Individual doing dinacharya morning routine as advised by AyurLife UK (porridge, herbal tea)

Charya:

Ayurvedic routines for Health

Dinacharya: Ayurvedic Daily Routine

 

A daily routine is essential for maintaining good health and well-being.  A regular routine creates a sense of rhythm and connection to between ourselves and our environment. Harmonisation of our own bio-rhythms with time of day and season ensures regularity of the bodies key functions such as digestion and assimilation of food, excretion and sleep. Following a healthy pattern every day promotes regular energy levels, confidence, self-esteem, discipline, peace, happiness, and long life. The following suggestions are designed to promote well-being but are not indicated for curing disease. For this, a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner should be seen and diet and lifestyle modification can be made suitable to your condition.

Stimulate Prana in the Mind and Body

8) Exercise:

Everyone should do some kind of exercise every single day.  A walk in the fresh, early-morning air or doing some yoga/stretching is a suitable form of exercise for many though additional aerobic exercises may also be necessary to maintain good health (depending on your constitution).

  • Vata types are better with quiet and slow exercise such as yoga, swimming and walking

  • Pitta types are better suited to moderate non-competitive exercise such as swimming, dancing, walking outdoors

  • Kapha types, with their proneness for weight gain but increased strength and vigour, should partake in more strenuous exercise such as cycling, tennis, aerobics, hiking, and mountain climbing
     

9) Pranayama

After finishing your exercise, sit quietly and do some deep breathing. Suggested
breathing exercises include:

  • Vata - Alternate Nostril breathing

  • Pitta – Cooling (Sitali) breathing

  • Kapha –  Kapalabhati or “Breath of Fire”

 

10) Meditation

Follow pranayama with meditation – whichever type works for you.

Practice for 10-15 minutes each morning.  This will bring peace and balance into your life.

Image by Zen Bear Yoga
Many washing his face as part of his morning dinacharya routine as advised by AyurLife UK
Girl Brushing Dad's Teeth as part of morning dinacharya routine as advised by AyurLife UK
Using nasya oils as advised by AyurLife UK
Asian lady in bed streching after waking early as advised by AyurLife UK

Cleanse and refresh the mind, Body and Senses

1) Wake Up Early (time dependant on dosha and season):

It is beneficial to wake up 30-60 minutes before the sun rises as at this time of the morning, pure qualities are lively in nature, which can bring freshness to the senses and mind.

Before 6am is vata time making it easier to wake. After 6am kapha begins to increase making you feel heavy and sluggish. 

2) Wash Your Face, Mouth and Eyes:

 

Splash your face with cool water, rinse your mouth, wash your eyes and massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them - this will help to wash away secretions which can cause imbalance in the eye and help you to feel refreshed.

3) Drink a Glass of Water:

Drink a glass of room-temperature or warm water, preferably from a pure copper jug or cup, which should be filled the night before and left to sit. This will also help to flush toxins from the GI tract and stimulate peristalsis in the intestines, to promote good bowel movements.

 

4) Evacuation:

 

Following your glass of warm water (or after exercise) sit on the toilet. Try to do this at the same time every day for a regular bowel movement.  Even if you don’t have the urge - sit for a few minutes, without forcing, and the habit will develop and the bowls will regulate.

Early morning is the best time to evacuate your bowels, as the waste materials/mala should not stay in the colon for too long as this will result in headache, laziness, nausea, lack of appetite, formation of wind, pain in the legs and indigestion. The mala are toxic (ama producing) and if not evacuated in the morning, they start to form gases and aggravate vata resulting in constipation and haemorrhoids.

 

5) Clean Your Teeth and Tongue:

 

We all know brushing our teeth is a fundamental to good oral care but brushing also stimulates the senses creating clarity of the sense organs of the head and clear away toxins preventing diseases of the head. Traditionally teeth-brushing was done using herbal sticks though a toothbrush with toothpaste containing astringent, pungent, and bitter herbs is a modern Ayurvedic equivalent. 

After brushing, scrape your tongue with a copper or silver tongue scraper, gentle stroking from back to from 6-7 times. This will remove bacteria from the tongue and sends a wake-up message to the internal organs to stimulates gastric fire (agni) and digestive enzymes.

