If waking up is a struggle, midday finds crashing and one is restless and alert at bedtime, it may be the time to reset the clock. According to Ayurveda, one of the keys to good health & feeling great all day long is living in tune with nature's cycles.
Energetically that means, rising and setting with the sun. To align the system more closely with the cycles of nature, Ayurvedic tradition recommends a routine of morning and night time practices collectively known as Dinacharya. These rituals are designed to give calm, focussed, sustainable energy to support meditation, yoga and everything one does throughout the day.
The daily regime or routine is called “Dinacharya” in Sanskrit. ‘Din’ means 'day' and ‘Charya’ means 'to follow' or 'close to'. To maintain a healthy and disease free life one should follow a daily routine or schedule. In order to be optimally healthy, dinacharya is one of the best things that one can do to prevent disease, stay in balance and treat almost every illness. The Ayurvedic Rishis considered it to be a stronger healing force than any other medicine.
The morning practices are cleansing and energizing. They will infuse with a calm sense of presence. The evening ones will help wind down for a restful sleep. Movement, such as yoga asana and meditation are also essential to Dinacharya. Incorporate asana before breakfast and meditation in the morning and evening.
Everyday two cycles of change pass through our body each bringing a Vata, Pitta or Khapha predominance.
From 2 to 6 AM, or until dawn, the vata element is dominant. Waking up an hour before dawn, one can utilize the vata qualities in the nature. It is the most fresh and pure time of the day. Drinking a glass or two of luke warm water helps in the elimination of toxins.
The last portion of the night being ruled by vata is involved in the process of elimination – the time before dawn is best to eliminate the body's physical waste & kapha that naturally accumulates overnight. Never suppress the natural physical urges.
Brush the teeth and scrap the tongue regularly. Ayurveda considers the coating of the tongue as an indicator of ‘Ama’ or toxins in the colon. Gargles of salt water with a pinch of turmeric keep gums, mouth & throat healthy. They help avoid dryness of throat, cracking of lips & dental cavities. People following this oral care won’t suffer from toothache and can chew the hardest of things.
Massage the body with sesame oil twice a week. It makes the skin supple. Massaging the scalp, forehead, temples, hand and feet for about 2 – 3 minutes is sufficient. Applying head oil produces sound sleep as well.Coconut is a great nourishing ingredient for the hair and scalp.
OILING OF EARS
Accumulation of wax can be prevented if oil in the ear is used regularly. It also helps keep the ears clean from external impurities.
Take bath in the water which is neither too hot nor too cold. Everyday bath is essential to remove fatigue, sweat and dirt. It also keeps the hair washed and clean. The best results for lustrous & thick hair come when the oil is washed with ayurvedic herbs. Keep the hair trimmed, nails filed and wear clean clothes.
Exercise regularly by doing yogasana & pranayam. It increases the body's stamina and resistance to disease by facilitating the immune system. Avoid any kind of exercise during illness and after meal.
Meditate for about 15 minutes to discipline the mind and removing stress. It is best done after a quick bath.
Avoid being stressed or agitated while eating to ensure proper digestion. Breakfast should be warm, nourishing and wholesome. Wash the hands before & after meal. Do not drink with meals. Limit tea and coffee to not more than twice a day.
Lunch should be taken early between 12 noon and 1 pm. Try to make lunch the main meal of the day. Eat in silence without talking or laughing. Do not take heavy & spicy food in the noon.
It is a special time of balance between day and night. In this balance, it is easier for the mind to reflect on the day and on yourself. This is the time for evening prayers and meditations in many cultures around the world. Take light snacks if hungry and avoid ingestion of heavy food this time. Take a light walk.
DINNER AND BED TIME
Dinner should be taken around 6 – 7 pm. It should be lighter than the lunch. It should be at least three hours before bedtime as it gives the body ample time to digest the food.
Go to bed in time so that get 6 to 7 hours of sleep before 4:30 am. A good practice is to massage the soles of feet before going to bed. This will calm the body system. Do not sleep on the belly but try to sleep on back with knees slightly bent.
Ayurvedic Tips for Sound Sleep
1. Dim Light
As the sun goes down, lower the lights in home to signal to body and mind that the frenetic pace of the day's activities is coming to an end and that it's time to stop being “on”. Minimise screen time on the electronic devices for at least an hour before going to bed. Lie down by reading something uplifting or spending time with family or friends.
As night falls, light a stick of incense or a sandalwood and vanilla candle or add a few drops of these aromas in the form of essential oils to a warm water. From an Ayurvedic perspective, these scents have a calming, balancing & grounding effect. When one consistently associates these aromas with a particular state of being such as relaxation, a memory is created in the brain. When next time one takes breathing in these aromas, the neurophysiology remembers that state of relaxation.
There are several marma points or pressure points on the foot that correspond to the entire body. Doing a foot massage, one can get relaxation in just a few minutes.
Wash and dry the feet. Apply warm, organic, cold-pressed sesame oil to one foot at a time using the palms to rub the sole from heel to toe in small circular motions. Repeat on the top of the foot. Massage the ankle followed by the sides of the foot. Interlace the fingers between the toes, gently push the foot to flex and make clockwise and counterclockwise circles. Beginning with the little toe, rub each toe gently and apply a little pressure in the webbing. Finally, pull each toe slightly and put on clean cotton socks to sleep in.
Before bed, heat a cup of organic whole milk until it boils. Add a pinch of ground cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Let it cool a bit and add honey to taste. Warm whole milk is used in Ayurveda as an insomnia remedy. Sip chamomile or lemon balm tea.
To calm oneself for sleep or sitting for evening meditation, spend a few minutes doing Nadi Shodhana. It is also known as alternate nostril breathing. This breathing practice calms the nervous system, opens and balances the sushumna nadi, an energy channel that quiets and steadies the mind.
Place the right thumb over the right nostril to close the airway. Inhale through the left nostril and then use the ring finger to close off the left nostril. Lift the thumb and exhale out of the right nostril. Breathing in through the right nostril and putting the thumb over right nostril again exhale out of left nostril. This completes a single round. Try to do 5 to 10 rounds per sitting. This practice does transition from activity to stillness, relaxing the body and mind.
“Ayurvedic tradition recommends a routine of morning and night time practices collectively known as Dinacharya.”
“Gargles of salt water with a pinch of turmeric keep gums, mouth & throat healthy.”
“As night falls, light a stick of incense or a sandalwood and vanilla candle or add a few drops of these aromas in the form of essential oils to a warm water. These scents have a calming, balancing& grounding effect.”
Natural Ways To Increase The Stamina
• Increase magnesium intake
Handful of almonds, hazelnuts and cashews fulfill the magnesium needs.
• Walk around
Increase the physical activity particularly walking.
• Power nap
15 - 20 minutes of power nap helps us to retain what we have learnt.
• Don’t skip breakfast
Going without breakfast may increase your stress levels and make the more volatile emotionally. Get an energy boost in daily breakfast.
• Reduce the stress
It leads to one being a happier person having better relationships and a longer life.
• Drink plenty of water
Slight dehydration can leave you feel tired and lethargic.
• Eat more whole grains and less sugar
This is important to boost energy after exercise, when the body is likely to be craving for fluids.
• Have a power snack
Eating more whole grains helps increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin & allows its slow and steady release. Power snacking is more than just eating between meals.
“There are several marma points or pressure points on the foot that correspond to the entire body. Doing a foot massage, one can get relaxation in just a few minutes.”