Want to Feel Great in the Morning? Start the Day off Right with a Morning Ritual. ~ Nicole Carlin

Via Nicole Harlow
on Jan 29, 2013
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Tired of feeling, well, tired in the morning? Yeah, I was too.

It didn’t matter how much sleep I had the night before, I still woke up feeling sluggish, blurry-eyed and plain ol’ tired.

Using my knowledge of nutrition, yoga and ancient Ayurvedic health practices, I created a morning ritual for myself that not only helped increase my energy levels, but was so nourishing to my body and soul that I actually wanted to get up in the morning to start my day.

I find pleasure in committing to a morning ritual. It grounds my mind, energizes my spirit and allows me the quiet time to reflect on and prioritize my day ahead.

1. Set your alarm an extra 20 minutes early.

I know, I know! It’s difficult enough to wake up early, but believe me the extra 20 minutes necessary to develop a quiet and reflective morning routine will pay off dividends in your energy level later on in the day.

2. After you roll out of bed—before you even brush your teethpractice the ancient Ayurvedic health remedy of oil pulling.

The practice of oil pulling has been linked to improved mouth and gum health, weight loss, detoxification and total body wellness. Although scientific studies to prove the efficacy of oil pulling in regards to weight loss and detoxification are lacking, there are several studies that link oil pulling to improved health of the mouth, gums and teeth.

To start oil pulling, place one to two tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth without swallowing. Feel free to experiment with other cold-pressed, organic oils like sesame or sunflower oil. I personally love using coconut oil for its taste and antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. After you have oil in your mouth, swish the oil around, through your teeth and around your gums. It feels incredibly awkward at first, but as you continue the practice you’ll settle into the feeling of slowly swishing the oil around and around. Ideally, you should aim to keep the oil in your mouth for 20 minutes, but you might want to start off with a few minutes at first and build up your time in increments.

(I love to use my oil pulling time to sit quietly in meditation, using the sensations in my mouth as a focal point, or practicing a slow, meditative yoga or qi gong practice.)

After the time is up, spit the milky white gloop in the toilet or trashcan. What started off as a fresh spoonful of oil has now turned into a festering spludge of microorganisms.

Gargle with warm water to remove the remnants of oil and bacteria and brush your teeth as usual.

Within a week or two of daily oil pulling you should see healthier teeth and gums smiling back at you in the bathroom mirror.

3. Sip a tonic made of hot water and lemon.

Squeeze half of a lemon into a mug of warm or hot water. Sit quietly as you sip and contemplate the day ahead of you, instead of the usual grab-a-bagel-and-run-out-the-door morning routine. According to Dr. Susan E. Brown’s book, The Acid Alkaline Food Guide, fresh lemon juice has an alkalizing effect on the body, which leads to improved health and greater vitality.

4. The food and beverage choices you make in the morning can set the tone for your eating habits the rest of the day.

So set the foundation for health as soon as you plop that first morsel of food in your mouth. A study performed by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that individuals who eat a healthy breakfast at least five days per week consume less calories during the day and jump-start their metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.

I like to start the day off with fresh squeezed juice—beets, carrots, ginger, spinach and a splash of orange juice—that way I know I’m starting my day off with at least half of my daily recommended intake of fruits and veggies.

Some other great choices for breakfast include fruit smoothies (throw in a handful of kale or spinach to green it up), whole grain porridge, a veggie omelet or whole grain toast with a smear of nut butter.


Nicole CarlinNicole Carlin, MA Sexuality, E-RYT is a dynamic, playful and fiercely feminine vinyasa, Yin and fertility yoga teacher and teacher trainer. She’s published over 2,000 articles on yoga, sexuality and wellness and her book Hot Yoga, Hotter Sex is launching in May 2013. Through her inspirational teaching and vibrant, knowledgeable writing, Nicole empowers women to nurture their physical, emotional and sexual health. Connect with Nicole: via email at [email protected], her website, Facebook and Twitter.


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Assistant Ed:  Terri Tremblett


About Nicole Harlow

Nicole Harlow (MA Sexuality, Functional Hormonal Health Nutritionist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, yoga teacher, #Astrobabe) is the author of international bestselling book Chakra Detox, host of top-50 iTunes self-help podcast The Spirited Entrepreneur and creator of Your Year of Radical Transformation, Namaste MBA + Unlock Your Cycle™ online programs. She is the founder of The Center for Menstrual + Sexual Health™ and Creative Director of Nicole Harlow Design Studio. She lives on the sunny Mediterranean island of Malta, where you can find her running conscious, playful, pleasure-seeking retreats for women at the Malta Wellness Retreat Centre. Learn more about Your Year of Radical Transformation, The Center for Menstrual & Sexual Health or Malta Wellness Retreat Centre, listen to the Spirited Entrepreneur Podcast, or connect with Nicole via email at [email protected], Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.


19 Responses to “Want to Feel Great in the Morning? Start the Day off Right with a Morning Ritual. ~ Nicole Carlin”

  1. Thanks for reading this article! The link for my website isn’t working, you can find me at nicolecarlinyoga.com 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    I'm fascinated by the idea of oil pulling. I've never heard of it before! Iove the health benefits of coconut oil in general though, so I might give this a try! Did you know that coconut oil has links to treating Alzheimer's patients?

  3. samadhiam says:

    Sweet! I do this regularly, and I always thought sesame was the preferred oil, but I can't stand the taste so I choose coconut. Glad to read it is a good alternative.

  4. Oh man, I know! I started with sesame but couldn't really get into the taste of it and also used sunflower oil too. The sunflower oil was fine because it has a very mild taste, but I think coconut oil is just leaps and bounds better. Although it's sometimes difficult to not eat it and just leave it in my mouth for oil pulling. 🙂

    Do you do it every day, several times per day or only sporadically? I try to oil pull every morning but I've heard of people oil pulling several times per day in between meals..

