Updated: Mar 8, 2022
According to Ayurveda, daily routine is everything! Preventative medicine starts in understanding how we live each day matters and that the daily choices and actions we make have effect on our health and wellness. Ayurveda is a self-healing medicine that gives the patient a responsibility and understanding of their own health. Creating a personal daily routine that is best fit for you and your lifestyle is a great way to take responsibility of your health and deepen your understanding of your holistic (physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual) needs and how to honor them.
Ayurveda understands that everyone is unique and therefore our daily routines may look a little different. However, Ayurveda does offer some helpful guidelines in structuring your daily routines based on the doshas so that you can find balance according to our unique constitution and the daily fluctuations of the doshas in nature.
"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts." - Henry Thoreau
According to Ayurveda there are daily rhythms where one dosha is predominant, which has an effect on the quality of our being. We can use this knowledge to help us create a routine that helps balance the dosha and either create heat and energy in the mind and body or cool and quiet the mind and body.
Kapha time is the time between 6:00-10:00, both am and pm. This is the time when there are more of the qualities of earth and water in nature and our physiology: slow, cool, calm.
Pitta time is the time between 10:00-2:00, am and pm. This is the time when we experience the qualities of fire and wate in nature and our physiology: heat, metabolism, focus.
Vata time is the time between 2:00-6:00, am and pm. This is a time when there are more of the qualities of space and air in nature and our physiology: light, dry, cold, movement.
Knowing that the morning hours (6:00-10:00am) are Kapha time, we can all benefit by slowly awakening and energizing the mind and body to cultivate strong metabolism and alertness needed for the day ahead.
Guidelines for a healthy morning routine:
Wake up early with the sun. The more we sleep in the deeper we get into Kapha time and the groggier we can be when we wake up.
Meditate first thing in the morning to help awaken and clear the mind.
Add some breathwork to support Agni and awaken digestive fire.
For Pitta and Vata if you wake up with lots of energy do some cooling breathwork to bring ease and steadiness. For Kapha and those who wake up tired, do some heating breathwork to bring energy and focus.
Add oil pulling and tongue scraping to your morning teeth brushing routine. These kriyas help to pull toxins out of the gums, tongue and mouth and enliven the digestion for the day.
Vatas and Kaphas may choose a warming oil such as sesame oil for oil pulling, while Pittas may choose coconut oil for it’s more cooling qualities.
Drink warm water or tea in the morning to ignite your digestive fire and get movement going in the digestive tract for healthy bowel functioning.
For Vatas and Kaphas, some lemon and slices of ginger in the water add extra support for the digestive fire.
Move your body! Whether it's a walk outside for Pittas and Vatas or some invigorating yoga for Kaphas, movement will give you energy to start the day and ground into your body.
Late morning to early afternoon (10:00am-2:00pm) is Pitta time. This is when this sun is at its highest and are digestive fire is at its strongest. Then we enter Vata time later in the afternoon (2:00-6:00pm). Here we can start to feel the excess stress and energy from the day, and it is important to start to unwind.
Guideline for a healthy afternoon routine:
For all doshas, eat your largest meal of the day at lunchtime. Our metabolism is at its strongest during this time of the day and we are generally more active so we can metabolize our food into energy.
Do your most focused work during Pitta time, when the mind is sharp and focused.
As we enter Vata time around 2:00, it can help to reset with 5 minutes of slow deep breathing or a little stretching to stay calm and focused for the rest of the day.
Our creative mind can also begin to wander around Vata time. This is a great opportunity to go for a walk, talk with friends, and take a break from our work or prior engagements.
As your day begins to wind down, after the Vata and Piita activity it is helpful to calm the mind and ground the body back into the present with some meditation.
As we move into the evening, we enter back into Kapha (6:00-10:00pm). The sun is setting and we transition into getting ready for sleep. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health so it is important we can create healthy evening rituals that prepare us for natural, restorative sleep.
Guideline for a healthy evening routine:
Eat a light dinner earlier than later to aid digestion and not go to sleep on a full stomach, which can cause restless sleep.
Reflect on the day either with others or journaling to help release the day and enter into sleep with a restful mind.
Begin to dim the lights about 2 hours before bed to encourage natural melatonin production. Bright lights suppress our natural melatonin and make it difficult to fall asleep. But letting it get dark lets our body know it's time for sleep.
If you are on your computer in the evening, consider glasses that filter out blue light, as this can also interfere with natural melatonin production.
Be mindful of noise. If watching TV or listening to music, keep it at a lower volume or watch/listen to media that encourages rest and relaxation.
Use the power of touch to help you sleep. Self-massage, especially for Vatas, who naturally have the hardest time settling down to sleep, can be very calming and grounding and assist falling asleep.
Aromatherapy can help calm the mind and encourage relaxation. Diffusing lavender oil or rubbing it on your temple or pillow is shown to be particularly calming and soothing.
And finally, as you lay in bed focus on your breath. Deep and rhythmic breathing can help calm the nervous system to help relax the body and quiet the mind to promote a good night's sleep.
As you reflect on your daily routines, I invite you play around with adding these guidelines into your daily life. The science of Ayurveda is about following the rhythms of nature. The closer we align ourselves to the natural rhythms, the more we can flow with the fluctuations of life and find balance.
Another principle I follow and believe in is, everything in moderation. Though we can strive to faithfully follow these daily routines, life is all about the unexpected and if we stray away from our discipline is it important to be kind and allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy what the moment has to offer.
If you are interested in learning more about your Dosha, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a Dosha Assessment and learn more about how you can find holistic balance!
Love and light,