6) Gargle with oil:

To boost oral care and prevent diseases of ears, nose and throat (as well as removes wrinkles from the cheeks) gargle every day with warm oil (dependant on dosha). 
 

7) Nose drops (Nasya):

 

After gargling put 2 to 3 drops of the same oil into each nostril.  This helps to clear, moisten, soften and protect the sinuses, improve the senses, strengthen voice and promote mental clarity. 

Ladies doing aerobics class as [art of dinachrya routine as asvised by Faith Warner at AyurLife UK

DinaCharya Step 2: Awaken

DinaCharya Step 3: Nourish

Person meditating as part of daily dinacharya routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK

DinaCharya Step 1: Cleansing

Image by bruce mars
Lady enjoying a health lunch as part of daily dinacharya routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK
Lady doing self-massage (abhyanga) as part of daily dinacharya routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK

Nourish, Strengthen and Support Body and Mind

11) Oil Massage (oil is dependant on dosha)

One of the most important dinacharya, especially for vata, is massage. Daily apply warm and rub in all over your head and body. This will promote softness and suppleness of the body tissues, strength of the sense organs, prevent wrinkling and greying and protect the skin from pollution and harsh environments.

12) Bathing 

After exercise and applying oil, and before eating, take a hot shower or bath. This will help the oil to soak in, maintain good hygiene and help you to wake up and feel fresh ready for the day. Try to avoid chemical shower gels and instead favour natural organic soaps with essential oils to soothe and nourish skin. Taking a bath at night helps to reduce vata, stress, muscular tension, anxiety and aids sleep.

13) Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Now it is time to enjoy breakfast!  Your meal should be fairly light in spring and summer and more substantial in autumn and winter.  Vata and pitta persons should
always breakfast but kapha’s can skip this meal.

 

Between 12 and 2pm enjoy lunch. This should be your main meal of the day when your digestive fire is at is strongest. Sip warm water with your meal.

 

Between 5 and 7pm, eat your last meal of the day. Sit quietly and pay attention to the food, do not eat and watch television. Be careful to avoid overeating at this time!

Time to Wind Down

14) Before going to bed

Do not do strenuous exercise after sundown as this will aggravate Vata and will discourage sleep.

 

Turn off any screens and do some light reading or take a bath after 9pm.

If you are not lactose intolerant enjoy a cup of warm milk, with a little

cardamom, and turmeric as this aids sleep and supports tissue repair

while you sleep.

 

Before you go to bed meditate again for 10 minutes and maybe enjoy some

spiritual reading, even if only for a few minutes.

 15) Going to sleep (9-11pm latest)

The time you sleep (and the amount of sleep you need) changes depending on your dosha. Everyone needs a minimum of 8 hours so plan your bed time at least 8 hours prior to your planned getting up time! Vata and pitta types need more rest while kapha types needs slightly less (despite enjoying more!)

Woman relaxing in the bath at night part of daily dinacharya routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK
Image by Osha Key
Woman in bed having an early night part of daily dinacharya routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK

Morning:

  • Wake between 5 and 7, with practice you'll wake without an alarm

  • Brush teeth, clean tongue, massage gums with warm sesame oil

  • Drink a glass of warm water (signals physiology to eliminate toxins)

  • Empty bowel and bladder

  • Flexibility movement; sun salutation; yoga postures and pranayama

  • Massage body with oil/shower

  • Eat breakfast with awareness

  • Perform morning work activities

Mid-day:

  • Eat lunch -  12 noon – 2pm (the main meal of the day)

  • Sit quietly for 5 minutes after eating

  • Walk 5 – 15 minutes to aid digestion

  • Perform afternoon work and activities

  • Meditate before the sun sets

Evening:

  • Eat dinner -  5pm – 7 pm. (light to moderate).

  • Sit quietly for 5 minutes after eating

  • Walk 5 – 10 minutes to aid digestion

  • Perform light activities in the evening

Bed-time:

  • Early bedtime – 9pm - 11:00 pm.  (at least 3 hours after dinner)

  • Minimise eating or watching TV after 7pm

  • Turn off screens at 21:00 and reading/drawing etc

  • In bed with lights off by 22:30/23:00 latest.

