Apparently there's been a lot of talk over the years about how long it takes to form a new habit. I was shocked to read in this study that it took 66 days! That seems like a really long time, and most of us probably have several healthy practices we'd like to add to our day. That might lead you to believe it would take years for you to get to where you want to be. But (like a lot of health care practitioners who don't want to discourage their patients), I've found that small, easy-to-implement changes seem to stick best.
A couple of years ago I got interested in Ayurveda, "the science of life." It's considered a sister study to yoga, so it was natural that my insatiable thirst for yoga knowledge grew to include these ancient principles. Many of the decisions about care in Ayurveda are based on constitutional body type~~taking a quick test and reading descriptions can help you determine what your own dosha is.
What intrigued me most about Ayurveda were some interesting daily habits. The Ayurvedic morning routine is substantial and quite different from the Standard American shower~coffee~commute but there are most likely one or two things you can add to your own a.m. ritual that may make a difference in your whole day. Here are some of my favorites:
- Dry brushing. This one I've been doing for about five years, and I just don't feel like have had a complete shower or bath if I don't brush my skin first now. At first it was a bit uncomfortable, but once I found this brush I really looked forward to the meditative quality of this particular practice.
- Nasya oil. A few years ago I started getting persistent bloody noses at least every couple of days~~especially during the colder months. The usual humidification didn't help, but this oil did the trick.
- Oil pulling. Lots of people have talked about this practice over the years, so I thought it was worth a try. And you can do it while you're continuing your other morning tasks, so it doesn't take any extra time. With a list of benefits like this, why wouldn't you give it a try?
- Tongue scraping. I had tried this one several times over the years but I was never comfortable with the tool. This one is easy to use and works great. I love how clean it makes my mouth feel~~it's the finishing touch to my brush~Waterpik~floss routine now.
- Coconut oil. For everything.
So I guess my morning routine has changed more than I realized ... kind of like that riddle of my Dad's that I blogged about last year. And while I have yet to return to my running, cut up all my veggies for the week the day I buy them, or formalize a daily seated meditation practice, I'm happy that I've upgraded my morning ritual with a little old-school Ayurveda. I've found these practices do a lot more for me in the long run than curling my hair or applying a full face of makeup every day.
What's a non-negotiable when you wake up?