What is Dinacharya? If you’ve wanted to know more about Dinacharya, then you’ll find the answers in this blog post.
What is Dinacharya? If you’ve been wanting to find out more about Dinacharya, you’ll hopefully find everything you need to know in this blog post. So, let’s begin!
What is Dinacharya?
When asking the question ‘What is Dinacharya?’ it’s first important to understand the word and how Sanskrit words work. In Sanskrit, din means ‘day’ and charya means ‘behaviour’ or ‘discipline’. In its simplest terms, Dinacharya is the quintessential Ayurvedic daily routine. Through the concept of this daily routine, we can live life to the fullest, maximise our wellbeing and keep the body in top working order.
What is Dinacharya, is weighted with many different answers, just as your routine is made up of many different things throughout the day. Dinacharya offers guidance on what time is the best to wake up, when to do our ablutions, eat, meditate, and engage in exercise, Dinacharya is an extensive Ayurvedic method to live life productively and healthfully. As with most Ayurvedic practices, your Dinacharya will vary according to your individual dosha constitution, so ‘what is Dinacharya’ will vary depending on who you are.
As Dinacharya is designed to keep the three doshas in a state of ideal equilibrium, it’s an excellent practice that is sure to enhance your quality of life. So asking the question ‘What is Dinacharya?’ is important for so many reasons! It’s the key to seeing results from your Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Though not every step of the full Dinacharya is practical for working individuals, you can adapt the practice to fit your daily schedule. In a world that can sometimes bring chaos and imbalance, engaging in a daily routine should prove invaluable to many!
But first… The Doshas
Now, before we delve into Dinacharyra, it’s worth touching upon those all-important doshas. As you may be aware, Ayurvedic practice revolves around the different energies present in people. These energies connect the body and mind in functionality and are named vata, kapha and pitta.
So, let’s briefly cover the doshas and their place in the Dinacharya.
The first and early waking hours of the day for vata are 2am to 6am, whereas the afternoon hours are 2pm to 6pm. As vata is associated with the elements of air and ether, movement is incredibly important to vata bodies during these times.
During the hours of 6am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm, it is said that our kapha energy tends to be dominant. Providing a sense of grounding, movement tends to be less crucial during these times.
Finally, pitta energy tends to exist in our systems during the hours of 10am to 2pm and 10pm and 2am. Related to fire and water, the waking pitta hours tend to correlate with high productivity. Though this may come as a surprise as you should be fast asleep during a handful of these hours, the body’s organs are thoroughly cleansing during this time, so it’s nothing to scoff at!
So, what’s the best Dinacharya routine for me?
As one of the most important aspects of Ayurveda is balance, Dinacharya aims to keep the body and mind in perfect alignment throughout the day. Though obtaining optimal conditions for the body and mind can be challenging, Dinacharya aims to establish congruence between vata, kapha and pitta.
So, how does one go about achieving the perfect balance? Well, for many people, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. However, Ayurveda does encourage a set of rules for Dinacharya that should apply to most people (which we will cover in detail below).
Wake before sunrise
Now, we know that this might be a challenge for some, but if you’re looking to embrace the Ayurvedic lifestyle, you may need to get used to that early alarm! The vata time of day (as mentioned above), is one of quiet connection, and by waking early you allow yourself time to connect with your inner self. Providing the body with energy for the day ahead, this quiet reflection time is deemed crucial in the Dinacharya.
The early hours of the morning tend to be ruled by the vata dosha, which also governs elimination in the body. So, the best time to get your ablutions out of the way is upon rising.
Helping to clear out the kapha that may have accumulated during resting hours, this practice helps us to feel awake and ready for the day ahead. Though it may go without saying, supressing any natural urges during the day (regardless of Dinacharya) is not wise, as it can aggravate the vata dosha.
In addition to evacuation, you should also wash your face with medicated water or milk if possible.
Drinking around two glasses of warm water early in the morning is recommended as part of Dinacharya as it helps with the natural detoxification process. Helping to empty the colon and bladder, drinking water helps to guide the body towards optimal digestive health.
To prevent cavities and receding gums (a sign of vata aggression in the skeletal system), you should aim to brush the teeth without toothpaste each morning. Many Ayurvedic practitioners advise the use of calcium-rice black sesame seeds which are chewed and ground against the teeth to polish and clean them.
To prevent receding gums, tooth infection and cavities, the gums should be massaged with sesame oil. An oil that nourishes bone tissue and gently cleans the mouth to keep it healthy, it’s an excellent choice for your daily routine. This technique is also known as oil pulling and is extremely effective at removing toxins and parasites that can reside in the teeth and gums.
As the morning is serene, it’s an excellent time to practice meditation! Try to set aside a few quiet moments to yourself each morning for meditation to start your day off peacefully.
Exercise and activity are crucial for maintaining a healthy body and mind, and the morning is an excellent time to partake in a brisk walk or yoga session. Should you wish to get the blood flowing and undertake more vigorous activity, a good time to do this is after your largest meal has been consumed.
Self-massage is a key part of Dinacharya and is often practiced in the morning and evening. Said to balance the body’s energy and promote longevity, it calms the nervous system, tones muscles, and promotes overall wellness. Using warm oil, simply work your way down the body using your fingertips and palms for a relaxing step in your daily routine. Helping to mitigate the vata dosha, self-massage before bed can help improve sleep quality too!
A bath or shower is highly recommended after oil massage. Warm water with basil leaves is excellent for those that are vata-leaning, and those with pitta constitutions should use cooler water with sandalwood. If you are a kapha dosha, then focus on hot water with essential oils for your daily bath.
Meals should be eaten regularly, and it is important to follow the Ayurvedic diet for optimal health. According to the principles of Ayurveda, we should eat according to both our doshic constitution and the current season. When eating, be sure to chew your food thoroughly so that digestion is not impacted and always eat mindfully. As the digestive system has been fully awakened by lunchtime, the body will have ample time to break down what has been consumed without interrupting your sleep cycle. So, be sure to have your largest meal during the afternoon!
It is recommended that you head to bed early in Ayurvedic practice. As pitta time commences at approximately 10pm, it is best to head to bed before this to ensure a restful 8 hours of sleep can be achieved.
Hopefully this overview of ‘what is Dinacharya’ has been helpful!
Obviously, the Dinacharya guidelines above can be redesigned and reworked to fit your personal lifestyle requirements. Though these are generally the best times to engage in daily activities for optimal health, your own Dinacharya must (above all else!) work for you.