Part of living an Ayurvedic lifestyle isn’t just about eating foods that are right for your body type but it also consists of implementing simple Daily Routines that are appropriate for your lifestyle. Ayurveda reminds us about something that 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, etc. Seems pretty simple, right? But most of us, with the use of electricity, microwaves, and fast food restaurants open 24 hrs a day, television and the internet, we’ve completely lost touch with these natural rhythms.
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 constitution, our basic rhythms need to be in harmony with nature for our more subtle unique rhythms to manifest. The first step toward getting back in touch with these rhythms is to create a routine!
Ayurveda provides us with a map to our natural basic rhythms. Through these daily routines, we can begin to bring balance to the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) and re-create a life of health and happiness.
12 Daily Routine Tips From Ayurveda
1. Get up with the sunrise (or as close to the sunrise as possible) to give the body a chance to harmonize with the rhythms of the sun. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, rising earlier in the summer and later in winter, but on average Vata people should get up around 6 AM, Pitta people around 5:30 AM, and Kapha around 4:30 AM.
2. Drink a glass of warm water. This will clean the digestive tract and encourage the regular morning bowel movement.
3. Scrape your tongue each morning, back to front 5-10 times to stimulate the digestive system and aide the removal of toxins (ama). Afterwards, brush your teeth.
4. Evacuate the bowels and bladder, if you can without forcing. If this isn’t happening at first, naturally – the warm water and scraping your tongue will help!
5. Meditate and practice the constitutionally correct Yoga Poses. If possible, practice meditation and yoga for a half an hour each morning before eating breakfast.
6. Shower or bathe.
7. Eat your breakfast (never skip breakfast; even the name suggests that it’s ‘the break of the fast’ and therefore very important).
8. Take a short (½ hr) walk after breakfast, if possible. Walking after meals stimulates digestion.
9. Eat your lunch, which should be the biggest meal of the day, between 12-2PM. Take a short walk afterward.
10. 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. Another short walk after your meal is beneficial.
11. Go to bed between 9:30-10:30 PM to insure adequate rest. Do not eat, read or watch TV in bed.
12. Once a week, clean out your nasal passages. Use slightly salted water in a neti pot (should be as salty as your tears; general guideline is ½ tsp salt per ½ cup water). Then place a drop of oil (can be the same as your body oil) in each nostril with the tip of the little finger. This maximizes the absorption of Prana, the life force.
Don’t feel overwhelmed. The most important first step is to start a daily routine if you don’t already have one. The next step would be to have regular meals (about the same time every day). The next would be to go to bed around 10PM. So if you read the list and it seems like way too much, take a deep breath and incorporate one thing at a time. 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.