As an entrepreneur, my schedule varies each day as much as the weather does here in Oklahoma. And with a strong vata constitution, structure and stability is something I have to work extra hard to create to keep my flighty tendencies in check (ie. I’d be floating off into the ether right back to Tulum if the wind blew me in that direction!). So I’ve made peace with early mornings these past few years and actually find solace in my daily rituals. In fact, I relish in rituals as a way to turn the everyday ordinary into a life infused with meaning and purpose. Here’s what a morning typically looks like around my house.
- Rise with the Sun. Okay, more like rise in the dark winter light by 6am with two cats sitting on my chest waiting for me to feed them.
- Head to the Bathroom, start my cleansing routines of oil pulling, which I’ll do while I dry skin brush, then rub a copious amount of sesame oil into my skin and shower. When I get out, I tongue scrape, brush my teeth and rub a little sesame oil or nasya oil into my nasal passages.
- Head to the Kitchen, turn on my kettle to start with a mixture of warm water, lime juice and aloe vera . Then, I begin making my breakfast tea. Sometimes, it’s a chyvanprash and ghee elixir, other times it’s a little more sustaining like this saffron, fennel, cardamom, clove and turmeric tea with thick creamy almond coconut milk I’m sharing with you below.
- Head to my Sacred Space, I have a room in my house I’ve dedicated to yoga and meditation practice. Because I also teach private lessons here, so I take extra care to smudge and clear the energy in this room several times a day. I always have palo santo, white sage, or copal burning around my little alter spaces of goddesses, crystals and flowers.
- Sip & Reflect, I usually start slow by sipping my tea and writing a little bit. I have that chatty anxious vata mind, so free form writing is a way for me to bring the energy down and out of my mind. I also like pulling a few tarot cards to or medicine woman cards. I’ve found these practices really helpful for processing emotions and events in life through a different lens. Then, I move to a little meditation my mother passed along to me, simply reflecting on what’s emerging physically/emotionally/spiritually and what’s needed to create peace and balance that day.
- Vibrate & Move, last summer I bought a shruti box (a mini harmonium) to deepen my chanting practice. I can’t sing for two cents, but give me a Vedic mantra and I’ll belt that baby out. Sometimes, a long chanting session is all I’ll need for the day and other times I’ll move into some yoga therapy practices or a light asana. Is it just me, or does anyone else find the older, or I should say, intuitively wiser you get, the more you just want to slow down and not bust ass in a hard asana practice?
- Mindful Meal, around the new moon a cup of this saffron turmeric elixir is all I need for a light breakfast, but around the full moon when my digestion is high I’ll head back into the kitchen for a mindful meal of amaranth porridge or coconut probiotic yogurt before I dive into work.
Now this morning routine isn’t always super slow or as lavish as it sounds. But taking at least 20-30 minutes a morning for myself has made a huge difference in my days and my general health. I’ve learned that sometimes it isn’t necessarily the supplements we take or the food we eat that matters the most in our health, but the way we gently create and hold space for ourselves to emotionally digest and process all that we encounter in our lives.
Born out of the super chilly mornings we’ve had this winter, came this soft and creamy latte to my regular morning rituals. I’ve maybe burnt myself out on herbal chai lately, so this saffron-infused variation has satisfied my need for a warming winter elixir. I even go back for a second and sometimes third cup when I’m snuggled in a blanket in snowy days like today. I hope this recipe warms your soul the way it does mine, and make your morning rituals a little sweeter.
CREAMY SAFFRON & FENNEL TEA LATTE
8 threads saffron
10 whole cardamom pods
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp turmeric (fresh grated or powder)
4 cups water
2 cups creamy almond coconut milk
In a medium saucepan or small pot, combine the water and spices. Bring to a light boil, then reduce to medium heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. While cooking, make your almond milk (recipe below). Next, add the almond milk to the pot and allow the spices to steep in the milk on low heat for another 3-5 minutes. To serve, strain into a mug and stir in a bit of raw honey or sweetener of your choice.
Creamy Almond & Coconut Milk
2 cups almonds, soaked overnight
1 tbsp coconut butter or coconut oil
pinch Himalayan pink salt
6 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender, puree until creamy. Strain through a nut milk bag or fine-mesh strainer and store in an airtight container in your fridge until ready to use.
Makes 3-4 servings