As we know, one of the aims of Ayurveda is to live in harmony with our surrounding environment, and to get us back into the rhythm of nature, there are many daily routines we can follow.
Sleeping and waking up
The times of the day can be broken down into 6 parts, from sunrise until 10am is kapha time and has the qualities of kapha dosha, 10am – 2pm is pitta and from 2pm until the sun sets is Vata time, when we feel the most active and light, then the cycle repeats again, sunset – 10pm is kapha time, 10pm – 2am is pitta and 2am – sunrise is vata time.
The best time to go to sleep is in the kapha time in the evening as this is when we are feeling heavy and will be the easiest time to fall asleep.
The best time to wake is just before sunrise or in the vata time, as this is a time of lightness, it is easier to wake with energy, this is also the best time for meditation. You might find that if you wake up during the kapha time of morning, you may feel a heaviness that carries on throughout the day.
After waking up
Going for a short walk around outside to appreciate nature is wonderful for our mental state and increases our energy. Taking a walk on the grass in bare feet is fantastic for our health as the morning dew is soaked up from the soles of your feet and lowers our body’s pH level.
It is best to empty your bladder and colon first thing in the morning. If this is left until later in the day, or if elimination is not possible every day, toxins that should be eliminated will be re-absorbed back into your system.
During the night, toxins build up in our mouth – these must be eliminated in the morning to prevent them from re-entering our system. Soon after waking, brush and floss your teeth and scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper – don’t scrape your tongue with your toothbrush as this may injure your tongue. Oil pulling or gargling with warmed sesame oil is also very effective at removing toxins.
Dryness of the skin and tissues is one of the main reasons for premature ageing, and as our skin is our largest sense organ and is exposed to all the elements, it makes sense to protect it. Daily massage with warm sesame oil is wonderful nourishment for our skin and nervous system. Do this each morning or as often as you can, at least once per week, and leave the oil on for 20-30 minutes before having a warm shower.
Exercise is essential for energy throughout the day and general good health. You should choose an exercise regime that is compatible with your body type as you may be more suited to gentle exercises like yoga or tai-chi as opposed to vigorous exercises that could be quite damaging to the body.
Meditation calms our mind and increases our ability to cope with the daily events that can often cause stress to our body and mind. It increases our concentration and helps to create a clear mind and gives us energy for the day. The benefits of meditation do not end when you finish your meditation – the effects are long lasting and profound.
You should always try and have something for breakfast, although if you do not feel hungry, just have something small and light and then something more substantial later on in the morning. Try and have minimal calories but maximum nutrients, some good ideas are porridge and fresh vegetable juices – avoid fruit smoothies with milk and fruit as these are incompatible!
Lunch time is during the pitta time of day and when our digestion is at its strongest so this should be your main meal of the day. This is the time of day that our body will best able to digest raw foods like lettuce and sprouts. After lunch try and have a short walk for 5 minutes or so to help with the digestive process.
The best time to have dinner is between 6-7pm, around the time of sunset, although this is not always possible, as a general rule you should eat a light meal in the evening time as our digestion has weakened over the afternoon. Try to leave a gap of at least 2 hours between eating dinner and going to bed so digestion has completed before you sleep.
Going to bed
The time in the evening is a time to relax and spend time with you family winding down after the day. It is an important time to calm your nervous system prior to going to bed, listen to some relaxing music or listen to some music. Try to avoid using the computer or watching TV or movies as this is stimulating for the nervous system and sleep will be more difficult and not as restful.