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The ultimate morning routine

The ultimate morning routine

Are you the kind of person that hates waking up in the morning, feeling sluggish and slow as you struggle to get out of bed? Well, try the ultimate morning routine and feel the difference from day one!

It’s important to set a morning routine for yourself and be disciplined enough to stick with it. By doing so you can really give yourself an edge, increasing your morning productivity, efficiency and overall well-being. The ultimate morning routine outlined here can do just that!

First thing’s first, your morning routine needs to be really fine-tuned in order to get your life on track. One of the best things about having a routine is being able to leap out of bed in the morning and while on autopilot, blast through all of your morning activities, and even be early to work!

The strategies listed below will help you feel refreshed, energized and powerful before you take one step out the door. There will have been times where you’ve walked out of your house in the morning feeling amazing and because of this you’ve had such a successful day! However this might be quite a rare occurrence, with the ultimate morning routine shown below, you can feel like this every day!

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Wake up early!

This is the most vital step to feeling great in the morning. Ever get woken up by your alarm, only to press snooze, again and again and again… Then before you know it, you’ve overslept! You have 15 minutes to get ready for work! It’s a daunting challenge and rushing your morning like this can really put you in a bad mood! The snooze button is not your friend here. Get into the habit of leaping out of bed as soon as you hear the alarm.

Don’t forget that, being able to effectively wake up early in the morning, means having a good night’s sleep! Getting to bed at an appropriate hour is recommended. If your having trouble sleeping, make sure you stop watching television or using your laptop/smartphone in bed. The Bright light can stimulate you too much and can really be a detriment to a good night sleep.

There’s a huge trend with successful people waking up early in the morning! It boosts your productivity and mood, so if you want to get that promotion at work, start waking up early and get to work!

Lemon juice detoxing

You have a great opportunity every morning to boost your health and take it to the next level. Lemon juice detoxing is amazing for your body. As soon as you wake up, you want to start boiling the kettle.

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Grab yourself a lemon, cut it in half, and squeeze it all into a cup. Next get some very warm water and mix it with the lemon juice. There you have it, your lemon juice detox drink! Lemon juice is extremely alkalizing for the body, and will keep it healthy. Drinking this as part of your morning routine is perfect, because you gain more benefits by downing it on an empty stomach. The drink will help regulate your bowels, boost your energy and cleanse your system. It also gives you an abundance of vitamins so easily! Don’t forget that the warm water is also great for digestion and helps to keep things moving in the digestive tract!

By enjoying the lemon juice detox, drink daily or even 3 to 4 times a week, your body will start to feel revitalized before long and bursting with energy! Why not add a few other health boosting ingredients into the lemon juice drink such as: cinnamon, turmeric (don’t forget to add black pepper as well to boost your body’s absorption of turmeric) Oregano and ginger!

Morning workouts

Some people dread it, others love it! Morning workouts are so invigorating, and with enough time you will love it too! Morning workouts are so efficient – the gym is empty and you’re not waiting around to use gym equipment! -There are very little distractions as you can put your headphones on and blast some uplifting music to help you get the job done.

The morning workout is great for your metabolism! So if your trying to shed a few more pounds, make sure this is in your ultimate morning routine. Not to mention testosterone levels are high in the morning, which mean you can gain greater results and performance at the gym.

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Once you’ve finished your morning workout, you’re going to be feeling pumped up! A great feeling in the morning to help you feel powerful and strong! And now you’ve also finished your workout quota for the day, which means you don’t need to worry about getting back home late, or socializing after work. Go ahead, you deserve it!

Cold shower therapy

OK, so once you’ve finished your workout, it’s finally time to get ready for work! Get ready to have a shower, but in the ultimate morning routine, its not just any old shower, we’re going to do some cold shower therapy!

Cold shower therapy is amazing for your body! You can definitely feel the adrenaline rush and revitalizing energy flowing through your body once you’re done. It can be a daunting task for people who have never done this before, but once you get used to it there’s no going back!

Start off with some very warm water and relax yourself. Finish cleaning (body wash and shampoo etc.) before its time to get started. Now slowly turn the temperature down to a very cold setting.

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You may end up gasping for air due to the shock as it first hits your body. But don’t worry, cold water cant’ hurt you here, stay at this temperature for around 30 seconds and slowly turn the temperature back up. Let it get warmer and warmer and then finally to the hottest temperature you can handle without burning yourself. Stay at this temperature for around 30 seconds once more. Then to finish off… you’ve guessed it! Turn the temperature back onto to cold! Stay at this temperature for 30 seconds as usual before getting out of the shower. ‘Phew!’ And that’s the hardest part done, no one said the ultimate morning routine was easy!

The expanding and contracting of the body in these extreme and opposite temperatures gets the blood flow circulating. Plus it really wakes you up in the morning, instantly energizing you! Its great for your skin and promotes healing within the body. But I think the most important of all benefits is that it increases your mental fortitude! Disciplining yourself to take cold showers in the morning challenges yourself early in the day, so it’s like you’ve already jumped over a difficult hurdle, setting your mind in the right state for other challenges throughout the day!

Finishing off

OK, now you’ve had the lemon juice detox, morning workout and cold shower therapy! It’s time to refuel your body. Because of your morning workout, you’ve definitely worked up an appetite in the morning. This is great because eating larger meals in the morning and lighter meals at night is better for digestion and sleep quality! Make sure you eat enough protein and carbs. Why not wash it down with some coconut water to give that added health boost. Remember to drink plenty of water on your way to work as well!

And there you have it! The ultimate morning routine. Feel energized and invigorated every day. At first this may be really difficult or unusual to implement. But if you discipline yourself to stick with it long enough, you will definitely start seeing the results, such as increased health, productivity and mood!

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Published on January 17, 2020

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

What is Yoga?

Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

Let’s see how to do that:

Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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  1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
  2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
  3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
  4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
  5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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  1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
  2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
  3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
  4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

The stillness and the watching within.

Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

More About Yoga

Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
[2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
[3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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