We live in a world that is often chaotic and unpredictable. There is so much uncertainty surrounding us which can be unsettling. This regular worry can throw us off-balance and affect our wellbeing. To counter the negative effects of this erratic context, we need to find ways to ground ourselves. Routines help us achieve the harmony that we need. Set daily routines offer us familiar and predictable reference points as we go through the day which in turn keep us calm in the midst of the whirlwind of activity around us.
The term Ayurveda in Sanskrit means ‘the science of everyday living’. As a life practice, one of the founding principles of Ayurveda is daily rituals and so we are encouraged to follow a clearly defined pattern or Dinacharya. An amalgam of the words dina (day) and charya (behaviour), Dinacharya is about achieving harmony between our circadian rhythm, which is our body clock, and the chronological clock of nature. Thus, Ayurveda daily rituals aim to keep us in sync with our natural environment. For this we should follow a set daily regimen each morning and evening.
Ayurvedic Morning Routine
An ayurvedic morning routine means being in line with the natural unfolding of the day. So ideally we should wake up at sunrise. Long before the invention of electricity, our ancestors’ lives were dependent on sunlight and so it was natural for them to rise with the sun. Electric lights have severely interfered with these practices. Yet, we should be following the example of our forefathers and waking up at dawn. This is also the time when there is an abundance of sattvic or loving qualities in nature that bring about a feeling of freshness and peace of mind.
Of course, in order to wake up early we need to ensure we get to bed early enough the night before. We still require the recommended six to eight hours of sleep if we are to wake feeling rested and refreshed. Try to sleep by 10:00pm each night. Not only does this timing give us sufficient sleep to wake up at sunrise, it also aligns our sleep patterns with the body’s internal detoxifying process which is said to happen between 10:00pm and 2:00am.
An Ayurvedic morning routine recommends that you avoid jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up. Instead, look at your hands for a few moments, then move them gently over your face working your way down your chest and towards your waist. This will clear the aura. Take a moment to feel grateful for the new day and for the life you have. Give thanks and pray.
A solid ayurvedic morning routine is made up of several different elements and you should try to incorporate as many as you can before you begin your day’s work. Soon after waking up, drink a glass of warm water as this helps activate the organs to function properly throughout the day, while also washing out the GI tract and flushing the kidneys. Follow good mouth hygiene by scraping your tongue, brushing your teeth and gargling. Use warm sesame oil to gargle, swishing it around your mouth and then spitting it out. Massage your gums immediately as the residual sesame oil will provide added benefits.
Meditate and exercise, in whichever order suits you. Abhyanga or self-massage is a key part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Start the day with a gentle scalp massage using our Neroli Jasmine Scalp Massage Oil . In addition to being soothing, these scalp massages also prevent headaches and reduce greying, baldness and a receding hairline.
Give yourself a fresh, clean start by bathing. Use natural products to make sure your hair and skin are suitably moisturized and stay healthy. Take your pick from our gently cleansing and all-natural Bath and Shower Gels and Hair Cleansers.
Ayurvedic Evening Routine
After a full and productive day, we should prepare ourselves for a good night’s rest and an ayurvedic evening ritual is the perfect lead up to this. You can unwind from the day’s worries and stresses by performing another round of abhyanga, this time focusing on massaging the body. Our Peace Massage Balm offers deep-action soothing therapy to calm and balance the senses while also promoting a feeling of peace and tranquility. Follow the self-massage with a warm soothing bath. Add a few drops of either the Sleep Massage and Bath Oil or Peace Massage and Bath Oil and bask in the warmth of the water.
Since our circadian clock is stimulated by light, turn off all harsh lighting an hour or so before you plan to go to bed. If it is available to you, use the dimmer and soften the lights. Candles play a fundamental role in many aspects of the Ayurvedic lifestyle and so you could light a couple of candles in your bedroom, thus dispensing with artificial lighting altogether. There is something undeniably comforting about candlelight and the alluring fragrances of our Naturally Scented Candles are sure to calm and ground you, slowly lulling you towards sleep.
Spend some time meditating. If you like, you could try the ancient practice of Trakata or candle-gazing by using the flame of the candle as a focal point for your meditation.
An Ayurvedic evening routine is aimed at helping us relax and ease us into a restful sleep. For this to happen we need to put our devices away. Science has proven that the light from screens disrupt our circadian clock and so it is important to set aside our phones and tablets at least an hour before bed time. Pick up a nice book instead and snuggle into bed.
Strength and Fortitude
While there is much about the world around us that we cannot control, we can certainly take charge of our personal lives. Facing the daily challenges that life throws at us requires strength and we can find this within ourselves only if we are properly centred and grounded. An Ayurvedic lifestyle focuses on balance, harmony and serenity and so following the recommended daily rituals every morning and evening will provide us with the fortitude we need to get through the day.