Intentions help you to bring awareness to what you want to achieve and can instil a sense of clarity and focus from within. Your intentions aren’t set in stone and can change daily—even hourly. The only thing that determines their potential is making them authentic and backing them with belief.
Start the day by repeating your chosen intentions for however long feels right to you; if you make a conscious effort to acknowledge things happening around you, you’ll notice that the things you wish to attract come to you in some way. Take inspiration from the suggestions below, being sure to understand what it is you want:
I intend to forgive.
I intend to make more time for myself.
I intend to spread kindness.
I intend to be content and not compare myself to others.
Journaling is a powerful tool to release negative thoughts and frees up space to focus on the things you do have and are grateful for. Writing a journal first thing in the morning can help you to declutter the mind and let go of anything that may be worrying you. Spend time acknowledging thoughts in order to accept them, appreciate them and use them productively to move forwards.
Neck Chopping and Self-Massage
The benefit of neck chopping and self-massage in the morning is that it’s super invigorating. It helps to encourage circulation, blood flow and awakens and stimulates the muscles whilst loosening them and relieving any tension that may be present upon waking. Here’s how to do it:
Stand tall and relax your shoulders down your back, elongating the neck. Support your forehead by resting it in the palm of your left hand and then let the head tip slightly forwards. Using the edge of your right hand (along your little finger to where your hand joins the wrist), use a gentle chopping motion to lightly tap up the base of the skull. Stay in this vicinity, working around the base of the skull and top of the neck. If tapping is too much, use sawing motions to release tension at the base of the skull and in the neck. Do this for about one to two minutes.
Return to standing and slightly tip your head back. Take your hands to your head with thumbs just under the ears, palms on the side of your cheeks and fingers along the sides of your face, fingertips on the temples (as if you were going to lean on a table with your head supported in your hands).
Then, use the pads of your thumbs to work around the base of the skull, pressing and massaging the area with however much pressure feels right (you will just know). Move your hands passively, however, feels comfortable, and work inwardly with the thumbs from behind the ears towards the spine. Work for about two minutes, and feel free to use the thumbs at other points in the skull that feel tight, such as above the ears or the temples.
This may seem a strange concept at first, but shaking is an amazing technique to get energy moving around the body. You can do it upon waking or even whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. It doesn’t have to be done every day, but when things feel a little stiff or heavy it is such a simple technique to invigorate the body. Here’s how to do it:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging loosely by your sides.
Keeping it loose, start shaking your right arm, whatever way feels good. You might shake from your shoulder and upper arm, or from the wrist and elbow. Shake for around one minute, and then repeat with the left arm. Then, shake both arms together, for around the same amount of time if it feels comfortable to do so.
Next, work on your legs, starting with the right and then the left. Move from the thigh or the feet, as if your toes are kicking water. After shaking, massage one hip and then, with your hand in a loose fist, tap down the outside of the leg, and up the inside a few times. Repeat on the other leg.
Finally, return to standing with feet shoulder-width apart and shake your entire body. Bending at the knees, shake from the shoulders, the core or the pelvic area, however feels good. Stop and rest, grounded and supported by your feet and take a few final moments to notice how each part of your body feels.
To close the practice, take a big inhale and lift your arms above your head. With your left hand, grab the right wrist and guide it gently towards the left, taking a gentle side-bend stretch. Return to the centre and repeat on the right-hand side. Lower the arms to end the practice.
Our modern culture runs at a high speed in order for us to fit everything in, and as a consequence, our breathing, sleeping and eating patterns have begun to suffer. Functioning at a constant fast pace is productive in many ways, but counterproductive in others. If we move through life too quickly to allow basic bodily functions to occur and focus on too many things instead of them, we stop operating at our full physical and mental potential. This is true at all times of the day but is particularly important where eating is involved. If we don’t slow down when we eat, we can end up creating more stress and imbalances within the body, and no matter how “healthy” the food is, feeling good isn’t going to come easily or occur just by eating a kale salad.
Oxygen plays an important role in the digestive process, and since we restrict our intake of oxygen when we are stressed or rushed (due to shortened or restricted breathing), eating in this state is simply not the way to do it. Slowing down, taking more time to eat and ensuring you’re breathing in a way that can distribute adequate oxygen around the body is an essential part of eating well.
We need to make time and oxygen major components of every meal, and start to really slow down and breathe whilst we eat, to concentrate on our food and the acts of eating, digesting, burning and absorbing.
Here are two ways in which to be mindful about eating, start with breakfast but try to be mindful at every meal:
Slow down. Stop what you are doing, or at least try to reduce your level of activity before you start eating.
Breathe. Take a few moments before a meal to regulate your breath and check in with yourself.
This can help you assess your true appetite while fueling the digestive process. A simple breathing practice to regulate “stress breath” can shortcut the stress response in as little as one minute, which puts the body in a more optimal state to receive and use food.
This simple action is really soothing and relaxing for the eyes. With so much “screen time” these days, our eyes are not only very active but are also dazzled by the artificial light of our devices. If you practise yoga in the morning add this to the end of your routine or simply before bed.
Sit or lie in a comfortable position, either on the bed, the floor or on a chair.
Bring the palms of your hands together in front of you and begin to rub them together rapidly, creating friction and heat.
Quickly cup your hands slightly and then gently place the heated palms over closed eyes. Breathe deeply and enjoy the heat spreading across your eyes, the darkness offering a welcome break from the light. Stay in this position for a few moments and then release the hands and gently blink your eyes open again, or head straight to sleep.
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