The art of rituals can be seen in everyone’s everyday life, from brushing your teeth to your morning coffee. In Ayurveda, these rituals begin the moment you wake up. They include actions of cleansing, meditating, digesting, and grounding. The art of the daily routine in Ayurveda is referred to as dinacharya. Discover how the benefits of a daily routine can help you achieve optimal health.
Dinacharya and Doshas
Maintaining a daily routine of rituals helps to form positive habits and maintains discipline. This is especially important for Kapha and Vata dosha-types, as they struggle the most with routines. Pitta types thrive on routines, as it ignites more of their drive. In this respect, Pitta and Kapha types can also benefit from occasional spontaneity, to help reset their tendencies towards control (Pitta) or stagnation into unhealthy routines (Kapha).
Each dosha will benefit differently from a consistent dinacharya, however, they will all achieve balance when they develop an Ayurvedic routine that is suitable to their constitution.
Dinacharya Starts in the Morning
Developing a strong morning practice of dinacharya can help you set the precedence for the entire day. You can read more about the specific steps of an Ayurveda morning routine.
- Wake early, about 6 am for Vata, 5:30 am for Pitta, and 4:30 am for Kapha. This may be difficult at first, but after developing the habit, it will come easier. This can also be helped by sleeping in a room that allows in some natural light of the sunrise. Waking early gives the mind a sense of peace and purity, as it is during a sattvic time of day. It helps to regularize the circadian rhythm and encourages discipline.
- Give time for elimination and cleansing, including bowel movements, tongue scraping, cleansing of the teeth, and oil-pulling. Splash and clean the face with cool water. This aids in the natural detoxification of the body, and cleaning the membranes and skin of the face helps to awaken the senses and bring alertness. Drink a large cup of warm water to cleanse the organs.
- Take some time to connect with the greater cosmos. Thank the universe or higher powers for their presence, think of your teachers, and everything you are grateful for. This will connect you with the energetic field of the universe, which frees your consciousness from attachment and sluggishness.
- Apply oil to the body and head (abhyanga), then bathe. Oiling the body and head keeps the skin soft, increases circulation, reduces muscle aches, and promotes clarity. Bathing before beginning the day helps wash away sleepiness, dirt, oil, and other impurities. It helps the body and mind feel refreshed and awake. After bathing, you can anoint the body with oils specific to one’s dosha, to ignite joy and beauty.
- Perform pranayama and yoga. These important daily practices increase vital life force energy to the organs, and strengthen the body, helping to prevent illness and dis-ease. They are some of the most important rituals to include in your morning routine, so if you are short on time, try not to skip them.
- Take Chyawanprash, and have an Ayurvedic breakfast. In the warmer months, enjoy a lighter meal, and in the colder months, have a warmer breakfast. Be sure to eat according to your dosha. Eating breakfast helps to activate organ function on a consistent time table, promoting healthy digestion and strong agni.
The middle of the day should include lunch and reflection:
- Make sure to eat around the middle of the day, when the sun is closest to its peak in the sky. Eating with the sun is the most healthful for the body, and improves the function of agni in the organs and tissues.
- If you suffer from heavier digestion, be sure to take a walk 30 min after lunch to assist in blood flow to the organs, which will also increase agni function, promoting better digestion.
- Working between 10 am-2 pm (Pitta time) is best, as it is when Pitta dosha is most active within the cells and within your environment. This results in successful project completions, and the manifestation of creative ideas.
In Ayurveda, daily routines should continue into the evening and through until bedtime. For the optimal results of dinacharya, following these rituals for health and longevity:
- Before eating dinner, take a walk in nature, read, listen to music, or have some tea. Kapha hours begin around 6 pm, and to help with digestion and relaxation, it is best to engage in activities that are mildly stimulating, while promoting rest.
- After dinner, do not lie down immediately, but instead, drink some CCF (cumin-coriander-fennel) tea. If you suffer from heavier digestion, take a short walk after eating. After digestion is complete, be sure to perform a nightly ritual of meditation and pranayama before bed. These practices maintain healthy agni of the tissues, appropriate digestion, and a clearing of the consciousness – vital motions for health and well-being.
- Before bed, take Triphala. Triphala promotes healthy digestion and performs a scraping effect on the organs, resulting in ease of elimination in the mornings.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every evening, and before 10 pm. Put away your phone and other electronic devices at least an hour before bed. It’s best to go to sleep during Kapha time (6 pm-10 pm), as this is when you will get the most restful sleep.
The rituals of dinacharya may take some practice, but once implemented, offer consistency of health. Your bodily systems, including your consciousness, will begin to feel lighter, clearer, and more alert, allowing for the exemplary quality of life.
Ceanna Saatsaz is a Licensed Master Esthetician, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, and Certified Professional Herbalist from Seattle, WA.