Gentle ways to start your morning

Tips and tricks to kick the day off on a calm, mindful note

How do you start your day? If you wake up to a screeching alarm and immediately begin looking through your phone and answering emails, it may be time to rethink your routine.

“How you feel in the morning can easily set up how you feel and what happens during your day,” explains Tara Stiles, global yoga expert and author of Clean Mind, Clean Body: A 28 Day Plan for Physical, Mental and Spiritual Self-Care. “When you feel connected, calm and at ease, you have access to your creativity, feel energetic, and when challenges arise, you can handle them to the best of your abilities. When you start the day frantic, the opposite happens.”

When it comes to creating a morning routine, Stiles explains, there’s no one-size-fits-all. It should be personal, something that works for you and helps you feel better and more connected. Her suggested practices are simple – things like easygoing yoga and meditation.

“Let yourself slow down enough so you can move how it feels useful and become more sensitized to your needs. When you find this ease of movement and connection to yourself, you are putting yourself in flow state and in the relaxation response, which is essential for overall health and well-being,” says Stiles. “When you are stressed, it’s impossible for your body to rest and digest properly, even when you eat the healthiest foods. Mindfulness and gentleness is such a huge element of weight management and well-being.”

A great place to start, Stiles says, is to just roll around in bed after waking up, letting yourself find all the twists and stretches that come naturally to your body.

“Eventually, roll up to sit in your bed and spend a few moments simply breathing. Notice how you feel. Watch your inhales lift and fill you up and your exhales soften and relax you.”

This is how Stiles herself starts her day – rolling around, stretching easily and naturally, and then doing a simple meditation while still in bed.

“It’s important for me to sleep without my phone or computer in the room so I take the time to get connected instead of jump right into what is waiting for me.”

Stiles is also mother to a four-year-old, so she wakes up earlier than her daughter to make sure she has time for herself. After getting out of bed, Stiles will often do some easygoing yoga before getting into the rest of her day.

“A morning routine is essential for me and I feel the ripple effects in my family and those I connect with,” she says.

“Taking good care of you is essential for your well-being,” she adds. “You can’t force, push and struggle your way toward balance. You deserve to feel better, and the more you create gentle habits for yourself, the more your mind and body will work well together.”