  5. Hey Amy!

    Here are two more resources I found about oil pulling. Some websites claim that it can cure a multitude of ailments, but there is little scientific evidence to support this (maybe though!…) At the very least, I know it makes my teeth look and feel strong, healthy and white. I do brush my teeth afterwards with a natural toothpaste, although the second reference below advises you to brush your teeth straight up with soap. I'm not that hardcore 🙂

    Good luck!

  6. lisa says:

    i have periodontal disease that, despite an incredibly healthy diet of whole foods, never having even ONE cavity, and going through everything from alternative modalities to allopathic medicine to surgery to oil pulling, still have ended up losing all my upper teeth. I oil pulled for months, diligently. one morning I oil pulled and went immediately to the periodontist where he promptly took a scraping of my gums. it was filled with bacteria, leading me to believe that any claims of the oil removing infection, bacteria, or disease was not only unfounded but false…at least in my case.

    I wanted it to be true and to prove my western docs wrong. it was not. i also used Essential Oils "Thieves Oil" plus did all sorts of herbal remedies. in my opinion, while oil pulling is not dangerous, it does little for gum health overall. ..at least from my personal experience.

  7. DarshanProject says:

    was that essential oils thing actually essential oil that you put in your mouth by any chance? You really have to be careful with ingesting or using essential oils topically as that can really mess you up BAD.
    Sounds like you have some deep seated pitta issues trying all sorts of things and wanting to prove people wrong (no judgment there, I have the same problem), but your toxicity might have been deep seated and you weren't looking at all the factors. Pitta has a lot of associations with any "itis" and infections as well…Anyways this is general but just a sense I'm getting. Did you ever get any quality "alternative" advice or did you just try to figure it out on your own?

  8. lisa says:

    look up Thieves Oil. I went to experts including one of the most highly respected ayurvedic docs in the southeast. I was not about "proving" anything other than the statement i mentioned about wanting the oilpulling to prove to actually work as some had claimed. My body produced bacteria which caused periodontal disease. I am a holistic nutritionist and teacher myself and went to Chinese medical doctors, homeopaths, naturopaths, etc.
    This has been a decade plus long saga and despite the efforts and expert advice and not just "figuring it out on my own", genetics and bacterial excess won. The point is that oil pulling is an urban legend in my book and there is no science or proof or credibility in it as being some sort of miracle cure. Period. I learned to be a critical thinker in school and look for evidence…and I am an advocate for alternative and integrative medicine whenever possible. In fact I just spent a long session in an energy work session yesterday to support healing for my upcoming surgery in 2 days to augment the gum ridge where the loss was extensive, before getting my permanent bridge. However, anyone with serious gum issues who relies solely on energy work and oil pulling to "cure" them will most liley be sorely disappointed.

  9. lisa says:

    ps..you apply Thieves directly to the gums: http://www.youngliving.com/thieves-essential-oil/

    it was a waste of time and a lot of money and did nothing to help. I went through 2 bottles.

  10. Patrick says:

    I am very interested in trying oil pulling. I went out and bought some coconut oil but I may have gotten the wrong kind. It says it's fresh pressed virgin, whole kernel unrefined. When I unscrewed the top and took a spoon to it, it seems to thick. Is all coconut oil thick like a paste? or is there a brand you recommend to use. Can I still use the one I bought?

  11. Hi Patrick! Absolutely! Coconut oil has a very low melting point, so when you scoop it out it might be thick and solid like butter or paste, but once it’s in your mouth it will quickly melt and liquefy. You’ll notice in the warmer months coconut oil will be liquid at room temperature. Good luck and let me know how it works for you!


  12. Desiree says:

    I tried the lemon/water thing for a few weeks but it made my teeth hurt-is there an alternative supportive drink?

  13. Mina says:

    Try drinking through a straw–the acidity of the lemon will wear down your enamel otherwise

  14. Lolo says:

    Citrus dissolves the enamel on your teeth. I read you shouldn’t brush your teeth for 30 minutes after eating anything citrus. I recently read an article about it. I definitely won’t be drinking lemon water every morning as I already have sensitive teeth.

  15. mina reyes says:

    Very interesting but impossible to do when you have to wake up at 4:30 am everyday and leave home at 5:30 to commute for an hour and a half to barely make it for 7am class 🙁

  16. Mara Light says:

    Brush youe teeth before and simply rinse them with water afterwards 😉

  17. Ripa says:

    This is an amazing article, Nichole! Thanks for sharing – I also love to follow many of these morning ritual practices.

  18. Brianna says:

    I’ve been oil pulling for two years now! It helps me to wake up in the mornings, I usually get things done while I’m oil pulling but meditating or doing yoga sounds better! I’ve noticed my teeth are whiter and my breath stays fresh through out the day…I also have tmj and oil pulling has helped tremedously!!! We had a super cold winter this past year and usually I shiver and my jaw will chatter and it triggers my tmj but this year it hasn’t hurt at all!!! Coconut oil is my favorite! Also it’s been 2 years since I’ve been sick! 🙂 I recommend oil pulling to everyone I know!! It’s that good!

  19. Heather says:

    Again, lemon is very acid. It has a pH of 2. It contains a lot of citric acid, therefore why on earth do people in the "holistic" feld continue to say it has an alkalising affect on the body? Of course it doesnt! It's good for you because it's high in vitamin C and probably better first thing than a double espresso. Other than that, great advice, but you really have to start looking into your "facts" as they just make you all look like you have no idea what you're talking about when you post rubbish like acidic foods having an alkalising effect.