To enjoy Ayurveda, you do not have to travel to India. The rituals of the healing arts can be easily integrated into everyday life
Overslept, we push the alarm clock into snooze mode again and again … until we realize with shock that it is already super late again. But now hurry up! Get out of bed with dishevelled hair and swollen eyes, get into the bathroom and get ready in no time. If we are lucky, there might be some time left for a little breakfast standing up…
If this start to the day seems familiar to anyone, something should be changed. And that is not difficult at all. With the Ayurvedic daily routine the morning begins without any hectic, and the corresponding rituals take us through the whole day without any stress. Because Ayurveda is much more than just a wellness offer in the form of massages and cures, just as we in Europe mostly perceive the old Indian healing art. Translated Ayurveda means “knowledge of life”.
And it is always about the holistic health of the person – physically and mentally as well as emotionally and spiritually.
Dinacharya – the daily routine according to Ayurveda
The Ayurvedic daily routine is designed to ensure that the greatest possible potential is taken out of the body and that the quality of life is significantly improved. It is not for nothing that it is considered “the science of long life” – the way of life should not only make everyday life more conscious, but also prolong life. With a well-structured, regular daily routine, inner peace and serenity returns.
Stress does not arise in the first place or can immediately be used positively as a driving force. In addition, the entire metabolism is pushed in this way. The keys to this more relaxed everyday life are called Vata, Kapha and Pitta – and they describe the different phases of the daily routine.
The three doshas: Vata, Kapha, Pitta
According to Ayurveda, the origin of everything lies in the five elements air, earth, water, fire and space. From these the doshas Vata, Kapha and Pitta are formed – and that is what it is all about. They are the foundation for Dinacharya, the daily routine according to Ayurveda. Vata means “to move” and regulates the movement of the body. Muscles, organs and nervous system become active. Vata phases are therefore always associated with change.
Kapha means “holding together” and stands for physical and mental strength. In Kapha phases the immune system stabilizes. Pitta means “warming up” and is responsible for metabolism and digestion. During the Pitta phases, therefore, more transformation processes take place in the body.
And there you go:
The day is divided into the three time periods of Vata, Kapha and Pitta, which alternate every four hours – i.e. recur twice a day. These time periods form the basis for a healthy and conscious lifestyle according to Ayurveda. Dr. Wathsala from Sri Lanka has been following the Ayurvedic way of life for 15 years and has put together the ideal daily routine for us. Do not worry. If it cannot be implemented 100% in everyday life because of professional or social obligations, it is no drama.
Just try to integrate as much as possible into the day.
2 to 6 o’clock: Get up early, wake up better
Rise and shine and start the day as early as possible. Between 4 and 5 a.m. sleep becomes easier and the day can begin! People who suffer from sleep problems often wake up for the first time at this time. This period – called Vatta – refers to mobility, because during this time all dynamic processes of the body are activated. To prepare the mind for everyday life, Dr. Wathsala recommends meditating for a few minutes immediately after waking up.
To do this, we either sit down on a chair or cross-legged on a yoga mat and focus our attention for a few minutes entirely on our breathing.
5 Situations in which meditation helps immensely
6 to 10 am: The morning cleaning
Waking up after 6 a.m. is often particularly difficult. Now the first Kapha period begins, in which the mind is very calm and one prefers to take things in a relaxed manner. It is not for nothing that Kapha is called “the quiet gourmet” in Ayurvedic teachings. In this phase we devote ourselves to hygiene and cleanse body and mind: First we drink a glass of lukewarm water to stimulate digestion, then we draw oil. Never heard of it?
To extract the oil, we take a tablespoon of sesame oil and rinse or draw the oil back and forth in the mouth for five to ten minutes. What is the point of all this? The oil absorbs toxins from the oral cavity and protects the teeth from caries. In order to put the finishing touches on oral hygiene, the tongue is scraped afterwards. For this we can use a conventional spoon and scrape back and forth on the tongue three or four times to remove the bacteria that have adhered to it.
Finally, simply brush your teeth as usual.
The perfect start to the day: Yoga and meditation © rawpixel / unsplash
Morning Yoga Session
Now is the time to get the organism going with yoga, breathing exercises or a walk. Those who like yoga should choose a dynamic vinyasa flow in the morning. A few minutes of meditation and yoga in the morning will give you strength and serenity. This way, mind and body are prepared for the whole day and the low in the afternoon is avoided.
In the daily routine according to Ayurveda, a self-massage is on the programme at least once a week. For this purpose, massage oil is heated slightly in a water bath and the whole body (including the head) is massaged. Dr. Wathsala advises to change direction while massaging: sometimes towards the heart, then away from the heart. After the massage, let the oil soak into the skin for about five minutes.
The self-massage stimulates the blood circulation, which has a beneficial effect on body and mind and also improves the skin’s appearance.
The Kapha Breakfast
According to Ayurveda, the best time for breakfast is between 7 and 9 am. The Indian way of life recommends a warm breakfast, which is gentler on the stomach. A cold breakfast also slows down the metabolism – a warm breakfast on the other hand stimulates it additionally. That’s why, for example, a warm porridge with fresh fruit is better in the morning than muesli with cold milk.
