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Synchronising your daily routine with nature for Optimal Well-being: Part 3

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Introduction Welcome to the third part of our blog series on Ayurvedic daily routine. In the previous two blogs, we explored the significance of the Vata period and the Kapha period, learning about the steps to be taken during each phase to promote balance and well-being. Now, we will shift our focus to the Pitta period, which spans from 10 am to 2 pm.

During the Pitta period, the sun is high in the sky, and the energy of transformation and digestion is at its peak. This is a crucial time to pay attention to our lunch and rest routines, as they can greatly impact our overall health and vitality. In this blog, we will delve into the Ayurvedic guidelines for lunch and rest during the Pitta period, understanding the dos and don'ts that can help us harness the energy of this phase for optimal well-being.

So, let's build upon the knowledge we have gained from the previous blogs and explore the nourishing and restorative practices that are recommended during the Pitta period. By aligning ourselves with the natural rhythms of the day, we can cultivate balance, vitality, and harmony in our lives. Let's dive into the world of Pitta and discover the wisdom it holds for our lunch and rest routines. Lunch

Lunch, often regarded as the most important meal of the day, holds great significance during the Pitta period, which spans from 10 am to 2 pm. In the natural cycle of activity, this period falls within the day cycle, whereas the evening marks the beginning of the rest cycle, lasting until the early morning. It's important to note that the Pitta period during the rest cycle is not suitable for consuming food, as the body is in a state of rest and unable to effectively digest it. Hence, the Pitta period during the daytime becomes the ideal time for proper digestion and assimilation of food.

During this period, the body is primed and ready to receive nourishment. The bowels are clear, the stomach is empty, and the digestive fire, known as Pitta, is at its peak. However, it is crucial to assess whether genuine hunger is present before indulging in a meal. Unfortunately, the demands of modern city life have veered us away from this natural rhythm. Many people prefer lighter meals or snacks during this time, reserving a heavy meal for the evening. Yet, nature doesn't favor heavy meals in the evenings or nights, as the digestive fire during that period is not as robust.

Properly digested food transforms into light food juice, which doesn't contribute to weight gain. Conversely, inadequately digested food transforms into heavy food juice, which, upon absorption, leads to weight gain. Traditional systems, still prevalent in non-urban areas, shed light on this aspect. These systems advocate for a light or no breakfast in the morning, followed by a substantial meal at noon and a simpler, lighter meal in the early evening as dinner—a perfect arrangement. It is also beneficial to take a short rest after lunch, further enhancing the ideal routine.

Let's clarify the role of breakfast in this context. As you enjoy lunch during the Pitta period, a heavy breakfast is not a necessity. Opting for lighter foods and beverages like tea, milk, or coffee suffices. Only during the winter season, when the body requires additional sustenance, a slightly heartier breakfast is recommended.

Improper eating habits, specifically the tendency to consume minimal food during lunch and excessive food during dinner, contribute significantly to obesity and various health issues prevalent in modern society. It is crucial to experience the benefits of altering this pattern. Many individuals encounter problems stemming from this habit. They tend to eat very little at breakfast, which is understandable as hunger is usually not strong in the morning. However, intentionally eating during this time can lead to a feeling of heaviness and lethargy, subsequently suppressing the appetite at lunch. On the other hand, those who skip their evening meal or experience heightened hunger in the mornings, such as during the winter season, should consume a substantial breakfast. In seasons like summer and rainy periods when the appetite is naturally reduced, a heavy breakfast is unnecessary.

Hunger during lunchtime is typically stronger than in the early morning, yet many fail to have a proper meal during this period. Light breakfasts or lighter meals alone cannot sustain the demands of heavy work, resulting in fatigue during the afternoon and extreme exhaustion towards the end of the day. This exhaustion necessitates rest, leading some individuals to skip a satisfying dinner, further exacerbating the situation. This detrimental cycle can give rise to chronic issues such as osteoporosis, generalized weakness, and reduced immunity. Alternatively, some individuals compensate for their inadequate lunch by consuming a heavy dinner, which contributes to weight gain.

Considering the importance of having a substantial meal during the Pitta period, it is crucial for those who mistakenly opt for lighter lunches to correct this pattern and witness the positive difference it can make. Rest

Taking some time to rest after lunch is crucial. Engaging in immediate physical activity post-meal can lead to indigestion. When we eat, our digestive system requires an increased blood supply to function optimally. However, if we engage in physical or mental exertion right after a meal, the blood gets diverted to the active areas, compromising the blood supply to the digestive system and slowing down or disrupting the digestion process.

That's why Ayurveda recommends taking a short nap or simply lying down for about an hour or half an hour after lunch. But before that, it is advisable to take a leisurely stroll, clearing any misconceptions about brisk walking. In the Indian language, this concept is known as 'Shat Pavli,' which translates to taking a hundred steps. The idea is to relax and move from one room to another, rather than engaging in vigorous exercise.

Today, we often witness people immediately walking after meals, thinking they can undo any harm caused to their health. However, this is a misguided habit. How can their food digest properly? How will they obtain the necessary energy? The justification given is that walking after meals speeds up the digestion process, but in reality, it only disrupts it. We must resist the desire for rapid digestion. In today's fast-paced world, everyone wants things to happen quickly, but this haste often leads to numerous problems later on. Strenuous walks should be avoided after meals. Instead, let's pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. After a meal, we often feel a slight drowsiness, a hint of sleepiness. This indicates that our bodies crave a slower pace. Thus, taking a nap becomes important.

It is recommended to sleep on our left side, aligning the stomach with the oesophagus (the initial part of the food pipe), allowing gases to be released easily, relieving pressure on the stomach. If sitting in a chair feels more comfortable, one can even take a nap in that position. However, it's important to avoid turning this nap into an extended sleep session. Prolonged napping can increase the sense of heaviness, specifically the Kapha dosha, in the body. You might experience a heavy head after such a long nap. Only during hot summers, when the body requires extra rest, is a longer afternoon nap recommended. In the summer season, this sleep helps balance the tiredness caused by external heat.

Additionally, weak individuals, elderly people, infants and children, pregnant women, and night shift workers can benefit from longer afternoon naps in any season. Such naps alleviate their fatigue and restore balance to their weak and delicate bodies. In conclusion, we have explored the essential steps to be taken during the Pitta period, from 10 am to 2 pm. We learned about the importance of lunch, the optimal time for digestion, and the need for some rest after the meal. By following these guidelines, we can promote proper digestion, maintain energy levels, and prevent various health issues associated with improper eating habits.

We will further delve into the second cycle of the day which also includes 3 phases of Vata - Kapha - Pitta periods and discover the specific steps to be taken during that time. Each phase presents its unique set of considerations for our well-being. Stay tuned to uncover valuable insights and practical tips to navigate the second half of the day effectively.

Remember, understanding and aligning ourselves with the natural rhythms of our body and the environment can greatly contribute to our overall health and vitality.

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