As the “science of life”, Ayurveda provides us with a conscious awareness of the constant movement and influences of the solar, lunar and planetary cycles. The activities described in dinacharya are intended to be synchronized with the daily cycle of the sun and performed on a regular basis. Ayurveda teaches that regular routines create stability, which in turn promotes personal balance. We are natural beings, designed to be in sync with the rhythms of nature. When we fall out of rhythm, we lose touch with our true nature. Living in harmony with nature brings us closer to our true selves.
Dinacharya is an ideal sequence of daily activities that are performed at optimal times of the day. According to Ayurveda, there are two cycles of doshic influence each day. The first cycle is from sunrise to sunset, or to reference a clock, from 6 am to 6 pm and the second cycle is from 6 pm to 6 am. Within each 12-hour cycle there are three 4-hour periods that are dominated by vata, pitta or kapha dosha. The heavy and stabilizing qualities of kapha affect us between 6 -10 in the morning and evening. The dynamic and transforming attributes of pitta impact us between 10 – 2 mid-day and mid-night. The light and inspiring potential of vata sway us between 2 – 6 in the evening and morning.
Ayurveda recommends that we make small and gradual changes as we establish a dinacharya that is uniquely suited to our doshic nature. Listed below are the ideal components of dinacharya, but the best routine is the one that we can follow regularly.
- Awaken before sunrise, in the vata time of morning, when the air is fresh, the energy is clear and your mind is alert. Greet the day with gratitude and praise. Pause at your bedside, in the silence of the morning, give thanks that you have this day to experience life. Create a positive image of your day and know that you are attracting that to you.
- Ayurveda does not recommend napping during the day, although there are doshic and conditional exceptions.
- Go to bed during the kapha time of night, before the dynamic energy of pitta revitalizes you. Apply warm sesame oil to your feet, then wear socks or wipe off excess oil. If you are still digesting your last meal, lay on your left side for a few minutes to facilitate right nostril (solar) breathing. To assist with deep sleep, lay on your right side to facilitate left nostril (lunar) breathing. Vata individuals tend to sleep best on their back, pitta types on their right side and kapha types on their left side.
“Ayurveda recommends that we make small and gradual changes as we establish a dinacharya that is uniquely suited to our doshic nature.”
- Breakfast should serve to break your evening fast. Eat a moderate meal of fruit or grain when you get hungry in the kapha time of the morning.
- Lunchtime should provide your largest or most complex meal of the day. You have the highest digestive ability during this pitta time of the afternoon. Eat a substantial lunch when you are hungry, then rest on your left side for a few minutes after the meal to assist digestion.
- Dinner is a time to eat a light, easily digestible meal, like soup or well-cooked grains and vegetables. Eat only if or when you are hungry in the late vata or early kapha time of the evening. Eat no later than 2 hours before retiring.
- Eat silently, slowly and only when you are truly hungry.
WORK, PLAY & OTHER ACTIVITES
- Social interaction, work requirements and the ways that you choose to have fun should occur primarily in the pitta and vata times of the day. The kapha time of the morning builds your stamina for the day and the kapha time of the evening naturally slows you down.
- Before bedtime, unwind with relaxing activities, such as easy stretching, inspiring reading or enjoyable listening. Review your day and if there are any details less than positive, re-write them in the most positive form, and then let go of the details completely.
Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes only and is based on the tradition of Ayurveda. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe or heal any health condition or to replace standard medical treatment or advice.