Mindful Morning Model: Day 2, Movement + Meditation
Welcome to Day 2 of the Mindful Morning Challenge: Movement and Meditation!
I’m a massive believer in the power of Kundalini yoga and meditation because of the incredible impact I’ve had in my own life since practicing. This type of yoga focuses on detoxing the body and increasing mental clarity, and oh boy is it potent!
No matter what practice you feel called to, it’s so critical for us to get in a bit of movement and meditation first thing in the day because it helps us stimulate and strengthen our bodies and minds! The ideal goal here is to have more energy and clarity throughout the day, without turning to chemical stimulants, even including caffeine and sugar! By circulating fresh oxygen through the body and brain, it’s impossible not to feel better, mentally and physically.
During sleep, our bodies work really hard to detox and digest everything we’ve taken in from the day. When we wake up, we can often still be in detox mode, leaving us feeling groggy, puffy, and sluggish. If we aren’t in a strict habit of scheduling a little movement, it can be difficult to push through the fog to truly wake up. Forming a strong pattern of taking care of our bodies and minds each morning will pay off in the form of increased cognitive function, general outlook, and even have us looking our best!
Movement can be very simple if you’re pressed for time. Something as small as a walk or just doing a few jumping jacks can get the heart rate up, which helps to circulate fresh oxygen and blood throughout the body. If you can break a sweat, you get a gold star. By breaking even the lightest sweat, your liver will function better, increasing digestion and detoxification for the upcoming day. Circulation is also key to move our lymphatic system, essentially the “sweeper” of all the toxins our body needs to get out, either from food and drink we take in, or just from cellular function. When our lymphatic system is sluggish, we become physically bloated, mentally foggy and groggy, and basically more and more toxic, until we flush it out.
If yoga isn’t your thing and your climate or living environment makes it difficult to go for a walk outside, then a rebounder or mini-trampoline is a fantastic way to move the lymphatic system… plus it’s really fun! If you’re traveling regularly, take a walk down to the good ole treadmill in your hotel, or just break out and do 50 jumping jacks! Make your morning movement something fun that you’ll look forward to, even the slightest bit… it can even be a one-song dance party on your way to the shower! Every little bit counts, and you can always add on to your exercise routine when you start to get consistent.
Meditation is the second part of today’s focus. If you’ve ever tried or had a hard time meditating, keep in mind that it does take practice. My best tip for you is to try it AFTER a bit of exercise, when the brain has already burned off a bit of the crazy, as I like to say, or when the negative blocks that tend to come up are likely to be a bit softer. Exercise increases circulation to the brain, allowing it to feel more relaxed to begin with, so meditating right after becomes much easier. Also remember, there’s NO WRONG WAY to meditate. Your practice can begin with something as small as just taking a few deep, cleansing breaths with your eyes closed. Perhaps focusing on a pleasant thought or intention if that resonates with you.
In Kundalini, many of the meditations we practice are perfect for “beginners” or those who struggle to sit in silence, since we like to combine a bit of movement, mantra, and/or breathwork into what we call meditation. These meditations give the brain something to focus on, usually a specific pattern to repeat, that helps you to further relax.
Finding something to connect to is really powerful, and the more often you practice, the more powerful it gets! You can choose to connect to God, yourself, or whatever you believe in. Just connect. Taking at least a few moments to feel the connection between the beating of your heart and the flow of your breath with something bigger than our human bodies helps us to keep our daily struggles in perspective. Finding a moment of gratitude will train your brain to see the good in any situation. The dedication of doing it every single day is where you’ll really start to feel a shift in your life.
Rather than rushing out of bed, through the shower, and out the door in the morning, take the time to set yourself up on the right track. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, your nervous system will operate from a much more stronger state than ever before. Remember, it doesn’t have to be easy or perfect at first… it’s absolutely the effort that counts.