What is the first thing you do every morning after you open your eyes? What is your morning ritual? Most of us sleepily roll over, turn off the alarm clock, grab our cell phones and start scrolling through emails, text messages, and social media.
I am guilty of participating in this ritual. It is something that I have done for most days of my life since I got my first iPhone in 2011. In a world where everything moves so fast, I don't want to miss anything. I want to be responsible and respond immediately to the people trying to reach me. If I don't immediately check my phone, I find myself getting anxious that I'm forgetting to do something or respond to someone, or worse, that I'm missing out on some life changing opportunity by not seeing an email or post in time. Is social media & FOMO controlling my life?
As someone who strives to practice a lifestyle of self-care and mindfulness, I know that this is not the morning ritual that best serves me on my journey to a balanced life. There have actually been studies that show how checking your email early in the morning can cause anxiety and negatively impact your work. As creative beings, it is imperative that we do all we can to create a positive environment for ourselves to do our work. The best way to start cultivating a better environment for ourselves, and our work, is to start the day off right.
So, I have been challenging myself to a different kind of morning ritual: BREATHING. Sure, I was breathing while scrolling through my Instagram feed at 8am, but I wasn't conscious of my breath, or cultivating awareness of my body in any way. By breathing, I really mean a simple meditation done in bed. In a perfect world, I would wake up and crawl out of bed to my lavish alter and meditate for 30 minutes. Given my tiny apartment, and my boyfriend snoring next to me, simplicity is key when it comes to this morning practice.
It may sound simple, but taking a moment to breathe, to let thoughts about all the upcoming events of the day go, is challenging. As a Yoga Teacher, I know first hand that Savasana is the hardest part of the class for most students. Lying still and quieting the mind is much harder than it seems.
Taking a moment in the morning for simple meditative breathing, starts the day in a sacred space. You can prepare yourself for the day's events, before you even think about them. Adding something on to the practice like mentally listing what your grateful for, or maybe even writing down your dreams or any thoughts into a notebook, would also be excellent. For now, I'm starting simply but maybe someday I'll be meditating with a massive crystal ball in my backyard temple.
Melanie Rose Thomas is the founder of DOE and a Professional Yoga Teacher & Reiki Practitioner.