Last week at our practice, I had the opportunity to teach Morning Rituals, one of the key activities we wellness doctors do each morning to get the MOST out of our day. Our day starts early, so the rituals began early, 530 a.m. to be exact, and if I may speak for the few brave souls who participated, we had an awesome experience! So awesome in fact, I have decided to continue this practice at the practice throughout summer while we have light.
Now for those of you who find idea of 530 am more stressful than the reward of the awesome feelings of gratitude and community that we all felt last Friday, OR YOU LIVE TOO FAR AWAY, I do not judge you; however, I still want you to be able to participate, so with this blog I will be sharing some of the activities that guarantee to get your day started off in a much different and better light.
Step 1: Stretch. (1-2min)
Have you noticed what every other animal in the animal kingdom does when they wake up from a snooze? Whether arising from a nap or a 10 hour sleep-fest, every animal, save one (human beings) stretch upon arising from slumber. Think about it, your cat, your dog, the animals on the discovery channel….they all give a little stretch & a bend, to wake up their musculo-skeletal & nerve system, which allows them to fully wake up and begin their day. Your body undergoes a HUGE shift in its physiology when going from sleep to wakefulness; a stretch will get things moving, increase positive stimulation to your nervous system, allowing it to finish its preparations for your day?!! This doesn’t have to be long or drawn out, just a quick minute of moving and doing what feels good will give you a better shot @ an awesome day.
Step 2: Herd your thoughts & control your mind. (5-10min)
There are many ways to meditate, the simplest that I have found is breathing. The simple act of concentrating on your breath is a form of meditation that can be practiced anytime and anywhere. Get into a comfortable position (good posture is the best) & the simply focus on your breath and let all the other thoughts drift away. Actively think “I am breathing in, I am breathing out,” keeping your breaths slow and controlled breathing deep into your belly. Practice for 5-10 minute, keeping in mind: IT WILL BE DIFFICULT AT FIRST. You must border collie your thoughts and always come back to your breath. This will get easier the more often you practice. (if you find yourself off track, don’t bother getting upset, just realize you are now thinking about what you are going to have for lunch tomorrow and return to thinking about your breath).
Step 3: Nourish Your Spine – Spinal Hygiene Exercises (5min)
Your spine protects and supports your nervous system, the master communicator in your body. Your nerve system is responsible for regulating everything from digestion to breath & circulation. Your spine also gives support to your vital organs & gives your muscles a place to attach to allowing for movement, and movement is life.
“…The vertebral column; (which is) undoubtedly the most neglected vital organ in the human body.” JMPT 1985.
Practicing Spinal Hygiene Exercises & Life Extension Exercises will take your spine through its natural range of motion keeping it & you healthy, as well as stimulate proper posture, which can add life to your years & years to your life. Check out the links to the videos on these exercises for more.
Step 4: Daily Affirmation (1-3min)
There is nothing more empowering than an awesome daily affirmation first (4th) thing in the morning. Come up with your own or use the one I use/modify from the masters circle, but it should focus on giving thanks for the day, your abilities now and in the future, and your drive for kaizen (constant and continual self improvement).
Step 5: Attitude of Gratitude
This is the simplest and best part of my morning rituals. After this final step I am ready for the day and feeling fantastic. It is a simple fact that our minds can only hold focus on one thing at a time, sure you can shuffle the focus from item to item, but we can really only concentrate on one thing at a time. So when you are being thankful, everything else just melts away and the day seems a little brighter. (This can be done at any time especially when you need a pick-me-up, works way better than chocolate!)
First focus on all of the things you are thankful for that are currently in your life. Be specific and say it out loud (even if you have to whisper). Specify family members and their attributes that your thankful for, your friends, your health, job, the food you ate yesterday, the birds that you are seeing…etc anything is fair game, just say what you are feeling grateful for.
Second, focus on all of the things you are thankful for that are coming into your life. It is an act of manifestation, by bringing what you want to the forefront of your mind. Whether its your parents’ health, a promotion at work, a new PR at the dead lift, your brothers business success…anything you hope for, but again be specific.
Take a few breaths, smile and have a great day!!
Give Thanks 4 Health,
-Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP