The Ayurvedic Way to End Your Day
By Chahna Tailor
Happy December! We’re wrapping up a super long year. Are there any changes you would like to see in life before 2021? Why not better sleep or a more restful evening? If you had a chance to read last month’s article, you read that dinacharya, daytime routine, was the way to Ayurvedically start your day. Just like there is a way to start your day, there is a way to wrap it up!
Ratricharya is the combination of two words: ratri, which means night or nighttime, and charya, which means regimen or routine.
Eat a Warm, Cooked Meal
If you are having issues with digestion, before you start your meal, you can eat a slice of ginger with some rock salt or vinegar to start up the digestive fire. Make sure that the meal you have for dinner is warm, and cooked. Cold foods at night are not recommended. There are times of the day where the quality of cold is more prominent. Kapha time is upon us from 6pm – 10pm, so we want to combat its cold effects by eating something heating. Eat salad and raw vegetables during lunch time; this is when your digestive fire is at its highest. Your dinner meal should not be very heavy either. A relatively light but filling meal is perfect to end the day. Dinner should ideally be around 6 to 7pm. After dinner, chewing some fennel seeds is a great way to keep digestion going as well as freshen your mouth!
Take a Walk
Go for an evening walk. Sitting down right after eating can cause a bit of stagnation to happen in digestion. A nice walk can help to promote movement and stimulate digestion.
Shower and Abhyanga
Oleation of the whole body (abhyanga) is perfect for winding down. Different types of oil can be used depending on each dosha but refined sesame oil is great for everyone! It is suggested that you leave the oil on for a minimum of 15 minutes. I like to leave it on overnight but if you do not like it, you can always take a shower after. Take a nice, warm shower and end with giving yourself a foot massage and head massage (maybe with some oil!) to relax.
If you have trouble sleeping, you can have a nice warm tea [chamomile, CCF tea (Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel), lavender, lemon, lemongrass, or mint) or even make a glass of golden milk (turmeric + milk or non-dairy milk). In order to get the mind to a restful place, aim to turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. You can put yourself in good spirits by reading anything that makes you feel at peace or something spiritual.
Prepare Yourself for Bed
Leave a glass of water on your bedside table for you to drink out of in the morning (preferably in a copper cup – will go more into detail about why to use a copper cup in another article!). Take a moment to show gratitude for the day and have a few moments of stillness and silence or even meditate. If you have trouble sleeping, you can also do a relaxing yoga flow or some pranayama techniques right before bed (as long as it is about an hour or two after your dinner meal). The best time to head to bed is around 10pm because this is the beginning of pitta time. Pitta time (10pm – 2am) is when the body does a lot of digesting and rejuvenating. These are the prime hours that you want to be asleep!
The way you end your day can determine the quality of sleep you have at night as well as how refreshed you feel when you wake up the next day. It can also determine the way that your digestion will function in the morning. This list is not exhaustive, by any means! There are so many little techniques you can include that can help end the day perfectly. Are there any other techniques that you include? As I said last time, everything can be modified to fit your life – so, mix and match as you please! Find your own Ayurvedic way to end your day!
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.