As mentioned in my previous post, Ayurveda for Beginners – An Ancient System of Health and Healing, creating a Dinacharya or daily routine is crucial in the success of your overall Ayurvedic transformation. So what is Dinacharya? Let’s find out!
Diving into Dinacharya
Dinacharya, literally meaning “daily routine”, is a foundational concept in Ayurveda. Ayurveda outlines six different cycles over the course of a twenty-four-hour period broken up by dosha type. Hence, it is no surprise that the qualities of each dosha are pronounced during each respective cycle. The main premise is that the use of a routine in alignment with these cycles creates balance amongst the mind, body and spirit. A balanced being can then focus on the promotion of healing, consciousness, and living a fulfilling and present life.
Supporting the idea of these natural rhythms or cycles is the idea that our bodies are undeniably connected to the earth and the universe. Therefore, our bodies are constantly being influenced by the time of day, weather, seasons, and our immediate environment.
The cycles of a single day are broken out as follows:
6:00am – 10:00am KAPHA
10:00am – 2:00pm PITTA
2:00pm – 6:00pm VATA
6:00pm – 10:00pm KAPHA
10:00pm – 2:00am PITTA
2:00am – 6:00am VATA
Many people have some kind of daily routine they perform, but it most likely does not center around the “cycles” of the day, but rather tasks that are required to be completed: kids to school, work, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, etc. The important thing is to realize that even making a few adjustments to your current processes can have a significant impact on your life.
I think its safe to say, most individuals set their alarm for the absolute most about of sleep they can obtain in any given night. This means that many will have some flexibility in being able to set their alarm earlier and incorporate many of the beneficial practices that will be discussed below.
I myself now get up almost two hours earlier than I did in my “old” life and am so grateful that I do.
Morning (Kapha Time)
The first doshic cycle of human consciousness starts with Kapha time from 6:00am – 10:00am. This is the cycle where your daily routine will most likely begin. Ideally a person will wake before sunrise and performed the following activities:
- Wake with or without alarm
- Waste elimination via urination/bowel movement
- Tongue Scrapping
- Brushing Teeth
- Oil Pulling
- Drink glass of warm lemon/lime water
- Nasya Oil
- Dry brushing
- Abhyanga (Oil Massage)
- Warm Nourishing Breakfast
I know what you must be thinking, holy cow, how could I possible add ALL of these practices into my morning? Will I have to get up two hours before I usually do? Is the missed sleep really worth it?
Take a deep breath, another, and relax. Not all of these practices have to be added to your daily ritual, but as many as you can and are willing to fit it will create an indescribable sense of clarity and peace within your life. Several of the tasks listed above are things most people do already.
Midday (Pitta Time)
The second cycle of the day is Pitta, 10:00am – 2:00pm. This is where you should consume the most nutrient dense meal of the day, making sure to include protein. It is imperative that you eat while seated and allow 5-10 minutes of rest before movement to allow for proper digestion. Ideally you will take a brief walk to promote further digestion of your meal.
This is also considered the best time to perform physical of mentally straining work.
Evening (Vata/Kapha Time)
The final cycles of the day (with which we are awake) is Vata 2:00pm-6:00pm/Kapha 6:00pm – 10:00pm, or the evening doshic cycles. During this time dinner should be consumed and consist of a light meal eaten at least three hours before you intend to sleep. This is to ensure the food is digested before sleep to help prevent the buildup up of toxins in the body. Begin to perform calming activities such as reading, knitting, or listening to soft music. It is highly advised to avoid dramatic TV shows or other loud activities.
It is also during Vata time that the energy supplied during lunch is used to fuel creative work or performing daily chores. Leading into Kapha time is where the evening routine comes into play. The following are suggestions for a nightly routine:
- Drinking golden milk
- Brush Teeth
- Journal thoughts
- Oil ears, head, feet
- Apply essential oils
- Pranayama (controlled breathing)
It is important to note that there are two additional pitta and vata cycles, however these occur during sleep and are not able to be manipulated through actionable steps.
Creating Space to Transform Your Life
Like so many, I used to wake up as late as possible and then rush to complete various tasks before having to run off to work. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed it felt like an endless list of tasks that had to get done or the world would stop turning.
After having my children something shifted inside me and I realized that this is no way to be living my life. Is that really the example that I wanted to set for my kids? I was blessed by being introduced to an alternative morning routine that at the time did not include Ayurveda rituals, but it did eventually lead me there.
Now, I start my day out feeling at complete at ease and capable of conquering anything that comes my way. I feel present and in the moment, like I have created a whole new dimensional space that allows me to open my mind, body, and spirit to new experiences and perspectives.
Now that you know what Dinacharya is, I hope that you will be intrigued enough to implement some of these practices into your day. After all, the ultimate goal of dinacharya is to open your mind, body, and spirit to healing and who doesn’t want to be living in the best version of themselves?