May is a time for inner reflection: on our actions, desires, and spiritual growth. This awareness allows us to recognize our goals, leave what doesn’t serve us behind, and move forward with our heart’s guidance. We are snakes shedding old skin, putting our past selves behind to be born again. As we adjust in our new skin, we set intentions, embrace change, and welcome abundance, fortune, and positive vibrations. Spring is all about rebirth, and this is the time to bloom.
It’s important to not only take care of our bodies on a spiritual level, but on a physical, mental and emotional level as well. We must cleanse our thoughts, rid ourselves of toxins, and detach from negative energy.
Here is a morning ritual I have put together that will help you feel refreshed, energized, and prepared to take on the month of May.
Upon awakening, meditate for at least 10-20 minutes.
Sit in crossed legged position and use Dirga breathing. With this breathing technique, we inhale from the lower abdomen, bringing the breath up into the diaphragm and lastly filling our lungs. As we exhale, we begin from the lungs, then the diaphragm, and then the belly. If you have gemstones or crystals, use them during your mediation.
You can journal your dreams, mediations, or whenever you feel the need to express yourself. Writing helps organize the cluttered mind, for it provides an outlet for endless ideas, creations, emotions and experiences. It’s a great way to keep track of thoughts and events throughout your life, and you can see what kind of energy you are attracting. Do you notice any patterns in your writings? What are your goals and intentions moving forward?
- Get your Asana on
Flowing through a sequence of yoga poses in the morning allows the body to wake up, stretch, and get the blood circulating. This is especially important for those who have office jobs, who are stuck at a desk all day (like me). Any pose that resonates with your intention will do, but adding these poses will help keep you grounded, focused, and balanced so you can truly harness your power from within during this shift.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
Begin on your back with the knees bent. Keep the feet hip width apart and the pelvis neutral. On an inhale, press the feet into the mat, lifting the hips and chest. Hold for a couple breaths and repeat.
Benefits core, glutes, hamstrings, thyroid, metabolism, opens chest and heart
Yoga Squat (Malasana)
Begin in Mountain Pose, with feet slightly wider than your heels. Bend your knees and sink deeply until your hips are lower than your knees. Bring palms at the heart center and bring the elbows towards the inside of your knees. Expand the elbows, opening up the hips, pressing the knees into the elbows. Hold here for a few breaths.
Benefits lower back, groin, ankles, calms mind, opens hips, keeps us grounded
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Begin in Mountain Pose with arms at the side. As you bend your knees, balance on the left foot and cross the right thigh over the left. Hook the left foot behind the right calf. Then, cross your left elbow over your right, and brings the palms together. Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits digestion, blood flow, balances and strengthens body, focuses the mind
- Use a tongue scraper
Before eating or brushing your teeth, scrape your tongue. An Ayurvedic technique, the tongue scraper stimulates digestion, removes toxins and bacteria and stimulates your sense of taste. To use, start at the back of the tongue, grabbing both ends of the scraper and scrape all the way forwards. Repeat until your tongue feels clean, and don’t forget to rinse between strokes!
- Sip on lemon water
I always add apple cider vinegar, honey and a dash of cinnamon to my lemon water drink, but plain lemon water is great too. Lemons help detoxify the body and boosts digestion. Apple cider vinegar and honey provide immune support, replenish the skin and increase energy levels, while cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Sometimes I’ll add a pinch of cayenne pepper if I need a metabolic boost or if I’m feeling bloated.
I drink this at least 20 minutes before I eat so my body can absorb all the nutrients.
- Read something that inspires you
I know that I don’t have much time in the mornings, but even if it’s just a quote, a daily affirmation, an article online, or a few pages of a book, read whatever brings you joy. Nourish your soul with inspiration and knowledge, and apply this to the day ahead of you.
Your body, mind and soul are officially cleansed and awakened, ready to handle whatever comes your way. Even if you don’t have time to run through this entire routine, incorporating a few of these practices can set the tone for your day. Listen to your intuition, and be mindful of what you put out into the world, as well as what you take in. Self-care gives you the opportunity to touch base with your reality, and to recognize which path to take to reach your fullest potential. Welcome May’s positive changes with open arms, for you are blossoming into your truest self.
By Kristen Baureis.
Kristen is a yoga enthusiast and a proactive member of our Hanaq Prana Yoga Community.