Open diary with sage. Following dincharya daily routine as advised by Faith Warner from AyurLife UK

Ideal Ayurvedic Routine

Rtucharya: seasonal routine for Health

DinaCharya Step 4: Relaxation

Seasonal Routines for health

After daily routine, the second biggest factor to influence our ability to remain in balance is season. The changing qualities of nature can impart drastic effects on our constitution. Everyone, at some point in their life, has fallen victim to the common cold when the dosha of kapha and vata are overwhelmed by winters inherently cold nature. A common error in modern life is consider ourselves separate from nature, believing that subtle changes in our environment has little influence over health.

 

As all things are created from the same principle elements, all things have a direct relationship with one another. As the seasons move from one to the next, there are observable changes to our environment including heat, moisture and wind. As each of our dosha is governed by these functional energies, our dosha increase and decrease, respectively, depending on season. So, to prevent imbalance, one must align their nature to the changing qualities of their surroundings.

Butterfly on flowers symbolising Spring and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK
  • Avoid sleeping during the day which causes blockages in the channels and will make you feel sluggish and make digestion dull.
     

  • Wake up early, go for a brisk walk or do several rounds of sun salutation. 
     

  • This is a good season to observe a juice fast of apple, beetroot, pomegranate, or berry juice.
     

  • Suitable vegetables include Radishes, spinach, okra, onions, beetroot and garlic and ginger, black pepper, Pippali, and a tea made of cumin, coriander, and fennel. Honey is excellent in spring though do not heat or cook.
     

  • All legumes such lentils, beans and peas are suitable for this season - avoid heavy proteins such as seafood
     

  • Try to reduce avoid heavy, oily food and sour, sweet, and salty foods, dairy products, ice cream and cold drinks as these all increase kapha. Eat foods of bitter, pungent, and astringent flavours.
     

  • Wear appropriate clothing depending on warmth and moisture, be conscious a cold may present in this season
     

  • Apply oil only once a week as this can overwhelm the body which is trying to shed winter kapha
     

  • At the junction between Winter and Spring, as the winter fats and toxins begin to liquefy in the warming environment, kapha and pitta types types are prone to Spring allergies and nausea if a heavy diet is continued at this time. To prevent this a good detox regimen should be followed with the advice and guidance of a an Ayurvedic practitioner

 

 

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Spring

 

Spring is warm, moist and gentle. Due to the increasing heat, the accumulated kapha in the body, similar to the snow, begins to melt and liquefy resulting in spring colds.  As the flowers blossom and the suns warmth increases everyone feels happier though some (typically kapha people) may suffer from fever and allergies. To avoid these and other ama/kapha symptoms we recommend a good detox and some spring lifestyle changes.

 

 

  • Use coconut oil for massage, its cooling, nourishing and soothing on hot dry skin
     

  • Wear cool, light, loose-fitted clothing of white, grey, purple and green and wear a hat
     

  • Eat cooling, sweet, bitter and astringent foods that are green or white such as such as apples, pears, melons, plums, and prunes, watermelon and lime, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy greens, broccoli, raw and salad food, cucumber raita, and basmati rice. Kitchari of rice, ghee and mung lentils with coconut is a superior meal.
     

  • Avoid sour, salty and pungent and red foods such as citrus fruits, garlic, onion, chilli, tomato, sour cream, and salted cheese. Also avoid heavy red meat and seafood.
     

  • Drink cool or room temperature drink rather than hot. Ice and iced drinks, however, inhibit digestion and create toxins (ama) in the body; it is best never to drink them. Lassi is an excellent drink for summer – mix 1-part yoghurt and 4 parts water and blend. You can add cumin, lime and sugar to taste
     

  • Choose cooler alcoholic drinks in summer such as beer or gin and avoid heating spirits and red wine which will overheat the stomach, bowels, liver and blood
     

  • Avoid excessive exercise and favour swimming which is an excellent way to cool down in the hot months. Over exertion during the summer months will aggravate pitta
     

  • Take walks in the moonlight or by water, such as lakes and streams – the cooling energies of the moon and sound of water calm pitta in the mind and body

  • Do Sitali breathing exercises.
     

