Magic in the Morning: Routines for a Fantastic Day

by | Apr 1, 2024 | Health & Fitness, Lifestyle

Are you the type of person who wakes up in the morning and wants to stay in bed for “just a few more minutes” – and those few more minutes turn into an hour and suddenly you realise that you are late. For everything.

You shamble out of bed and into the bathroom. In your sleepy hurry you put shaving cream on to your toothbrush… then the day goes rapidly downhill. Think Mr. Bean having a really bad day.

That evening, you determine that you will “fix” your mornings. You start googling stuff and are aghast at what people suggest – Sun Salutations at 5:00 am. 5:00 am???!!! Glass of green gunk directly after that – begin the day with that?! Not coffee? Nope. Not for me you think… until the next morning you try to gargle with shampoo.

I need help – you say.

I hear you. I say.

You can have a fantastic morning routine that’s achievable and enjoyable. Yes, you can! Read on…


Our bodies are creatures of habit. They love a schedule. When you create just a simple schedule that you will follow come what may, you will be pleasantly surprised how good you feel. 

Our bodies have many rhythms in them. The Circadian rhythm is triggered by light and darkness. The hunger hormones by when you eat food. The adenosine cycle by when you awaken and sleep. And many, many more, All these rhythms have co-dependencies. And every single one of them is related to the rhythms of nature – day and night, the seasons, etc.

When we can start to synch up the rhythms of the body with the rhythms of nature, health, productivity, creativity, great moods – basically all the good things in life happen effortlessly.

Routines are important. Chaotic rhythms result in unnecessary tension and stress. Something that you can completely avoid with just a little bit of discipline. Come to think of it, ironically, it is discipline that forms the basis of freedom. Bring some discipline into your life and enjoy the freedom that comes from great health, a razor sharp mind and a fabulously upbeat mood.

Your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Get your morning sorted and the rest is going to be that much easier. 

Ready to give this a shot?


While you were sleeping, the Earth moved at 107,000 km/hr to banish the night and bring you the birth of a brand new day. Look – it’s dawn. The birds have started chirping. The sounds of day have begun. You have around 57600 seconds before it’s time for bed. 

How to start?

Mornings shouldn’t start with any pressure. You don’t have to have that picture perfect productive morning – Walk, Yoga, Green Smoothie, Meditation, juggle chain-saws, etc. You cannot force magic to happen. That will only create stress, and sabotage your day before it even started. 

There is no one-size-fits-all routine for the morning. It has to be your very own. It has to work for you. Not some instagram influencer. Or celebrity writer. 

The First Mistake

Millions around the world wake up to alarms. They are jolted in consciousness by beeps (or melodious tunes doesn’t matter) our primal brains interpret as danger. This inherited fight-or-flight response, vital for survival in our distant past, is wildly mismatched with the irritating beep of alarm clock. The resulting surge of adrenaline and cortisol makes us grumpy, anxious, and even increases the risk of long-term health problems.

Think of our bodies as ancient relics thrust into a tech wonderland. Evolution hasn’t caught up with our alarms, leaving us feeling on edge at the dawn of each day. Ditching the alarm and embracing a natural wake-up rhythm is the key to a magical morning.

Your schedule might go for a toss at first. Please don’t say you can never manage without alarms. I guarantee you that you can and you will. 

What if I miss my early morning flight? Don’t book an early morning flight! Find workarounds for the things you think you have to do. It usually turns out that you don’t. Or that those things can be done at other times of the day.

As your body settles into its own natural rhythm, a beautiful thing happens. You awaken without stress, ready to greet the day with calm alertness. The gift of a naturally-paced morning is a precious one – reduced stress, improved mood, and perhaps even a longer, healthier life.

Read more about the Alarming news of alarms.

Ok, now that we have got that out of the way, lets talk about the seven core ingredients to a magical morning:

1. Skip the Hurkle-Durkle

Once you awaken in the morning, don’t hurkle-durkle. Hurkle-Durkle is a scottish word for lounging around in bed long after you have woken up. You know that feeling – you are warm and cozy in your blanket. The bed is soft and inviting and there is that delicious supreme laziness to just stay there and do nothing.

So you laze in bed. It’s fine if you do. But unfortunately the accompanying mind chatter is what is dangerous. Your mind what-ifs, and indulges in all sorts of  negative self-talk. And those few minutes turn into an hour or more of ridiculous negativity. And a perfectly wonderful day is ruined. 

Make this a rule – you are allowed 5 minutes to be in bed once you wake up. Not a second more. After 5 minutes at max, get out of bed and start your day. 

Bonus Tip: You should break this rule if you are with someone else in bed and are snuggling with them. There is nothing like a warm snuggle, with someone you love. The flood of oxytocin and serotonin – the love and trust hormones that your body releases will set you up for a fabulous mood through the day. Having sex in the morning could be a great idea.

