Ayurveda is an ancient science of evoking inner health by aligning with nature’s cycles and the elements. At the core of Ayurvedic understanding is the idea that the world we live in has perpetual rhythmic influences on our lives and wellbeing. Thus, living in alignment with the elements and the cosmos is the best medicine, and time, expressed through nature’s rhythms, is the greatest healer.
With this in mind, a very important part of healing with Ayurveda is aligning your routines with the rhythms of nature, from the daily cycle of the sun to the yearly cycle of seasons. In fact, chronic challenges such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, constipation or PMS, can be significantly improved simply by living a life that is synchronized with natural cycles. You will be surprised by how much can shift simply by leveraging the energies of each dosha at its respective times of day. Follow this simple daily routine to feel vibrant, energized and joyful each day, and to sleep soundly each night.
Morning time is a very important time according to Ayurveda. From 2 am to 6 am is a vata time, and is when the world comes alive (just think of the singing birds!). Waking up during this time synchronizes your body to the rhythm of the sun, and is the ideal time to eliminate both physical and mental wastes. Between 6 am and 10 am is a kapha time of the day, so this is the best time to move in to physical activity.
Do your best to complete the following routine every morning:
Wake up 20-45 minutes before sunrise, and be sure the first thing you look at is beautiful!
Scrape your tongue. Tongue scrapers are available on Amazon or at your local natural grocer.
Brush your teeth.
Drink a glass of warm water with lime and a pinch of natural mineral salt.
Now is the ideal time to have a bowel movement.
Do 30 minutes of exercise such as yoga, tai chi, walking or dancing.
Give yourself a massage with warm oil (a practice called abhyanga in Ayurveda).
Take a hot shower or bath, but rinse your head with cool water before getting out.
Eat a warm breakfast (ideally before 9 am).
From 10 am to 2 pm is when the sun is highest in the sky, so it is a pitta time of the day. This is when the digestive fire is the strongest, so it is the ideal time to eat your main meal, and is also the best time to do your most strenuous mental activities. From 2 pm to 6 pm is a vata time of the day, and meditating during this time helps us to entrain ourselves to the rhythms of nature.
Incorporate the following in to your routine throughout each day:
Eat your largest meal between 11 am and 2 pm. Take a brisk 15 minute walk after eating.
No not sleep immediately after any meal, and never nap for more than 20 minutes.
Calm down after your work day by spending 15 minutes meditating between 5 and 6 pm (before dinner).
Between 6 pm and 10 pm is another kapha time of day, when it is natural to wind down and prepare the body for sleep. The digestive strength becomes weaker after sunset, so it is best eat very light after 6 pm. Between 10 pm and 2 am is the pitta time of the night when the liver is actively detoxifying and cleansing the body. If you stay awake past 10 pm it will be more difficult to fall asleep, and you may find yourself developing the unhealthy habit of night-eating because digestive fire flares back up.
Do the following routine each night to help you rest deeply and detoxify throughout the night:
Eat a light dinner that consists of mostly cooked, well-spiced vegetables.
Relax in a quiet, dimly lit environment to signal your body and mind to prepare for sleep.
Be aware of ‘blue light’ once the sun has gone down. Blue light, like that emitted from electronics, signals the brain that it is daytime effecting your circadian rhythms. To promote sound sleep, shut off electronics and bright lights one hour before sleep. Try to use lighting that emits an orange glow to light your house once the sun sets.
Sip a cup of warm almond or goat milk blended with cardamom, dates and ghee.
Light some candles and do your yoni steam ritual (once per week when you're not menstruating).
Massage the soles of your feet with coconut oil with lavender essential oil.
Practice Yoga Nidra.
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep, describing a state of conscious deep sleep for extreme relaxation and subtler spiritual exploration. While in shivasana (lying on your back in a relaxed position), listen to a guided yoga nidra recording. A great recording is Experience Yoga Nidra: Guided Deep Relaxation by Swami Janakananda.
Your body's natural state of being is healthy, radiant and joyful. If you aren't yet experiencing your innate capacity to live in this way, consider that the first step toward reaching this state is to realign your routines with the rhythms of nature. Once you are living in sync with the energies of our world, the rest of your wellness efforts will be amplified.
Sierra Brashear, MA, is founder of Vibrant Souls, a wellness company that makes organic yoni steaming herbs and unique tea blends available to women around the world. She is currently studying to become a Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine with Alakananda Ma at Alandi Ashram in Boulder, Colorado. To deepen your exploration of wellness through this wisdom, book a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner at Alandi Ashram.