Morning rituals often determine how we feel for the rest of the day. We have assembled these 5 rituals inspired by Hildegard of Bingen to help get the day off to a successful start.
Common sense and experience tells us, our morning behavior affects productivity, energy levels, and satisfaction throughout the day. The beginning of our day can either set the course for achieving goals, or for performance breakdowns, lack of focus, and general discontent.
Morning rituals promote or worsen our well-being.
We introduce these five morning rituals, inspired by Hildegard to help get the day off to a powerful start in the morning and for the rest of the day.
The more conscious we make our mornings, the better we experience the rest of the day. Mornings provide the space to influence and strengthen the well-being of our bodies, our souls, and our minds.
Let’s start with a very simple and ancient morning ritual, the oil mouthwash extraction. Also known as oil pulling.
1. A Simple Morning Ritual: Oil Pulling
As strange as it may sound, gargling linseed oil was popular as far back as ancient Greece. This is also one of Hildegard von Bingen’s nutritional treatments for good oral hygiene and detoxification.
Oil pulling benefits
A basic oil pulling mouthwash works as a useful daily routine and is particularly helpful for anyone working through a cleanse or detoxification (such as fasting). Oil pulling works to improve the health of teeth, gums, and oral mucosa.
According to Ayurvedic literature, oil pulling not only improves oral health, but also general well-being. In east Indian healing traditions oil pulling is thought to improve headaches, migraines, diabetes, asthma, acne, and whiten teeth.
The best oils for oil pulling
Apart from linseed oil, you can use coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil. The oil should always be of high quality (native and organic) and, of course, flavorful.
How to do oil pulling
When swishing oil in the mouth, start with a small amount of oil in the morning after getting up, and before brushing your teeth. Draw the oil through your teeth and move it around in your mouth for an extended period of time, up to 10 – 20 minutes. This process is known as an oil pulling or oil extraction, because the oil pulls (extracts) harmful toxins from the mouth.
Alternatively, spit-out the oil after 5 minutes of gargling, and follow-up with a refresh using new oil. The basic rationale for refreshing the oil is based on the thought that the oil extracts toxins, and ought to be discarded. This theory has not been validated, however, so use the approach that appeals to you.
Finishing the process of oil pulling
As you continue swishing the oil around your mouth, notice the oil-saliva mixture becomes thinner, eventually turning white. At this point, the process wraps up for completion, and you can spit out the oil.
Upon completion, brush your teeth as usual. Oil extraction helps reduce plaque, fights tooth decay, and improves bad breath; a matter we always though common in Medieval times, until we recently learned about ancient dental hygiene practices.
Oil pulling results
As Dr. Victoria Sweet explains in her book Slow Medicine, much like the time it takes for nature to achieve the greening power of Hildegard’s Viriditas, pre-modern medicine takes time.
Studies of oil pulling demonstrate that a 45-day cycle significantly improves gum inflammation, and shows a reduction in dental plaque. The process also improves bad breath by diffusing the bacteria that causes bad breath.
2. Start the Day With Warm Lemon Water
In the absence of time in the morning for oil pulling, consider starting the day with warm lemon water as soon as you get up. Warm lemon water consists of warm (not hot) water (150 to 200 ml) and a freshly-squeezed lemon half.
Brush your teeth at the earliest 30 minutes after drinking the lemon water.
Among other things, warm lemon water contains fruit acids, pectin and vitamin C. They all work together to stimulate digestion, activate metabolism, and promote the body’s natural detoxification process. This helps eliminate free radicals, and purge the toxins and waste products we accumulate overnight. Regular consumption of warm lemon juice can also contribute to improved skin appearance.
In order to combine oil pulling and a warm lemon water drink, you will need more time in the morning. After oiling your teeth, brush them, first. Do not eat citrus fruits immediately after brushing your teeth, as the acids have an abrasive effect on freshly-brushed teeth. Wait on the lemon water for at least one hour after getting up and brushing teeth.
Since water alone has an enormous detoxifying effect, you can simply drink a glass of water immediately after brushing your teeth.
