Intro to Dinacharya: For Harmony + Wellbeing
Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences, with Yoga as a spiritual science and Ayurveda as the ‘science of life’, or put in another way, a system of medicine and healing.
The tradition of dinacharya (daily routine) is known to be one of the single most powerful Ayurvedic tools for improving overall health. In Ayurveda, the importance of a consistent daily routine can’t be underestimated. It sets the tone for your entire day, bringing a sense of harmony and wellbeing—giving the body, mind and spirit a chance to ground, cleanse, and start anew.
The following are some of my favourite Ayurvedic self-care practices I use daily, that have personally made a big impact on my overall health. These I consider to be the most important and realistic ones you can implement right away.
Wake up at the same time! Keeping to a scheduled wake up time gets your body and mind in a rhythm to gracefully begin your day. Scrape tongue, brush teeth, swish and gargle with oil, and drink warm water.
Scrape Tongue: Use a tongue cleaner to remove the bacteria-filled coating on the tongue and to stimulate the digestive system.
Brush Teeth: Choose organic toothpaste to brush your teeth. Traditional Ayurvedic ones are typically bitter, astringent and/or soothing in nature. I always opt for anything Neem or Peppermint Essential Oil.
Oil Pull: Swishing and gargling with warm sesame oil helps strengthen the teeth, gums and jaw, while improving sense of taste. Swish in your mouth for 5-minutes, or for as long as 15-minutes!
Dry Brushing: Body brushing is a fantastic way to get your skin looking bright, fresh and even. It stimulates circulation and encourages lymphatic drainage to effectively improve skin tone and texture by removing toxins. Brush upwards in long strokes towards your heart. Start from your feet and work your way up. Don’t forget your armpits!
Self-Massage: Known as Abhyanga. This is a profound practice of loving self-care. Performing a self-massage to the skin with warm oil calms the nervous system, lubricates and rejuvenates, stimulates the internal organs of the body and increases circulation. Every season has a recommended oil. Winter time use sesame oil, and for the summer heat, coconut oil is recommended for it’s cooling qualities. Its not recommended if you’re on your menstrual cycle, if you are pregnant, have infected or broken skin or any acute illness like the flu. Do your research or speak to an Ayurvedic Practitioner to see if this is a right practice for you.
When Eating: Have all meals sitting down. Avoid being on your computer, on your phone or multitasking at work. This is an important Ayurvedic practice to chew slowly and with attention. Eating quickly can cause you to overeat, or can cause indigestion. This one is a constant practice for me. I have to continue to remind myself to slow down and be mindful when eating.
Practice: Whatever your practice may be: asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), dhyana (meditation), journaling, prayer, or other activities that bring wellbeing.
Attempt to go to bed at the same time! Sometimes this can be hard to do. If you tune your awareness inward, its when you start to feel the body and mind fatigue and/or recognize your desire for a good nights sleep. Try turning off the TV and/or unplugging from devices an hour before bed. You can use that hour for self-reflection or self-care.
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