Ayurveda and Daily Routines

Today, the culture around health is quick fixes, diets, and pills. Yet, the true key to health is a whole lifestyle change. In Ayurveda, dinacharya (a daily routine) is a key part in maintaining balance and health. Even if you do run 5 miles a day or only drink green juices, it’s hard on your body to not have regularity. It will make any changes in diet and exercise hard to stick to and have consistency with. Ayurveda suggests having a morning routine that helps regulate your sleep and how you can stay mindful throughout your day. These routines can be personalized for what practices and time flows into your day. Yet, it helps if you do things every day around the same time. Find what works for you, fills you with a sense of peace and contentment, and can be instilled on a daily basis.

Waking up too early or too late, erratic eating, staying up too late, stress, and bowel movement can all make us feel out of balance. [1] The main goal is to regularize your schedule to have time to eat and sleep with no distractions and technology.

Wake up Early and Sleep Enough: In Ayurveda, getting up early helps align your biological clock with the natural rhythm of the sun. Scientifically, your body produces melatonin in darkness. Our bodies are easily disrupted by artificial light. This is why we also suggest not being on your phone or computer an hour before bed. Yet, do not keep your room too dark (i.e. with black out shades) because it will make waking up very difficult. When you are asleep your eyes will begin to detect external light and determine if you should wake up. It does this by releasing cortisol and raising your body temperature. If there is not light the process of waking up doesn’t begin and waking up to an alarm won’t feel good. Try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. This will ensure you get enough sleep and your body will natural begin to feel tired and awake at your set times.

Drink Warm Water: After brushing your teeth & scraping your tongue, have the first thing in the morning be warm water. This helps to clear out your digestive track of any toxins accumulated throughout the night. This will aid in flushing your gastronomical tract and flush out the kidneys. It also helps with having a good bowel movement. Starting the day with coffee and black tea can drain the kidneys of energy, over-stimulate the adrenals, and promote constipation. [1] Lukewarm to warm water is a simple yet powerful practice in boosting your health.

Evacuation:Try to sit or squat on the toilet after your glass of water to have a bowel movement. Do not force your body. If you do this every day, the habit will begin to develop overtime.

Daily Exercise:Try to break a sweat each day to encourage detoxification & clear stagnation that tends to accumulate. Exercise should be trailered to the individual’s dosha (body and mind constitution). Walking and yoga are recommended for all doshic imbalances.

Meditation, Pranayama, Yoga: Sitting in meditation for even a mere 5 minutes can have a huge impact on your state of mind, body & spirit. If just sitting quietly doesn’t work for you try chanting a mantra, moving meditation, focusing on your breathing, using a yantra (image used for meditation), tratak (gazing at the tip of a flame), or an activity that grounds and centers you while quieting the mind. These practice helps to build awareness of how we feel in our body, what chatter the mind has going on, & how we feel energetically.

Abhyanga: Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage) can be done daily to 1-2 times a week. You can perform a self-massage daily to yourself. It is also recommended to get a massage by visiting an abhyanga massage therapist. You can also do a mix of sesame, coconut, or almond oil during this time. Vigorously massage the warmed oil onto your body in circular motions. Let soak in at least 15 minutes before taking a warm shower & patting dry.

Neti Pot: In the beginnings of spring there is an increase of Kapha, which often means more congestion. Through neti practice, it helps to keep the nasal passages clear and remove excess congestion. Be sure to use warm water mixed with salt specifically for neti pots (aka: no additives such as anti-caking agents). Do this several times a week or as you feel congestion accumulate.

A regulated routine brings us in harmony with nature’s rhythms and establishes a connection to our body, mind, and emotional health.

References:

Lad, Vasant. 1999. The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press.

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