Updated: Jun 7, 2021
According to Ayurveda human body is made up of five principle elements (Panchamahabhuta). The functional existence of Panchamahabhuta is considered as a particular rhythm in the form of day- night schedule in 24hours and in the form of seasonal schedule in a year.
The concept behind daily routine is to live in a balanced state of three doshas. A systematic schedule from wake-up at early morning to sleep at night is called Dinacharya.
Dinacharya promotes healthy organization of the energy channels and the seating of the Prana. According to Ayurveda one should follow Dinacharya in order to lead a healthy and disease free life.
Let's discuss these steps in detail below:
1. Brahmamuhurta jagrana- WAKE UP IN BRAHMA MUHURTA
ब्राह्म मुहूर्त उत्तिष्ठेत् स्वस्थो रक्षार्थमायुषः।।
According to Ayurveda, you should wake up 96 minutes (around 1.5 hours) before sunrise. It is called Brahma Muhurta in Ayurveda. This is the perfect time for waking up for a healthy person.
Timings can be changed according to your body’s requirement during disease. If you suffer from any Kapha Disease, then you must get up by 4 am in the morning.
If you suffer from any Pitta Disease, then you should wake up before 5 am.
If you suffer from any Vata Disease, then you should wake up by 5:30 am in the morning.
Children, pregnant women, and aged people may require more rest, so they can get up just before sunrise.
If you sleep after sunrise, your digestive system will act up start causing you acidity, bloating and several other indigestive issues within your system. Some of these symptoms may start appearing later in your life.
2. Ushna jalpana : 1-2 glasses of water kept for whole night should be taken before sunrise
Drink a glass of room temperature water, preferably from a pure copper cup filled the night before. This washes the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. It is not a good idea to start the day with tea or coffee, as this drains kidney energy, stresses the adrenals, causes constipation, and is habit-forming.
Vagbhata in Ashtanga Sangrah recommends Acamana. Acamana is an ancient ritual of sipping water on a specific occasion. He recommends sipping a small amount of water:
After getting up from sleep.
After taking a bath.
At the beginning and end of meals.
At the commencement of worship.
After the usual daily activities.
3. Mala Tyaga : Early morning evacuation is a natural process of body
If a person keeps sleeping in this time the impulses in rectum gradually becomes dull. Every person should eliminate the natural urges (feces and urine) daily.
According to Ayurveda, having 1-3 bowel movements per day is considered healthy and regular. When constipation occurs, it is because the body is dehydrated and is reabsorbing the water contained in your stool back into the body. The remedy for constipation is to add more healthy oils, like ghee, coconut or sesame oil, into your diet, drink more water and incorporate demulcent herbs like flax seeds, shatavari and licorice.
4. Achamana / Mukha – Netra prakshalana (Washing of face and eyes):-To prevent eye diseases
Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Wash your eyes with cool water and massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them. Blink your eyes 7 times and rotate your eyes in all directions.
Vagbhata recommends splashing cold water into eyes in the morning every day during the summer and autumn seasons. It helps to improve vision and reduces tension and tiredness of the eyes.
5. Dantadhavana (Tooth brushing)
Always use a soft toothbrush and an astringent, pungent, and bitter toothpaste or powder. The traditional Indian toothbrush is a neem stick, which dislodges fine food particles from between teeth and makes strong, healthy gums. Licorice root sticks are also used. Roasted almond shell powder can be used for vata and kapha, and ground neem for pitta.
6. Jihva nirlekhana (tongue cleaning)
According to Ayurveda, you should clean your tongue using tongue scraper made of copper, silver or gold. You can also use tongue cleaner made of wood or plant twig.
A copper tongue scraper helps in removing bad breath, kills microbes and improves the function of taste buds. It is most suitable for Kapha Body Type people.
However, if you suffer from frequent mouth ulcer, sour taste in the mouth, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer, GERD or any acid peptic disorder, then silver tongue scraper is best for you. It is most suitable for people with Vata body type and Pitta body type.
Nasya is the Ayurvedic term for nasal therapy.
Putting 3 to 5 drops of warm ghee or oil into each nostril in the morning helps to lubricate the nose, clean the sinuses, and improve voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nose drops nourish prana and bring intelligence.
For vata: sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil. For pitta: brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil. For kapha: vacha (calamus root) oil.
8. Sneha gandusha dharana (oil pulling)
Gandusha is an ayurvedic mouth wash. It has 3 types:
Oil Gandusha (Oil Pulling).
Warm Water Gandusha.
How to Do Gandusha?
Take warm Arimedadi Thailam or coconut oil into your mouth.
