“I have been running in the morning for most of my adult life; it’s my favourite time to run.” – Dena Haden Share this quote on Twitter

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Dena Haden

What is your morning routine?

The morning is a sacred part of the day. I love new beginnings—my mother always told me not to worry, because tomorrow is a new day. I remember being little and going to sleep so excited to begin again.

I usually wake up in my room and look out the window to check on what nature has in store. I get dressed and head outdoors. I like to get acclimated with the day through being outdoors first and foremost, it aligns me. I go for a run and then do a moving qigong outside in a certain place in my yard, usually facing toward the sun. When finished, I open my eyes and everything feels like the first time I’ve seen it, like a gift.

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How long have you stuck with this routine so far?

I have been running in the morning for most of my adult life; it’s my favourite time to run but I began incorporating the qigong in 2008, so about five years now.

How has your morning routine changed over recent years?

Honestly, it hasn’t changed much, the only difference is where I have been living. I’ve moved so many times in the past ten years; I have gone from waking up on the ocean, to the city, and now to farmland.

What time do you go to sleep?

This varies a lot but usually 10 to 11:00pm. I love being creative at night so this is what keeps me from hitting my pillow.

Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

I do use an alarm when I work very early, but I never hit the snooze. I like to get up.

How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

About a couple of hours. I like to have water, warm tea or aloe juice and then I usually have fruit and oatmeal.

Do you have a morning workout routine?

I like to run and walk in the morning, I usually keep yoga and other similar activities for the afternoon.

How about morning meditation?

In the morning I do a type of qigong called Pan Gu Shengong. I like to do the moving form outside alongside a nonmoving meditation indoors afterwards (or I will do the nonmoving form first thing after I wake).

Do you see to email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?

I tend to email an hour or two after waking, just to check for any changes in the days schedule, etc.

How soon do you check your phone in the morning, either for calls/messages or social media and news?

I check my phone at the same time I tend to email, and usually get back to people as needed.

What are your most important tasks in the morning?

My most important tasks in the morning are to evaluate and check in with my body/mind. I use that time to be quiet and calm and see how I am doing, what I need, and to tend to it to balance out for the day.

On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

This took a lot of years to figure out. I usually try to view this time for exploration, almost like a challenge/change so that my routine has some breaks for growth.

The one thing I always stick with is my morning qigong, and if I can’t get a run in I will at least go for a walk.

What do you do if you fail to follow your routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

I let go of it as something that has to be done, and remind myself to just be. I try not to hold too much emphasis on it as a routine that is a must, and rather think of it as a privilege.

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