One of the reasons I fell in love with Ayurveda was because of its simplicity. Hence, I named my practice, SimpleVeda. The word Veda means knowledge or science – this Simple Knowledge makes sense for even the most common individual. Ayurveda is a way of living in harmony with Mother Nature and thrives on prevention of dis-ease.
Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle isn’t only about eating foods that are right for your body type but it also consists of implementing simple Daily Routines – Dinacharya, that are appropriate for your body type.
Ayurveda reminds us what our ancestors did without thinking, naturally – to follow the rhythms of nature. When the sun goes down, time to go to bed, when the sun rises, time to get up! Seems pretty simple, right? Wrong! With the modern age of electricity, ipads, phones, microwaves, television, and fast food restaurants open 24 hrs a day, we’ve completely lost touch with our true nature as Spirit.
Within the body there is a natural rhythm that governs our natural urges. Our natural urges are food, sex, and sleep. In Ayurveda, these are referred to as the three pillars of life. They can also be seen as digestion, creativity, and rest. While we all have unique rhythms based on our unique body types, our basic rhythms need to be in harmony with nature for our more subtle (mental, emotional, spiritual) rhythms to manifest. The first step toward getting back in touch with these rhythms is to create a routine!
Through daily dinacharya (routines), we can begin to bring balance to the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) and re-create a life of balance, health and happiness.
For many, Ayurveda can be overwhelming at first. Start SIMPLE by beginning with ONE dinacharya from the list below, adding a new one each morning or day. By the end of 10 days, routine will settle in. Remember, Ayurveda encourages a lifestyle that is unique for you. While these practices are generic, choose what feels good for you or talk to an Ayurvedic Practitioner for personalized guidance.
10 Daily Routines in 10 Days!
- Rise with the sun (or as close to the sunrise as possible) to allow the body to harmonize with the rhythms of the sun. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, rising earlier in the summer and later in winter. In general, the Vata dosha should wake around 6 AM, the Pitta dosha around 5:30 AM, and Kapha around 4:30 AM.
- Scrape your tongue each morning with a copper tongue scrapper. These can be purchased at our office or on Amazon. Begin at the back of the tongue and move to the front, scraping 3-5 times to stimulate the digestive fire, agni and aid in the removal of toxins (ama).
- Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that dates back to over 5,000 years. The term ‘oil pulling’ refers to the way you move the oil around in your mouth by pulling, pushing and sucking it through your teeth. This supports killing bacteria. I personally love to use coconut oil with a drop of peppermint essential oil. Sesame oil is a good option too.
- Neti/Nasya. The nose is the pathway into the mind, sinuses, and lungs. When Neti, or nasal irrigation followed by the use of nasya oil is performed, it enhances mental clarity, cleanses the sinuses and respiratory, prevents dryness, protects against pollens, pollutants and pathogens and maximizes the absorption of Prana, life force energy. If you suffer from allergies this is life changing! Start by practicing 1-3x a week. Use a neti pot with slightly salty, warm distilled water (should be as salty as your tears; ½ tsp salt per ½ cup water), followed by nasya – place a drop of herbal (can be purchased at our office) or plain sesame oil in each nostril with the tip of the little finger.
- Abhyanga. The word for “oiling the body” in Sanskrit, is Snehana, which means “TO LOVE”. Self Abhyanga is a warm herbal oil massage that has amazing benefits if practiced 3-5 times a week! Read my blog post on the benefits and how to practice this ancient therapy!
- Drink a glass of warm water upon rising. This cleans the digestive tract, encourages a morning bowel movement and stimulates agni, our digestive fire or metabolism. If the bowels don’t evacuate naturally at first, don’t worry, the warm water and tongue scraping will eventually send you into this rhythm.
- Yoga/Exercise. If you don’t already have a regular routine around exercise, keep it simple. Begin with 5 rounds of sun-salutations or light stretching. If the weather is nice spend time in nature by taking a short but brisk 20-30 minute walk in your neighborhood. Being in nature also provides better immunity, ojas.
- Meditate. A few minutes of quiet time after movement is beneficial for reducing stress, anxiety, depression and anger. It’s a time to listen quietly, read or journal. You could also use an app like Headspace for a guided practice. Eventually, try a self-guided meditation by following the flow of your breath, inhale and exhale. Then, begin coordinating your breath with a mantra, inhale – ‘joy’, exhale – ‘love’. This will support the mind from drifting off. An Ayurvedic practitioner or meditation teacher can support you to deepen your practice.
- Eat your breakfast (never skip breakfast; even the name suggests that it’s the ‘the break of the fast’ and therefore very important). Eat lunch, which should be the most substantial meal of the day, between 12-2PM. Eat dinner before the sun goes down, which is later in the summer and earlier in winter. In general by 7PM is a good habit. Short walks after your meals are beneficial.
- Go to bed between 9:30-10:00 PM to insure adequate rest. Avoid stimulating activities right before bed such as watching TV, using your phone, etc. Curl up in bed with a warm cup off chamomile tea and allow your body to rest easily and effortlessly.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. If it seems like way too much, take a deep breath and remember to incorporate ONE thing at a time. The most important first step is to start a daily routine if you don’t already have one. Chances are, several of these will become natural and you’ll be able to add on as you go. Remember that even a small step in the right direction IS a step in the right direction.
May these Daily Routines help your day to be happy, peaceful, and productive.