  • Cooling crystals on the body are recommended in summer such as amethyst, moonstone and malachite set in silver jewellery

 

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Summer

 

The birds are twittering, the sun is beating down and we are feeling good! Summer being hot, bright and sharp with the the sun at its peak is pitta season. During this time pitta dosha must be protected, particularly for those of pitta prakriti. Failure to protect pitta can result in hot rashes such as heat spots, hyper acidity, mood swings, dehydration, inflammation and IBS. So let's keep cool and enjoy the season!

Woman by the pool symbolising summer and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK

Ayurvedic Lifestyles for Autumn

 

As the cold, dark nights draw in and chilly winds begins to blow, summer comes to an end and we move gradually into Autumn - the dusk of the year. Autumns qualities are synonymous with that of vata and our environment becomes dry, cold, windy, rough, and empty. If vata dosha is not protected at this time, particularly for those of vata prakriti, it can result in stress, anxiety, insomnia, constipation, gas and bloating, pain, weakness and exhaustion. So, get wrapped up warm and snuggle up with a good book as the light begins to fade.

Autumn leaving symbolising autumn and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK

 

  • Use sesame oil for massage followed by heat application this will reduce dryness, gas, bloating, pain of the body
     

  • Wear warm clothes which protect the neck, chest and lower back from wind exposure. Favour red, yellow, white and orange colours
     

  • Eat warm, easy to digest, oily foods with sweet, sour and salty flavours such as stews, soups, dhal and kitchari
     

  • Avoid dry, light, bitter and astringent foods. Avoid salads, ice cream and cold foods

  • For breakfast try lightly spiced, easy to digest oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat, tapioca, or any grain that will help stabilise vata.
     

  • Don’t drink black tea or coffee, especially after dinner. Try some herbal tea, such as cumin-coriander-fennel tea, or ginger-cinnamon-clove tea.
     

  • Enjoy more relaxing exercise such as yoga, pilates and walking.Avoid very active, strenuous exercise keep it to gentle soft, easy movements in a warn environment.
     

  • Follow exercise with Alternative nostril breathing exercises and meditation.
     

  • Drinking a cup of warm milk at bedtime is aid sleep
     

  • At the junction between summer and autumn, having treatment to  remove excess vata (using basti) is great to support health. If you can’t go to an Ayurvedic Clinic for a basti treatment at least do self-massage.

 

 

 

  • Start the day with a hearty breakfast to keep energy levels up and keep yourself warm. Ayurveda recommends idli, mung pancakes, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley soup, tapioca, kitchari, or poha (cooked rice flakes)
     

  • In winter, only use warm sesame or mustard oil followed by application of heat for self-massage

  • Brushing the teeth and scraping the tongue is most important in this season
     

  • Eat warm, spiced foods of pungent, bitter and astringent flavours, avoid too much sweet and sour foods
     

  • Yoga should be followed with bhrakstrika pranayama to heat the body and open the channels for good digestion and sensation
     

  • If you are feeling too heavy or sluggish, fasting for a day or two on soup will help restore lightness
     

  • Drink warm spiced tea throughout the day, such a ginger or cinnamon tea, though not if you have an ulcer as it will be too heating
     

  • A little red wine is recommended during winter - draksharista (Ayurvedic herbal wine) is a good choice taken before or after meals
     

  • Wear warm clothes of red and orange and always wear a hat and scarf which cover the neck and ears
     

  • At the junction between autumn/winter and winter/spring, kapha types can get colds, coughs, flu and sinus congestion. It is recommended to receive follow a fasting period (typically with kitchari or to have panchakarma from an Ayurvedic practitioner

 

 

 

 

 

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Winter

 

As the sun's radiant warmth has been absent for quite some time, the winter months (much like kapha) are cold, dark, damp and heavy. Life has become slow, sleepy and sluggish. During winter, without the light and warmth of our life giving sun, kapha begins to build up. If left unchecked it can cause weight gain, excessive tiredness, heaviness and nausea, depression, S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder), constipation, gas and bloating. Learn how to bring the sun into your life and diet to see you through to spring!

 

 

Snow and acorns symbolising winter and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK
Mustard Flowers symbolising Spring and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK
Image by Aleksandr Eremin
Winter berries symbolising winter and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK
Autumn woodlands symbolising Autumn and seasonal routines as advised by AyurLife UK

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match with the beat of the universe; to match your nature with nature"

Joseph Campbell