I love rituals and having a routine. Rituals help turn fear into comfort. Basketball players have rituals at the free-throw line, you'll see them pull on their sock, spin the ball, shuffle their feet, maybe even shimmy (woo!) before they shoot the ball. These little movements get them “in the zone” and into a familiar routine. Twyla Tharp, dance choreographer and author of The Creative Habit, says that her morning ritual is hailing a taxi at 5am to go to the gym for two hours. She emphasizes that it’s not the two hours spent at the gym that she qualifies as her ritual, the ritual is the moment she hails a cab. Once she does that, the rest of her day is set. Rituals don’t have to be long or hard, they just have to be done. Whatever it is, commit to it and do it every single day. It’s a great way to harness your creativity and live the life you imagine for yourself.
Equinox’s latest ad campaign actually inspired to me to commit to my morning ritual even further. As 20-something millennials with apps like Tinder and Classpass, tying yourself down seems dumb and inconvenient when you have a million options at your fingertips. This is something we are fortunate to have, but we must teach ourselves how to make choices and stick with them. Otherwise, we'll end up all over the place. Having a morning ritual teaches you just that. It allows you to wake up, do the same thing everyday, and not ask yourself “Why am I doing this?” When setting up your morning ritual, ask yourself what kind of person you want to be and what is it you want to accomplish this year. Choose a morning ritual that will help get you closer to this vision. Do it. And never think about it again. (You get what I mean!)
Here’s a glimpse of my morning routine.
1.) Light two candles. I wake up, usually around 7a. I brush my teeth, put on my contacts, and go into my living room where I have my yoga mat and altar space set up. One day, I hope my yoga space looks like this, but I digress. I light two tea light candles in these beautiful pink himalayan salt candle holders from my friend Sasha.
2.) Do some yoga poses. I practice asana for as long and as slow as I like. Sometimes I move quickly and throw in some ab work, it all depends on how I’m feeling. I let this be a “freestyle” part of my day.
3.) Meditate for 20 minutes. When I feel like I’m done moving around, I sit in a comfortable seated position and do my mantra mediation. My yoga teacher Jim at Darshan Center gave me a Sanskrit word that I say repeatedly in my head. I set a timer for 20 minutes and do this meditation. Sometimes it’s really easy for me and it feels like 5 minutes have passed, and sometimes it feels like an hour and I keep checking the timer on my phone and yell at myself for "cheating" in my head. It’s always different.
4.) Savasana. After my yoga and mediation practice, I lay down in savasana for 3-5 minutes. I set a timer on my phone for whatever amount of time I feel like doing. If I’m feeling restless, I’ll do 5 minutes, and if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll do 3.
5.) Write for 30 minutes. Immediately after savasana, I get up and walk to my kitchen table or desk and write in my journal for 30 minutes. I used to always set a timer for this, but now I’ve been able to focus for that long without the help of a timer. The night before, I usually brainstorm and jot down a couple things I could write about the next day so I don't just stare at an empty page for half an hour. Or I simply journal old school style and just write my feelings as if I were a teenage girl writing in a diary. That’s fun too.
That’s it! After this, it’s usually been about an hour to an hour and a half, I shower and get ready for the rest of my day! I make sure to get the most important things for me done first thing in the morning that way I can spend the rest of my day excited to help others and respond to things from a place of content and fullness.