When I start working with new clients, they are either really excited to start incorporating Ayurvedic practices into their daily routine or they freak out at all the changes they are potentially facing.

My mantra with my practice is “make it practical”. Whenever I suggest a new program or protocols for a client, I need to understand what they can and can’t accomplish during the day, then lay the groundwork from there. Change is hard for us, as we have to be conscious about breaking our samskras (patterns and tendencies). It may take a week, for some it may take a month for others, but once we’ve been able to hit our stride, healthier new habits are formed.

The Sanskrit word for an Ayurvedic routine is dinacharya. Granted, if we did everything that was good for our constitutions from the minute we wake up, we’d never leave the house. But there are several things we can do each morning that will greatly improve our health. Here are a few things I do each morning that help me balance my Tridoshic body.

  • Oil Pulling – 20 minutes. For thousands of years, oil pulling has been used in Ayurveda to remove toxins through the mouth. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the body and is very beneficial for supporting healthy teeth and gums. I use 1 tablespoon of cured sesame oil and swish it in your mouth, as you would mouthwash, for 20 minutes. When you’ve finished, spit the oil into the toilet. You’ll notice that the oil has emulsified, and is cloudy. Try not to swallow the oil in the process of pulling. If you do swallow oil, no big deal, but I do recommend oil pulling on an empty stomach.
  • Tongue Scraping – 10 seconds. If you don’t have the time or patience to oil pull (some Pittas don’t), use a tongue scraper before you brush your teeth. Tongue scraping removes the toxins from the tongue (usually if there are toxins, or Ama, there will be a white coating on the tongue). I use a copper tongue scraper, starting at the back of the tongue, and drawing it forward 7-8 times to the front of the tongue. Put light pressure on the tongue, as some tongue scrapers may have sharp edges, and may nick the surface of the tongue.
  • Neti Pot – 2 minutes I use my beloved clay neti pot every morning. When I was living in Manhattan, I felt like I was rinsing the city out of my sinuses. Doing a neti pot can also help prevent sinus infections, colds & flu. Be sure to use warm water and 1/3 of a teaspoon of sea salt. I use gray sea salt in my neti pot, as it has trace minerals and gently clears the sinuses of debris. Never use a neti pot with regular table salt or without salt!
  •  Dry brushing – 10 minutes. I think this is my favorite morning routine. Taking a soft, natural bristle brush, use circular motions to exfoliate the skin. Start at your feet, and work your way up to your heart. Then brush your hands, arms and shoulders, again, towards the heart. This stimulates the skin and opens the pores. It helps stimulate the lymphatic system, therefore increases the immune system and it helps to reduce cellulite. Just remember to avoid dry brushing your face!
  •  20 minutes of Yoga Asanas. Your body has been sedentary for several hours, so stretching and opening those joints is so important. You don’t need to hit a yoga class first thing (although that’s great if you do) but you can do simple sun salutations for 20 minutes. Sun salutations can open your joints, get your heart rate going and bring some well-needed balance to your morning. Who couldn’t use more of that?

Granted, my routine allows me to do all of these treatments, only because I’ve been doing them for so long (I also get up between 5:30 – 6:00AM). Even if you feel that you have no time in the morning, try the tongue scraping or neti pot. Of course, a good day starts with the night before, so perhaps we should look at your end-of-day activities!