Dinacharya As Per Ayurveda
Dinacharya (Sanskrit: दिनचर्या "daily-routine") is a concept in Ayurvedic medicine that looks at the cycles of nature and bases daily activities around these cycles. Ayurveda contends that routines help establish balance and that understanding daily cycles are useful for promoting health. Dinacharya says that each day two cycles of change occur, that correlate with the Ayurvedic concept of dosha. Routines covered by dinacharya include: waking time, elimination, hygiene, massage, exercise, bathing, meditation and prayer, meals, study, work, relaxation and sleeping.
A Detailed Explanation of the Ayurvedic Dinacharya or Daily Routine!
Let’s now explain in detail, what the Ayurvedic Dinacharya looks like. As part of our conscious attempt to understand and implement the simple-yet-effective principles of Ayurveda in our everyday living, we should try and redesign our daily routines on these lines:
1. We should try and wake up two hours before Sunrise. This is the Vata time of the day and is also the time when there is most Sattva or good quality in the air. This period is also called Brahma-muhurta and is excellent for learning of any kind. This is considered to be the purest time of the day. This time is extremely beneficial for students as they will be able to quickly grasp whatever they learn at this time. Exceptions for this rule include people who are either too young or too old, new parents, as well as those who have fever or diarrhea.
2. Drink a glass of warm or lukewarm water and evacuate your bowels. Evacuation in the morning once you wake up is strongly recommended by Ayurveda, as waiting longer could increase the ama or toxins or poisonous substances in the body, giving rise to imbalances or diseases.
3. Cleanse your sensory organs – wash your eyes, brush your teeth and scrape your tongue. The coating on the tongue is a sign of ama according to Ayurveda, and should be cleared as soon as we wake up in the morning. Nasya or Neti Pot is also recommended to clear your nose and respiratory channels. Traditional Dinacharya practices also include inhaling the smoke of medicinal herbs to clear the mind and various channels of the body.
4. Perform an Abhyanga or an oil massage on the scalp, forehead, temple, hands, feet and the rest of the body for your organs to function well. A daily massage can help keep your body strong and prevent you from premature aging.
5. Indulge in Vyayama or some sort of physical activity like light exercise, Yoga, breathing exercises etc. Since early morning is Vata time, it is good for flexibility exercises. Exercising early in the morning can help remove stagnation in the body and can help recharge and rejuvenate your body and mind for a productive day.
6. Bathe once you finish your exercise. Moderation is the key when it comes to the water used for bathing. It should neither be too hot nor too cold. Prefer lukewarm water for a shower.
7. Meditate for some time. Be quiet for some time and try and introspect. Meditation is a key part of the Ayurvedic Dinacharya as it helps in increased self-awareness.
8. Have warm, nourishing and wholesome breakfast. Our body will be depleted of all nutrients as we do not have food in the night. So, a healthy breakfast every morning is paramount for the body to function well. Contrary to popular belief, skipping breakfast will not help lose weight. Instead, it is one of the prime reasons why people put on weight. Also, skipping breakfast in the morning will leave us depleted of energy, lethargic, grumpy and irritated.
9. From here on, you can start your daily chores - be it work, study or performing other duties.
1. The heaviest meal of the day or lunch should be taken between 12 Noon and 2 P.M. Simply because, the Sun is the strongest at this time and so is our digestive fire or Agni. Having lunch at this time helps digest the food properly. Skipping lunch or having late or irregular lunch is the primary reason for many metabolic disorders.
2. It is also considered to be a good practice by Ayurveda to walk a bit after lunch. This helps in digesting the food better.
3. A nap or an afternoon siesta is a strict no-no. Ayurveda strictly prohibits sleeping in the afternoon. Exceptions are made only for the diseased.
1. Sundown is considered to be another Sattvik time of the day. We should finish our work by this time and do some meditation or light exercise.
2. Try and stay calm for some time and introspect or just feel the natural sounds by taking a calm walk or looking at the beauty and splendor of the nature.
3. This is an important time to relax and disconnect yourself from the rest of the world… at least for a short period.
1. Ayurveda recommends that our dinner be taken at least three hours before bedtime. Also, it should be lighter than lunch.
2. By having our dinner by about 7 P.M., we allow our body to digest the food that we have eaten before we go to sleep. This helps prevent the build-up of ama or toxins in the body. Undigested food is what turns into ama and hence, it is strongly recommended to have an early dinner.
1. Ayurveda strongly recommends that we turn off the lights and hit the bed before 10 P.M. This is the Kapha time of the day and the body naturally feels heavy and is trying to wind down.
2. If we miss this time and are still awake, then we move into Pitta time (10 P.M. – 2 A.M.), or the time of intense activity, and sleeping will become that much more difficult.
3. People who complain of insomnia are the ones who stay awake beyond 10 P.M.
4. Also, Ayurveda recommends that we get at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day.
5. Adequate sleep is paramount for the body to perform its functions well. Sleeping is the time during which our body performs several involuntary functions. These functions are very important for our body to stay in shape and good health.
Simple, isn’t it? Try and align yourself to this Ayurvedic Dinacharya and you will automatically see a sense of purpose to your life. If we remodel our lifestyles to resemble the Ayurvedic Dinacharya or at least try and come close to it, then our body will automatically develop a strong resistance against diseases and we can lead a healthy and happy life.