Dinacharya, is a Sanskrit word made up of ‘Dina’, meaning day and ‘Acharya’, meaning activity/behaviour. This is designed to maintain and connect us with our circadian rhythm or internal body clocks. In Ayurveda, the importance of consistent daily routine cannot be underestimated. It sets the tone for our entire day, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. It gives the body, mind, and spirit the chance to ground and cleanse. Dinacharya makes us understand the best time for our daily routines such as waking, exercise, bathing, meditation, prayers, meals, study, work, relaxation, and sound sleeping.
Ayurveda’s emphasis on connecting ourselves with nature has existed since millennia, however the western scientists are now beginning to understand the importance of our body to stay connected with the rhythm of nature. Disconnection from this circadian rhythm is known as chronodisruption, which leads to a host of health concerns, including poor cognitive function, mood and sleep disorders, daytime sleepiness, reduced school & work performances. substance abuse, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. A significant disturbance of the circadian disturbance of physiology, metabolism and behaviour can be caused by factors related to diet and activities, including stress, technology overexposure, but in turn also leads to disturbances in metabolic activity potentially generating a negative vicious cycle.
Ayurveda tells us that on any given day, there are two cycles of change that exists- the Sun cycle and the Moon cycle- and they are connected with the ayurvedic body type, or doshic constitution ( Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).
Dinacharya makes us understand the best time for our daily routine/ activities and thus maintaining our doshas (our functional energies) in perfect balance, maintain appropriate digestive fire, inculcates discipline, promoting peace, happiness and longevity.
Ayurvedic root texts have further described the daily dosha cycles as
First Cycle (Sunrise to sunset):
6 am – 10 am: Kapha time
10 am – 2 pm: Pitta time
2 pm – 6 pm: Vata time
Second Cycle (sunset – sunrise)
6 pm to 10 pm: Kapha
10 pm to 2 am: Pitta
2 am to 6 am: Vata
So, an ideal daily schedule should be based on the above dosha cycles that need to be inculcated into our daily life to maintain our optimal health.
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The ideal time to rise is three hours before sunrise or at least, ½ to 1 hour before sunrise. It is called Brahma Muhurta in Ayurveda and yoga science. Keeping a scheduled wake up time gets your body and mind set in a rhythm to gracefully begin your daily activities.
In the early morning, Sattva Guna is most prevalent, so it is the best to meditate. The body is well rested after night’s sleep and the mind is alert, focused and peaceful.
Having a bowel movement first thing in the morning is a sign of good health (The vata cycle in the early morning helps prompt the body’s natural urge. Resisting a natural urge will aggravate vata dosha resulting into related health conditions). A bowel movement each morning is also a sign of healthy digestive system. If you are not eliminating daily, be sure your diet includes of plenty of fluids and fiber. Drinking 1-2 glasses of plain/warm water also helps to create a natural urge for bowel movement.
Tongue Scraping: Use a tongue cleaner made up of Gold, Silver or Copper to remove the bacteria-filled coating on the tongue and to stimulate digestive system. This practice is very useful for our oral and digestive health, since it removes Ama and gets rid of foul breath.
Brush your teeth: Try using a tooth powder, a fluoride free combination of herbs (such as neem, babul, khair and karanja) and minerals for cleansing the mouth, strengthen the gums, kill bacteria and reduce bad breath and excessive Kapha.
Gargling/oil pulling: Swish oil or fresh herbal juice (Swarasa) in the mouth for a few minutes, Daily swishing helps strengthen the teeth, gums, jaw, and voice, while improving the sense of taste. Oils that can be used include Sesame, coconut, or Arimedadi Thailam. Juice of neem or Triphala could also be used for this purpose.
Rinse face, mouth, and eyes with astringent water (cool water for Pitta, warm from Vata and Kapha). This will remove dirt, sweat, and natural secretions. This practice of washing facial area improves circulation, prevents skin infections, acne and skin discoloration.
Self-massage (Abhyanga), Ear lubrication, and Nasal lubrication and other processes:
Self-massage: This is a profound practice of rejuvenation and loving selfcare. Performing a self-massage with warm oil (Sesame oil, coconut and Mustard oils are recommended for different Doshas balance) calms the nervous system, lubricates and rejuvenates and promote healthy circulation.
Whole body massage is also beneficial to prevent aging, strengthen the body, increase stamina and tones muscles, soothes skin, prevent wrinkles and improves the sense of touch.
Ear Lubrication: Place 1-2 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear. Massaging ear lobes is also recommended by Ayurveda to activate marma points.
Nasal Lubrication/Nasaya: Place a Nasaya oil in each nostril. Ayurveda also recommends to perform Nasaya with herbal oils such as Anu Thailam to sharpen the mental faculty and benefits in a few disorders such as sinusitis.
Cleansing the face and eyes: Use astringent water to remove dirt, sweat, and natural secretions. This process also improves circulation, prevents skin infections, acne and skin discoloration. Washing eyes with a fresh clean water improves vision, reduce eyes discharge, prevents eye reddening.
Bathing: Cleanses the skin of impurities and sweat; reduce heat and relaxes the body, mind and senses; improves digestion; reduce lethargy and sleepiness; opens the srotas and cleanses the subtle malas.
Self-Enhancing practices: Take some time for a self-enhancing practices. This can be 15-20 minutes of meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques), yoga, mantra uttering, journaling, prayer or visualization that brings well being to your spirit and mind. These practices calm the mind, increase sattva Guna, energize mind and transcends from physical level to higher level of consciousness, reduce anxiety and depression, gives confidence and, change attitude about life.
Eat regular meals:
Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire.
Whenever possible, consume your largest meal at noon (Lunch time). This is when your digestive fire is at its strongest, and you will be able to drive the most nutrition from your meal.
Favor warm, cooked meals, in accordance with the doshas you want to balance and the season.
Focus on eating without any disturbances.
Take Triphala- a traditional ayurvedic formula with warm water 1 hour before sleep. It gently cleanses and detoxify the digestive tract while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the tissues. It supports healthy elimination upon waking in the morning.
Keep regular bedtime. Having a scheduled bedtime trains the body to know that it is time to wind-down and recuperate. Ideal sleep time is 10-10.30PM
Please consult with Om Sanduja for additional details on Ayurvedic lifestyle which will give you the daily, lunar and yearly tools to keep your natural rhythm in lives, and stay balanced and vital all year long.