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Ayurvedic Daily Routine

December 8, 2008

Ayurveda’s wisdom is based on the idea that everything existing in the cosmos appears in the body. To stay healthy, we must keep our bodies in harmony and self-correcting, just as nature does.  Dinacharaya [dina (day), charya (routine) in Sanskrit] advises on how to keep Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas balanced. Much of this comes across as old fashioned sense. Inventions such as the electric light bulb and supermarkets selling non-seasonal food  mean we are all a little out if touch with our biorhythms.  Try some of the following to feel more balanced and to get a daily detox:

The early bird: Wake up at 6am (or as near as you can!) when Vata dosha is dominant to feel more energetic. Waking up from 6-10am (Kapha times) is likely to make you feel more groggy.

Evacuating the bowels: Do this first thing to feel fresh and because faeces are toxic and may block channels if they stay too long in the colon. Most Europeans go after breakfast when eating has helped stimulate peristaltic movements. Drinking a glass or two of warm water on waking can help. Ayurvedic herbs, such as Triphala, also regularise the bowel.

Cleaning the mouth: Ayurveda recommends using bitter twigs such as neem for a healthy mouth. Today, we have effective toothbrushes but do use a natural toothpaste. Toxins on the tongue in the form of mucus should be gently cleaned with a metal or plastic tongue scraper. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never look back!  Try chewing a clove or cardamom pod to keep the mouth fresh and improve taste. Finish with gargling with warm water.

Get moving: 15-20 minutes of yoga or a brisk walking is ideal for coordination and stretching the muscles. Pranayama will make your day more productive by enhancing physical and mental stamina. Put your yoga mat at the end of your bed and do a few rounds of sun salutes if you feel you don’t have more time. Finish with a few minutes meditation or quietly watching the breath.

Daily Self massage: This nourishes skin, loosens toxins and aids their removal.  It also calms Vata dosha, often aggravated by our modern lifestyles. Use warm sesame or olive oil. Massage all over, starting from your feet or the head for 5-10 minutes. Put a couple of drops in each ear and each nostril. Leave on for at least 10 minutes then follow with a warm shower or bath to remove excess oil and improve circulation. Skip the massage on the first 3 days of your period, and if you are not feeling well.

Breakfast is ideally taken by 8am, with lunch between 12 and 2pm and dinner by sunset (or at least 2 hours before bed). The saying of ‘breakfast like a prince, lunch like a King and dine like a pauper’ also holds true with Ayurveda. Digestion is at its peak at lunchtime, so this should be your biggest meal. Bedtime should be around 10pm. This is to benefit from the period between 10pm and 2am when Pitta dosha is active in cleaning the body so if you are sleeping you support a daily purification.

Try and be content with a calm mind: The concept of dinacharya also extends to management of the emotions in daily life. Appreciate the good things in your life on a daily basis, and try not to react to the difficulties. Know when to make an effort and when to surrender to life’s circumstances with grace and a smile.