In Ayurveda, there's a tradition of a daily routine, called dinacharya. Dinacharya is one of the best tools for improving your overall health and wellness. Think about it - from the time you open your eyes in the morning to the time you arrive at work, school, etc. - what is your routine? Pause and think about your routine this morning, would you describe it as mindful, nourishing, utilitarian, chaotic?
Since studying Ayurveda, I've been more mindful of my morning (and evening) routine. I will share with you that it is not always as routine, mindful or nourishing as it could be but it often is now that I am aware of the benefits of a dinacharya practice.
My morning routine generally includes: waking up a consistent time each day, a couple gentle stretches in bed while focusing on my personal mantra, dog/cat/chicken feeding, scraping my tongue, a glass of room temperature water, making a cup of green or rose black tea for me, personal reflection time with nature, personal hygiene, enjoying a green smoothie, vitamins (don't forget your vitamins!), yoga and other physical exercises, and an occasional face mask of some kind (more on this in a moment).
Ayurveda taught me a lot about my morning routine. First, it had to be routine (kinda makes sense, right?). If every morning starts differently, that's not a routine. Basically, your morning routine should be a consistent practice. Second, Ayurveda taught me to be mindful and contemplative. Pre-Ayurveda, my morning routine was extremely pragmatic and minimal. What is the minimum amount of time I need between the time my alarm goes off and the time I need to be somewhere or do something. Now my morning routine provides time for personal reflection - watching the sunrise, sitting outside, quiet meditation, mantra, pranyama, etc. As I write this I am sitting outside and listening to roosters in the distance, hens murmuring, and many local birds chatting in the trees - oh, and the bull frog in my neighbors pond that I've never seen but imagine him to be about 100 pounds based on the volume and bass of his morning calls. Finally, one of my last practices of my morning routine - which I try to incorporate once or twice a week - is a homemade face mask. This is practical - after all, I live in sunny and dry New Mexico so taking care of ones skin is important. This is also a very mindful, contemplative, reflective, nurturing time as you will have ten minutes of complete stillness for yourself - a morning gift to yourself.
I've barely scratched the surface on the Ayurvedic practice of dinacharya. A good reference to read further on dincharya is on Banyan Botanicals webiste. If you move in this direction, don't get too caught up in making it perfect and adding 15 new things to your morning routine. Instead simplify your morning routine by adding what serves you and your ability to be mindful, contemplative and feel nourished.
Without further ado, here's one of my favorite facial mask recipes:
Facial Mask Ingredients:
Mix the above ingredients together in a bowl and let come to room temperature since the dairy is likely cold. The bananas will even your skin tone and help your skin glow, the dairy will gently renew your skin and reduce blemishes, and the honey will nourish your skin deeply. Next, I usually add one of the follow but not both:
Adding the egg whites will firm your skin. Adding the oatmeal will cool your skin. Either way, the mixture should be ready to apply to your skin. Prior to applying, gently wash your face and neck. Apply the mixture to your face and neck area with your fingers, a clean paint brush, etc. It can be a bit messy. Now, relax somewhere for ten minutes or so prior to washing the mixture off your face and neck. I typically follow with a moisturizing product and my favorite is Badger's Organic Damascus Rose Beauty Balm. Rose is tridoshic meaning it is good for all Ayurvedic constitutions. You can pick this product up at Sprouts Grocery Stores, Whole Foods, etc. Your skin is going to love you even more for this simple treatment! Don't forget a bit of sunscreen too!
Give this a face mask a try and let me know what you think! I hope you are enjoying your morning routine as much as possible.