“We all yearn deep within our hearts, to know who we are, and why we are here...
He who knows others is learned, he who knows himself, is wise..” Lao Tzu
More people are now turning to Ayurveda as a system of health care that emphasizes self healing with a view that each one of us is individual and unique.
Depending on your own personal constitution or Prakriti, Ayurveda gives us
each a individualized guide to follow which will help maintain balance using diet and lifestyle advice sometimes incorporating massage, herbs and Yoga.
However, despite our individuality, there are many things that everyone can do
regardless of their own personal constitution that can encourage us to follow a daily practice that will help us tune into our internal rhythms, and connect with
the rhythms of nature, something that has been lost due to society’s hectic timetables and demands.
As the seasons change and we move into the winter season of Vata, everyone can feel the affects of the cold, dry winds as the temperature drops and the wind increase and these changes affect us internally too.
Those with a predisposition of Vata may have trouble sleeping as their minds
become erratic with thoughts, their skin feels dry and a general sense of
imbalance can incur.
And this is where a regular daily routine can bring the mind and body back
into a balanced state of well being.
Dinacharya - The daily routine
The first step toward maintaining balance and getting back in touch with your natural rhythms is to practice a daily routine.
I’m frequently asked by my Yoga students about some of the ways in which to bring both Yoga and Ayurveda into their daily lives in general and recently the discussion has been focused on the Ayurvedic daily routine known as Dinacharya .
Do you really do all that they ask, where do you find the time ?
Well it really isn’t that hard once you get into the swing of things and swishing
your mouth with oil every morning - which even to me when I first started
sounded pretty disgusting - will become so normal you won’t think twice about sticking some in your ears too, or up your nostrils for that matter either!
However I’m just going to list the morning ritual for now, and you don’t have
to do everything; just start with one or two things and when you get the
hang of those you can add another...you’ll soon see and feel the benefits...
There are some variations but the general principles are applied and are as followed..
1. Rise with the sun ...
Ideally to wake before sunrise when Vata’s qualities of light, mobile and
clarity are dominant helping your body to tune to the time of day which is
fresh and pure, the qualities of Sattva.
2. Drink a glass of warm water....
This will encourage you to evacuate the bowels and bladder if you haven’t
already done so and flush the kidneys and stimulate the lymphatic system.
3. Exercise ....
Roll out your Yoga mat, stretch and loosen your joints and practice a few sun
salutations. This will not only warm you up, but early morning exercise
will help remove stagnation, strengthen your digestive fire - known as Agni
and reduce fat, and give you an over all feeling of lightness filling your
body with Prana - your vital energy.
After, sit for a few minutes and practice some breathing exercises - pranayama
4. Cleansing of the senses.....
Brush your teethand scrape your tongue !
This will purify your mouth and help clear the accumulation of toxins - ama
on the tongue and stimulate the internal organs.
Splash your face with water and gently over the eyes. This helps to disperse
excess heat or Pitta energy.
Rinse your nose with a neti pot , a container designed to rinse your nasal
cavity, with a solution of quarter tsp of salt added to warm water and
rinse each nostril.
Add few drops of sesame seed oil up each nostril to lubricate and prevent
dryness and also very good to treat nasal allergies, sinus problems or colds.
Ayurveda believes the nose is the gateway to the brain, so nose drops
nourish prana and bring intelligence.
5. Oil pulling .....
Warm some sesame seed oil and swish and gargle in your mouth for a few
minutes then spit out and rinse with water.
This helps to reduce bacteria and plaque in your mouth, improving oral health,
strengthen teeth, gums, and jaw.
Abhyanga - oil massage with sesame oil and especially beneficial for Vata
dominant type. Kapha type can skip this part !
A self massage and one of the main ways that Ayurveda keeps us strong,
keeps the skin soft and prevents it from drying and aging. Warm some sesame
seed oil and begin with a gentle massage on the face, head ( if washing the hair )
ears, neck, shoulders arms chest, back, tummy, hips, thighs, legs hands and
finishing with the feet.
Wrap up in a warm towel and leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing in a
Sometimes I like to sit and meditate after doing self massage
and then shower. Meditation helps to bring balance and peace into your life.
To sit in stillness, watching the breath and just being aware can prepare your
day with a sense of calm and focus.
Its really nice to do some mantra at this time and I also like to say a prayer
of gratitude for any blessings in my life.
So now you’re ready for breakfast...I generally
make a hot drink of fresh ginger, turmeric root and lemon and drink
15 minutes or so before eating a warm nourishing breakfast.
Everyone knows that lemons are great for fighting colds but also lemons
balance your PH as although they are acidic and sour in taste, they are
they are alkaline in the body and help flush out toxins.
They’re also known for stimulating and strengthening the liver which in turn
aids bile production and are a great source of potassium, calcium,
phosphorous and magnesium.
The fresh ginger also help to ignite your digestive fire - agni and the
turmeric will help boost your immune system and is anti - viral and has
so many fantastic qualities I’ll have to write a whole piece on turmeric
on its own as the benefits are endless!
So now you're ready for your day, feeling calm, refreshed
and balanced ....
I will return with some more tips for your day in due course,