(Ayurvedic daily Routines)
Rise in accordance to the seasons.
It is beneficial to wake up before the sun rises.
Waking up after 7:00am in kapha time promotes sluggishness.
Hot water to start the day
Drinking a glass of hot or warm water straight after rising up in the morning is an excellent daily routine.
Hot water first thing in the morning wakes the body up by dilating the channels, it flushes the kidneys and facilitates evacuation of the mahasrota (gastrointestinal tract) by stimulating peristaltis. By dilating the channels hot water helps the body flush out impurities (ama).
It is recommended not to microwave the water. Best is to boil the water in an open saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes and so it is infused with pitta to get you going in the morning. Or water from the kettle will do.
For maximum benefit drinks should be sipped while your sitting down. Hot water to start the day is a profound inexpensive medicine that improves the metabolism.
According to Ayurveda, it is important to evacuate the bowels every morning. If during the day, you carry around the waste material you created at night, you may absorb some of that waste material into your system which may weaken your immune system.
Sit or better squat on the toilet, and have a bowel movement. Even if you don’t the urge, sit for a few minutes, without forcing. If you do that every day, following your glass of hot or warm water, the habit should develop.
According to Ayurveda everyone should do some exercise every day and it should be practiced before breakfast. As a general rule, Ayurveda recommends exercising up to one half of one’s capacity, up to the point of a mild sweat. It’s recommended to avoid repetitive exercise that stresses any one part of the body excessively.
Regular exercise improves circulation and increases strength, stamina and immunity. It helps one to relax and to sleep peacefully. It benefits the heart and lungs, is vital for effective digestion and elimination, and helps the body purify itself of toxins through sweating and deep breathing.
Exercise increases the rate of combustion of calories, so it is good for maintaining body weight and for weight loss. It also makes the mind alert and sharp and develops keen perception.
Yoga stretching, Tai Chi and some aerobic exercise are valuable for all body types, but the amount and intensity of the exercise should be based upon the constitution. Kapha types can do the most strenuous exercise, pittas can handle moderate amounts and vatas require the gentlest exercise.
Pran is the life force of the universe coursing through the nerves of our physical body and the nadis (pathways or prana in the system).
Ayurveda and Yoga uses the breath to manage thoughts and emotions, through the practice of pranayama (controlled breath). It is a powerful healing mechanism affecting the digestion of breath, the digestion of emotions and impressions and the digestion of food along with quieting the mind.
Different types of pranayama have different effects on our health. The right choice of pranayama depends on many factors such as body constitution, season, purpose (to treat a disease or for meditation) and so on.
End pranayama by going right into meditation. Using meditative techniques can help to raise awareness, instill intention in spiritual practice, remove attachments to the things we like and aversions from the things we dislike and give clarity of mind.
According to Ayurveda, fasting or skipping breakfast in the morning is not recommended. Breakfast should include some grains for nourishment and not be sweet but savory. It is best to be a light meal. Dietary habits should result in satisfaction, nourishment and contentment.
Eat until the stomach is half full of food, one quarter full of water and the remainder left for the digestive circulation.
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Ayurveda’s answer to Neti is nasya which is one of the Panchakarmas or 5 actions of purification. Ayurveda teaches us that bacteria multiplies in our subtle channels, including the sinuses, creating infectious mucus and congestion.
During Nasya, a small amount of ‘Anu Thailam’ is applied to the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses expelling excess mucus through the nasal passage.
Nasya, when practiced daily, penetrates the nasal area killing bacteria and clearing mucus. It clears the upper and lower respiratory tracts, is good for the ears and purifies the organs of the head. Nasya also nourishes the cranial nerves and the muscles of the neck while improving the sense organs e.: vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
Nasya is also used to stimulate the brain and cranial nerves. This Nasya practice stimulates and nourishes the brain tissue while soothing the nervous system.
Nasya is best performed in the mornings as part of a daily routine and can be safely practiced by children.
Traditionally cleaning the teeth is done by using a tooth powder that is astringent/bitter/pungent in taste (Dasana tooth powder) to clear the accumulated bacteria from the mouth.
Scrape the tongue every morning. To scrape the tongue use an Ayurvedic tongue scraper. Gently scrape from the back of the tongue forward until you have scraped the whole surface. Repeat 7 to 14 times. The scraper may be rinsed off between strokes.
Jihwa prakshalana (tongue scraping) has been an important part of dinacarya (Ayurvedic daily routine) for maintaining oral health for thousands of year. Scraping the tongue daily removes any build-up or coating on the tongue, toxins (ama) deposited via the internal channels. Scraping avoids these toxins being reabsorbed by the body and improves the ability to taste the food. In addition it increases clarity of the mind by reducing ama from the head.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment for oral health and detoxification. It involves the use of pure oils for pulling harmful bacteria, fungus and other organisms out of the mouth.
Gandusha and kavala graha are two primary gargling techniques in Ayurvedic treatments for oral care. In gandusha, the mouth is completely filled with liquid and then released after holding for some time. In kavala graha a comfortable amount of liquid is retained in the mouth.
To perform gandusha oil is to be filled in the mouth to the level that it cannot be moved in the mouth.
Black sesame oil, coconut oil and ghee are traditionally used for Ayurvedic treatment of oil pulling.
To perform kavala graha place 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in the mouth and move oil slowly in the mouth, rinse, swish and pull through the teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. This process will make the oil thoroughly mix with your saliva. Do not swallow the oil. As the process continues, the oil gets thinner and white. After pulling for a sufficient time, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with warm water.
Self Abhyana (massage)
‘Abhyanga’ or oil massage has been used for thousands of years in India to maintain health and wellbeing, aid restful sleep and increase longevity. Self massage is incorporated into the daily routine with warm, often medicated oil, massaged into the entire body before bathing.
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.”
Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89
Stimulates the internal organs
Tones the muscles and tissue
Calms the nerves
Lubricates the joints
Increases mental alertness
Eliminates impurities from the tissue
Benefits the skin
Moisturizers the skin
Increases energy levels
Benefits sleep patterns
Aids deep sleep
Nourishes the body
Ayurvedic massage is traditionally performed in the morning, before your bath or shower. This helps the body release toxins that may have built up overnight.
Warm the massage oil to a comfortable temperature.
Apply to the crown of the head first and massage in with small circular movements. Apply to the entire body using an open palm. Use a lighter pressure on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the heart.
Use additional oil and spend more time where nerve endings are concentrated eg: the soles of the feet,
palms of the hands and along the base of the fingernails. Use a clockwork, circular motion over the
joints and abdomen; and straight strokes on your arms and legs. Strokes away from the heart reduce
Let the oil absorb for 10-15 minutes.
Follow abhyanga with a relaxing warm bath or shower.
Ref: Ayurvedic Herbal & Nutritional Medicine. by Jay Mulder.