"If I have a belief I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even I may not have it in the beginning" – Mahatma Gandhi.
Dinacharya/ Lifestyle. A Daily Routine List According to Ayurveda
Dinacharya is the Ayur Vedic term for a daily lifestyle/routine. There are several things you can implement in your daily life that will make
you feel healthy, happy and full of energy. It involves a set of self-care and awareness tools that balance our energy, calms the mind, cleanse
the sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin) and strengthen digestion. When we do all these things, we improve our innate immunity, and
strength. This can benefit us and act as a preventive medicine. Just as without proper diet, medicine is of little use, without some awareness
of our daily routine or dinacharya, medicine and even an incredible diet can fall short. The Ayurvedic Rishis (Saints) considered daily routine
to be a stronger healing force than any other medicine.
This daily routine list was written thousands of years ago and obviously in our lives nowadays it would be very challenging to live completely according to this ancient routine. However maybe it will inspire you to create the time to make a few small changes that can help bring out the best in you!
The holistic healing system of Ayurveda offers some powerful daily practices that nurture health, balance, and a sense of inner calm.
In the healing system of Ayurveda, morning is a special time when we are ready to be renewed for the day to come. Incorporating a few Ayurvedic practices to your morning routine will ensure that you are optimizing immune function, balancing mind and body, and preparing yourself to face the day with a calm mind and rejuvenated soul.
Ayurveda recommends an early bird lifestyle - Waking up at sunrise or even up to 2 hours before is preferable. The predominant element at this stage of the day is Vata (air + ether). Vata is light, subtle and clear and brings you in contact with the subtle messages nature beholds. Have you ever noticed how magical the early morning can be? The rise of a new sun, a new day, new opportunities…this is because there is a lot of Sattva (purity, cosmic intelligence) in the early morning air. Open your window or go for a stroll, take a deep breath and start your day with a smile. Wash your face and your eyes with water. Ayur Veda recommends the use of rosewater or Triphala (an Indian herb acting as complete body cleanser, it detoxifies, purifies the blood removes toxins from the liver and is high in vitamin C) Scrape your tongue with a special tongue scraper (not with your toothbrush as you will brush bacteria in your tongue). When scraping you remove toxins that accumulate overnight on your tongue. Then gargle with warm water to purify your voice. You can also put a drop of oil in your nose to purify the senses.
Massage - Massage keeps us strong and is beneficial for body and mind. A "self-abhy" massage is the application of oil to the body to nourish the skin, increase circulation, and aids in the removal of toxins. It is an excellent addition to your morning ritual that will stimulate the senses and increase circulation.
Warm Shower - Take a shower or bath to remove any excess oil. This not only removes excess oil but opens the pores of your skin. Avoid very hot water on your head. For pitta and kapha types in warm weather, you can finish with a cooler burst of water. This contracts and seals off your body, and it produces a tingly heating effect.
Exercise - Early morning exercise removes stagnation in the body and mind and allows your energy to flow. It also strengthens the digestive fire (Agni) and promotes better digestion of foods as well as emotions. Recommended exercises are: walking, pranayama (breathing exercises), yoga.
Meditation - Sit still in a silent area and focus on your breath and take a moment to be grateful for this new day. Pranayama is the fastest way to calm your mind. Kapalabhati is great to get going especially to reduce excessive kapha, and Nadi Shodhan Pranayama for all types but paticularly good for excess vata. To reduce pitta try Sitali Pranayama the cooling breathing technique.
Apply natural fragrances - The next part is to honor the beautiful soul within. 'Cleanliness is also next to godliness'. You have removed toxins,
impurities and awakened your higher self with yoga. So you can apply natural essential oils and fragrances that help balance your constitution
and enhance the aura of your beauty.
Dress in clean, pleasant clothes Have respect for this purified version of yourself. Wear fresh clothes if you can, silk is great next to your skin, and otherwise wear natural fibres clothes that allow your skin to breathe.
And now it's time for something healthy and yummy in your tummy. Choose your food wisely; Vata people can choose to eat a warm breakfast like oatmeal or other porridge, Pitta people can also choose oatmeal or fruits, Kapha people are suggested to eat cooked fruit, no heavier breakfast.
Lunch – Ayurveda recommends that your lunch should be taken between 12 and 1 pm and your lunch should be your largest meal as the predominant element
during this time of the day is Pitta (Fire + Water) and this element is responsible for digestion.
Ayur Veda recommends just a short nap when you really feel the need but in general sleeping in daytime should be avoided as it can accumulate excess kapha.
Dinner - Dinner is recommended to be taken between 6 and 7 pm and should be lighter than lunch as the predominant element in this time of day is
Kapha (earth and water). Digestion is low and going to bed on a full stomach prevents you from a having a good night sleep. Try having your dinner
at least 3 hours before sleeping. To aid digestion, you can sip a small cup of lukewarm water with some fresh ginger. About half an hour after
dinner go for a short stroll to stimulate digestion.
Sip a cup of lukewarm water before going to bed. When in bed, lie on your back and relax like in savasana (corpse pose in yoga). Take slow and deep breaths and consciously hold your attention on every body part and relax each body part. Start at your feet and slowly move up towards the crown of your head.
Gradually weaving some or all of these practices into your daily routine, or dinacharya, will help you to restore mind-body balance and experience heightened awareness. Keep in mind that it takes some time to establish a habit or new routine, so be gentle with yourself if you miss a day. Just come back to the routine the next day. The benefits of dinacharya to your health and wellbeing are immense, so it’s worth putting your time and attention on developing a nurturing balancing routine for yourself.