Dinacharya - Your Morning Routine
Ayurveda gives us the guidelines for how to live our lives in a state of peace and happiness, how to create joy in our personal and social lives and how to create balance, within and without.
A daily morning routine is necessary to start bringing your body back to balance. If you look at nature, there are cycles in everything, day to night, moon cycles, seasonal cycles, menstrual cycle, etc.
All animals and plants follow natural cycles day by day and from one season to the next. We are no different; we are part of it all, and when living in harmony with nature, we experience balance and health.
In today’s lifestyle, the body is continuously being worn out, and this brings the doshas out of balance resulting in all sorts of mental and physical conditions detrimental to a harmonious life. There are simple guidelines to prevent this from happening, such as eating the right foods for your unique constitution, truthful conduct and daily and seasonal practices to mention some.
Let's focus today on morning daily routine. You don’t need to implement all procedures at once, do what you can until the entire routine is fully established. Remember that in every step you take, a transformation is happening.
Rise Early in the Morning
Ayurveda recommends waking up before Kapha time starts at 6am or before the sun rises, there is more lightness and freshness in the atmosphere; these qualities are experienced by the body, mind, and senses. Right after waking and before you get out of bed, move your toes up and down, this flushes the system from toxic material accumulated while sleeping. Rub your palms and place them over your eyes and face sliding them down to your waist to transfer energy from the palms into the rest of your body, this cleanses your energy and establishes a connection. Say a prayer before leaving the bed or give thanks for something or everything. In India, there is a beautiful tradition of touching the ground and bringing your hand to your forehead in respect for the Earth.
Cleanse the Channels
Urinate, evacuate your bowels. At night your body emphasizes the calming and cooling lunar energy. In the morning, the sun rises, and your body moves into an absorption cycle. Don’t carry waste from the previous day since it will be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Use cool water on the eyes and massage the eyelids gently from the inner to the outer side. Look up and down, side to side and rotate them in a circular direction one way then the other (there are many muscles on the back of the eyes that get debilitated due to the natural aging process and lack of exercise). The eyes are a “Pitta organ,” so you can spray some rose water over them to cool and refresh them. This will also serve as a toner for your skin.
Drink Water in the Morning
Then drink a glass of room temperature or warm water, preferably from a pure copper cup filled the night before. This cleanses the body in general, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. It is not a good idea to start the day with tea or coffee, as this stresses the adrenals and overtime causes constipation. Also, it is advised never to drink cold water.
Swish1 to 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in your mouth for 60 seconds to draw out bacteria, it also strengthens gums and teeth, prevents tartar buildup and improves the voice. Don’t swallow the oil, spit out and massage the gums with your fingers before brushing your teeth.
Brush Your Teeth
Always use a soft toothbrush and an astringent, pungent, and bitter toothpaste or powder, you can purchase these online or at an Indian store.
Scrape Your Tongue
During the night, toxins accumulate in the mouth, especially on the tongue. Generally, we see a whitish coat over the tongue after waking. Gently scrape the tongue from the back forward for a few times.
Please do not use your toothbrush to scrape your tongue as it will damage your taste buds over time. Ideally, Vata can use a gold scraper, Pitta a silver one, and Kapha copper. Keep in mind the mouth is a Kapha site so a copper or stainless steel scraper can be used in case other options are not available.
Our nose is the doorway to the brain. You can apply 2-3 drops of warm ghee into each nostril or take your little finger, dip the tip in sesame oil and apply oil inside the nostrils. It helps to lubricate and cleanse the area, it also improves voice and vision among other benefits.
Oil Drops in the Ears
Apply 2- 3 drops of warm sesame oil in each ear or simply dip your little finger in sesame oil and apply the oil by rubbing gently inside the ears. This is very effective for many conditions such as ringing in the ears, poor hearing, insomnia, headaches, and TMJ.
Apply Oil to the Head & Body
Apply warm oil over the head and body. Oil on the head pacifies Vata, it grounds you, prevents from headaches, early graying of the hair and falling of the hair. Massaging your body with oil, tones your skin and muscles while calming your mind and improves nervous system function. Applying oil to your body before bed induces sleep and relaxation in general. For Vata use warm sesame oil. For Pitta use coconut oil. For Kapha use warm sunflower or mustard oil.
Bathing brings purity to the body. It is not just a cleansing of the body but also a therapeutic and rejuvenating ritual for the mind, body, and soul.
Yoga Practice or Other Exercise
It improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps with all bodily functions especially absorption, digestion, and elimination. Organs in the body tend to droop throughout the years because of the natural aging process, especially Yoga will help to maintain them strong and with vitality.
After yoga or exercise, sit quietly and focus on your breathing. You can start by taking a deep abdominal breath all the way down to your abdomen, expanding the belly like a big balloon and slowly letting the air out, emptying your lungs. The exhalation should be longer than the inhalation. Once you have mastered that type of breathing, then more advanced techniques can be recommended according to your dosha and present condition.
Morning meditation is an excellent practice that prepares your mind and nervous system for the stress of the day. This can be done right after the breathing exercise. If possible, do this at the same time and place each day.
You can start with 10 minutes of focusing on your breath. Observe your thoughts as if you are watching TV, letting them come and go as a spectator. When thoughts come to you, bring your attention back to the breath. Remember, thoughts will perpetually come to disturb the mind. Therefore, if you argue with them or try too hard to avoid them, you become the thoughts, and a new movie starts in your head.
Different techniques will help you to establish a sitting practice, and bring balance and peace to your mind and life.
Time to Eat
Eating warm, cooked, fresh food at regular mealtimes is a vital part of the Ayurvedic regimen.
Have a beautiful day!