A dinacharya (morning routine) aligns us with our natural circadian clock and nature’s cycles. In this modern world of technology, our inner clocks have been skewed and somewhat disconnected from nature’s flow. In Ayurveda, each time of day is governed by one of the three doshas. From 2:00-6:00, Vata is the dominant dosha. Vata is made up of air and ether, and in this space is room for creativity and expansion. Waking up during Vata time will bring more energy to your day. This is because the next time of the day is Kapha, meaning that water and earth elements bring a heavy quality to waking up from 6:00-10:00. Though Kapha is grounding, it can also mean sluggish and make it more challenging to rise in the mornings. In this article, we will lay out four simple things you can sprinkle into your dinacharya that will enhance your life vitality.
When you first open your eyes in the morning, practice gratitude. You can say a prayer, an affirmation, or something nice to yourself. Some examples of affirmations include “I am healed and grounded and “I am beautiful, strong and a source of light and love”. Some examples of gratitude can be as simple as “I am grateful for waking up today”, or “I am grateful for the people around me”. It may feel silly, but practice verbalizing your gratitude.
Maintaining hygienic oral health in Ayurveda transcends into taste bud, digestive, and organ health. Overnight, our tongue accumulates bacteria. Tongue scraping removes these toxins, which can be composed of undigested foods or life experiences. If you have a yellowish residue on your tongue in the morning, it could be an indication of excess Ama (toxins) in the body. Tongue scrapers come in different styles and materials, but Ayurveda recommends a copper one due to its antibacterial powers. Next, is oil pulling. The oil literally pulls out Ama (toxins) from your gums, teeth, and tongue. You can either use coconut or sesame oil and swish a spoonful around in your mouth. If you are just starting out with oil pulling, swish it around for 5 minutes and try to work your way up to 20 minutes. Spit the oil into a bag in a trash can (not in the sink!), and wash your mouth with warm water. Oil pulling can be done before or after brushing teeth. Results from oil pulling typically can be a few weeks, please be patient with yourself and your oral health routine.
Yoga is excellent for circulation, digestion, and strength. This is a time to move your body. Check out our article on Yoga for your Dosha to get a more detailed outline for your constitution. Yoga allows us to create a path for expanding individual consciousness to Universal Consciousness. Yoga is the union between the lower self with the higher self. Meditation also fosters this union through stillness, Yoga does it with movement. If you can do some Yoga in the morning to ground yourself, every decision you make will be influenced by the solid and loving foundation you created.
Pranayama is a range of Ayurvedic breathing techniques that are best done after morning Yoga or exercise. Pranayama spreads health benefits to every cell in the body. There is research that shows how breathing techniques can help people on weight loss journeys, increases air capacity and resilience in the lungs, and also improve mental concentration and skin health. Pranayama for Pitta is the Sitali breath, which is a cooling and calming breathing exercise. This is also a good practice if you experience irritability, anger, or even have some indigestion. For Kapha individuals, Bhastrika inspires warmth and increases the flow of prana (life force) through the nadis (body channels). If you’re feeling unmotivated or sluggish, Bhastrika is the breathing technique that will break up excess Kapha and make you feel more awake and aware in the world. One of the most common breathing techniques, Nadi-Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing), is used for those with Vata dominant constitutions to experience the comfort of rhythm and be grounded in the breath. Check out our article on Deep Diaphragm Breathing to go deeper into the practice of Pranayama.
If you don’t have a morning routine or are anxious about changing your own: start with one thing that you can commit to for one week. The important thing to remember when establishing routines is consistency, patience, and the ability to adapt. If you wake up and do some Yoga for one morning, you might feel amazing or you might feel nothing. If you feel good after Yoga, you might think the next morning “well I did it yesterday, it’s okay if I skip today”. You might be thinking “well I did it yesterday and I didn’t feel anything, I won’t do it”. Either way, this is where we take the opportunity to have an open mind and become our own loving parent to nudge us gently in a new direction. Creating new brain patterns is challenging, and a dinacharya shouldn’t feel stressed or rushed. This is the time to cultivate stillness, to become grounded, and harness the energy needed for the day.
- Evening Standard
- Yoga International
- Pranayama on obesity of affected individuals
- Ayurveda College
- “Dosha for Life” by Bretherton & Whitman
- photo from Canva