Start Your Day the Ayurvedic Way
By Chahna Tailor
Did you know that even in Ayurveda there is a perfect way to start your day?
Dinacharya is the combination of two words: dina, which means day or daytime, and charya, which means regimen or routine. This daytime routine can help to make sure that your doshas remain in balance. If we start in the morning, there are some cool rituals we can integrate into our day that don’t take up too much time! The best part about it? Pick and choose what works for you!
First things first
Start by waking up early – preferably about 1hr and 36 minutes before sunrise (also known as brahma muhurata). This auspicious timing is perfect for spiritual practices and starting your day. Before you leave the bed, take a moment to express gratitude for life. Start your day by waking up your senses – rub your palms together until you create heat from the friction and then bring the palms to your eyes to send pranic healing to them. Before you brush your teeth, drink a glass of water that you left overnight, preferably in a copper container, to allow your body to detox, flushing out all of the toxins in your body. This practice is known as ushapan.
First and foremost, your body should be light – eliminate your bladder and bowels. This is good to do before yoga and meditation so that you can practice without being disturbed by the body processes. The second your feet touch the ground, you should want to feel like eliminating your bowels. Initially, you may not be able to, however with practice, this can become a part of your morning routine and can make you regular.
Next, wash your face, eyes, and mouth and scrape your tongue. Perform oil pulling (flossing coconut oil in between the teeth). Apply nasya (oil drops in the nose) to lubricate the nasal cavity (refined sesame oil is a good one for all doshas!) and add sesame oil in the entrance of the ears also. Continue with oleation of the whole body (abhyanga) with sesame oil. Leave the oil on for a minimum of 15 minutes to make sure that the body has a chance to absorb it and then take a shower, wearing clean clothes afterwards. I like to leave it on for longer, so I usually shower and then apply oil!
Wake up the body and focus the mind
Integrate a yoga session. If your mind is all over the place, go for a slower, steadier yoga flow. If you’re moving slower than usual, go for an invigorating practice. Incorporate some pranayama techniques. A good technique for everyone is ujjayi (deep diaphragmatic breathing) and can be practiced in tandem with yoga postures, and nadi shodhana/anuloma viloma (alternate nostril breathing), which can be done in a sitting position. Or, you can also incorporate some meditation. If you are unable to concentrate, utilize something in front of you, like a murti or a candle, and work to focus your attention on only what you are staring at. Another way to meditate and build focus is to concentrate on the breath and feel the path of it as you inhale and exhale.
Now, finish your morning off and start your day with some breakfast! The best way to break your fast (get it, breakfast?) is to eat fruit. It is best to eat fruit alone on an empty stomach because it digests the fastest. If you mix it with other foods, it can cause fermentation in the stomach, so it is best to have a half hour window between fruit and other foods. Otherwise, you’re pear-pared to start the day!
How many of these rituals have you already integrated into your day? Hope you saw a few items that you can easily integrate in your current routine! Start slow – you don’t need to do everything. Over time, as you become more comfortable, you can add additional items as these activities become a part of your daily routine. Remember, everything can be modified to fit your life. These suggested techniques can be utilized in any way that works for you. Mix and match and make it your own flow – your body will thank you for it. There is nothing better than keeping ourselves in balance, so start your day the Ayurvedic way!
Next month let’s review Ratricharya. You’ve guessed it – it’s the night time routine!
About the Author
Chahna Tailor is a Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Health Counselor with a background in occupational therapy. Chahna completed her yoga training in Rishikesh and recently completed an Ayurveda internship in Kannur, Kerala. Chahna’s company, Namaskar To You provides yoga, pranayama,meditation, and Ayurveda services. . She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Ayurvedic Medicine.