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Synchronising your daily routine with nature for Optimal Well-being: Part 1

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Introduction According to Ayurveda, following the natural rhythm of day and night is crucial for maintaining good health. Just as nature changes its colors and moods throughout the year, through out the day - the serene and tranquil morning, the scorching midday heat, the misty and breezy evening, and the cool darkness of night. these changes in nature are mirrored within our own bodies as well, as the three doshas kapha, pitta, and vata — ebb and flow throughout the twenty-four-hour cycle. Within a full day, two twelve-hour cycles emerge, wherein each dosha reigns supreme for approximately four hours. Understanding these changes and aligning our daily routine accordingly can lead to improved well-being. Let's explore the recommended Ayurvedic practices for a harmonious daily routine. 1. Waking Up According to Ayurveda, waking up early in the morning, before the sunrise, is highly recommended. This period is known as the Vata period; It's truly remarkable how invigorated, light and fresh you feel when you rise at this time.

As the day progresses and we enter the Kapha period, from 6 am to 10 am, waking up late can lead to feelings of heaviness, drowsiness, and lethargy—clear signs of excessive Kapha. Of course, it's important to approach any rule or recommendation with practicality in mind. If your work schedule keeps you up until midnight or even later, it becomes challenging to greet the early morning hours with the same vigor. Forcing yourself to wake up in such situations often results in exhaustion throughout the day, as you haven't had the opportunity to fully rest. Therefore, to successfully wake up early, it's crucial to establish a habit of going to bed early as well. If you find yourself consistently sleeping late at night, it only makes sense to allow yourself to wake up later. However, whenever circumstances allow for an earlier bedtime, seize the opportunity, as it greatly contributes to your overall well-being. By completing your sleep by the early morning, you awaken feeling remarkably fresh and light—a clear indication that you've had sufficient rest. The previous day's wear and tear, along with the fatigue accumulated, have been effectively rejuvenated during sleep. While occasional late nights are understandable, making it a regular habit results in unnecessary waste of our precious energy. It's essential to strike a balance and prioritize rest for optimal health.

When we wake up during the Vata period, the functioning of Vata—the dosha responsible for movement in our bodies—is at its most efficient. Consequently, the natural process of bowel evacuation becomes easier. However, if we oversleep or deprive ourselves of sufficient rest, problems with bowel movements, such as constipation, can arise. It's alarming how prevalent constipation has become in today's society. Upon reflecting on the causes, inadequate sleep and waking up late emerge as major contributing factors. It seems paradoxical, doesn't it? Getting up early often means sacrificing adequate sleep, while sleeping well often leads to waking up later (particularly if we're accustomed to staying up late at night). The solution to this dilemma lies in establishing a routine of going to bed early. Although it may require effort and adjustments, the transformative effects experienced make it well worth the endeavor. 2. Brushing your teeth When you wake up in the morning, it's important to start your day with a simple yet essential routine. Begin by washing your face with plain water (or warm water during winter) to refresh your skin. But don't stop there—there's another crucial step you shouldn't overlook: cleaning your teeth.

After we eat, a sticky coating forms on our tongue and teeth as a result of digestion. Since our diet often includes sweet-tasting foods like rice and bread, this coating (known as Kapha in Ayurveda) takes on a sweet nature, providing an ideal environment for various organisms to grow. To effectively remove this coating, it makes sense to use substances with bitter, pungent or astringent tastes—tastes that counteract the sweetness and reduce Kapha. These tastes are known for their dryness, so it's advisable to use herbs with such tastes for cleaning our teeth.

In ancient times, people would utilize soft sticks made from these herbs as a natural toothbrush. By biting one end of the stick and shaping it into a brush-like form, they effectively cleaned their teeth. As they brushed with these herb sticks, the natural juices released from the herbs neutralized the sticky coating on their teeth and gums. Remarkably, this traditional method is still practiced in some rural parts of India. Alternatively, the powdered form of these herbs can be used for brushing, where your fingers act as a flexible and excellent brush that can reach all areas inside your mouth. In addition to removing the stickiness, the bitter herbs also possess antimicrobial properties, while the astringent herbs help tighten the gums, leading to better tooth support. In India, commonly used herbs for this purpose include Neem, Karanj (Indian beech), and Babul.

To truly understand the benefits of this approach, you need to experience it firsthand. You'll feel a thorough cleansing of the sticky coating. When you run your finger over your teeth, you'll even hear a satisfying sound of 'chuk, chuk,' indicating the successful removal of the coating. As the coating disappears, you'll regain the true taste of the food you eat—a delightful sensation that allows you to truly savor the flavors. Additionally, the unpleasant mouth odor resulting from the coating will vanish as well. It's a complete herbal formula!

On the other hand, commercial toothpastes themselves are sticky in nature, which raises the question of how effectively they can remove the stickiness from our teeth. To counteract both the stickiness of our teeth and their own stickiness, these toothpastes often rely on stronger chemicals—a chemical formula, so to speak. Ultimately, the choice between herbal powders and commercial toothpaste is up to you. However, I'm confident that once you experience the wonders of using herbal powders and herbs for tooth brushing, you'll find them preferable. Ayurveda recommends brushing your teeth in the morning and after meals as part of a healthy oral hygiene routine. 3. Oil Massage Let's move on to the next daily routine: the oil massage. This practice offers a multitude of benefits, acting as a rejuvenation therapy that combats the signs of aging, alleviates fatigue caused by physical exertion, and soothes Vata and Vata-related issues. Moreover, it strengthens the body, enhances vision, ensures restful sleep, and leaves the skin soft and radiant. The advantages are truly remarkable—a magic therapy, if you will. However, the key to unlocking its full potential lies in regular practice.

In today's fast-paced world, many of us may find it challenging to dedicate time for a daily oil massage. Nevertheless, even applying oil once or twice a week is sufficient and necessary. Recognizing the time constraints, Ayurveda offers a shortcut: if oiling the entire body is not feasible, focus on applying oil to the head, ears, and legs at the very least.

Sesame oil, considered the best among oils, is typically used for massage. During colder weather, you can warm the oil before applying it, providing excellent protection against the cold. However, in hotter seasons or for individuals with a Pitta-dominant constitution, using sesame oil may generate excess heat. In such cases, incorporating cooling herbs into the oil and cooking it to create medicated oil can be a beneficial alternative. Alternatively, you can opt for coconut oil, as it naturally possesses cooling properties.

A full-body massage should always be performed on an empty stomach. Massages can generally be categorized into two types: simple oil application (Abhyanga), which can be done by anyone, including oneself, and proper deep massaging with pressure (Mardana), which should be carried out by a trained masseur. Mastering the technique of pressure massage—Mardana—requires comprehensive training. It is important to avoid massages in certain conditions, such as during a fever, certain Kapha-related disorders, or when experiencing indigestion. When performing self-massage, pay extra attention to areas of the skin that are dry, applying more oil as needed.

Conclusion In this blog, we have explored the important steps to be taken during the Vata period to enhance our well-being. From waking up early to tooth brushing and oil massage, each routine offers unique benefits and contributes to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Remember, by aligning our daily routines with the natural rhythms of our bodies and the environment, we can experience profound benefits in our physical, mental, and emotional health. As we transition into the Kapha period, which begins after sunrise, we will delve into the specific steps to be taken during this time to optimize our health and vitality.

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