Living with nature’s rhythm is the path to true freedom
Each day, season, and life has inherent rhythm. At dawn, the heart and mind is light and clear and energy is expansive and potent. At 9am, it feels heavier, more demanding and cluttered.
Which would be the better time to meditate? To pray?
Also each of the seasons arrives with its own special rhythm. We can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by making small adjustments (in timing / diet) in our routines in order to accommodate the arrival of each new season.
Below the day (dinacharya) has been broadly divided in six bands of 4 hours each – based on the dosha /elements that govern the time, as per ayurveda. Try to visualise and feel the energy of the elements, for yourself as mentioned below:
2 am to 6 am (Vata Time ) – Waking up time & Elimination
From 2am-6am the elements of vata- air & ether rule our body and mind. So it’s spacious, expanded, and light. This is perfect energy for meditation, prayer, and other contemplative practices. This spaciousness is also why so many of us spontaneously wake up in the wee hours. As air and ether dominate, we lighten up and may leave the heaviness of sleep. Usually 45 min before sunrise is a good time to wake up and greet the morning.
Ayurveda views morning elimination as a natural and essential element of daily hygiene and health. Take herbs like triphala to supplement the process if required. Vata rules colon so before 6 am is really a good time to clear the bowels.
Caring for your body
- Tongue – Cleaning the tongue is a hygiene practice that removes bacteria and toxins that have accumulated on the tongue overnight.4It also serves to stimulate and cleanse the digestive tract and the vital organs therefore detoxifying the body.
- Teeth & Swishing – Cleaning the teeth and massaging the gums ensures oral health and improves circulation. Swishing and gargling with warm oil like a pure sesame oil, lends strength to the teeth, gums, jaw, and voice, while improving the sense of taste. It also acts as a disinfectant
- Eyes – Splash cold water in eyes to refresh and heal the eyes and mind.
Nourishing the mind
- Meditation ,Quiet reflection & Pranayama – Creating space within by bringing the attention inwards, brings balance and calms the nerves. Sending oxygen through various focused breathing (pranayama ) exercises will nourish the mind and make it focused, fertile and productive.
- Prayer ,Chanting – Taps into the higher consciousness which is the source of unlimited energy. Vibrations in body are enhanced through prayer and chanting and 6 am to 10 am (Kapha Time )the body is more receptive to receiving the positive, creative energy from the source.
6 am to 10 am (Kapha Time )
Connecting the body with the mind
Exercise / Yoga – Early morning is a very supportive time for almost anyone to exercise because of the strengthening and stabilizing influence of kapha, (which is prevalent in the atmosphere from about 6am-10am). If it is not possible for you to exercise in the early morning, early evening is a good alternative (about 6pm – 10pm), preferably before dinner
Ayurveda suggests that we exercise to only about 50% of our capacity – until we break a mild sweat on the forehead, under the arms, and along the spine, or until the first sign of dryness in the mouth
Massaging the body, ears, head & foot
- Self-massage with oil calms the nervous system, lubricates and rejuvenates the tissues, and promotes healthy circulation throughout the body
- Lubricating using sesame oil, the inside of each ear with fingers pacifies vata or fidgetyness, and improve hearing and neck stiffness
- Oiling the head and scalp is deeply soothing and supports each of the sense organs and encourages sound sleep
- Various points on the feet correlate with organs and tissues throughout the body. So foot massage supports proper vision, relieves stress, and offers many other systemic benefits.3
- Cleaning, massaging the body with soft powders (like chickpea or rice flours), stimulates movement of lymph, balances kapha, encourages circulation, liquefies fat, bolsters health of the skin, and lends strength and tone to tissues of the body.3It can also help to remove excess oil from skin following abhyanga. Any mild soap can be used to clean the body instead.
- Bathing is a spiritual process which cleanses and energises the body and mind.
Nourishing your body
- 7 – 8 am – Breakfast – Nourishing good portion of seasonal, local, fresh produce should be had for breakfast, to kickstart the metabolism. It is important to eat this at the same time consistently and mindfully to establish the food-body connect & optimum absorption.
- 10 am – snack to activate the agni – pitta time
- 1 pm to 2 pm Lunch – The digestive fire is strongest at mid-day, from about 10am to 2pm. Hence Lunch should be main meal of the day.
- 6 pm to 7 pm – Dinner – When the fire in sky goes down, digestive fire(agni) in tummy also goes down. So to allow your body to not get taxed, enjoy a lighter evening meal, allowing it a minimum of 2-3 hours between dinner and bedtime. This supports sound sleep and deepens the body’s capacity for rejuvenation each night. It also allows for proper digestion & prevent unnecessary accumulation of toxins.
10 am to 2 pm (Pitta time ) & 2 pm to 6 pm (Vata time )
Effective Karma for the day – Work at a pace which is in tune with your temperament
By pacing ourselves appropriately throughout the day – by really learning to listen to our bodies – we set ourselves up to make better decisions, which generally supports health and can help to prevent stress. As we learn to avoid becoming depleted or overly obsessive about a single task, we begin to re-pattern some of our core tendencies.
By establishing a schedule which is well paced as per our body type (dosha), we promote a deeper sense of calm and consistency in creating quality work output.
- 10 am to 2 pm – This is the best time to strategise, set new goals, problem solve and analyse through pitta ability to govern thoughts and intellect and transforming perceptions and judgement.
- 2 pm to 6 pm – Vata will want you to move your butt / daydream in afternoon meetings. But this is a time to create and innovate and not to be wasted. Capture these ideas of yours for sifting and execution the next day at your kapha time before 10 am.
- Maybe around 2 pm – Rest – It can be very rejuvenating and helpful to simply honor our need for rest.
6 pm to 10 pm (Kapha Time ) – Healing / Pacifying & loving the body-mind-spirit
Taking herbs / medicines at designated times and eating food at consistent times helps to heal and balance the body.
6 pm to 10 pm ( Kapha Time) – Sundown, is the time for love, family, relaxation and hobbies. Take it slow and easy. Relax your body and mind and kindle your heart chakra. And be ready for bed by 10 pm.
10 pm to 2 am ( Pitta Time ) – Bed time
A consistent, soothing routine which is a series of events, should be leading upto your bedtime. Cleaning face, teeth & feet, Oiling head and feet, aroma, music, meditation & darkening the room can be part of the same. Bedtime reading can be stimulating depending on the material especially on the electronic media like phones, tablets and computers. So should be minimized.
While we sleep, pitta acts and transforms all our days work of thoughts perceptions, meals etc and rejuvenates our mind, body especially our gastrointestinal tract.
Staying up past 10 pm will push our mind to start rehashing, rethinking the day’s problems and might make us more frustrated and fatigued.
These being the broad guidelines, should be modified based on experience and body conditions after following it for some time.
Setting and following your routine – combining nature’s rhythm and own body chemistry will create so much space within, that you feel truly free to fly and take on the myriad challenges that you will set up for yourself. Your body will become your ally and a vehicle to take your mind and spirit to high of another level. Experience it now!!