How does Ayurveda help maintain health?

To maintain the health of a healthy person Ayurveda provides guidelines an Ideal Daily Routine called “Dincharya” and Seasonal routine called “Rutucharya”. The uniqueness of these routines is that it is in Harmony with nature’s daily and yearly cycle, respectively.

What is Dinacharya
Dinacharya (दिनचर्या) refers to the ayurvedic daily routine recommendations that educate how to live a healthier, happier and longer life and avoid all diseases.

Dinacharya provides guidelines as to when we should wake up, conduct self-care, do exercise, eat, work, do our spiritual practices like yoga and meditation and sleep according to relevant Dosha cycle prevalent at specific period of the day & Night.

Ayurvedic Daily routine helps in maintaining balance and harmony in our body and nature by regulating our biological clock and advocating a healthy lifestyle. It also helps in proper digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food.

  • Connection between Dinacharya and predominance of three Doshas in day & night cycle

The three doshas, vata, pitta, and kapha, each have their time of dominating presence within a twenty-four-hour period in which their energies predominate. By establishing a routine that “goes with the flow” of these three life forces of energies, helps to improve immunity, brings happiness and promotes longevity.

Everyday two cycles of change passes through us, each bringing a Vata, Pitta or Kapha predominance.
Doshas and Ayurvedic clock-
* Kapha = 6 a.m.–10 a.m. and 6 p.m.–10 p.m.
* Pitta = 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 10 p.m.–2 a.m.
* Vata = 2 p.m.–6 p.m. and 2 a.m.–6 a.m.

  • What is an Ideal daily routine according to Ayurveda-

– Wake up early in the morning at Brahma Muhurta. Brahma Muhurta means 1 to 1.5 hrs before sunrise. It is the most satvik and peacful time of the day. As it is Vata predominant time, it’s easier to wake up .
– Say a prayer before leaving the bed.
– Wash your face, clean your eyes and rinse your mouth.
– Then drink a cup of warm water, preferably from a pure copper container filled the night before. This will help to hydrate tissues, flush toxins that have accumulated overnight, ignite the Digestive fire (Agni) and stimulates peristaltic movements. This also helps with bowel movements.

Cleansing the senses-
– First Brush the teeth and scrape/cleanse your tongue.
– Followed by gargling – Oil pulling (Link for oil pulling write up)
– Hold oil (preferable sesame oil) in your mouth(half full), swish it around vigorously, then spit it out and gently massage the gums with a finger. It helps to strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw, improve the voice and remove wrinkles from cheeks.
– Put 2 drops of warm ghee or oil into each nostril in the morning (Nasyam). It helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and give mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nose drops nourishes prana and improves intelligence.

 AbhyangamMassage the body with sesame oil . Also Apply oil on scalp, put 2/2 drops in ears (karnapooranam) and also soles of the feet. This helps to nourish and strengthen the body, stimulate internal organs, enhance blood circulation, encourage regular sleep patterns and also balance Vata Dosha in the body.

Exercise- Regular exercise at least half an hour daily helps to improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps improve digestion and elimination of toxins, relax the mind and body, aids sound sleep. You can choose any exercise like walking, jogging, running, cycling, Yoga postures followed by Pranayaama (breathing exercises) is very beneficial. Suryanamskar (Sun Salutation) is the best exercise that helps to strengthen the entire body. Exercise is always recommended to do in Kapha predominant time.

  • Take a bath with water which is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • Meditate regularly atleast for 10-15 mins to reduce stress and improve concentration.
  • Light, nourishing, fresh breakfast is recommended before 8 am.

Afternoon –

  • Lunch should be taken between 12 pm to 1 pm which coincides with the peak pitta time. Pitta is responsible for the digestion and your agni (digestive fire) is strongest, eat your largest meal of the day at this time.
  • Take a gentle walk after eating to aid digestion.
  • Avoid sleeping in the afternoon.
  • From 10 am to 2 pm, when pitta predominates, are the most productive hours for work.

Dinner –
– Dinner should be taken around 7.00 – 7.30 pm and should be lighter than the lunch.
– Take light dinner to digest food. It should be taken at least 3 hours before bedtime. It aids good digestion.
– Leisurely walk after dinner for 10-15 mins to aid digestion.

Bedtime –

  • Go to sleep around 10 p.m. before the next active pitta period begins, that ensures approximately 6 to 7 hours of sleep before waking up again on Brahm muthurta the following day, that is around 4.30 am.
  • It is a good practice to massage the soles of the feet with oil before bed to calm the nervous system and promote sound sleep.

Try to keep the routine as close to the recommended Dinacharya as possible. Thus, discipline is the key of getting benefits from Ayurvedic Dinacharya.