortunately, you’re equipped with a warm scarf and hat to dull the chill you might otherwise experience as you recline back (at exactly 23.4°) to enjoy the stars. Now, without adjusting the direction your chair is facing, imagine yourself orbiting around the focal fire to the opposite side, giving the back of your head a chance to enjoy the warmth of the flame.

If your feet were the southern hemisphere and your head were the northern hemisphere, these two positions would represent the winter solstice (with more heat reaching the bottom half of your body) and the summer solstice (with more heat reaching the top half of your body) respectively.

To visualize the vernal equinox, imagine your chair were to revolve just a quarter of the way around this campfire circle. In this position, your body would be leaning neither toward nor away from the fire and the projected plane of your navel (the equator of your body) might pass directly through the center of the glow. Also, the light reaching one side of your body would match the darkness on the opposite side, much like the day and night which are of approximately equal length on the equinox.

Still confused? Don’t sweat it, simply allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of spring with a deep knowing that there are some wildly wonderful forces at play.

 

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