Adapted from Susi Amendola’s original article
The school year is in full swing. You may start to experience the shifts we all have to make to navigate the transition from summer to fall. We may be trying to coordinate new schedules by setting up daily routines that help us feel more organized.
No matter how you experience this time of year, there are adjustments we all make to gather ourselves up after the carefree months of summer, so we can feel newly grounded and focused. During this transition, yoga will help you to find the balance you need.
Wake Up Early
Waking up early may seem counter intuitive when you are sleepy, but in reality it helps to reset your sleep rhythms so you are able to sleep better at night. It also gives you some time to ease into your day. A study published in Emotion, the journal of the American Psychological Association, found that people who wake up early tend to be happier than night owls.
A group of more than 700 people between the ages of 17 and 79 answered questions about their sleep habits, emotional state, health, and best time of day. Self-professed early risers reported that that they felt healthier and happier than night owls. When we start our day early we have time to center and align ourselves before the world rushes in.
Drink Hot Lemon Water Upon Rising
Hot lemon water (and honey if you like) helps to flush out toxins from the body. It supports elimination and cleansing, and balances PH levels. There are all kinds of health benefits to starting the day off with this hot drink, including a boost to your immunity. Use a reusable straw to protect your teeth from the acidity of lemon.
Scrape Your Tongue Before Eating
When we sleep our digestive system removes toxins from our body and deposits them onto our tongue. These toxins build up on our tongue and can cause bad breath, but can also be reabsorbed into the body. An age-old practice is to scrap the tongue in the morning to rid the body of toxins and improve digestion and immunity. While tongue scraping has been part of holistic health treatments for dental hygiene for centuries, it has been a more recent practice in modern dentistry and the research on it is just now beginning to emerge. You can purchase tongue cleaners at Down to Earth stores.
Use a Neti Pot
The practice of pouring salt water through the nose helps to cleanse the nasal passages and rid the sinuses of excess mucus is done with a neti pot or small ceramic vessle. It moisturizes the nostrils and can make breathing clearer and easier. When breathing is clear we feel clearer and more alert. The breath becomes more rhythmic and we feel calmer and more relaxed. It also helps to reduce allergy symptoms and colds that can occur during the season changes.
Practice Postures and Meditation Daily
A daily yoga practice helps us to stay anchored, strong and flexible and it keeps us connected to the information our bodies offer us. We come into the experience of the body just as it is and we develop a relationship with our own inner healer.
As you practice your yoga postures in the change of seasons, turn your focus to the transitions between the poses. Let these transitions be mindful and graceful. When you smooth out transitions between postures on the mat, you begin to find smoother transitions off the mat. Life begins to flow with greater ease.
In addition to postures, the practice of meditation lets the mind rest. It provides some space to witness thoughts, feelings, and attachments without judgment. It’s through a daily meditation practice that you can begin to let go of those things that don’t serve you anymore. You start to lighten your load and the path of action becomes clearer and less cluttered. You can expend less energy and get more done.
Eat and Sleep Regularly
The routine of eating and sleeping at the same time of day is both grounding and nourishing. Our body comes to rely on these regular meals and sleep routines to provide a sense of stability through the ups and downs of the seasons and life’s ever changing circumstances. Food and sleep are the building blocks of good health, and they are the source of our energy. Setting solid routines around both set the foundation for health and well-being.
Establishing healthy daily routines help to reinforce a sense of support during life’s many transitions. Choosing those that provide you with the most energy, nourishment, balance and stability will guide you back to yourself.
‘Ekahi Health, a member of the ‘ike family of companies (www.ikehawaii.com), is an innovative healthcare delivery organization that provides comprehensive community-based care focusing on primary care and prevention and wellness. It was the first organization to offer the Ornish program to the people of Hawaii.
For more information about ‘Ekahi Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, visit www.ekahiornish.com and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.