AYURVEDIC LIFESTYLE PLANNER
Ayurveda; ayur (life) - veda (knowledge) is the science of life and understands the importance of daily routine (dinacharya) for optimising our health and Ojas (immunity). The Sanskrit word, dinacharya, means “to follow the knowledge of the day”.
For thousands of years Ayurvedic medicine has used daily self-care rituals to keep the doshas (Vata/Pitta/Kapha) balanced, dhatus (tissues) strong, and srotas (channels) clear.
You know by now that Ayurveda recognises the comparative synchronicities between our external and internal worlds. The energies of our external world are rhythmic. These rhythms are felt on a conscious and sub-conscious plane; you can feel the difference between the sunrise and the sunset. You are aware of how your body responds to different times of day and times of year through the seasons. But how can you enhance these qualities to your benefit? By understanding the Ayurvedic times of day - governed by the Doshas - and some simple Ayurvedic self-care practices.
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha are essentially the categorisation of elemental qualities that allow us to track and trace them throughout our body. They are also expressed in our external world, and their energies dominate different times throughout the day. It's one thing to recognise your Prakriti; your natural constitution, your mind/body-type. It's another thing to recognise any imbalances present; your Vikriti, your current mind/body-type. It's powerful to be able to categorises foods, herbs, and lifestyle practices according to which Doshas they increase/decrease/pacify. It's essential to understand how your day can be broken down into Vata/Pitta/Kapha times and work their naturally dominant energies to your advantage.
Over the course of 24hours, each dosha dominates two three-hour windows of time. We start with Kapha at 6-10am, Pitta from 10am-2pm, then Vata from 2-6pm. This sequence is repeated into the evening/early morning before continuing another cycle, day after day. It's a universal rhythm. Let's look a little further into each Dosha's time and what they mean:
We start our day in Kapha time between the hours of 6-10am. Kapha's a combination of earth and water and its dominant qualities are heavy, slow/dull, cold, oily, liquid, smooth, dense, soft, static, sticky, cloudy, hard, gross. Hence why we’re slower moving and can be sluggish during this time. There's a double-dose of Kapha in the air! Ayurveda says it’s important to wake before this Kapha-time hits, to get moving, avoiding the Kapha-slumps. Kapha-dominant people will dread this in the beginning, but it is especially important as these qualities are naturally higher in their constitution. Physical exercise is also key here; it increases the mobile, hot, and light qualities that pacify excess Kapha. Again Kapha dominates between 6-10pm and it’s time for us to wind down. The day is done. During this time we can use the heavy, static and sticky qualities of Kapha to our advantage by connecting with others and resting the body and mind before bed, naturally following this slowing energy into sleep.
Following Kapha's morning stint, we plug into our Pitta gear and it’s go-time between 10am-2pm. Pitta's a combination of fire and water and dominant qualities are hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading/mobile and oily. Given Pitta is the Dosha for transformation, intelligence and metabolism, it’s time to get shit done. This is our most productive part of the day and where our metabolic rate is highest, coinciding with the peaking of the sun's position in the sky. We need to set our most difficult, mentally/physically demanding jobs at this time because we have this Pitta energy firing us. Similarly, from 10pm-2am we surge. This is why when we stay up past 10pm we get that “second wind” and could study/work/play until the early hours of the morning before tiring. This is the time for mental transformation; for us to download, rejuvenate and process everything we absorbed during the day. When we miss this window of time in the evenings, we skip this integral internal processing. Therefore taking advantage of our evening Kapha energy and getting to bed before 10pm is key for keeping Pitta at bay and ensuring qualtiy sleep.
Following Pitta, Vata (the queen of movement) first zips on in from 2-6am. Vata is governed by the air and either elements and therefore strongest in the dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile and clear qualities. During these early hours of the morning, this is considered the ethereal, spiritual time. Hence why we ideally need to wake prior to 6am (start of Kapha time), to not only channel this energy, but to avoid the Kapha-slumps lurking ahead. Vata also dominates the hours between 2-6pm, so the late afternoon. when we feel a little light and spacey, this is due to the overriding Vata dosha and its effect on our psychophysiology. To work with this energy, set tasks that are less mentally demanding/stimulating, and harness your creativity. Pranayama, grounding exercises, and warm snacks/drinks can also aid Vata pacification and keep the airy-fairies at bay. We instinctively reach for that sugar-hit at 3pm, as the sweet taste is heavy and balances Vata. Note: sweet doesn't mean sugar! Ayurveda categorises foods via their tastes and subsequent energetic qualities. Rice, for example, is considered sweet in taste.
The MA Daily Routine Guide //
With all the current change and uncertainty in our world, your/mine/our Vata is provoked and likely imbalanced. When our daily routine falls away its easy for our wellness to fall down with it. So now, more than ever, is the time to step back into and strengthen your daily practice. Remember it's the little things you do everyday that have a profound impact on your health. You always have a say, a choice, in every moment - Ayurveda ensures that choice is informed; giving you the awareness to always seek balance within. You can always begin again.
We created the MA Daily Routine Guide to help you do just that. We hope this helps you start, build and strengthen your Modern Ayurvedic life by going back to basics. We have included a few key Ayurvedic self-care techniques such as:
- Tongue scraping
- Oil pulling
- Daily meditation
- Daily movement; yoga, pilates, exercise, walking
- Dry brushing
- Self-abhyanga massage
- Ayurvedic suggested portion sizes (small breakfast, bigger lunch, light dinner)
- Ayurvedic times of day and task suggestions to harness the doshas during each of them
- Creating a healthy sleep routine
- Dosha summaries; elements, qualities, characteristics, how to pacify and what to avoid for each
You can download your free copy here. It's an A3 PDF document - perfect to print and keep on your fridge or desk.