Ayurveda is big on dinacharya. “Dina” meaning day, and “charya” meaning activities or guidelines. Simply put, dinacharya is your Ayurvedic daily routine.
Why is consistent daily routine one of the most important practices of Ayurveda? Because it’s through our sacred repeated daily rituals that we are able to live aligned with nature’s cycles. The further we stray from harmony with nature, of which our unique doshic constitutions are included, the further we stray from wellness.
What is an Ayurvedic dosha?
Your Ayurvedic dosha is your unique physiological makeup, comprised of the natural elements of air, space, fire, water, and earth, organised into the Ayurvedic doshas of Vata dosha, (air and space) Pitta dosha, (fire and water) and Kapha dosha, (earth and water) each with their own unique characteristics, qualities, and physiological roles in the body. To learn more about doshas, do a quick Ayurveda dosha test, or dosha quiz online. They’re so insightful!
What’s the best daily routine according to Ayurveda?
Your perfect daily routine will be specific to you and your unique doshic type, but there are definitely general Ayurvedic principles for daily life that we can all implement into our Ayurvedic daily schedule.
The work-from-home struggle and how an Ayurvedic daily routine can help
Something that’s likely common to all of us who work from home, or work remotely, is that we’re just lacking routine in general. We tend to wake up or get out of bed at sporadic times, occasionally work late into the night, neglect consistent movement, and maybe even skip meals entirely because we forget to eat.
The importance of Vata dosha balance for everyone who works from home
This lack of routine can lead to a Vata dosha imbalance, where an excess of airiness and spaciness permeate our days in the form of feeling scattered, ungrounded, anxious, fatigued and overwhelmed, and may even manifest physically in the form of constipation, irregular appetite, cold hands and feet, restless legs, and insomnia. These are all typical symptoms of Vata dosha imbalance. Vata dosha needs routine to ground it.
The Ayurvedic dosha clock and how to use it to create a supportive Ayurveda daily routine
Planning our days according to the Ayurvedic dosha clock will ensure that we’re performing tasks at the most relevant periods of the day according to when each doshic energy is at its strongest.
Vata dosha time of day: 2am – 6am (and 2pm – 6pm)
Generally it’s recommended that we all wake up within the Vata dosha period of morning. For Vata types, 6am is great; for Pitta types, 5:30am is better; and for Kapha types, closer to 4:30am is best. However, if we all woke up as close to 6am as possible, that would already be a huge win!
Waking up during this time supports us in feeling clear headed and light bodied, because these are qualities of Vata dosha. There’s a quiet, creative, and meditative feeling during this time of morning, allowing us to focus on our morning routine which will set us up for a productive but easeful rest of the day.
Kapha dosha time of day: 8am – 10am (and 8pm – 10pm)
Getting our day started before the heaviness of Kapha dosha takes over is hugely beneficial, which is why it’s recommended to get up with the momentum of Vata. It may seem counterintuitive, but waking up well into the Kapha dosha hours can make us feel tired and sluggish. You may even have experienced this personally after sleeping in.
Kapha is a grounding energy, which comes in handy in the evening when we need to wind down and relax, but in the morning we want to counteract Kapha’s dullness with some movement and exercise, or work with it by simply ticking off mundane work tasks that don’t require too much energy.
Pitta dosha time of day: 10am – 2pm (and 10pm – 2am)
Pitta dosha is a sharp and penetrating energy. Now is the time to knock out that high energy, deep focus work. This is also when our agni, or digestive fire, is at its strongest, so eating our largest most nourishing meals of the day during Pitta time would ensure that we’re best able to digest and assimilate the nutrients from the food we eat.
This is also when the sun is at its peak, which research shows is the time when we digest most effectively and when we’re likely to feel most energised and motivated.
But beware; if we’re not mentally winding down in the evenings, and are working late, we may feel that “second wind” of pitta motivation around 10pm. This energy is required for the transformation and restoration of our bodies during sleep. Not reserving that energy for its intended nighttime purpose can lead to burnout of the body and mind.
What is the best Ayurvedic morning routine?
