Updated: Apr 7, 2020
This morning, I woke up before the sun. Without looking at my phone or turning on any lights, I shuffled to the bathroom. Splashing cool water on my eyes and ears, I felt my body begin to awaken. This is the first step in my 6-step morning routine. I happily follow this routine, now more like a ritual. I do it because I enjoy the quiet, sacred time of morning and easing myself into the day. It also gives me time to appreciate my body and warm it up slowly.
My morning sit spot
Picture your awakening body like a car in winter. If you start it up and drive off, you're going to stress your car and it's not going to last you as long. But if you warm it up, allowing it to idle and build up heat, the car will run more efficiently and longer. Our bodies are similar.
Feel free to right-click and save my 6-step morning ritual for awakening and cleansing the senses. The image below is in JPG format. For an explanation of the reasons behind each step, keep reading below.
Why Cleanse the Eyes?
The anatomy of the eye: the tear gland is situated on the outer, upper area behind your eye. One function of this tear duct is to keep the eye socket moist. During the day, as your eye moves, moisture is circulated towards the inner part of eye, towards your nose. This moisture drains into the lacrimal duct, which drains into the nose.
We ask a lot of our eyes - one example is looking at computer and phone screens several hours a day. Like how your mouth takes in food to digest, eyes take in visual information and digests it. They need rest. So when you wake up, don’t immediately look at your phone. Like the rest of our body, leave a space of time in the morning for everything to wake up slowly.
When humans cry in response to stress, their tears contain a number of stress hormones and other chemicals. Researchers believe that crying reduces the levels of these chemicals in the body, which could, in turn, reduce stress.
Predominantly, tears are composed of water, salts, antibodies and antibacterial enzymes but emotional tears actually release hormones – some pain killing, some adrenal/metabolic balancing.
When you wake up in the morning and noticed accumulated waste in the corners of your eyes, this is an indication that your eye was busy all night cleaning itself. You can help it out by gently washing this grit away with cool water.
Why Cleanse the Nose?
As we inhale, our nose acts as a filter, trapping pathogens in the air; however, we often neglect cleansing away the debris. The nose is meant to be moist - the cilia in the nose do their job best when kept clean and moist.
The nose functions, like the eyes, as an important part of our sensory system. It's biggest tasks are smell, cleaning inhalations, and improving quality of breath. The nose helps us detect things we should move towards or away from. For example, a bad smell tells us to retract.
Acting as a filter all day and night, the nose accumulates with waste. In addition, the eye has a duct that goes right from the corner of the eye into the nose, acting as a garbage chute for the eye. Cleansing your nose really helps your cillia and keeping your nose moist helps it do its job best!
Why Cleanse the Ears?
Music, children calling, conversations, the morning news, the clack of the keyboard — these are just a few of the sounds our ears process daily. Life is noisy, especially in today’s busy world. We have our ears to thank for taking it all in and helping us navigate all that comes our way.
The ears are a beautiful and delicately designed part of the body. They help us gauge where we are in space and keep us balanced, in addition to processing sound into meaning.
The fluid-filled canals inside the ear attach to the cochlea and nerves in the inner ear which then attach to the brain, constantly sending information on balance and head position. The eustachian tube drains fluid from the ear into the throat, helping to regulate pressure in the ear and keep the ear clean.
Gently massaging and cleaning the ears each morning can ensure that you clean away debris just hanging out, obstructing the ear from doing its job. In addition to cleansing with water, consider cleansing your ears with silence.
Why Cleanse the Mouth?
Our mouths connect us to the outside environment by being the place digestion begins and also being the way we verbally connect with other living creatures. The mouth connects us to the food we eat and the people we care about.
The mouth is the gatekeeper to our body and the tonsils are the guards, helping to fight off germs. The tonsils are part of the body's immune system. Because of their location at the throat, they stop germs entering the body through the mouth or the nose.
We all know that brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings are important. Issues in the mouth can affect the body. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to inflammation, oral infections, tooth decay and gum disease.
If you look at the back of your tongue in the morning, you may see white stuff. That is dead cells and debris accumulated on your tongue while you slept. Your mouth microbiome was busy "cleaning house" while you slept. You can help your mouth microbiome to stay balanced by swishing and gargling this white stuff out or using a tongue scraper to gently remove it every morning.
Why Drink Tea or Hot Water?
Drinking hot water is hydrating. It can also improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even make you feel more relaxed. Most people who drink hot water, do so first thing in the morning or right before bed for optimal health benefit. If you drink herbal tea, then in addition to the hot water you get the added benefits of whatever herb you are ingesting.
Completing the Ritual
Once I complete this morning ritual, I take a few seconds to put my hands on my heart in thanks. Or sometimes I do some gentle stretching for a few minutes. On a really good day, I go outside for a morning walk. This ritual takes under 10 minutes to complete in the morning. Just that small wedge of time, set aside for this special ritual, can positively effect the tone of my whole morning.