Daily routines are on a lot of people’s minds at the moment. From finding a way to fit those new year’s resolutions into your day-to-day life, to figuring out how you can get through lockdown as positively as possible, having a checklist of tasks that you do every single day can be a powerful tool. Especially when it feels like structure is a thing of the past!
Ayurveda places a huge amount of importance on dinacharya (literally meaning “daily rituals”). It teaches that doing certain tasks at certain times can improve wellbeing, allowing you to connect with nature, feel a sense of clarity and gain vitality.
Never has there been a better time for us to welcome you into the world of dinacharya and to walk you through how you can incorporate its self-care principles into your day for a happier and healthier life. So, grab a cup of tea (or a turmeric milk…) and a notebook, and let’s map out your new daily routine together.
The Doshas and your daily routine
According to Ayurveda, the different times of the day carry with them different types of energy, or “doshas”. The three doshas are vata, kapha and pitta, each of which is associated with elements of nature.
Vata: 2am-6am and 2pm-6pm
The vata dosha is associated with the air. It’s important to harness movement and creativity during these periods.
Kapha: 6am-10am and 6pm-10pm
Kapha balances vata’s lightness with a sense of grounding. These are often the best times for light work.
Pitta: 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am
Pitta is related to both fire and water, meaning high energy! When awake, this leads to high productivity. When asleep, this manifests in the internal organs working hard to cleanse the system.
An Ayurvedic Morning Routine
Waking up before sunrise is one of the main principles of setting yourself up for a positive day within Ayurvedic teachings. This means that you will rise whilst still in a vata period of the day, which is perfect for self-reflection and calm. Use this time, no matter how short, to meditate and look inward. Breathe. Welcome your body and mind into the day with slow and considered calm.
You can also set your intentions for the day and practice self-care! Give your body a massage, tongue scrape, oil pull, take your supplements and do your skincare routine.
Once the sun is up, you’re in a kapha period of the day. During these hours (between 6am and 10am), focus on light exercise like yoga or getting outside for a walk. This will boost your circulation and help to improve your mood! It will also help you to connect with nature, which is powerful tool for wellbeing: “In a study of 20,000 people, a team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces…were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.” (Source)
Enjoy a light breakfast (lunch will be your main, substantial meal) and begin easing into work.
The Ayurvedic way of work
The pitta period of the day (between 10am and 2pm) is your time to get productive and dive into the to-do list!
Focus on fulfilling the bulk of your work during the time.
If possible, take a break to get outside for a short walk and soak up the sun. The sun is at its strongest throughout the middle of the day and feeling it on your skin will light your inner agni (fire) to enliven the mind and body. Even if you can’t get outside, try to feel the sun on your skin through a window.
During these hours, also eat a substantial meal – Your digestive fire is at its height!
An Ayurvedic afternoon routine
You’re back in a vata period once more. Between 2pm and 6pm, your energy and focus may dip, but you may also be at your most creative. So, focus on tasks that allow you to think freely, but don’t require constant work.
An Ayurvedic evening routine
Kapha becomes active again, making between 6pm and 10pm another great chance for self-care. Dry brush the body, enjoy a warming drink like Haldi Doodh and perhaps do a gentle yoga class – Yin is a great option!
Spend time with your family or loved ones and enjoy a light meal together, preparing yourself for the rest that is to come.
Dinacharya doesn’t stop when you sleep!
Head to bed at around 10pm to make sure that you’re ready for an early start. Throughout the night until around 2am, your body is processing its food from the day and your mind is processing its thoughts. Luckily, this isn’t a routine you need to actively think about – your amazing natural system will put in the legwork for you!
Of course, this is just a quick overview or centuries of teachings, but is more than enough to help you craft your very first Ayurvedic routine. By following these simple self-care principles, you will be living in tune with nature, which we consider one of the keys to a more fulfilled life.
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