Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of healing, has evolved guidelines, both daily and seasonal, that can help you be more productive, more balanced and healthier. Ayurveda has its roots in India, and in Kerala, the sunny state in South India, Ayurveda has been a way of life for thousands of years. According to this holistic system of healing that is based on nature, good health is achieved when there is a perfect balance of the three vital life forces or doshas. These doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each of these is more active during a particular time of the day or night. For example, Kapha dosha is predominant in the morning, Pitta dominates around noon, and Vata is the dominant dosha in the evening. To enjoy good health your daily routine should revolve around the dosha that is predominant at each time of day.
The Importance of Routine
Ayurveda recommends that you should wake up at least two hours before dawn. Take a short walk outside to absorb the positive vibes of nature and then cleanse the body internally by emptying the colon and bladder. Let this be done naturally, without artificial stimulation. Start your external cleansing routine with the teeth, gums and tongue. Clean the teeth preferably with the long, straight crushed fibrous roots of herbs having an astringent taste or with a twig of the Neem tree. Massage the gums with herbal powder mixed with honey, and clean the tongue once a day, in the morning, with a thin, long spatula made of gold, silver, copper or soft wood. Gargle with honey, sesame seed oil, warm water or special Ayurvedic decoctions for healthy mouth, teeth, gums and lips. Apply nasal drops using specially prepared oils that you can get from your vaidya or Ayurvedic physician, to keep your head, shoulders and chest organs healthy. Another tip is to burn herbal medicines and to inhale the fumes every morning. This is good for the sense organs and respiratory system.
Vyayama or exercise is an important part of dincharya or daily routine. Physical exercise can be yoga, a walk, tai chi, a swim or whatever provides exercise to your muscles. Before your morning bath, give yourself an oil massage to reduce fatigue and rejuvenate your skin. Bathe in warm water, but in summer, one may opt for a shower in cold water as well. Apart from cleaning the body, bathing also stimulates the digestive fire.Take care to wash the head with boiled and cooled water only. Use natural scents like lavender after your bath, and protect your eyes by applying a preparation of collyrium in both eyes. Meditate daily. Meditation refreshes the mind, increases the concentration power and builds the energy needed for the rest of the day.
Kick-start the day with a healthy breakfast. Do not skip it, because it is the first meal of the day. Make lunch the mail meal of the day, and have it four to five hours after breakfast. Twilight is the special time, which is a balance between the day and the night. Evening prayers, meditation should be carried out during twilight. Supper should be light and had early, around 7 pm…and by 10 pm, you should go to bed so as to get a good night’s sleep and an early start to the next day.
Just as ‘doshas’ revolve around the day, they revolve around the seasons too. Spring is the Kapha season, while summer is marked with Pitta predominance. In fall and early winter we have to follow a Vata balancing lifestyle. In spring, avoid foods that are cold, sour, sweet or difficult to digest. Drink ginger tea in the morning and add more spices in your foods. Massage the body with sesame oil treated with ginger or mustard, once a week. During summer take early morning or moon light walks or swimming for exercise. Drink more fluids during summer, and have foods that are pungent, acidic or salty. Eat fresh fruits and green veggies to cool the body. It is good to have a small nap during the day in summer. Use coconut oil for massage once or twice week as coconut oil is cooling.
Eat light foods and drink water with honey during Fall. Massage the whole body with warm sesame oil 2-3 times a week during this season. Do yoga instead of swimming. Keep yourself warm and well hydrated and have oatmeal for breakfast. In winter choose foods that are heavy and drink warm water, cow’s milk or juice. Eat a very nourishing diet, and keep yourself fit by getting enough sleep, by oiling your skin, by slowing down in general. In Ayurveda, ‘harmony’ is the key word. So live in harmony with the seasons and keep the doshas in harmony too – and your body and mind will then be tuned to good health.