Ayurvedic Daily Routine – Living in a Healthy Rhythm
The most important goal of Ayurveda is to promote and maintain health. According to ayurvedic knowledge, we can achieve this by aligning our daily lives with the cycles of nature and use the natural rhythm of time.
Thousands of years ago, ayurvedic scholars determined in their writings what constitutes a healthy daily routine (dinacharya) and why it is so important for our well-being.We hope this blog will give you the support you need to live a stress-free ayurvedic daily routine, without much effort, in order to feel well all around. Ayurveda for joy, happiness and good health.
We suggest you don’t try to change too many things at once. Try to take it one step at a time. Start with one of our tips that you feel will be easy to implement in your life. After some time, you can add the second step, then the third, etc.
Ayurveda in the morning
Wake up early
Waking up early is the first key step towards a good daily routine and for health and well-being.
Ancient vedic scriptures even suggest that the ideal time to wake up is “one hour before sunrise,” so between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. What’s actually important, though, is that you wake up during the morning Vata phase, before 6:00 a.m., without using an alarm. This may seem unusual to some; however, if you go to bed before 10:00 p.m., as per the ayurvedic daily routine, and if you follow the other recommendations for daily routine, especially those for the evening, this is entirely possible. You’ll be surprised by how much lightness, freshness and creativity you experience, just because of this one small change. Use the momentum of Vata time in the morning. If you sleep in and wake up during Kapha time, it is quite likely that the heavy qualities of Kapha time will make you feel sluggish and tired.
Outer and inner “cleansing”
To start the day, consciously enjoy time for yourself and your inner and outer cleansing. This Ayurveda “schedule” will help you do the following:
- Thoroughly wash your face
- Mouth hygiene: Carefully brush your teeth & clean your tongue.
Cleaning your mouth is very important. A lot of waste products, or ama (see notes), accumulate overnight on the tongue. By scraping your tongue with a tongue cleaner, you free your body of this ballast.
- “Gandusha” (oil pulling)
Oil pulling is an ancient tradition in Ayurveda. Here, too, the aim is to free your body from accumulated ama or waste materials. It is best to use 1-2 tablespoons (ripened) organic sesame oil. Put it in your mouth, gargle with it and then swish it around your mouth for approximately 4-5 minutes. Dispose of the oil in your household waste rather than the sink or the toilet because the oil could clog the drain in the long run.
- Drink water
Drink 1-2 cups or 100 – 200 ml lukewarm water. If you’d like, you can add some honey and/or lemon juice.
- Empty your bladder and bowel
Especially important: Emptying your bowels is part of your morning cleansing! Drinking water triggers this need naturally after a short time.
Light physical movement
If you have time, go for a short brisk walk. It’ll stimulate your circulation and metabolism and brighten your mood.
Then you need to “nourish” yourself. However, it’s not time to eat just yet. Rather, nourish yourself with abhyanga, the ayurvedic self-massage with oil. This will bring strength to you dhatus (body tissues), muscles and bones. It will also improve your skin quality and can even help calm your nervous system. Especially those with insomnia will benefit from the profound effects of the Ayurveda massage.
Ayurvedic oil massage (abhyanga)
You can really expect to pamper yourself with this oil massage. Gently massage your head, body and the soles of your feet for 5-10 minutes with high-quality ayurvedic oils, ideally an oil that corresponds to your dosha type. We suggest you warm the oil before the massage, e.g. in a bain-marie. Enjoy this precious time for yourself.
Find more information about ayurvedic self-massage here.
If you use ripened sesame oil for the oil massage, you can rub 1-2 drops of the oil into your ears and nose. Then rest for approximately 10 minutes to allow your skin to absorb the oil.
Once your skin has absorbed the oil, take a warm shower or bath. Tip: Remove any excess oil with a paper towel before showering or bathing and pour some cleaning products into the drain to prevent clogging the drain in the long-term.
Yoga asanas and pranayama (breathing exercises)
After your morning hygiene, it is now the right time for your yoga asanas and breathing exercises (pranayama). When practised regularly with attention and awareness, these exercises can noticeably increase your physical and mental well-being.
