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Dinacharya (daily routine)

Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and as night follows day, so too does the human body have its natural daily rhythms. Let’s see how ayurveda describes this and how we can balance ourselves throughout the day in harmony with nature.

6am-10am Kapha phase

The first few hours of the morning is governed by kapha energy (earth and water). Things might take a little while to get going, so go easy on yourself and assist the body and mind to gently wake up. Here are some tips to help:

  1. Arise early in the morning, preferably 30 minutes before sunrise

  2. Evacuate the bowels and bladder. If this is difficult, do not strain.

  3. Clean and brush the teeth, preferably with a natural toothpaste. Clean the tongue too ( a copper tongue scraper works best)

  4. Clean the eyes and face by sprinkling with cold water (this can also help to wake up fully!)

  5. Drink some warm water with added lemon or apple cider vinegar

  6. Perform abhyanga (self massage) with warm oil for about 10 minutes.

  7. Perform some gentle warm up exercises to stretch and awaken the body. Five to ten sun salutations can help with this.

  8. Take a warm bath or shower afterwards.

  9. Enjoy a warm cooked breakfast but make sure that your meal is not too big as agni (digestive fire) is not yet at its greatest strength. Eating too much may lead to the formation of ama (toxins) in the body and contribute to dis-order.

10am-2pm Pitta phase

This time of the day is governed by pitta, so everything to do with heat and go-getting energy. It’s the most productive time of day.

  1. Complete the bulk of the tasks that you need to do for the day. Be in the flow of pitta energy to be able to get things done efficiently and with precision      

  2. Make lunch the largest meal of the day as this is when agni is at its peak, generally around noon.

  3. Avoid direct sunlight (challenging to find direct sunlight anyway in the UK!)

  4. Avoid vigorous physical activity as this may contribute to imbalancing pitta.

2pm-6pm Vata phase

The next part of the day is governed by vata which is made up of ether and air. Think spacious and free movement.

  1. Use this time for creative projects and problem solving. Anything that you’ve been stuck on for a while and might require some thinking outside of the box would be useful to tackle here.

  2. Focus and attention might start to decline after working hard during the previous hours. Avoid sugary snacks and caffeine as this may cause vata dosha to become imbalanced and overstimulate the nervous system.

  3. Take a brief rest; treat yourself to a cup of tea and go out for a walk to balance the circulation of prana.

6pm-10pm Kapha phase

Evening time is governed by Kapha energy. You might be feeling a little heavy and tired at this point of the day.

  1. Have a lighter evening meal compared to lunch as digestive activity is slowing down. Any exercises should be done prior to eating. Make sure you also leave a gap of 2-3 hours before going to bed to aid digestion.

  2. This is the perfect time for going for going for an evening walk or doing some gentle yoga, swimming, reading a book or listening to some calming music.

  3. Avoid stimulating the senses too much – use those dimmer switches to turn the lights down a little, and avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before bed.

  4. To achieve optimum sleep (a pillar of ayurveda), aim to be in bed by 10pm.   As the sun sets, and natural light diminishes, the pineal gland located in the brain, receives information from the eyes that it is becoming dark. The pineal gland produces melatonin, a serotonin derived hormone, which signals the body for sleep. When we are still on our phones, watching television or have bright lights on, the pineal gland is unable to function properly. Therefore, it becomes harder to fall asleep. The body and mind want to restore and regenerate overnight so it’s important that we follow the natural cycles to allow this to happen.

10pm-2am Pitta phase

What happens if we do not sleep at 10pm? The next pitta phase naturally takes over, where the body and mind are detoxing. As such, the body becomes more active, and we may find that we are unable to get to sleep for a few hours more, constantly tossing and turning.

  1. If you are currently going to bed late, don’t force yourself to sleep earlier. Do it in stages. For example, if you are currently going to bed at midnight, try to sleep 15 minutes earlier one day, then another 15 minutes earlier the next day, and so on.

  2. Give yourself 6-8 hours sleep. Generally speaking, vata people need around 8 hours sleep, pitta people, 7-8 hours and kapha people 6-7 hours. Of course, if you are imbalanced then this may vary.

Of course, in today's current environment, it might not be possible to do all of these things. Try and implement one or two things at a time to make life a little bit easier. Having a little awareness and a willingness to change is the most important thing. This routine is ideal for those in balance. If you are suffering for whatever reason, it's important to seek advice as more specific plan with for diet and lifestyle can be given with the support of correct herbs to enable you to find balance once again.

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