The Art of Daily Routine
Felicia M. Tomasko
We often view routine as something dull and mechanical. But from
the perspective of Ayurveda, dinacharyathe art of daily
Following an Ayurvedic routine is deceptively simple. Our daily
habits rather than our occasional indulgences have the most significant
influence on our health. Some primary principles to consider are
walking the path of moderation through avoiding excesses and extremes,
generally calming vata and planning activities to correlate with
the inherent daily cycles.
Ayurveda describes a daily cycle (See Sidebar: Cycles of the Day)
during which the doshas alternate in their predominance. Planning
activities at the appropriate time allows the day to run more
the art of dinacharya, how the day is begun sets the tone for
the rest of the day. If we wake up early in the morning, earlier
than the start of the kapha time of day (6 a.m.), we will feel
more awake, alert and energized, before the heaviness of kapha
starts to weigh us down.
pitta midday hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. are often when we are
most alert and productive. Take advantage of this time of clarity
by tackling difficult tasks. This is also when the bodys
agni (digestive fire) is at its most intense, so eating your largest
meal of the day at this time promotes healthy and complete digestion
and elimination. Additionally, eating regularly and at approximately
the same time each day balances all the doshas.
the mid-afternoon vata time, we may feel an energetic lull. Instead
of succumbing to coffee or sugar, take a brisk walk, enjoy a cup
of herbal tea or take a short break from work for an energizing
is the second kapha time of the day. Eating dinner earlier rather
than later gives the body ample time to digest in this slower
time of day. It is good to take advantage of the natural strength,
stability and earthiness of kapha energy by studying, exercising
or socializing in the evening.
It is important to slow down as the evening winds on to sleep
well. Going to sleep around 10 p.m. allows you to sleep through
the pitta time of night when the body digests toxins and rejuvenates
itself. You may notice that if you stay up past ten, you feel
hungry and get a second wind due to the heating effect of pitta.
early morning is another vata time characterized by our connection
to our creativity and intuition. We dream the most in these hours;
they are also ideal for meditation, asana and spiritual practice.
routine should strive to calm the body. Still, creating calm does
not mean falling prey to stagnation. Dinacharya should include
practices to keep things moving in the body, physically and energetically.
One practice is to begin the morning with a cup of hot water to
encourage proper daily elimination and kindle the agni, or digestive
fire. Other morning cleansing practices include neti and scraping
the tongue with a tongue scraper.
is the practice of washing the nasal passages with salt water.
Use pure, body temperature water with enough salt to make the
solution taste salty like tears (1 ½ tsps of salt per quart
of water, or a pinch per cup). You can either use a bowl and draw
the water into the nose with the breath or use a neti pot and
pour the water through your nostrils with your head tipped to
one side over the sink. It can be helpful to follow neti with
nasya (warm oil in the nostrils). Nasya is an herbal solution
in either oil or ghee.
abhyanga (massage) is an effective way to calm all the doshas.
Two ways to incorporate abhyanga are: oiling before bathing or
showering or oiling the feet before sleeping, which releases the
days frenetic energy and promotes sound sleep.
for yourself your best time for yoga, keeping in mind that consistency
brings more power to your practice; a short daily practice is
more effective than a monthly asana marathon. Make sure you have
some type of asana, exercise or movement in your day, as it is
too easy to spend most of our time sitting at desks or driving.
that asana helps prepare the body physically and energetically
for some of the more subtle practices like pranayama (breath techniques),
meditation, chanting, study or prayer. Incorporate other practices
in your day including savasana (relaxation) and a short meditation,
which can be effective to focus the mind and calm all three doshas.
art of dinacharya encourages harmony and balance 24/7. It is not
necessary to follow every recommendation, but it is important
to find the ones that work for you. When we approach our daily
routine with awareness and schedule our routine with knowledge
of the whole in mind, we can take advantage of the profound effect
the little things we do have on our health and well-being.
Felicia M. Tamasko is a Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Practitioner
and writer based in southern California. She is currently visiting
Europe, and can be reached at Ayurvedi_andyouga@yahoo.com