Daily ritual or routine is effective in cultivating and maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit. These Ayurvedic practices aid digestion and absorption of nutrients, regulate the circadian clock or nature's rhythms, cultivate peace and support longevity. Ayurveda refers to these daily self-care habits as dinacharya. A dinacharya supports optimal well-being.
The air is naturally lighter from 2a - 6a, so waking during this time creates more energy throughout the day. If possible, try waking up without an alarm, and avoid looking at your phone, checking emails, and using social media right after you wake up.
Create a Tone for Your Day
You can do this by offering gratitude and setting an intention. Make sure to create space in the morning to balance your mind, body, and spirit before the day begins. One simple way to do this is by writing reflections, intentions, thoughts, and/or ideas in a journal. It’s also a good time to connect and cultivate a positive relationship with yourself.
Eliminate First Thing in the Morning
The body has processed toxins overnight, so it is important to evacuate bowels and bladder first thing in the morning, every morning.
Take Care of Your Mouth
This includes oil pulling, tongue scraping, and brushing your teeth. Your mouth is connected to digestion and other organ functions. Having good oral hygiene is valuable for good health.
Drinking water helps flush out toxins that have accumulated over night. Warm lemon or lime water also helps eliminate toxins. Avoid cold water as this inhibits digestion.
Take a walk, practice yoga, go for a swim, ride your bike, go on a hike, etc. Moderate exercise is a wonderful way to maintain a balanced life and remain stress free. Exercise moves prana (vital energy) and prevents stagnation or blockages in the body. It also increases strength and endurance, and boosts agni (digestion).
Give Yourself An Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
Ayurveda refers to self-massages as abhyanga. This practice is soothing for the nervous system. It tones the muscles and increases lymphatic flow (the body’s natural detox mechanism). For vata, sesame oil is a wonderful choice, sunflower for pitta, and safflower for kapha. This practice is best done in the morning.
After abhyangya, take a warm bath or shower to open pores and penetrate oil deeper into the skin.
Take a Breath or Two (Pranayama)
This practice helps calm the mind and nervous system, and increases life energy, vitality, and ojas in the body. It can also help to remove stuck energy and create heat in the body. Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing, is particularly supportive to calm the nervous system. Full yogic breath (breathe into belly, ribs, and chest in three parts) is helpful to calm the mind and become more present. Ujjayi breath (slight constriction of the throat) gently warms the body and calms the mind. All forms of pranayama can help reduce stress and promote calmness and clarity.
Meditation increases awareness and purifies the nervous system, mind, and emotions. It creates balance in all areas of your life. It is known to be an antidote to stress and allows for stillness and inward reflection. Meditation is wonderful for morning and late afternoon/early evening before dinner.
Mindful Morning Meal
For breakfast enjoy a smaller portion that will keep you satisfied until lunch. Stewed apples or pears are a wonderful option to boost digestion!
Mid-day Meal + Routine
The digestive fire is highest during the noon hour. Enjoy the largest meal mid-day in a relaxed manner to ensure proper digestion.
After lunch, rest on the left side and/or enjoy a short walk.
Evening Meal + Routine
A small (or supplemental as in supper) evening meal allows the body to digest food before you sleep. Rather than digesting a large evening meal, the body is freed to digest toxins (ama) or other buildup from the day.
Create an evening routine that supports relaxation such as journaling, taking a warm bath or gentle stretching. Decrease use of phones, computers and television in the evening as it can be stimulating.
Retire before 10pm
This helps maintain the natural circadian clock (your inner clock). It is said that every hour of sleep enjoyed before midnight is worth two hours after midnight. The body also processes toxins most effectively between 10p - 2a.
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