Keep the mouth filled with it for a while.
The process of oil pulling poses the massaging effect over the oral mucosa and even strengthens the muscles of cheek, face and jaw bones.
Massage enhances the overall blood circulation and transport the potency of drugs to desired part. Massage triggers the acupressure point which induces the release of endorphins & shows analgesic effect.
10. Asana, Pranayama and Meditation
Ayurveda recommends practicing 10-30 minutes of doshic balancing asana in the morning to assist in increasing circulation, cultivating balance, improving flexibility and building strength in both the body and mind. Here is a link for daily practice of Suryanamaskar and its benefits.
Breathing exercises are known as pranayama in Sanskrit. Prana is the breath, it is our ‘life force energy’ and ayam means ‘to control’. We need prana in order to fulfill our dharma and accomplish goals. We need ayam to control the breath, or prana, and direct our energy where we need it to go. When pranayama is practiced daily, the mind awakens, energy is cultivated and balance is maintained.
It is important to meditate morning and evening for at least 15 minutes. Meditate in the way you are accustomed, or try the "Empty Bowl Meditation". Meditation brings balance and peace into your life.
Daily bath improves enthusiasm, strength, appetite and removes sweat and other impurities from the body.
Hot water should not be poured on the head. Too cold water should also be avoided. According to Ayurveda, hot water head bath diminishes vision and strength of hairs.
Start your day with warm breakfast made with fresh ingredients as you need proper energy and nutrients to stoke your agni- that digestive fire needs to be activated.
Ayurveda explains that most disease begins in the digestive tract. A breakfast and overall diet rich in fresh, whole foods which are cooked and spiced according to one’s specific needs is crucial to prevent disease and promote health and wellness.
10am-2pm: Pitta Energy
Between the hours of 10am-2pm, pitta dosha is considered to be the strongest; hence, it is the best time to harness that heat, and be productive with work, chores, errands, etc.
In short, whichever are your biggest tasks to tackle in the day, these are the opportune hours to get them done, for you will have sustained mental focus and clarity thanks to the qualities of pitta dosha.
It is also recommended to eat your largest meal of the day during this time that is your lunch, preferably around noon, as this is when the energy of pitta dosha is at its strongest and is the optimal time of day for the agni to properly digest & assimilate food.
During these peak pitta hours, Ayurveda also recommends avoiding direct sunlight, especially during a hot day and to avoid engaging in vigorous physical activity, as both may lead to an imbalance in pitta dosha.
2pm-6pm: Vata Energy
Between these hours, vata dosha begins to peak. Seeing as vata dosha is comprised of the air and ether elements, this time of day can be used for creative projects and problem solving. Allow yourself to think outside the box, as you may stumble upon a creative solution thanks to the energy of vata.
Since this is the time of day when your focus & attention may start to decline, avoid reaching for a sugary snack or caffeine break, as this can easily push vata dosha out of balance and overstimulate your nervous system.
Instead have some fruits or nuts or green tea/herbal tea.
6pm-10pm: Kapha Energy
Kapha dosha predominates at this time of day and with that comes a feeling of heavy, grounding energy. Between the hours of 6-8pm, is the perfect time to enjoy a walk in nature or take a gentle yoga class. You will want to flow with the energy of kapha dosha at this time, surrendering to the feelings of fatigue from your long and productive day.
Make sure to have your dinner before 6pm or sunset. I will write another post on Ratricharya to learn about nighttime routine in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda provides one a perfect way to start your day in a healthy manner. Following these steps will make sure you live a long and healthy life. Dinacharya deals with maintaining health of healthy as well as diseased person.
Caraka Samhita (text with English translation),editor-translator Prof. Priyavrat Sharma,Vol 1,Sutrasthana,Chapter 30, Shloka no.26,published by chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, Edition 2014,pg no.240.
Susruta Samhita translated by Prof.K.R.Srikantha Murthy,Vol 1, Sutrasthana , Chapter 15, Shloka no.41,published by Chaukhamba Orientalia ,Varanasi, Reprint edition:2014,Pg no.110.
Astangahrdayam by Vagbhata (Sutrasthana), English translation of Samvartika commentary as Jyotsna Commentary by Dr.Vishwavasu Gaur,Sutrasthana,Chapter 2,published by chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, First Edition:2010,pg no 21.
Astangahrdayam by Vagbhata (Sutrasthana), English translation of Samvartika commentary as Jyotsna Commentary by Dr.Vishwavasu Gaur,Sutrasthana,Chapter 2,published by chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, First Edition:2010,pg no 22