RESOURCES > AYURVEDA > DAILY ROUTINE (DINACHARYA)
Routine is given great importance in Ayurveda. What we do on a daily basis is very important to our health and longevity. Although Ayurveda recognises the differences between individuals and may recommend slightly different regimes, here are some general guidelines which everyone would benefit from.
Keep regular times for going to bed and rising.
Drink a glass of warm (not hot) water. This helps clean the kidneys and the large intestine.
Gently scrape the tongue using a tongue scraper, or a spoon can be used. This removes "ama" (toxic residue).
Brush teeth ( = cleans) and massage the gums with sesame oil ( = strengthens).
Evacuate the bowels. This should be an easy process. If stools overly hard or loose, or there is constipation, this would indicate an imbalance or improper food intake.
Bath or shower in warm (not very hot) water.
Oil the body. Said to keep the skin soft and youthful. This can be done prior or after bathing (when the skin is more receptive to oil absorption). Use an organic cold pressed natural oil such as coconut. Specifically there are particular oils for particular constitutions. Apply just enough to give the skin a slight sheen, but not so you will be sticky and possibly spoil clothing (hence the option for bathing after application). Apply in gentle strokes starting from feet up to hips, then arms, and torso.
Wear comfortable clean clothing and attractive scent.
Do Yoga exercises, Yoga breathing (Pranayama), and meditation. e.g. For a 30 routine do 20 mins exercise / 5 mins pranayama / 5 mins meditation.
Eat breakfast according to constitution and season. e.g. in colder months foods such as cooked fruits, porridge. Avoid cold milk on cereal.
Aim to be breakfasted by 8 am or soon after.
Lunch should be taken at midday when the body's digestive ability is at it's peak. Therefore lunch should be the biggest meal of the day.
Avoid large hard to digest meals and eating late in the evening. 6 - 7pm is best, allowing a good 3 hours before bedtime.
Avoid computer screens or watching television immediately before bed, or anything of a disturbing nature, like thriller horror films or books. Instead read motivational spiritual texts.
Do relaxing yoga postures such as a seated forward fold and shoulder stand, followed by pranayama and meditation, and if applicable prayer.
Always be in bed before midnight. 10 - 11pm is best.
Do not sleep on the belly.
Other food and eating considerations:
Only eat fruit on it's own and never directly after a main meal. Instead eat it as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, or 20 - 30 minutes prior to a main meal.
Never drink cold or iced drinks with a meal as it has a detrimental effect on digestion. Sip warm water instead.
Lightly spicing food can be a great aid to digestion as can adding ginger to it. Keep these in moderation. A hot vindaloo curry is not recommended. Similarly use salt sparingly. Although a little pinch can be beneficial.
Choose quality natural whole-foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and choose organic whenever possible.
Limit junk food to an occasional treat if you still desire it or simply eliminate it entirely.
Drink still water and herbal teas. Ration your coffee and black tea intake.
Be mindfull when eating. Eat slowly and chew well in quiet surroundings.
A short walk about 15 mins after a meal aids digestion.
Lying down straight after a meal hinders the digestive process. However, after 1/2 hr or so, resting on one's left side is ok, due to the anatomy of the colon.
Limit or eliminate intake of dairy. Milk is body building. It's use in nature is to encourage a calf to rapidilly grow. Hence body-builders of old have been drinking it for years to promote muscle growth, and these days they consume the extracted whey from milk, thereby eliminating the fat content. Milk is also said to be mucus forming. It should always be heated (cooked) before consumption. Ayurveda is not totally against the use of milk, but favours organic and raw and properly prepared and consumed. e.g. hot spiced milk before bed to promote good sleep. Hard cheese can be difficult to digest (hence nightmares if eaten before bed). Again choose organic whenever possibe.