2. Water

Drink a glass of water. Or two. You loose more than a litre of water through breathing every night. Replenish that. Just so you know, you feel thirsty long after you are actually dehydrated. If you are feeling thirsty, it means you should have drunk some water at least 30 minutes earlier.

First thing to do when you have finished your bathroom business is drink water. 1-2 glasses is great. Don’t gulp. Sip. Take at least 5-10 minutes to get the water down. Sit while drinking water.  Don’t walk around. DOnt do anything else. Just drink the water.

Once you are done with that, make your bed. It’s a simple job completed and gives you a precious dopamine squirt which will jump start your day. I will not go into the wonders of Dopamine here – I have already written a post on that.

3. Movement

You have been sleeping 7 hours or more. Your body has been prone and dormant through the night. It will feel sluggish and rusty. Get a dose of morning movement and your entire body machine will begin to hum into life.

Movement gets your blood pumping, oxygen flowing, and those feel-good endorphins surging. It’s like hitting the “restart” button on your internal computer, leaving you feeling energised and ready to tackle the day. Morning movement is a brainpower booster too. Increased blood flow to your gray matter sharpens your focus, improves memory, and enhances your creative juices.

The magic of movement acts as a mood booster as well. Exercise is a natural stress reliever and anxiety crusher, releasing those happy hormones that paint your day in brighter colours. You’ll be able to face challenges with a smile, bounce back from setbacks with ease, and radiate contagious positivity that makes everyone around you love being with you.

Morning movement can help to set your body’s internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep at night, and wake up feeling even more refreshed.

Movement Menu

Choose your dose of movement:

Surya Namaskars – just 12 of them if good enough. Start with 6 and you could build to 12 in a week. If you enjoy Sun Salutations, then you could do more – for up to 30 minutes. Here is a video of how to do Surya Namaskars.

Jumping Jacks – Simple and effective for getting your heart rate up and boosting energy. Just 5 minutes is enough. For even more energy, when your feet are apart, your hands should be down, and when you jump and get your feet together, your hands should be up. The opposite of what is generally done. You will be delighted at how you feel after.

Dance – Blast your favourite tunes and just dance. Have fun. Be totally uninhibited. This is brilliant even when you are like me and don’t know how to dance at all. Just move with the music and you are done. 10-20 minutes is great.

Go for a long walk – A brisk walk will get all the right things going in the body. Start with just 10 minutes of walking and build up to 45 minutes over a month. The added advantage of walking is that you get your dose of morning sunshine as well. You could do all of the above outside in the sun for an even better start to the day.

Finally, here is one I would never do – not my thing but could be yours – 

Stair Sprints – Walk up and down the stairs a few times. Do for 10 minutes. If you are feeling adventurous, sprint. Be careful don’t tumble.

If you are into fitness, a gym session first thing in the morning is a great idea. Jogging or swimming works as well.

Basically get your body to move. You will be amazed at the quality your day suddenly takes on because you did just a few minutes of movement first thing in the morning.

Bonus Tip: Make it fun! Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s joining a group fitness class, dancing with your dog, or taking a scenic walk with a friend. Movement needs to feel like a joyful celebration, not some punishment. When you feel happy and grateful that your body can move in all these amazing ways, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and reap the amazing benefits.

4. Sunlight

Your body knows it’s day or night through the cues it gets from the light seen by your eyes. There is a whole dance of melatonin and cortisol called the Circadian rhythm that decides literally everything about your day – when you get hungry, when your body is best for exercise or deep thought, when you go to the loo and so on. For the Circadian Rhythm to be in synch with Nature, direct exposure of your body to the morning sun is essential. 

Morning sunlight acts as a natural alarm clock, gently nudging your body into wakefulness. As the sun’s rays hit your eyes, they suppress melatonin, the sleep hormone, and trigger the release of cortisol, the wakefulness hormone. This internal alarm system leaves you feeling naturally energised and ready to face the day. 

Sun-kissed mornings create happiness. Morning sun exposure boosts serotonin, the brain’s happy hormone, leaving you feeling more optimistic and upbeat. You begin your day with a natural smile. Amazingly, exposure to morning sunlight will even give a better night’s sleep!

Sunlight can be your mental clarity elixir. It improves alertness, focus, and cognitive performance, leaving you feeling sharp and ready to tackle your day.

Morning Sunshine will help your body process Vitamin D which is essential for bone health and an effective immune system. Just taking morning walks could mean you don’t fall sick so often.

Morning sun is an invisible armour, strengthening your body and mind from the inside out.

If it’s a bright sunny day, all you need is 5-10 minutes of being outdoors. On a cloudy day, you require around 15-20 minutes. On an overcast day, you want to have 25-30 minutes.

How to make it happen?

As suggested in the movement piece above, simply take your movement activities out doors. 

Just one thing to remember – do not wear shades or dark glasses when you are outside. Remember that your body can only tell whether it’s night or day through the light it perceives from the eyes. You cannot hear, taste, smell or touch light. Wear shades, and as far as your body is concerned, you are in a dark room. Almost none of the benefits of sunlight are registered.

