Daily Routine According to Ayurveda
If waking up is a struggle, midday finds you crashing, and you're restless and alert at bedtime, it may be time to reset your clock. According to Ayurveda, yoga's 5, 000-year-old sister science, one of the keys to good health and feeling great all day long is living in tune with nature's cycles. Literally and energetically, that means rising and setting with the sun. To help you align your system more closely with the cycles of nature, Ayurvedic tradition recommends a routine of morning and nighttime practices collectively known as dinacharya. These rituals are designed to give you calm, focused, sustainable energy to support meditation, yoga, and everything you do throughout the day.
"When I do my dinacharya, there's a sense that I'm taking really good care of me, " says Kathryn Templeton, founder of the Himalayan Institute's Ayurvedic yoga specialist training program and an Ayurvedic practitioner in New Haven, Connecticut. "My ability to meditate, teach, parent, and practice feels steadier and easier. And I experience more peace of mind."
To get back in sync, make over your daily routine with the simple Ayurvedic practices. The morning practices are cleansing and energizing; they'll infuse you with a calm sense of presence. The evening ones will help you wind down for a restful sleep. Movement, such as yoga asana, and meditation are also essential to dinacharya. Consider incorporating asana before breakfast and meditation in the morning and evening.
Choose one or two of these practices to start, and after a week, take note of your energy level and mood. Then add a few more and repeat the observation process. Over time, these practices may become as routine as brushing your teeth.
According to Ayurveda, the predawn hours are dominated by vata dosha, a subtle energy that actually makes it easier ;to get out of bed. Waking before sunrise fills you with vibrant energy for the rest of the day. On the other hand, if you wake up after sunrise, a time dominated by kapha's heavy, earthy energy, you're likely to feel sluggish. Predawn is also considered an auspicious time of day because its atmosphere is still and quiet, making it easier to turn inward and meditate, says Templeton.
To flush out any germs, pollen, dust, or congestion that have accumulated overnight, try jala neti, a nasal cleansing technique that rinses the sinuses with warm saline with the aid of a teapot-like vessel called a neti pot. Jala neti is a nice prelude to a morning pranayama or meditation practice. According to yoga tradition, it equalizes the flow of breath between the nostrils and balances the ida and pingala nadis—two energy channels that pave the way for inner exploration.