A warm porridge for breakfast is easy on the stomach and provides power for the day © carlos t / unsplash
10 to 2 pm: The hot phase
After having prepared ourselves with yoga, meditation and a rich breakfast, we now enter the productive phase of the day. The Pitta period is ideal for making important decisions or planning organizational matters. Pitta, also called “the hothead”, combines the fire and water elements, which provides the body with a lot of energy during this period. Digestion is also running at full speed, which is why we can eat something again around 12 o’clock.
The Pitta Lunch
To give the body plenty of energy for the rest of the day, this meal should consist of protein from fish or legumes and a large portion of vegetables. A fresh salad with legumes or raw vegetables is at the top of the Ayurvedic diet during the Pitta phase. Tip: Use spices! They have a positive effect on the digestion and promote the metabolism. The Ayurvedic cuisine particularly recommends: turmeric, coriander, ginger and fennel.
Around 13 o’clock a little nap is on the schedule. Fifteen-minute break. This short nap is enough to keep you fit for the rest of the day. The nap should not last longer either, otherwise we feel more tired than before.
You haven’t had a nap since you were a kid? Then it’s high time! © lauren kay / unsplash
2 to 6 pm: Overcoming the afternoon low
In the afternoon the second Vata phase of the day begins. Here the energy level of the body decreases, it becomes somewhat sluggish and the ability to concentrate decreases. It is better to use the time for routine work where we do not have to think too much about the process. If you get an appetite, go for some nuts or dried fruit, as a meal during this time can lead to digestive problems.
Positive thoughts against stress
Positive thinking is not always easy at the push of a button. But body and mind can be strongly influenced by positive thoughts. Not only in Ayurveda thoughts play a big role. Science has also found out that we can improve our life significantly through this. Through the positive energy of thoughts, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced, which makes everyday life much easier. Reason enough to declare war on the eternal brooding from time to time.
Think positive: 5 ways out of the negative spiral
6 to 10 pm: Come down when the sun goes down
With the setting of the sun the second Kapha period begins. According to Ayurveda we should eat our last meal between 17.30 and 19.30. For dinner, choose food that is as easily digestible as possible, as the metabolism slows down in the evening. Raw food and salads are now the wrong choice. Better: steamed vegetables with fish or a warm soup. Dairy products such as cream or butter should also be left out, as they are less easily digested overnight and can lead to restless sleep. From 8 p.m.
on we devote ourselves entirely to relaxation and let the accumulated energy of everyday life out. This can be a walk in the fresh air or a cosy chat with our loved ones – the main thing is that we go downstairs.
A good book is much more relaxing than series bingewatchen © fabiola penalba / unsplash
22 to 2 o’clock: Collect energy during the resting phase
And already it’s pitta phase again. But unlike the productive midday phase, it is now bedtime. It’s best to avoid watching TV or listening to loud music before going to bed. Because many people forget that the human body is smart and takes the signals we send it through our behaviour very much to heart and adapts to it. So let’s rather reach for a good book to prepare body and mind for the coming rest period. And what if we suddenly get a craving for something sweet?
Usually the moment when we get a little something to snack on. But we should resist this temptation. Because in Ayurveda the rule is: Hands off midnight snacks! They have anything but a positive effect on sleep and lead to the fact that we not only skip the most restful sleep phase at midnight but also wake up more often at night. So: Keep away from the fridge and off to the realm of dreams!
What are the benefits of a strict daily routine?
Every person has a need for regularity and security. However, much in our lives is beyond our control – this is unsettling and can quickly lead to stress. So to make the day smoother and more goal-oriented, routines like these help us to get through the day. According to Dr. Wathsala, the body has adjusted to the new regularities after only a few days. For example, if we have fixed times for sleeping, we will also get tired at the right time.
Probably not every time period of the Doshas can be integrated into everyday life, but even small changes can have a very positive influence on mind and body.
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How to recognize your dosha type
Not only during the day the three doshas play an important role. In order to be able to respond optimally to our individual needs, we should know our own basic constitution
9 tips for Ayurveda beginners suitable for everyday life
As well thought-out as this daily routine is, it cannot always be implemented everywhere. Whether it’s stress at work, a cold or an important appointment – something can always get in the way and prevent us from following these routines. But so that we can benefit from Ayurvedic energy despite a hectic everyday life, Dr. Wathsala has put together some really good tips that are suitable for everyday life:
1. eat as balanced a diet as possible
2. eat regularly at intervals of four to five hours The last meal should be eaten before 19.30
3. do not skip a meal
4. avoid microwave-heated food, fast food and sweets
5. use high-quality cold-pressed oils for cooking
6. drink half a litre of warm water immediately after getting up and at least 30 minutes before breakfast to detoxify the body
7. do not eat fresh fruit at the same time as other foods
8. reduce coffee consumption
9. avoid alcohol and nicotine
Probably not every time period of the Doshas can be integrated into your everyday life, but even small changes can cause true miracles and have a positive influence on mind and body. Just give it a try.
- Don’t let the stress dictate your life!
Here you will find impulses that are guaranteed to make you more relaxed.