Most of us have a cleaning routine in the morning, and with a little ayurvedic knowhow it can be turned into a super daily ayurvedic detox. It is probably not that much longer that we spend in the bathroom anyway, also you can save time applying less non ayurvedic cosmetics etc and letting your natural beauty shine out from within.
This routine relies on a human weakness of habits, and turning it to our advantage. We all know it is easy to develop bad ones, but dinacharya is about developing good Ayurvedic habits that become effortless and automatic. And with time, these have a beneficial influence on our health and well being.
Most of the dinacharya is done early in the morning, before the day starts. This is because toxins build up overnight, but it also for practical reasons. We all have our duty and work to do in world, even if it is to teach everyone else ayurveda. So this practice has been devised to be concise but effective. So within a hour a lot of detoxing and health practices have been done a lot to cleanse and balance our doshas. Leaving the rest of the day free for your work or whatever you want to achieve during the day.
This full dinacharya routine seems like a huge list, but it doesn’t take that long, also some of it we do already.
Ideally it is best to start before sunrise, easy in a British winter, but probably only possible for insomniacs in mid summer. If you want to do the full dinacharya it is not just about beating the sun rising it is also about beating others to the bathroom. As the ayurvedic bathing and cleaning is going to take a bit longer than normal!
If you are a man this is a great time to get your own back on female members of the household, and hog the bathroom for up to 40 minutes or more! The other day we had guests, but I don’t think they minded waiting?
When you start dinacharya the first thing to do is go into the bathroom with a bin bag, and throw in all the soaps shampoo and cosmetics, because you won’t need them any more. Ayurveda recommends that you don’t put anything on your skin you wouldn’t eat. So on that criteria your bathroom cupboard is going to be pretty empty and your bin bag full.
Replace all of these with the tools for your new routine. Neti pot, neem sticks, tongue scraper, organic sesame oil, bowl to warm your oil in, natural essential oils.
Wake up During Pre-dawn Hours
Generally the best waking time is between 5 and 7am. Early bird catches the worm.
Wake before dawn, especially if your partner is called ‘Dawn’ so you get to the bathroom first.
The best way to wake up is like from a relaxation, aware-fully bringing the awareness into the different parts of the body. A few minutes is enough for an aware but dynamic start to the day. Try to avoid lying awake and just letting your mind wander.
Start by taking your awareness to the head, bringing awareness into the face and mind. Breathe energy into the chest and abdomen. Then vitalise the arms, gently move the hands. Awaken the muscles in the back. Move the wave of vitality down the legs and activate the toes. Feel your body full of energy and ready to start the day.
Starting the Day
look at the palms of your hands and visualise your parents and then thank them for bringing you here. If this doesn’t work for you substitute your grandparents, children, pets , superhero anything that inspires you. Then touch the earth with your right palm and thank it you for sustaining you.
Drink a Glasses of Warm Water.
Also drinking a glass of warm water or two, helps get things moving ready to eliminate. You will also be quite dehydrated after a nights sleeping, breathing and sweating if you have been hot.
A little ginger in the water is good for most doshas types, and lemon can added for vata..
After 6 to 8 hours sleeping you are normally ready to eliminate, and empty your bladder and colon. If this doesn’t come naturally you can try to ‘toilet train’ yourself, by sitting on the loo for a while, and practicing the ashwini (horse) mudra. This is to rhythmically contract and release the anal sphincter just like a horse does when pooing.
Brushing the Teeth
You can floss and brush in the normal way as recommended by your dentist. You can also use a neem stick to clean the teeth.
The tongue is the topmost part of the digestive system. During the night toxins move on to the tongue. Scraping removes these toxins, and refreshes the palate so you taste your food better. It is also like a reflexology, as its surface is like a map of the digestive system. As you scrape different parts of the tongue it stimulates digestion.
Don’t be too harsh as you may damage the delicate surface and taste buds. You can use a tongue scraper or the broken neem twig.
Oil Pulling / Ayurvedic Mouthwash
Warm some organic sesame oil. Take a dessert spoon and swill it around your mouth. It takes a while to get used to it, so start with about 5 and build up to 20 minutes. The oil is antiseptic and absorbs bacteria as you pull it through the teeth. It strengthens the bone in the teeth and helps stop bleeding gums. It takes quite a while but you can multi-task (even men) by starting the oil massage at the same time. If you get a gag reflex this is good because it stimulates digestion. After the mouthwash spit the oil down the toilet it is full of bacteria and toxins so do not swallow it. The oil is pulling is not only a very effective way for cleaning the teeth.