Wake up as close to 6am as possible to capture the last doshic energy of Vata. Some of us just aren’t early risers, and in that case it would be beneficial to at least try waking up as close to sunrise as possible.
Giving ourselves ample time in the morning to care for ourselves before charging straight into work or distracting ourselves with our screens will provide foundational support and resilience for the day.
This is the time to do what Ayurveda calls clearing and cleansing the senses. It also a great time for some grounding like a few short minutes of meditation, breath work, or journaling.
Here is an example of a hypothetical Ayurvedic morning routine.
- 6am wake up.
- While still in bed say a little morning gratitude prayer:
“I am grateful for this breath that brings me life. I am grateful for this body to experience life. I am grateful for this day – a gift of life.”
- Splash your eyes and face with water.
- Rinse out your mouth.
- Do gandusha, or oil pulling.
- Tongue scrape.
- Drink 1-2 cups of warm water.
- Empty bowels.
- If you have the time, and according to your constitution, do nasal and ear oiling or a neti pot nasal rinse.
- Take a few minutes to journal, do a meditation, or some breath work.
- Do some mindful movement, like yoga or some strength training
- Do some quick dry brushing or give yourself a full body raw sesame oil massage according to dosha and season.
- Shower, and get dressed.
- Eat a nourishing breakfast that’s easy to digest, like stewed fruit, oatmeal, or a smoothie (try an easy cucumber smoothie) according to season.
- Work on mundane tasks that don’t require too much energy and focus.
The priority of the morning is to dedicate time to ourselves, and perhaps most importantly, to protect and prime our senses. That means not grabbing our phones and laptops first thing in the morning before investing in ourselves.
How to create an Ayurvedic routine for the afternoon
The priority of the afternoon is to eat our largest and most nutritious meal of the day, and take time away from our intense high energy tasks to have a moment of rest.
Preparing a delicious lunch and eating it mindfully away from screens will give us that required period of reset before we properly wrap up our deep focus tasks of the day.
- Work on high energy, deep focus tasks.
- Eat lunch mindfully away from screens between 12pm and 1pm.
- Wrap up intense work.
- Start planning, making lists, and organising for the following day.
- Pack away work equipment, and clear the workspace.
- Maybe take a moment to process the day with some breathing, stretching or journaling.
- Prepare a light and easy to digest dinner.
What does an Ayurvedic evening routine look like?
Kapha dosha is becoming active again so we want to counteract the cold and heavy qualities of Kapha with a warm, light meal, and maybe a post dinner evening walk to aid digestion, since agni is at its weakest.
We also want to make sure that we’re winding down mentally and physically well ahead of when Pitta dosha peaks again around 10pm so that we’re using Pitta’s transformative energy for body repair while we sleep.
If we aren’t able to commit to abhyanga (oil massage) in the morning, evening is a good time to do so, even if it’s just a quick warm foot massage before bed.
Start protecting the senses again by eliminating as much light as possible to mimic the disappearance of the sun in nature.
Switch off unnecessary lights, use candles, put away phones and laptops, and stop watching TV at leat 1-2 hours before bed. Opt for a good book instead.
- Eat a warm light dinner between 6pm and 7pm.
- Go for an optional 5 to 10 minute walk.
- Turn off unnecessary lights, dim lights at home.
- No blue light at least 1-2 hours before bed.
- Get into bed at 10pm latest, doing an optional warm foot massage.
The great thing about Ayurveda is that it favours small sustainable changes over a long period of time to create a holistically balanced and supportive lifestyle for the long term. We don’t have to, and in fact shouldn’t, do it all at once. Picking one thing to master at a time is the most effective approach to creating a supportive Ayurvedic daily routine that will provide you with more resilience, energy, focus, and productivity for your work-from-home days.
- Guru Kirpa Ayurveda and Panchakarma. Ayurvedic Dincharya: Ayurveda Daily Routine for Healthy Life. 14.09.2023.
- Maharishi Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Daily Routine – Living in a Healthy Rhythm. 14.09.2023.
- Vasant Lad. The Ayurvedic Institute. The Daily Routine, 14.09.2023.