5 Things I Love about My Morning Routine

woman at windowThe idea of a morning ritual has always appealed to me. It’s just such a romantic concept—-rising with the sun, meditating and asana, preparing delicious healthy foods for the day, preparing and having time to drink a hot cup of tea–all so I start my day refreshed and inspired.

But no matter how much I’ve tried to incorporate this into my daily routine, I’ve failed every single time. It’s just that my bed is so warm and comfy, and I stay up too late reading blog posts and writing my to-do list for the next day. Besides, if I spend all that time on myself in the morning who’s going to walk the dog, check my email, make the coffee, and pick out my clothes for the day so I can rush out the door 10 minutes late anyway and barely make it to work on time? (Phew. Just typing that last sentence stressed me out a little!)

Recently, however, I’ve been doing a morning routine that actually seems to work for me. (I’m telling you this at the risk of jinxing myself and sleeping in tomorrow anyway—so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it sticks this time!) It’s not as romantic as two hours of asana as I watch the sunrise, but I think it’s a lot more sustainable. Maybe my big, grandiose ideas about what a morning “ritual” should be has been holding me back from something that I can actually do on a daily basis anyway.

I wake up 30 minutes earlier than I used to—not two hours. I shower.  I meditate for 10 minutes. I practice asana for 20. Then, I get ready for my day as usual. That’s it! And after just a few weeks of this I’m noticing some pretty dramatic changes.

Here are 5 things I love about my new morning routine.

1. I actually like waking up. Instead of dragging myself out of bed in the morning, I actually wake with a spring in my step. Instead of hitting the snooze button 100 times because I dread the hard workday that’s ahead, I wake up knowing I am going to do something that makes me feel good—and that makes it a ton easier to get up in the morning.

2. I have a better attitude going into my workday. This means I enjoy my work more, get more accomplished in a day, and feel better about the job I’m doing. What’s interesting about this is that when I have one good day where I get a lot accomplished at work, I’ve set myself up for an easier day the next day—and it just gets better from there.

3. I’m less likely to skip a session. Practicing yoga daily has always been a struggle for me. I often miss practice sessions because I’m tired at the end of the day or get caught up in something else. But if it’s built into my morning routine—like brushing my teeth—I’m a lot less likely to skip a session.

4. I set an intention for each day. I love setting an intention for my yoga practice such as being present, cultivating understanding for myself and others, or seeing the positive more often. When I do this first thing in the morning, I can bring it with me into my daily activities, which is like practicing yoga all day long.

5. It reminds me to care for myself first—as in first thing in the morning. I love when flight attendants remind you to put your own oxygen mask on before you help small children with theirs—both of you’ll be screwed if you pass out struggling to secure a mask on a little face. If I don’t take care of myself first, I won’t have anything to give to all the people who depend on me the rest of the day. My morning routine is a great example of that. I have more energy, feel better, and am much better at handling everything when I’ve taken care of myself first.

Do you have a morning ritual? What have you gotten from it? Do you have any tips for keeping it going?

Erica Rodefer Winters is a writer and yoga teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. Visit her blog, Spoiledyogi.com, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook