Establishing a daily routine is crucial to effecting a positive change in the body-mind complex. A fixed routine can balance one’s system, aiding digestion, absorption and assimilation. It also has the ability to consolidate self-discipline and induce a sense of purpose and calm.
It is the simple things you do every day that impact you.
Start right. Wake up 2 hours before sunrise
Two hours before sunrise is known as the Brahma Muhurta. This is the time that the Vata element is most dominant, it is also the most serene time of the day. The vibes are positive, it’s a good idea to tune your body into the energizing frequency that exists at such a time.
What’s the first thing you should do when you wake up?
Upon rising, drink 3 to 4 cups of warm water on an empty stomach. Do this before brushing your teeth. The benefits of this practice are immense. Cleans the digestive tract, flushes out toxins, speeds up metabolism, strengthens the immune system, prevents headaches, helps in controlling weight, prevents kidney stones, promotes healthy hair and skin.
Try to switch from conventional brushing to chewing a neem twig
This is a little revolutionary, but it’s an excellent chemical free way to maintain oral hygiene. Neem is a powerhouse! It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anticarcinogenic and immunomodulatory, properties.
Peel off the skin of a neem twig. Chew a corner until it looks like a brush. Now ‘brush’ your teeth, spitting out the saliva at regular intervals. Rinse mouth when done. Good for healthy teeth & gums.
Clean your tongue thoroughly
Toxins from the system settle on the tongue overnight. It’s important to use a good quality tongue scraper (avoid one made from plastic) to maintain a squeaky clean tongue. This also enhances the functioning of the taste buds.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that’s become the new mantra
Oil pulling not only enhances oral health, but also overall health. It is a practice which entails swishing oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes, then spitting it out. Do this only once. Coconut, sesame or sunflower oils work best.
Oil pulling literally pulls out bacteria and other debris from the teeth and gums. Our mouths host billions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, other parasites and their toxins. All of which cause tooth decay and gum diseases, while contributing to many other health problems like arthritis and heart ailments. Our immune system is constantly warding off these culprits. If it becomes overwhelmed by stress, poor diet, environmental toxins and other factors, these organisms can escape notice and slip into our system – spreading throughout our body, causing secondary infections and chronic inflammation, leading to a number of health problems.
Do oil pulling. It brightens teeth, improves gum health, prevents bad breath, promotes clearer skin. Boosts the immune system, reduces headaches, increases energy, improves the lymphatic system, alleviates PMS symptoms!
After oil pulling, use a herbal mouthwash
Use a herbal mouthwash like Triphala. It is an ancient Ayurvedic formula which is tridoshic – it balances vata, pitta and kapha. Swishing with Triphala enhances the *bodhaka kapha, supports the detoxification processes, gently cleans and nourishes the oral cavity.
*Bodhaka kapha initiates the first stages of digestion for simple carbs, helps in taste perception, regulates oral bacteria, lubricates oral tissues, supports speech and the vocal chords.
Put 3 to 5 drops of ghee into the nose for mental clarity.
The nose is the doorway to the brain. Lubricating it in the morning spring cleans the sinuses and clears the mind. Organic ghee is perfect for the job.
Bathe your eyes with triphala or rose water.
Attend to your eyes too. Keep them healthy by washing them with triphala/rose water
Heat 1 tsp Triphala powder in 200 ml water. Remove from fire as soon as bubbles start appearing. Leave overnight. Next morning warm slightly, strain and use eyecups to bathe your eyes in the clear liquid.
Do daily self Abhyanga
Give yourself a nice oil massage from top to toe. If done daily, Abyanga can induce relaxation and feelings of wellbeing – regular Abyanga is especially beneficial for Vata dosha imbalances.
When you bathe/shower, don’t rush. Go slow, breathe deeply
A warm bath or shower is recommended. Relax through it, you will emerge feeling uplifted. Use a mild soap for ’certain’ areas, avoid soaping yourself robustly all over. Towel dry gently. Use a ‘blotting’ action rather than rubbing the towel vigorously all over.
Next? Yoga and Meditation!
The best time to exercise is between 6 and 10 in the morning. This is when the body is in its kapha phase and at its strongest – physically. Surya Namaskar, yoga and pranayams will give you the energy and clarity of thought to tackle the whole day and stay on top of it.
Meditation has innumerable benefits, yet it can be done anytime, anywhere. You don’t need expensive gym memberships, nor do you need any special equipment.
- Lowers levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks.
- Scales down stress.
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Steps up serotonin production which bolsters mood and behavior.
- Upgrades emotional health and creativity.
- Perks up energy levels.
- Develops intuition and clarity of mind.
- Boosts mental agility.
- Improves memory and retention.
- Increases peace of mind and happiness.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Lengthens attention span.
- Promotes sleep.
Yoga and meditation have so many benefits – do yourself a favor, fit both in your daily schedule.
Never skip breakfast
Breakfast should be healthy, should keep you going till lunch. According to Ayurveda, eating fruit first thing in the morning is a superlative habit, something everyone should cultivate. Sweet juicy fruits can mop up the system, helping to cleanse it of impurities.
Cooked apples eaten first thing in the morning, aids in generating ojas – the final and most subtle spin off of digestion which plays a role in creating an upsurge in vitality, immunity and overall wellbeing.
Lunch should be the largest meal of the day
Pitta aids digestion. Best to have lunch when it dominates between 12 and 1pm. Try and ‘design’ your plate, adding different colours to it – green broccoli, orange carrots, purple cabbage. If you can, include all 6 tastes too. Sweet (madhura), acidic (amla), salty (lavana), pungent (katuka), bitter (tikta) and astringent (kashaya).
Stroll after lunch, don’t nap.
Spend time with yourself after sunset
Sunset is a special time of balance between day and night. Make this your Me Time to unwind and reboot. Watch the sun slowly disappear under the sea, meditate, pray, read an inspiring book. The energies are very restful for winding down, taking stock.
Have a light dinner around 6 to 7 pm
Having dinner around 6 or 7 in the evening is a good idea. Keep it light, and never burden your stomach with a heavy dinner. It’s a good idea to walk for about 10 minutes after dinner.
Hit the bed between 9 and 10 pm.
Massage the head and feet with oil before bed for wellbeing. This will calm your system and support wellbeing. Drinking a Triphala concoction at bedtime will aid digestion and keep constipation at bay.
Ayurveda has always stressed the importance of connecting with nature, and Dinacharya is a daily routine designed to connect us to our circadian rhythms (our internal body clock). Dinacharya helps us understand when to do what. When is the best time to wake up, to exercise, to meditate, and so on. This is important if we wish to maintain a healthy body, mind, and soul.