In Sanskrit, your daily routine is called Dinacharya. ‘Din’ means 'day' and ‘acharya’ means 'to follow' or 'close to'. Dinacharya is an ideal daily schedule that takes into account nature’s cycle. In Ayurveda, the focus is levied on the early hours of the day, as they are instrumental in setting the tone of your day.
Ayurveda believes that routine is a discipline for the body and mind which strengthens immunity and purifies the body of its wastes. With the help of simple healthy routines, one can clean the body and mind, balance doshas, strengthen immunity and start the day on a refreshing and rejuvenating note.
Following a simple routine in the morning will help you start the day on a blissful note. Here are a few tips to help get you through the day with a routine of self-care that pays off.
One should wake up about one and a half hours before sunrise so that you can synchronize with the rhythm of sun. Ayurveda recommends that this is an auspicious time – the time of pure consciousnesses.
About an hour and a half before sunrise, a great shift in energy occurs. Then, about half an hour before sunrise, a second boom of energy dawns in the atmosphere. Hope, inspiration and peace manifest at this time. This time is considered best for practicing meditation and self-analysis. At this time, the environment is pure and calm and soothing and the mind is fresh after sleep.
Meditation at this time improves mental performance throughout the rest of the day, increasing the quality of sattva and subduing mental irritation or hyperactivity and lethargy which are rajasic and tamasic qualities.
Power of Breath
Check through which nostril your breath is flowing more strongly. According to Ayurveda, the right nostril is solar-pitta, and the left nostril is lunar-kapha. The right side of the brain controls creative activity while the left side controls logical verbal activity. According to research, when one breathes through the left nostril then the right side of the brain is more pre-dominant and vice versa. It is advised to step out of the bed and touch the ground with the leg that corresponds with the side of the body where the breath is flowing dominant (check nostrils).
Meditate and Exercise
Relax - do pranayama until the breath flows evenly through both nostrils. Meditate while centering your energy in the heart chakra or at the third eye. Take a short, slow walk in the fresh morning air. Surround yourself with simple and soothing visuals, preferable white items like fresh and fragrant flowers with subtle colors.
Do some physical exercise, ideally that which comprises of some yoga postures like Surya Namaskar or sun salutation and breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhan Pranayam. But it can be anything including a walk or a swim. Early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body and mind, strengthens the digestive fire, reduces fat and gives you an overall feeling of lightness and joy as it fills your body with good prana. However, instead of strenuous exercise, exercising at one fourth to one half of your capacity is recommended.
Massage the body (abhyanga) with warm sesame oil. Massaging the scalp, forehead, temples, hand and feet for about 2-3 minutes is sufficient.
Noon - Time
Lunch should be taken early between 12-1 pm as it coincides with the peak period which is responsible for the digestion. Ayurveda recommends that lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day. After the meal it is good to take a walk to help the food digest. Anything more than a short nap should be avoided because sleeping in the day is prohibited in Ayurveda.
This is a special time of balance between day and night. This is the time for evening prayers and meditations.
Dinner should be taken around 6–7 pm. It should be lighter than lunch. Dinner should be at least three hours before bedtime so to give the body ample time to digest food. Sleeping right after dinner with a heavy stomach should be avoided. Ideally walk to aid digestion for about 10 – 15 minutes.
The ideal time to sleep is by no later than 10:30 pm. To calm the system, one can massage the soles of the feet before going to bed. List Table
- Dr. Nisha Manikanthan, senior faculty, Art of Living. The author is also an International teacher in Panchkarma therapies (Sri Sri Ayurveda).