Just like the physical cleansing described above, inner cleansing is an essential part of every ayurvedic morning routine. We highly recommend Transcendental Meditation because it is particularly effortless, easy and natural to practice and provides exceptionally deep inner peace and clarity. This will allow you to face a demanding every-day life more calmly and to easily cope with its challenges.
Ideally, you should have breakfast by 8:00 a.m. or at the latest by 9:00 a.m. Since we are now already in the Kapha time, the digestive fire, or agni (see note) is no longer very strong, according to ayurvedic teachings. Therefore, your breakfast should be light. If you are not hungry, you can skip it altogether.
Otherwise, you could have, for example, some seasonal fruits (note: Vata types can stew them with dried fruit such as dates, figs and/or nuts and season them with cardamom or cinnamon. Enjoy warm), or you can prepare a light breakfast porridge with grains. Here you will find several ayurvedic breakfast recipes. Never eat in a hurry, or while standing or walking. Take 10-15 minutes to have a comfortable breakfast in peace. This will allow you to feel “full” and well.
Select your clothes according to the season; they should be comfortable and sufficiently warm. Then it’s time to start any tasks at hand. The rest of the morning is well suited for your first creative phase.
|Your ayurvedic morning routine at a glance|
Ayurveda at lunch and in the afternoon
The ideal time to have lunch is at 12:00 p.m. or at the latest at 1:00 p.m. when the sun is at its peak. Your digestive fire is very strong and ready for the main meal of the day. When selecting your dishes and drinks, match them to your dosha type and the current season. After eating, you can take a short break. However, from an ayurvedic point of view, a nap is not advisable.
In the afternoon, continue with your usual activities. At the end of this second creative phase, yoga asanas, pranayama and transcendental meditation will gradually steer you towards a relaxing evening.
Ayurveda in the evening
According to the natural rhythm, you should have dinner at the latest at 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Again, this is Kapha time with weak digestive fire. To avoid unnecessary strain on your digestive system during the night, dinner should be very light. Vegetable soup or khichari (rice with yellow mung beans) are good options. You can find some of our recipes, such as our Polenta Fennel Soup, here.
Never eat too much at dinner because you will likely not be able to digest it. Animal protein is especially difficult to digest in the evening. Also, choose foods and drinks that suit your dosha type and the season.
Evening walk and time for rest
If you like, you can take a 10 to 15-minute walk after dinner. Then turn to pleasant, relaxing activities. Now is the right time for rest and relaxation. We suggest staying away from exciting thrillers, computer work or (too much) television.
Go to bed early
You should go to sleep not later than 10:00 p.m., at the start of Pitta time. If you are still awake after 10:00 p.m., your mind and body become active again, so that you may have trouble falling asleep. Then sleep occurs often very late.
Now you can see that there are a number of very simple things we can implement and which are important for our health.
And if you would like to hear once more the most important points about the ayurvedic daily routine from our Indian Ayurveda experts Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma: a recording of our webinar “Daily Routine in Ayurveda” is available on our YouTube channel!
Enjoy implementing our tips for your daily routine. We wish you the very best for your health.
Your Maharishi Ayurveda Team
Thank you to our experts Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma for your expert support!
Dr. Richa Shrivastava
is a well-known researcher. She studied and wrote her dissertation at India’s leading Ayurveda Medical College. She has a Master of Science degree in the field of medicinal plant research. At the renowned Maharishi Ayurveda Products Research Center in India, Dr. Shrivastava heads a group of experienced scientists and specialists, who work in the areas of product development and standardisation.
Dr. Shrivastava oversees the renowned research programme and teaches in the fields of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic plants. Her special interests include quality control and identifying the appropriate herbs.
Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma
is the medical chief of the Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital in India and an expert for patient-specific Ayurveda treatment. Dr. Saurabh Sharma is esteemed not only for the success and effectiveness of his treatments but also for his strong commitment concerning all of Maharishi Ayurveda. It is this commitment that earned him the Bhartiya Chikitsak Ratna Award as best Ayurveda doctor. Dr. Saurabh Sharma has often been a guest on Indian television and regularly publishes artiles in leading newspapers, blogs and on the internet. His focus includes pulse diagnosis, nutrition and lifestyle, panchakarma therapies and rasayanas as well as herbal remedies.