Ayurveda is strongly rooted in and connected to the laws of nature. Its therapies offer us ways to move more closely with the cyclical rhythms of the sun, moon and seasons. As we become more attune to nature’s rhythms, we become more in harmony with our true selves.
Daily Lifestyle Routines
The Ayurvedic daily lifestyle routine, Dinacharya, is at the heart of Ayurvedic disease prevention. By engaging in regular routines with our bodies, we allow our minds to become more still and know a deeper sense of peace and ease.
In English terms, we can think of Dinacharya as daily self-care practices: things that we do each day to nourish and support our body, mind and spirit. Even if you have never heard of Ayurvedic routines, you probably already have some routines that you do every morning and evening: brushing your teeth, taking a shower, drinking coffee or tea, prayer, exercise, etc.
While each Ayurvedic therapy has its own specific benefits, the ritualistic act of creating a routine out of them is beneficial in itself. The specific therapies and the best time for you to do them will vary based on both the current season, the time of day and your individual constitution. In general, the following are practices that are appropriate for most people, most of the time:
1. Oil Massage:
Ayurvedic oil massage, Abhyanga, is at the heart of Dinacharya and self-care. Applying oil lubricates, protects, detoxifies, and rejuvenates your skin. Your skin is your largest sense organ so nurturing it relaxes your nervous system and reduces stress and insomnia.
2. Dry Brush Massage:
Garshana is massaging your body with a dry brush, loofah or raw silk gloves to stimulate your lymphatic and circulatory systems. It helps to detoxify, reduce fat and cellulite and relieve muscular tension.
3. Oral Care:
Daily scraping of your tongue will remove accumulated toxins (bye-bye morning breath!) and rinsing the mouth with oil nourishes your teeth and gums.
4. Nasal Care (Neti and Nasya):
You can clear and lubricate your nasal passages with Neti, rinsing with warm salt water and Nasya, the application of oil. On a physical level these actions to relieve allergies, congestion, headaches, neck aches and snoring. Neti and nasya also help to reduce anxiety, strengthen your nervous system and calm your mind for meditation.
Pranayama is the practice of utilizing your breath to connect with your life force energy (prana). As you inhale, you take in new energy. As you exhale, you release stagnant energy. Conscious breathing revitalizes the body, steadies the emotions and creates clarity in the mind.
6. Yoga Asana:
Yoga asana is the physical practice of moving your body through a series of postures to strengthen, stretch and open the lines of energy throughout your body. Traditionally this practice is done to relax and prepare your body for meditation.
Meditation calms the mind and reduces the number of thoughts entering in and out of consciousness. When your mind is at peace, your body will follow (and vice versa!) If you practice meditation on a regular basis, then when you encounter fear or stressful situations, it is much easier for you to find that familiar place of calmness.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It is important to keep in mind that you should not be trying to shift everything in your life all at once, but allow the incorporation of these practices to be slow and graceful. Small changes in your routine are typically more sustainable than trying to shift everything at once.