Everything we do has a particular doshic characteristic. The way we eat, sleep, work and enjoy ourselves all have qualities of vata, pitta and kapha.
Achieving a balance between all three doshas does not happen overnight. We have to work at it. The best way to start is to ask yourself questions about how you lead your life. Do I have a consistent bedtime? Do I wake up at the same time each day? What activities I participate in most often? When do I eat my meals? Do I take time to observe my emotional and physical state before I eat?
A healthy life can best be maintained by creating a daily regimen tailored to a person’s constitution.
Ayurvedic dinacharya has been practiced for thousands of years and has many benefits. It cleanses the body and prevents the buildup of toxins, it helps to keep the senses and mind clear, and it’s very nourishing. Repeating a routine every morning sets the rhythm of your day and gives you a feeling of stability and steadiness. It promotes a healthy organization of the energy channels and the seating of prana (life force) in the body, creating calmness in mind, limiting stress, and minimizing decision fatigue.
The ideal time to rise is two hours before sunrise or at least, 1/2 to 1 hour before sunrise. In the early morning, Sattva Guna is most prevalent, so it is the best time of the day to meditate. The body is well rested after a night’s sleep. 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. Drinking 1 – 2 glasses of plain water ( room temp or warm ) helps to create a natural urge for bowel movement.
Traditionally, small twigs of certain trees were used to brush the teeth. These days many of these herbs are used to make Ayurvedic toothpaste. Neem (Bitter), Babbul (Astringent) ,Khair (Astringent), Karanja (Pungent). These herbs help to cleanse the mouth, strengthen the gums, kill bacteria and reduce bad breath and excessive kapha.
Scrape Your Tongue
Scrape the tongue with a tongue cleaner to purify your mouth. This can be best done with a smooth tongue scraper made of gold, silver, copper, tin, brass or stainless steel Ayurveda considers the coating of the tongue as an indicator of ‘Ama’ or toxins in the colon.
Gargling (Oil Pulling)
To strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw, daily gargle with warm sesame oil. Hold the oil in your mouth, swish it around vigorously, then spit it out and gently massage the gums with a finger. Don’t forget to wash inside of your mouth with warm salted water to get rid of any oil residue.
Cleansing the Face
Use astringent water (cool water for pitta, warm for vata and kapha)
Cleaning the Eyes
Wash the eyes with normal tap water. Try triphala eyewash with 1/4 tsp. in 1 cup water, boil for 8- 10 minutes, cool and strain with Muslin cloth. This eyewash is good for all Dosha type.
Abhyanga (Oil Application)
Abhyanga is an oil massage performed in the direction of hair growth, for vata use warm sesame, for pitta use warm coconut and warm sunflower oils can be used for kapha. Herbal medicated oils can be used.
Few benefits of Abhyanga are, prevents aging. Strengthens the body, increases stamina and tones muscles. Pacifies vata dosha. Calms the mind and helps promotes sound sleep. Heals the body faster. Improves vision.
Bathing cleanses the skin of impurities and sweat, reduces heat and relaxes the body. Energizes the body, mind and senses. Improves digestion, reduces lethargy and sleepiness. Opens the strotas and cleanses the subtle malas.
Regular exercise like walking and yoga improves circulation and strength. It improves digestion and elimination & induce good sleep. Exercise daily to half of your capacity, which is until sweat forms on the forehead, armpits, nose & spine.
Vata: walking, gentle restorative yoga like Camel, Cobra, Cat, Cow. All form of Gentle exercise are good.
Pitta: Swimming, brisk walking, moderate hiking Moon salutation, Fish, Boat, Bow. All form of Calming exercise are good.
Kapha: Weight lifting, brisk hiking, jogging, running and energetic forms of yoga like Sun salutation, Bridge, Peacock, Palm tree all forms of Vigorous exercise are good .
Yogic Breathing or Pranayama
Prana is the vital energy needed by our physical and subtle layers, without which the body would perish. It is what keeps us alive. Pranayama is the control of prana through the breath. These techniques rely on breathing through the nostrils.
- 12 alternate nostril breaths for vata;
- 16 cooling shitali breaths (curling up your tongue lengthwise and breathing through it) for pitta;
- 100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) for kapha.
Nasyam (Nasal Drops)
Putting 2-3 drops of warm sesame oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is gateway to the brain, so putting warm oil drops nourish prana and bring intelligence.
Eat regular meals daily! Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire. The natural course of the day sets the rhythm of our digestive system. Having scheduled eating times is essential, with lunch being the largest meal of the day and occurring between noon and 2 p.m. When the sun is at its highest, our digestive system is also at its peak, so naturally, this is when the largest meal should be eaten; it’s also the best time to eat raw foods and animal proteins. If possible, have dinner before sunset, as the digestive system slows down as the sun goes down. Breakfast should be eaten before 9 a.m. and should consist of something simple and easy to digest. Remember to favor warm, cooked, light meals that are appropriate for the seasons and the doshas you want to balance.
It is best to go to bed by 10 p.m. Keep this regular bedtime as it lets the body know that it is time to wind down and recuperate. To promote healthy sleep, drink a glass of warm cow’s milk or almond milk with cardamom or nutmeg shortly before bed. You can enjoy this while listening to relaxing music. Stay away from stimulating conversations, music, and television for at least one hour before sleep.
This suggested regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and its relation to the external environment. Continuous awareness of this natural energy flow is the key to getting the most from your daily routine.