This doesn’t mean you never wear shades, If you are in a place where the sunlight blinds you, please wear them. Just know that your body is not doing any of the magic it should have been doing when you are out in the sun if you are wearing shades. This is the reason why a person could be a beach bum and still have Vitamin D deficiency.

5. Quiet

As you naturally transition from sleep to wakefulness, there is a certain gentle quality to your mind and consciousness that is perfect for some quiet time. 

You wake up. You do your movement. You got the water and the sun. Now, its time for some stillness.

A calm, meditative mind is tremendous source of energy. Have you noticed how when you are not feeling too good about whatever is happening around you, you will seek out someone in whose company you feel great. You don’t need to talk. Just being with them soothes you. They radiate harmony. You can too.

Just 20-30 minutes of meditation in the morning can create a mind that is focused, calm and joyful. You become supremely well equipped to face whatever challenges that day throws at you. More importantly, you gain the ability to truly enjoy whatever goes right for you during the day.

Now, just in case you are thinking meditation means giving up on your dreams and desires and wearing orange. You are completely mistaken. You don’t need to wear orange (unless you would like to) and you can be completely rooted in the material world. Meditation will just make things easier for you and allow you to experience harmony, joy and peace many more times in a day than you would think possible.

There are many techniques out there to learn and practice meditation. My personal recommendations – and I have been doing these techniques for 33+ years are the Sudarshan Kriya and Sahaj Samadhi Meditation from the Art of Living. Anyone can learn and practice these techniques and benefit from them.

To begin with – here is a guided meditation by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder of Art of Living. Enjoy!

If you would like to learn how to meditate by harnessing the power of the breath with Dinesh, me and our team, click this link to see our schedule.

6. Planning and Strategising

You have had a lovely night’s sleep. You woke up naturally, gulped down some water, did your movement and relaxed into meditation. Your mind is now primed for getting things done. Too many people I know will translate that into cheap dopamine – going through their WhatsApp, turning on the news on the TV, scrolling through their social media. 

You create the delusion of busyness that lasts through the day. You are sucked into getting these small inconsequential tasks done. You end up with no time to figure out what do you truly want in your life, why you want it and how to get to it. You are suddenly 50, still caught up in the day to day grind, waiting for the weekend and dreading the week. Your dreams have been compromised a long time ago. Life has defeated you.

First thing in the morning when your mind is fresh, alert and primed for great thought, plan and strategise about the big things in life. Get into action for things that truly matter to you. Set priorities for the day. Decide what needs to get done and start on it.

Save those WhatsApp messages and emails for later in the day. I promise you they can wait.

7. Nourishment

You should be eating dinner by 7:00 pm latest. Really you should. If you are not. Today is a great day to start doing that. 

If you have slept your 8 hours, done your movement in the sun, finished your meditation and got some work that matters done – you should be really hungry now.

The BIG rule for breakfast is ditch the sweet, eat the savoury. You don’t want a sugar spike that makes your energy come crashing down first thing in the morning. I recommend intermittent fasting – meaning dinner before 7:00 pm and breakfast and lunch together at around 10:30 am. Start with greens – a green smoothie or a leafy green salad and then move on to whatever it is that you would like to eat that day. If you are having fruit, have just one fruit, not a cocktail of fruits.

There is a lot of science behind the last paragraph that would be out of scope for this article. You are welcome to do your own research and figure out what food to eat to break you fast. Pro Tip: You will see that it’s definitely not sweetened cereal with even more sweetened milk.

Your first meal is important. Get it right and you will setup your gut for a great day ahead.

Tea and coffee?

Yes. Yes. You can have your tea or coffee – just not as the first beverage of the day. The best time to get your cuppa is around 11:30 am. This will ensure that the flood of caffeine that you create in your system will allow you to productive and alert in the dreaded afternoon slump time.

There you have it – the 7 core ingredients that make a fabulous morning:

  1. Skip the Hurkle-Durkle – Snuggling allowed and encouraged
  2. Drink a glass of water. Sit while you drink it.
  3. Embrace Movement
  4. Get outdoors into the sun for 20-30 minutes (you can do your movement there) 
  5. Meditate
  6. Plan, Strategise or act for the things that truly matter to you
  7. Eat a great breakfast/brunch – ditch the sweet, go for the savoury, definitely have greens

Feel free to mix and match from all the stuff we talked about how you see fit. Make magic that is completely yours. If you have a routine that you love to follow, then you most definitely will. 

Have a fantastic day!

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About Us

We (Bawa & Dinesh) are best-selling authors. Our three books have sold more than 100,000 copies. We have spoken at various corporate houses and educational institutions all over the world. We teach Meditation, Craniosacral Therapy and Bach Flower Remedies. We live at our beautiful home amidst nature at the Art of Living’s International Retreat in Bangalore. We love good food, music, reading, long walks and movies and theatre with happy endings.