3. Add Dietary Fibers and Mineral Soils to Your Morning Rituals
As yet another alternative to water after brushing your teeth, consider adding a combination of psyllium husk powder and a mineral earth (bentonite, zeolite, or healing earth). These preparations are available in powder form, so that they can be mixed into a shake or smoothie.
An effective combination includes equal parts psyllium husk powder and mineral earth at approximately ½ teaspoon of each, for 200 ml water. Mix the combination thoroughly. Alternatively, take the psyllium husk powder and the mineral earth in capsule form. Whether in the form of a shake or capsules, always be sure to drink a large glass of water.
The psyllium husk powder represents an excellent source of
both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. These stimulate the peristalsis in the intestines and thus promote morning bowel movements.
Psyllium husk powder helps to clean the intestinal walls and in Germany is regarded as an intestinal “broom”. This remedy helps frees the sensitive intestinal mucosa from deposits and harmful bacteria. At the same time, psyllium husk powder regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The mineral clay, on the other hand, functions as a kind of “sponge” that absorbs dissolved toxins, harmful bacteria, cholesterol, acids and other waste products so that they can be excreted with the stool. Together these remedies contribute to well-being and performance.
Common sense tells us that starting the day by lifting the ballast of superfluous substances inevitably leads to better vitality and an improved sense of well being.
4. Movement as a Morning Ritual
It comes as no surprise that Hildegard would have us moving first thing in the morning. We can eat a healthy diet, do regular cleansing treatments, and take as many supplements as available – all of this work has little effect without some exercise.
And since it doesn’t get any easier to exercise in the evening, just do it in the morning! You will be in the best of spirits and begin the day with freshness and lightness.
We don’t necessarily have to go to the swimming pool or the gym. And, we don’t have to create an exhaustive work-out program to get the benefits of exercise. Cobble together your own individual 15 to 20 minute exercise program and do it regularly every morning.
If the morning doesn’t work, find a time to move or walk after dinner.
5. Alternate Warm / Cold Shower to Get You Started in the Morning
After your morning workout, consider taking a shower while alternating between warm and cold water. This process takes a little practice. If you can overcome the challenge even once, you will be surprised by the effect, and surely repeat.
How to do warm / cold shower
The appropriate alternating shower goes 30 seconds cold, 30 seconds warm and finally another 30 seconds cold (all this, after your usual warm water shower routine).
With the cold water, start applying to your feet and legs, then move on to your arms, finally your back and belly. By the very end, take the leap and shower your head and chest with cold water.
Do not suddenly expose the area around the heart to cold water, especially not in the early morning.
What can I expect from alternating shower
Alternating showers wake you up physically and mentally, stimulating circulation, metabolism, detoxification, all while tempering bad moods and stress. In addition, this process accelerates testosterone formation, which helps to increase self-confidence in both men and women.
An alternating shower immediately lifts the mood and carries you through a successful day. Hildegard’s predecessor in healing, Sebastian Kneipp was an avid proponent of this sort of Cold and Warm Water Therapy.
Morning Rituals Work Best with Daily Application
The term “ritual” alone indicates that a single application is not sufficient. Instead, rituals are performed daily and become a normal part of everyday life – just like the morning shower, brushing one’s teeth and dressing.
Plan time for your morning rituals
Of course, new morning rituals demand more time, which means you get up a little earlier. The time devoted to these rituals should not exceed 30 to 45 minutes. After considering the corresponding gain in vitality, the exchange of a few minutes of sleep seems justified. Better to go to bed earlier in the evening, anyway.
Breakfast in the morning is not a must
Don’t forget the right breakfast. According to Hildegard’s medieval diet, and depending on your health, the right breakfast may also mean no breakfast at all. Use the time it takes for oil pulling to prepare healthy provisions for your journey or to make preparations for a healthy dinner.
We know breakfast is not optimal for everyone, certainly not during the course of intermittent fasting. If you don’t have an appetite in the morning, don’t force yourself to have breakfast. Hildegard would agree.