is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.


A long, languid morning has become a bit of a necessity for me, even more so since moving to the country. Now that I don’t have to commute to an office, I get an extra 90 minutes to fill my mornings with smoke and steam and oozy, contemplative moments.

Pete always laughs about just how long it takes me to get going in the morning, but I find when I dive straight into work I’m usually flat, unproductive and disconnected for the rest of the day. My mornings are a time to instil a sense of peace into my day, to align with my soul’s purpose, and to remind myself why it’s so damn wonderful to be a living, breathing being on this planet.

I started becoming interested in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, when I lived in India, and I work Ayurvedic principles into my morning rituals. I have a vata dosha (there are three doshas in Ayurveda, they’re basically like your energetic constitution), meaning I’m always on the go both mentally and physically. Vata types really need to ground themselves in the morning, otherwise they can quickly become restless, disorganised and spacey.

Ayurveda suggests that vata types rise at around 6.30am each day so I try to do that – unless, let’s be honest, I’ve drunk too much Krinklewood the night before. The first thing I do is get my agni, what they call digestive fire in Ayurveda, going by scraping my tongue (sounds disgusting but it works!) and drinking a big glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Then I set some Krishna Das chants playing and light my favourite Auroshikha incense, which I discovered it when I travelled to the Auroville intentional community in India a couple of years ago, to set the mood.

Tea has become an essential part of my mornings. I’m part of the Global Tea Hut which is an intentional tea drinking community. I get sent a package of organic loose leaf tea each month from them which I brew up in my Pan Pottery hand-thrown pot every morning. I take my time brewing the tea, then sip it mindfully in a form of active meditation for as long as it takes to finish the pot. Depending on what’s going on with me, it can be a blissful or almost harrowing experience, but it never fails to teach me something new about myself and puts me right in the present.

Next I’ll pour my thoughts out onto a few pages of my journal. I’ve been a journaler since I can remember, and I find it’s the ultimate form of self-therapy. It’s a place where you can sort through your emotions, vent your frustrations, fire yourself up with inspiration and set your intentions in a concrete way (especially important for vata constitutions). Your perception absolutely is your reality, so I take time to affirm that I’m abundant and present in my life, so that I actually manifest these things in my day.

After a quick tarot pull from my Wild Unknown deck if I’m feeling anything needs to be clarified, it’s time to get physical. I’ll either open up my Nagnata bag and get onto the mat out in the garden, or head out into the wilds for a walk.

Now the most important part, a big grounding brekkie. Nourishing bowls are great fuel for the day – a big bowl of quinoa or some seeded sourdough toast, a couple of eggs from our chooks with a sprinkling of turmeric, chia seeds and pepitas, some home made hummus and sauerkraut, and maybe a bit of spinach from our veggie patch. I’ve started making my own organic almond milk (easy peasy, will share with you guys soon), so I also make an almond milk shake with raw cacao, bee pollen, dates, frozen banana, cayenne pepper and a little dash of Celtic sea salt.

Finally I’ll do some dry body brushing to get my lymphatic system going, give myself a quick self-love abhyanga massage with sesame oil which is great for grounding vata energies, take a shower then douse myself in the Ayu’s earthy, woody Black Musk hand-blended ayurvedic oil, which manages to both uplift and ground me for the day ahead.

And then I’ll have an enormous glass of wine before I start work.

Only joking! I wait until 5pm for that. But you know, I do keep things balanced, which is the most important thing of all. I think morning rituals should be a moveable feast, changing with the seasons and the shifts in your emotions. The point when you start becoming too attached to them is when they stop being helpful.


If you want to discover your Ayurvedic dosha, take this test to find out.