Ayurvedic Morning Routine | Spring Edition

reading time: 9 min

Ritucharya is the Ayurvedic practice of adapting your diet and lifestyle routine to the seasonal changes, and stay in sync with the seasons. So as the snow from the winter slowly melts away, the kapha energy (which is associated with feelings of heaviness, lethargy, sluggishness, melancholy or depression, and also an increase in mucus – such as coughs and colds – when elevated or off balance) that has accumulated over the course of winter, will also naturally melt away. It is the time of allergies, sinus congestion, hey fever and flu, and we often feel mucusy, sticky, dense, stuck and unmotivated.

In today's blog post I want to share with you a morning routine that is fitted to the Ayurvedic kapha season which begins in February and continues into late May.
It might look like an incredibly long morning routine, but first of all, it includes workout and breakfast, meaning you could start with your work and daily chores at about 8 a.m. And of course, feel free to adjust it to your liking and perhaps skip a few steps, depending on YOUR preference, YOUR body, and YOUR day to day life. I definitely don't do every part of this routine every day, but I try to incorporate as many elements as I can ☺️

6 a.m. – Wake At or Before Sunrise

At the moment the sun rises at about 6 a.m. where I live, so that's when I try to get up. (This also correlates with Ayurvedic recommendations to get up between 3 a.m and 6 a.m., which is a vata time of day and helps to compensate the sluggishness of kapha – the heavy kapha time begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10 a.m.) Since the accumulated kapha energy makes us extra sluggish and prone to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock, it's important to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night, but still make it a practice to wake up before or by 6. o'clock, otherwise getting out of bed becomes harder and harder with every minute.

To help me wake up "naturally" I use a dawn simulating alarm clock – mine is very old, but I love it! It's the Philips HF3520 Wake-up Light, which gently starts emitting light 30 minutes before the set time – like the actual sunrise. If I'm not awake by 6 a.m., it starts to give off chirping bird sounds and gentle instrumental music.


Get Dressed + Make Bed

Before I do anything else, I get dressed, pull open the curtains, and make the bed. If you aren't making your bed yet, start doing it NOW! Small steps like this help with maintaining focus, getting your thoughts in order and maintaining self-discipline throughout the rest of the day.
Open the windows (unless you're super sensitive to pollen during this time of year) and let some fresh spring air in!

Oil Pulling

If I'm not in a hurry and need to rush out the door, I take my time to swish and gargle with coconut oil for about 10 minutes (you can also do as little as 1 or 2 minutes, so don't worry!). Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic technique that strengthens teeth, gums and jaw, while loosening up your sinuses and ridding your throat of mucus build up, as well as improving the sense of taste and your overall mouth odour. I've written an entire blog post all about this technique, so jump on over here to learn more.
Important: Avoid swallowing and spit the oil into the trash when you're done, instead of the sink – otherwise it will clog the drain!
While I do oil pulling I usually prepare my breakfast and feed our guinea pigs who are always the first to get their brekkie in our home.

6.15 a.m. – Brush Teeth + Scrape Tongue

Both after oil pulling and after brushing my teeth I always, always use my stainless steel tongue scraper to remove any bacteria and toxins that have accumulated on the tongue overnight. I also do this at night after brushing my teeth. It's just the best feeling to have a squeaky clean tongue! (Especially since the elevated kapha leads to a thick white tongue coat – yuck!) Again, you can read more about this Ayurvedic practice over here.

Nasal Rinse

To further flush out any excess mucus (even the word is gross!), I like to clarify my nose every now and then by using a nasal rinse cup or neti pot. I've done a separate blog post on that, too, which you should read, but basically what you do is you pour a mineral salt solution through your nasal passages. It feels a bit weird at first, but you'll notice the cleansing and moistening effect of this rinse. This is especially great for when you have a cold or flu, and to reduce or even eliminate seasonal allergies! If your nose feels dry afterwards, dab a bit of coconut oil on your pinky and apply to your nostrils.

6.30 a.m. – Splash Cold Water

To fully wake up I always splash some cold water in my eyes. Since I work on the computer all day they get strained easily, and cold water in the morning helps to soothe and relax the eyes – plus, it makes you feel more vibrantly awake! You could also take a cold shower instead (I prefer evening showers, so splashing my face it is).
Afterwards, I usually apply a natural skin cream with SPF, or some aloe vera gel.

Drink Warm Water

Most of us start our mornings with a hot cup of coffee or tea to warm our bodies after getting out of bed. And when we drink water, we tend to prefer it cold because it's refreshing, but according to Ayurvedic medicine, regularly drinking very warm boiled water, especially in the morning, can heal our bodies, providing digestive power and reducing metabolic waste that could have built up in our immune system. After eight hours of sleep, drinking a cup of warm water on an empty stomach can help cleanse your body by flushing out toxins, it improves digestion (which is especially sluggish during kapha season), aids constipation (again, very common during kapha season), improves blood circulation, prevents premature ageing, and keeps your skin clean of acne and pimples. It's also a nice way to gently wake up and refresh your body.
I usually drink 1 large mug of warm water (I pour 1/2 filtered cold water and 1/2 filtered boiled water). If you like, add some fresh ginger slices, or a spritz of lemon.

