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

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 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

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Heather Oct 18, 2014 8:33am

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.

Brianna Jul 24, 2014 8:44am

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!

Ripa Mar 31, 2014 8:54pm

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

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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.