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Dinchariya: Daily regimen as per Ayurveda
Ayurveda emphasizes that all individuals should start their day early for good health.
Morning Routine: 6:00 am to 10:00 am
Wake up: Wake up before sunrise and open your eyes gently. Rub your palms together and gently press them over your eyes and heart as you softly chant a mindful mantra.
- Those with kapha dosha should wake up 90 minutes before sunrise or between 3am-6am.
- Those with pitta dosha should wake up an hour before sunrise or between 3am-6am.
- Individuals with vata dosha should wake up in the last quarter of the night from 3am-6am (brahma muhurta). Waking up at this time has its own benefits.
Drink Water: Ayurveda recommends that water should be stored overnight in a copper jug/bottle and 1-2 glasses of water (up to 750ml) should be consumed on an empty stomach in the morning. Sip the water slowly; do not gulp it down. In Ayurveda, this is referred to as Usha Pan (Water at Dawn). This can be done before or after brushing.
Dental and oral care
Tongue Cleaning: Ayurveda recommends a copper tongue cleaner to gently scrape off the white coat or film on the tongue that is a result of bacteria buildup during sleep. Repeat this 3 to 5 times after brushing and rinse the mouth with water. Rinse your tongue cleaner with hot water after each use and sanitize it once a week with an alcohol swab.
Oil Pulling (Gandusha): Take a mouthful of sesame or coconut oil and swish it in your mouth from side to side or front to back for a few minutes. Doing this for 5 to 10 minutes is considered ideal. You may have trouble holding it initially so do it for as long as you can and gradually increase the time. Please make sure to dispose of the oil in a waste bin as oil tends to clog drains.
Massage Gums: Like tongue cleaning, massaging gums is very important for the longevity of teeth and good oral hygiene. You can do this right after oil pulling by dipping your finger in sesame oil and gently massaging your gums for a brief period. Rinse your mouth with warm water once you are done.
Nasal Rinsing: The nasal passages is the doorway for our breath (prana) and nasal rinsing/irrigation can be used to clean and lubricate the passages to improve health. This process will moisten the nasal passageways, improving the efficiency and absorption of breath. This is considered to be highly beneficial, especially due to its subtle implications on physical and mental health. (You may use a neti pot to perform this practice)
You can initially perform Nasal Rinsing (Jal Neti) for seven to ten days in a row when you start the practice. You may reduce it to alternate days or even once a week after that. Practicing it on alternate days would be advised for those who have weak eyes, poor respiratory health, and in cold weather. It is important to do this before bathing and on an empty stomach.
Nasya: Nasya is a practice in which an oil is used to lubricate the nasal passages. Generally, it is done with Nasya oil or lukewarm sesame oil. You can use two drops per nostril as you lie on your back and tilt your head up. Follow it up with some deep breathing and by gentling massaging the bridge of your nose.
Nasya is usually done after Jal-Neti but it can be performed as a standalone practice (without Neti). It is important to do this before bathing and on an empty stomach.
Avoid these practices when you are experiencing nasal congestion, phlegm buildup, or when you have a cold/flu.
Elimination and self massage
Elimination: Having a regular and healthy bowel movement in the early morning is an important marker of health in Ayurveda. The body needs to eliminate waste and toxin buildup regularly to avoid causing an imbalance in doshas.
(Self) Abhyanga: Abh = to rub/massage and anga = limbs. Daily self-massage is considered to be an indispensable trait of Dinchariya. Abhyanga can last from 15 to 35 minutes based on intensity. It should be performed with dosha (or season) appropriate lukewarm oil in a warm environment. Start with the head and work your way to the feet. All massage strokes should be made in the direction of the heart. Use long and firm strokes on the limbs, circular motion on joints (clockwise), and a combination of circular and gentle zig-zag strokes on the stomach and torso.
Please note that this practice must be done mindfully, gently, and with self-love as the primary intention. The general recommendation for oil as per Ayurveda is sesame oil.
Exercise and meditation
Yoga (Asana): Ayurveda recommends moderate exercise (Vyayama) for 10 to 30 minutes to start the day. In the long run, the practice of asana (dosha-based yoga) promotes balance, agility, and strength in mind and body and helps an individual attain a tridoshic state (balance of all three doshas).
Breath Control (Pranayama): Pranayama means learning to control (ayam) the life-energy (prana). This is a methodical system of breath control, expansion, and regulation that is derived from Hatha Yoga.
Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is one of the most commonly used pranayama. It is done by inhaling through both nostrils together and exhaling each breath alternately between the left and right nostrils.
Meditation (Dhyana): According to Ayurveda, one should spend 10 to 30 minutes to nurture the layers of the mind before starting the day. Dhyana (meditation) is also important for spiritual growth/empowerment, and self-attainment. All forms of meditation are good for mental clarity but you can practice dosha-specific meditation for better balance and health.
Asana-Pranayama-Dhyana is a trinity of daily morning practices that can have an enormous impact on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Late morning - afternoon: 10:00am to 2:00pm
This is the time of pitta predominance, which is ideal for daily chores. Pitta lends a sharp focus to the body so you can attend to challenging tasks for this period. It is also the best time to eat a hearty and nutritious lunch.
The ideal time for lunch is between 12 to 1 pm when the pitta is high in the body and the day. This makes it easy for the body to digest the food. Ayurveda recommends avoiding strenuous physical activity and direct sunlight during this stage of the day.
Late afternoon: 2:00pm to 6:00pm
Night Routine: 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Dinner: Dinner should be eaten in the hour of sunset, usually between 6:30 to 7:30 pm (varies with the season). Dinner should be the lightest and simplest meal of the day, involving only two or three (of six) tastes. Heavy meals or raw, hard to digest food is not recommended.
Milk before Bed: The first thing and the last thing a person consumes in the day is given a lot of importance in Ayurveda. According to Ayurvedic sages, cow’s milk that naturally has A2 is lighter and easier to digest. However, it can also be substituted with any plant-based milk if preferred. Any adaptogenic herbs can be added to warm milk and consumed 45 minutes before going to bed for better sleep and digestion.
Sleep: Sufficient and sound sleep is the very foundation of good health and dosha balance. As per Ayurveda, the Kapha time of the day is 6pm to 10pm and it is best to fall asleep before 10pm. Once the day moves into pitta time (10pm – 2am) the quality and efficacy of sleep greatly reduce. Avoid all electronic devices for one or two hours before sleep.
These changes may seem abundant and astounding at first glance. They aren’t meant to be implemented in a day or a week. We must not be impatient or overambitious when we alter our lifestyle to transition into dinchariya.
The body and mind have an adjustment curve and any sudden or drastic change can manifest in negative ways. It is always wise to make slow but steady changes. So, add no more than one or two new things every week or every alternate week or set a pace of change you are comfortable with.
You eventually want this to be your lifestyle and each of these habits should become as menial and habitual as taking a bath or brushing your teeth. If you transition good-naturedly, you will be successful in sustaining these habits and they will greatly contribute to a healthy and harmonious existence.
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