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The mist on the lake
rises to greet the morning.
The world comes alive!

The philosophy of Ayurveda teaches that it is important to your health to rise before dawn; when all is quiet outside, the mind can be quiet inside. Brahma Muhurta roughly translates as “time of Universal Consciousness (Brahma)”. It’s the best time for spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga and qigong. By practicing before you get caught up in your daily activities you can establish yourself in the calm and thus avoid allowing others’ agitation affect you.

Getting up early doesn’t have to be painful but does require getting to sleep early enough to allow for 7 – 9 hours of rest. You may have to Tivo your favorite late night shows or give up your attachment to them so you can keep your mind open to the new experience of getting in touch with your deepest self. Try adapting the following basic daily routine to your own needs for at least one month and then assess if your energy is increased, your mind is calmer, and your body more limber and balanced.

Awaken between 4 – 6 am. Eliminate wastes (ideally, you should have a bowel movement when you get up – within 1/2 hour of waking; if you don’t, you may have too much dryness in the colon or your routine is too chaotic, or your diet needs to be adjusted). If eliminating early is difficult, or if you see a thick whitish coating on your tongue, drink a cup of hot water to facilitate a bowel movement.

Brush your teeth, take your warm shower, and rub some warm sesame oil into your entire body (you may also rub the oil in before your shower, then brush teeth, etc, before showering off the excess – no soap! it’s supposed to be absorbed…); use your neti pot to rinse pollen and dirt out of your nose, and rub a little sesame oil in your nostrils to keep dirt and pollen out!

Do your spiritual practice, as long as you have to devote to it – as little as ten minutes per day can give you huge benefits over time!

Leave enough time to make yourself a warm, nourishing breakfast – some eggs poached over fresh veggies, cooked steel cut oats…. Concentrate on the sensations of your meal rather than watching TV or reading the paper. Avoid eating too fast or chewing too little – sit down and enjoy!

Have your lunch at midday – between 11 – 2 pm, when the sun is highest in the sky, or when you feel hungry. If you don’t have the time to make a healthful meal for yourself choose wisely from what is available commercially. Avoid highly processed “foods”. At the same time, don’t make the mistake of eating too little at lunch or you will eat too much at dinner or snack on whatever you can get your hands on in the afternoon. If you have time, you can take a short walk after eating so you assimilate your food better. Make a note if you start to feel sleepy after eating – you may have difficulty digesting some foods and the brain pulls energy from your waking mind when the body needs more energy to digest.

When you are ready for your dinner, again make it a warm nourishing one made from fresh ingredients. Meals do not have to be elaborate; simple ingredients prepared with love (and perhaps some wonderful spices like coriander, turmeric, and cumin to enhance flavor while improving digestion) can provide a wealth of nutrition in a short preparation time. Be sure to give yourself enough time to digest your meal fully before winding down for the evening. If you wish to get to bed between 10 – 11 pm give yourself 2 hours for digestion and one hour for winding down (that means turn off the TV, computer, music, etc that can agitate the mind and make it difficult to fall asleep easily).

If you need to eliminate a few unnecessary things in the process of building this new routine, do so – if you still miss them one month later you may be able to find a better time to fit them in (I like to watch The Daily Show, but no longer watch it at 11 pm – there are re-runs during the day and it’s available online anytime!). If these things you’ve eliminated give you a bit more time for more important things, great!

But most important is whether you notice this new routine increases your “happiness quotient” overall – give up something good to make room for something better and find that true contentment lies within you. Awaken it!

July 2018
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