In Ayurveda, although we are all unique with our different dosha (constitutional) types (see previous blogs for more details), there is a recommended daily routine, called Dinacharya. It is suggested that everyone follows this daily routine and then you adjust your food, herbs and type of physical activities to suit your dosha within this daily structure. The different parts of the routine at the various times are suggested because the doshas also align with these various times of the day. I will explain more.
6 am - 10am This is Kapha time. RIse early around 7am at the latest. Practice oil pulling, tongue scraping, brush your teeth, then cleansing breathing and jala neti (more on that later) followed by a drink of hot water and some physical exercise. Then have some breakfast. You will find that if you lie in bed too long into this time you feel tired and sluggish all day. This is because you have indulged too much in the earthy Kapha energy!
10am - 2pm This is Pitta time, when the fire energy or sun is at its height. It is recommended that we eat our main meal between 12pm - 2pm. This is because Pitta is largely associated with our digestion which is at it strongest at this time of day. If we eat at this time we will digest our food more easily, therefore we will gain more nutrients and energy from our food and also feel less sluggish with no after lunch energy dip.
2pm - 6pm is Vata time. This is the time, after a good healthy energising lunch, to work and be active and creative. It is recommended that we eat our evening meal of something light like soup, by 6pm so that it doesn't sit heavily in the digestive system when we go to bed.
6pm - 10pm Kapha time returns once more. At this time of day we naturally begin to feel more relaxed and sleepy. Now we can use this Kapha influence and it is advised to go to bed between 930pm - 10pm for a restful sleep. You may find that if you stay up later that this that is is not so easy to get to sleep and you are restless. Avoid anything too stimulating in the evening and stop screen time from around 8pm for a good nights sleep.
10pm - 2am This is Pitta time once again. During this time whilst we rest, our Pitta organs are busy. The lIver is processing anything we have ingested during the day, the stomach and intestines are digesting food. The body naturally detoxes during these resting hours. It is worth knowing that if we don't get to bed by 10pm and rest during this time that this process doesn't happen. The body and its rhythms get confused and the organs don't work in the same way. You are then left with residual toxins which can create disease.
2am - 6am Vata time returns. This is the time when if we are asleep we may have our most vivid dreams, due to the active Vata imagination. If our Vata is elevated then this can cause insomnia and this is generally the time at which people tend to wake and feel restless and unable to stop thinking and get back to sleep. If this is happening to you it may be worth thinking about what you can do to calm your Vata.
In Ayurveda there is a reason and purpose behind everything that we do. This daily routine is no exception. As mentioned whilst the routine is generally the same for everyone the food we eat, the movement we practice and any herbs and so on are all tailored to you as an individual. One size does not fit all. Yes it may mean that you aren't out late partying, or that you don't eat out often. You know what? You have to consider if the health benefits are worth it for you. This Dinacharya, daily routine, works best when practiced in a dedicated and sustained way. Because Ayurveda is not just for today, it's for life. Your life, your health, your choice.