By Caroline Noel Jackson
Hey Yogis! Do you need some inspiration for 2018 New Years resolutions? Consider adopting one (or a few!) of these 5 little practices that I have found really helpful. They are small changes/routines that help keep my days balanced, grounded, and healthy.
Starting the day with a warm glass of lemon water
This healthy habit is really easy to start, maintain, and incorporate into your morning routine. Starting the day with warm lemon water wakes up the digestive tract, hydrates the body, and provides a quick dose of vitamins and minerals. Simply mix together an 8-12 ounce glass of lukewarm water with the juice of half a lemon and sip it first thing in the morning.
I made this a habit by preparing my lemon water alongside my morning coffee. When I wake up I start my kettle, prep my French press, and squeeze half a lemon into a juice glass. When my kettle is about half way to boiling, I remove it from the stove and add some of the warmed-up water to the juice glass and enjoy it before coffee.
Ending the day with warm milk
An ayurvedic ritual that I have incorporated into my nightly routine is drinking a warm glass of milk before bed. It is believed that warm milk helps with sleep. The recipe is simple:
- 8 ounces of milk (I use whole fat milk, but this recipe can be made with dairy free milks, too)
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- A pinch of black pepper
Put everything into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the milk as it warms until you can just see some bubbles forming at the side of the saucepan. Then pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
Tuning in by turning the tunes off
One of the easiest ways to practice mindfulness is to connect to your surroundings. More often than not many of us are “plugged in” to our phones or iPods. I challenge you to skip the earbuds and simply tune into the sounds of your neighborhood on your next morning stroll. Maybe even make a habit of leaving your headphones at home on your daily walk to the metro or the dog park in 2018.
Nasal cleansing with a neti pot
This practice is highly beneficial for those of us with a morning yoga practice as it opens the sinus passages and prepares the body to be able to breathe deeply. Almost all store-bought neti pots will come with instructions and saline to water ratios. It is recommended to use filtered room temperature water. The practice can be a little drying but simply massaging the nostrils with sesame oil or olive oil afterwards will keep everything in balance.
Making homemade broth from scraps
This simple habit is healthy, environmentally friendly, and saves money! Instead of paying $3 for vegetable or chicken broth you can make your own with scraps. I keep a gallon size zip-lock bag in my freezer and throughout the week I place any leftover veggies or vegetable peels I do not use in it (such as the tops of carrots, the skins of onions and garlic, the base of a celery stalk, cilantro or parsley stems, and the list goes on). If you are not vegetarian you can also add leftover bones. For example, if I roast a chicken I would put the leftover carcass in the bag.
When the bag fills up I toss the entire contents into a large stock pot, fill it with water, add 1 bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, simply reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 45 minutes. When done, let the pot cool then strain the stock twice. First use a simple pasta strainer then use a cheesecloth. You can freeze the broth or use it right away.
It is great for soups or for cooking rice and other grains. Moreover, during the winter months I often have a warm glass of homemade vegetable broth or bone broth with breakfast to keep my immunity up!