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Mindful morning

It’s an intensely luxurious thing to wake up each morning and realize that the day is yours to shape in whatever way you like. Each morning is a new beginning, and each sunrise brings with it an opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation. Instead of waking up to stress and rushing, consider how the rest of your day could go if you started it by doing something just for yourself. A spiritually refreshing morning ritual can help set you up for a day full of positivity.

Here are a few simple tips on how to create a mindful morning routine that will nourish your soul.

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1 Wake Up Just A Little Bit Earlier

Centering yourself in the morning takes time. Give yourself a chance to establish a good morning ritual by going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. Pope Francis is a big fan of getting up at the crack of dawn — his mornings begin at 4:30 a.m., which gives him plenty of time to pray and muse over his first sermon of the day. The Dalai Lama wakes up even earlier, at 3 a.m., to take a morning shower and meditate. If you’re a big fan of the snooze button… try waking up just one minute earlier every day. “You’ll take longer to reach your goal, but taking a few months to build the habit is better than never building it at all!

2 Awaken With A Prayer On Your Lips

Many religious traditions have morning prayers that believers say to give thanks for a new day. Muslims have a beautiful set of prescribed rituals and prayers. Right after awakening, some Jews say the “Modeh Ani” prayer:“I offer thanks to You,living and eternal King,for You have mercifully restored my soul within me;Your faithfulness is great.”An awakening prayer can be just as meaningful for people who don’t identify with a specific religious tradition.

3 Spend A Few Moments At Your Home Altar Or Meditation Space

Oprah Winfrey has a designated space within her house that she uses for meditation. “If it’s for 1 minute, 20 seconds, or 10 minutes, I at least stop in that space in my house every morning,” Winfrey said in a video about her routine.Your home altar or meditation space doesn’t have to be elaborate. Winfrey’s space has just three candles and a few spiritual readings. You can add a devotional statue, photos of loved ones or fresh flowers.While you are at your altar, spend some time speaking out loud to yourself — whether it’s a prayer, a personal mantra or an expression of gratitude. There’s something powerful about actually vocalizing your thoughts, instead of meditating on them silently. Pay attention as the prayer arises in your mind, forms on your tongue and resounds in your ears.

4 Move Your Body

Whether it’s running outside or taking the dog for a walk, take some time to move your body in the morning. Our hearts and souls are connected to our bodies and they love to be stretched, cherished, nourished and loved. If you don’t have any time do a quick child’s pose to surrender yourself to the day, or a mountain pose to let the day know you are ready to take it on, or take a little longer walk to the bus to give you time to reflect.

5 Savor Nature

You get up, jump in the car or subway and scramble into your office. By the time your workday is over — especially during the winter months — the last of the sun’s rays have disappeared from the sky. How many days do we let go by without enjoying the great gift of nature? There are simple ways to incorporate nature into your early morning ritual. Enjoy your coffee sitting on the porch.  Watching a minute or two of the sun coming up is an instant uplift to your energy and sets the tone for a positive start to the day. Our everyday routines can be transformed into holy moments!

6 Listen To Music

If you have trouble getting up early or finding time meditate, music is an easy way to center yourself. Choose a song that brings out the emotions you want to take throughout your day—like peace, happiness, or empowerment. (I currently use “Redbone” by childish Gambino) Listen to the song once with your eyes closed and really concentrate on the feelings the music creates. Then listen to the song a second time while visualizing yourself tackling the tasks of your day and achieving your goals.

7 Tune In To The World

the writer Pico Iyer, a longtime friend of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader makes it a point to listen to the news every morning — even during meditation. The Dalai Lama’s favorite programs are reportedly Voice of America, the BBC East Asian broadcast and the BBC World Service.  It may seem that this practice isn’t spiritually nourishing — the news is often filled with messages of suffering, war and injustice. But the key is in how you listen. Iyer said that the Dalai Lama’s desire to learn about what is happening in the world reminds him of how the Buddha is often depicted with his right hand touching the earth. The gesture is a powerful message that all life on earth is inextricably linked. It’s a reminder to let go of the idea that your neighbor’s welfare is somehow disconnected from your own. So spend time in the morning listening to the news that is affecting the world and make a pledge to do your part in spreading kindness.

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