In our current 7 week session of weekly yoga classes we are exploring how to adopt an Ayurvedic lifestyle, by making simple changes … . . .here is a little sample of one of the weekly handouts that support our growing yogic practices. . . . .
Dinacharya: The Daily Routine
This daily routine has been adapted from several sources and enhanced based on my own experience. Add your own daily routines here and share them as part of the weekly lifestyle modifications. This is how we build a healthy lifestyle, by making one change at a time, slowly the benefits will be experienced and negative habits will fall to the side naturally.
The strongest influence of nature comes to earth from the sun. As the sun makes its way across the sky it generates different qualities of energy and these different energies of the sun support different activities. If you follow the sun as you wake, and throughout the day as it travels from east to west you will have natures support in all of your activities.
1. Rise with the Sun: The eastern light of the morning brings a powerful, healing, peaceful energy that will clean your aura and start your day with the highest satvic quality. This pre dawn energy sets the body chemistry for the day. As soon as you wake, look at your hands and then move them over your face and chest to your waist, this also refreshes your aura and will support a peaceful state of mind. A regular daily practice of greeting the rising sun will improve your health, strength and power to concentrate. Set an intention for your day before leaving the bed and be grateful for this new day. Before getting out of bed notice which nostril is open and step out of bed with the same side foot hitting the floor first, this is where the saying ’getting off of on right foot’ comes from. This practice forms an energy shield that wards off negative energy for the day. ( see page 20 of Dhanwantari for inspiration)
2. . Clean the Face, Mouth, Eyes, Ears and Nose: As soon as you rise attend to the five senses, wash the face with refreshing cool water, splash the eyes, nose, massage the ears and do a few eyes exercises, stretching the muscles of the eyes in all directions. Brush the teeth and scrape the tongue with a metal tongue scraper, this stimulates the internal organs, helps digestion and removes dead bacteria. Add the use of the neti pot to your daily routine.
3. Drink Water in the morning: First thing after the mouth is clean drink a glass of room temperature water, preferably water that has been sitting in a copper cup over night. This washes out the GI tract, cleans the kidneys and stimulates peristalsis. Next have a glass of warm water with the juice of one lemon to loosen toxins from the tissues.
4. Oil Pulling: Swishing oil around the mouth has many benefits for both the health of the teeth and gums as well as pulling toxins out of the body.
5. Lubricate the nose: A few drops of ghee or sesame oil in each nostril helps to lubricate the nose and clean the sinuses. The nose is the doorway to the brain and this practice will improve the vision, the voice and mental clarity as well as nourishing the prana and bringing intelligence.
6. Oil drops in the Ears: “ Conditions such as ringing in the ears, excess ear wax, poor hearing, lockjaw, and TMJ, are all due to vata in the ears. Putting 5 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear can help with these disorders.” Dr. Lad www. ayurveda.com
7. Adhyanga Oil Massage: Morning oiling of the body and scalp before bathing will bring happiness, prevent headaches, balding and receding hairline(contact Sandra for full details on this practice )
8. Elimination: The body will naturally eliminate waste in the early morning when vata predominates as the force of movement supports defecation and will keep the system regulated if the daily routines are consistent.
9. Bathing: Removes any fatigue or lethargy (tamas) from the night, brings energy to the body and clarity to the mind. Sing or hum in the shower to bring joy into your life. Now purified within and without the day is off to a good start. The system has been cleared of wastes and toxins, is relaxed and the stomach is empty, the mind ready for a focused spiritual practice.
10.Meditation: While the gentleness of the morning hours still pervades find a clean, quiet place, preferably facing east and sit in stillness for a prescribed length of time. There are many concentration practices (Dharana) which lead to meditation. Tratak or candle gazing is one such concentration exercise which induces single pointed focus of the mind( see pg. 52 Dhanwantari for instructions) Optimal times for meditation are sunrise and sunset. At the moment the sun hits the horizon both nostrils are open simultaneously and in this state the energy flows up shushumna nadi and the brain hemispheres are balanced, this is ideal for meditation. Meditate twice a day for at least 15 minutes to bring peace and happiness.
11.Prananyama: Alternate Nostril Breath is a good morning practice for all doshas.
12.Exercise: A brisk morning walk or an active yoga asana practice such as suryanamaskar will improve circulation, strength and endurance. Regular exercise helps us to deal with the stresses of life, to sleep well and improves digestion.
13.Meals: After the morning routine the body is ready for breakfast. Lunch is eatenwhen the sun is highest in the sky between 10am and 2pm and is the biggest meal of the day when the digestive fire is at it’s strongest. Dinner should be light and nothing eaten after the evening meal.
14.Sleep: In general, if one wakes at 6am the bedtime would be 10pm, this is adjusted somewhat depending on the season as well as the persons dosha. Kaphas require less sleep and Vatas more than the average, Pittas are the average.
Having a daily routine is essential for health. It establishes balance in all the constitutions by regularizing digestion. absorption, and assimilation of food as well as the evacuation of wastes. Establishing these beneficial lifestyle practices is the foundation of a healthy mind, body and consciousness and is the basis of an Ayurvedic Lifestyle. Do not underestimate simple, small practices!
References: The Daily Routine by Dr. Vasant Lad, www.ayurveda.com
Dhanwantari by Harish Johari
ISLAND YOGA VISTA PAYTA Module Two: Introduction to Ayurveda