By now you probably have a big queue outside the bathroom. Unfortunately you can’t respond to the clamour because your mouth is full of oil.
To start with you can use warm (not roasted) sesame oil, or you can use a specific oil for your constitution type. Also the length and type of massage can vary, but spend at least 10-20 minutes on it. Make sure you include a good foot rub.
You could now actually let someone else into the bathroom (temporarily), on the basis they assist you with your daily ayurvedic massage, and lovingly see to the parts you cannot reach.
You can now progress to pouring a little warm oil on your head and massaging it in. You can use sesame oil again or an ayurvedic hair oil. This is not only very calming, but also strengthens the hair, and can help prevent hair loss, because it is stuck to your head.
Meanwhile our guests are still waiting, I don’t think they minded but we haven’t heard much from them lately.
After the mouthwash has finished you can gargle with a little fresh sesame oil, at the back of the mouth. The oil may induce a gag reflex, but this can be good as it stimulates the digestion. This is great for speakers and singers as it really freshens up the vocal cords.
Use a neti pot to rinse the nose with warm salted water. Lean your head to the side it should go in through one nostril and out the other. If it squirts out of an ear then something is going wrong! This doesn’t need to be everyday which could be excessive, so alternate days or at least once a week.
Part of this comprehensive ayurvedic routine is to clear the nose and sinusis. Again you can use warm sesame oil. Also other herbs may be added depending on your constitution type. It is taken lying down a few drops introduced into the nose and sniffed up into the nasal cavity.
To refresh the eyes and balance pitta (sight is a main seat of the pitta dosha). You can splash the open eyes with warm water, or rose water.
Lubricate the ears with a few drops of sesame oil, to loosen wax.
This not only removes excess oil, but opens the pores of your skin, so it can penetrate deeper. Avoid very hot water on your head. For pitta and kapha types in warm weather, you can finish with a cooler burst of water. This contracts and seals off your body, and it produces a tingly heating effect.
Great timing I can hear someone wanting to come in!
Another Warm Drink
Now drink another glasses of warm water, this again can depend on your type but good with little bit of fresh ginger or lemon.
Go to the Loo?
If at first you don’t suceed try try again. If the elimination on awaking failed to happen try again as it is best to develop of emptying your colon before breakfast.
Meditation and Pranayama
Pranayama is the fastest way to calm your mind. Kapalabhati is great to get going especially to reduce excessive kapha, and Nadi Shodhan Pranayama for all types but paticularly good for excess vata. To reduce pitta try Sitali Pranayama the cooling breathing technique.
Yoga / Exercise
This again can be according to your type but the classic sequence is the sun sequence or surya namaskar.
Depending on the intensity of your yoga you may find it better to shower, or re-shower after exercising.
Apply natural fragrances
The next part is to honour the beautiful soul within. Like good Christians in Ayurveda ‘cleanliness is also next to godliness’. You have removed toxins, impurities and awakened your higher self with yoga. So you can apply natural essential oils and fragrances that help balance your constitution and enhance the aura of your beauty.
Dress in clean, pleasant clothes
Have respect for this purified version of yourself. Wear fresh clothes if you can, silk is great next to your skin, and otherwise natural fibres that allow your skin to breathe.
Adorn Yourself with Precious metals and Stones
You are worth the finest clothes and ornaments. Gold is like the sun so is good for the cool doshas vata and kapha. Silver is related to the moon so cooling and better to balance excess pitta.
You need to consult a vedic astrologer to choose the correct gemstones as they have a spefific effect, and need to be matched to your birthchart, or current health issues.
Breakfast can be partly prepared the night before. I soak my ayurvedic muesli or porridge and prepared vegetables to steam.
Breakfast needs to be substantial and nourishing, but probably not too huge, or it will slow you down for the rest of the morning.
Now you are full nourished, detoxed and ayurvedically balanced ready to start your work or duties for the day.you are full nourished, detoxed and ayurvedically balanced ready to start your work or duties for the day.
Superb blog. After reading so much now I am getting the importance of Ayurveda for our health. How it involves in our daily routine. I will definitely follow this above routine. Can you tell me if yoga is the best option for health else I have to go the gym?
Absolutely yoga is a part of ayurveda. A good practice should balance your constitution, be a complete exercise and relax you mentally and physically My work is with Dru Yoga which is great because it includes all the balancing postures with a good relaxation. Apart from that ayurveda recommends natural exercise in the fresh air and sunlight, brisk walking. cycling or better still doing your yoga sequences outside.