Ayurvedic Dinacharya: Daily Habits To Enhance Your Life
There’s nothing more impactful than the small habits that you do every day. Self-care is an act of self-love and in an Ayurvedic framework, having a daily ritual, otherwise called a “Dinacharya”, that honors your body as your sacred temple is one of the most important things you can implement to improve your well-being.
A Dinacharya is a set of daily routines that seek to commune with Mother Nature and mimic her ways. It follows the rhythms of the sun. Rising when it rises, eating and focusing intensely on work or play when it is in full form midday. At the end of the day, slowing down when it sets. As the sun begins to travel across the sky, setting each evening, I am reminded of the advice that one of my Ayurvedic teachers once passed along to me: “Rest your being and surrender; accept what is and what is yet to be, and with family and love in your heart, make peace with the day. Prepare for slumber”.
Reflect on the structure of your day…how does it look?
I recognize many chapters of my life that have been very out of touch with the rhythms of Mother Nature. One moment that stands out, in particular, was when I was nursing full time and working night shifts. I would never feel energized, struggling to get enough sleep, I had fluctuating emotions, and was usually quite anxious. On the contrary, the best I’ve ever felt has been when I am following a daily routine during Yoga Teacher Trainings. Waking up at 5 am. Performing my morning self-care rituals. Practicing yoga and meditation at 6 am for 2-3 hours. Spending most of my day in the community, immersed in learning and teaching what I’m passionate about. Winding down at the end of the day in nature. There is no point in my life that I have felt better and more connected than during these periods.
Now, I realize even for myself, that this optimal daily structure is not something I can do every day. We all have jobs, obligations, kids, family, etc., to consider as well. A Dinacharya is meant to encourage small, mindful habits that can bring your closer to this state of peace.
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The productivity buzz
One of the biggest challenges that I see is that much of our society is constantly locked into the active part of their day. They keep that active mind going, dragging it far too long, into the state when we should be resting and rejuvenating. We’re always striving for more and more. There is a constant buzz of “productivity” being the priority, driven by the underlying current of capitalism that much of our world runs on. Although we may be able to sustain this elevated state for a little while, burnout of both the mind & body from constantly being “on” is inevitable.
It may first show up in ways such as anxiety, insomnia, and restless states of mind. Eventually manifesting as more severe issues where chronic illness resides in the body & the mind. With proper rest, we are able to feel rejuvenated and revived. Awaken each day at sunrise with the ability to infuse adventure, exploration, curiosity, and play into our days. Adopting a Dinacharya into your life will help create more ease in the flow of your habits, and consistency will improve the health of your mind, body, and spirit.
Creating a sustainable Ayurvedic Dinacharya
To build an even richer and more stable self-care routine, I would suggest implementing these habits slowly. Add only 1 or 2 to your routine every few weeks, Learn which of these techniques are most easily self-implemented and suitable to you personally. This will enable the greatest impact on your life and bring you the greatest joy and wellness. See which ones resonate for you, and leave what doesn’t. Implement them slowly and mindfully, and check-in with your spirit often. It’s much better to create long-lasting, sustainable habits, rather than try to implement everything all at once, burn out, and not retain anything.
When done with intention, any action in our day can be infused with divinity; even brushing your teeth or taking a bath. Conscious daily rituals can fill your life with beauty and also ground you when you’re feeling challenged.
- Rise early, preferably before sunrise
- Scrape your tongue with a copper tongue scraper to clean it of toxins, that build up overnight (the toxins are known as ama). If you’re looking for a sustainable purchase, find one here!
- Drink a glass of warm water.
- Splash your face with water.
- Clean your teeth, eyes, ears & nose.
- If you have the know-how, perform oil pulling and Nasya.
- Evacuate bowels and bladder.
- Practice Yoga, pranayama, and meditation
- Perform dry brushing and an oil self-massage
- Shower or bathe
- Read/study, and enjoy a light and nourishing breakfast.
- Lunchtime: relax and make lunch the largest meal of your day. Afterward, to support digestion rest briefly lying on your left side and taking a light walk (100 steps).
- To separate the end of your workday, create a ritual that shifts your energy into a place of rest and relaxation. Meditation, pranayama exercises or yoga are all wonderful options or anything else that brings your peace and joy.
- Enjoy a light and early dinner.
- Turn off electronic devices after 7 pm, and go to bed by 10 pm.
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