6.45 a.m. – Dry Brush

This is another topic I've done an entire blog post on, so jump on over here to learn more about it. But in short, you'll want to brush in long, sweeping strokes towards your heart, and brushing in circular motions around joints and stomach. You can use a dry brush, a sponge, raw silk gloves, or even a dry wash cloth. Dry brushing stimulates lymphatic drainage, which helps move lymph and excess kapha in the body, increases circulation, encourages detoxification, reduces muscle tension, and even helps with reducing and preventing cellulite and stretch marks.


Yup, do a Number 2! If I haven't peed right after getting up, this is when I empty my bladder and bowels. If you don't feel like it, just take some time to sit on the toilet every morning. Your body will adapt and get used to a specific time. Just give it a go ;-)

If you feel courageous, you might also try to take an enema as the ultimate way to eliminate toxins and flush out built-up waste in the colon. This also helps with acute constipation, and it might also help get rid of fatigue and allergies (due to built-up colon waste).

BTW: Another great way to "eliminate waste" is to clean out your closet and declutter as part of a seasonal spring cleaning!

7 a.m. – Green Juice

Speaking of flushing out toxins! As we all know, spring is the time for cleansing internally and externally – getting rid of excess kapha –, doing detoxes and cleanses such as panchakarma, and eating bitter dark leafy greens such as dandelion, stinging nettle, arugula and herbs. I usually also add a teaspoon of barley grass powder and/or moringa powder to my green drink. Bitter, astringent and pungent tastes are great for kapha season.

Another great way to get in those greens, and flush your body first thing in the morning, is making a green juice at home. If you – like me – don't have a juicer, check out blogpost on how to make green juice in a blender! The recipe yields about 5 cups of green juice or so, so if you're new to this, maybe start with cutting the ingredients in half or even 1/4. All you need is a good blender, a cheesecloth or nut milk bag, and choice of green fruits and veggies.

7.15 a.m. – Vigorous Exercise

Since the elevated kapha energy makes us lazy and lethargic, it's best to stimulate our bodies and our circulation with invigorating movement. Anything that invokes the elements of fire, air and aether will help shift the dense and heavy energy of accumulated kapha. Maybe play some upbeat music, and get sweaty! Great options are early morning yoga (choose something a bit more active and dynamic, such as a quick-paced hatha flow or yoga wash detox flow or power yoga break or core power wake up), a nice energizing bike ride or brisk walk, jogging, aerobic, dancing, kick-boxing, skipping... Anything to get your blood pumping and the juices flowing!
If you are doing yoga, try to include sun salutations, chair pose, or better yet: twisting chair, warrior poses, upward plank, headstand, bow pose, half moon pose and spinal rolls in your practice. Use a strong forceful breath during practice. Fire breath is also a great addition.
7.45 a.m. – Meditate

After waking up and shaking up my body I like to calm down again by doing 10 to 20 minutes of meditation. You could also include some breathing exercises at this point, for example fire breath or alternate nostril breathing. This is also a great time for journaling and reflecting. I love setting intentions every morning in my little daily intentions journal! Or how about a mindful walking meditation through nature perhaps? What ever you feel like that day.

8 a.m. – Light Breakfast

By now I'm usually pretty hungry, but I try to keep my breakfast on the smaller, lighter side. Avoid heavy, oily, raw, and sweet foods. Your meals should be easily digestible. Milk products, nuts, highly processed foods, red meat and wheat should be avoided, or taken in small quantity. Avoid alcohol, except for an occasional glass of dry red or white wine.
Great kapha-pacifying breakfast ideas include: 
- a fruit salad (with fruits like apples, pears, figs, apricots, berries, cherries, mango, persimmon, pomegranate, peaches, or quince), perhaps with a cup of tea
- stewed apples spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with raw honey
- spiced quinoa, buckwheat, polenta or millet porridge with stewed fruits (e. g. apples and pears), sprinkled with some warming spices such as ginger or cinnamon
- barley cereal
- a ginger turmeric smoothie with banana and mango (avoid frozen fruits!)
- chickpea flower pancakes, spiced with cumin and served with a salad
- a green smoothie packed with dark leafy green vegetables (e. g. spinach, stinging nettle, berries or apples or mango, wheat bran, mango juice or warm soy milk)

You may also have some green tea or black tea along with your breakfast, or 30 minutes afterwards. Another great beverage for spring is the detoxifying Ayurvedic CCF tea, which consists of equal parts of Coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, and Fennel seeds. Roast the seeds to bring out their fragrance, simmer in boiling water for 10 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes, then strain.

And after that, it's off to work – which in my case means: off to my desk in my home office where I'll usually spend the next hours until lunchtime!
Like I said in the beginning, I know this is quite a time-consuming morning routine, but to me it's more than that: It's a flexible part of my lifestyle and my lifelong health, so to me it's worth the time and effort if I do it, and I don't have to be perfect at it! Plus, many of us have been working from home for the past two years, which leaves more time to care for our bodies, minds and souls :)