In Ayurveda, a daily ritual of self-care is called dinacharya. Ayurveda looks at the cycles of nature and bases daily activities around these cycles. Routines covered by dinacharya are waking and sleeping time, eating, hygiene routines, exercise, meditation, work, etc. In ayurvedic medicine, a daily routine is crucial in the process of keeping the balance of our body and mind. It can help us in so many different ways.
Establishing a daily routine was crucial on my path of healing. I believe we need to work on our health every day and a daily routine is a wonderful and simple way since it balances our constitution, regulates our biological clock with nature, aids digestion, absorption and assimilation, and generates self-esteem, discipline, and peace. The daily routine brought a radical change in my body, mind, and consciousness. I now feel that I am in charge of my own health and that I am my own healer.
One of the greatest benefits of having a daily routine of self-care that I noticed is that I always know how my day starts. This sets the tone for my day and helps to support my commitments. It helps me feel stable and steady no matter what I am doing that day. Whether I am traveling, getting ready to go teach, cooking, or just taking the day off, I know I can always count on my day starting in the same way. Every day we have to make so many decisions that it can be draining! By the end of the day, we have probably made several hundred. Having an established morning routine is a great way to reduce decision fatigue. Furthermore, it supports us when we make those decisions since it helps our mind to be calm and the senses to be clear and nourished.
There are many elements to a morning routine. Here are a few I practice faithfully (in this order):
1. Wake up before the sun
2. Tongue scraping
3. Evacuate and urinate
4. Oil pulling then teeth brushing
5. Neti pot
6. Nauli kriya
7. A tall glass of warm water
8. Nasya oil
9. Pranayama and meditation
10. Some sort of movement: yoga asanas or swim/walk/bike
Our body and mind do not like extreme actions or changes. They like steadiness and consistency like puppies and children. Many may think that having such a structured daily routine may take away freedom. For me, the discipline brought by dinacharya is the exact thing that brings me freedom. I can even get naughty with my diet sometimes. I can travel and go off schedule sometimes but the consistency I have in daily self-care always rebalances my body and mind the next day. Because I am cleaning out my body and mind on a daily basis, there is no buildup of toxins, and furthermore, I can really enjoy myself when I go a little bit off track! A little bit of cleaning goes a long way! Dinacharya resets our body and mind every day.
In conclusion, I recommend that you give dinacharya a try. I believe that once you try it, you will sustain it because of the way that you will feel – not because you should or because I recommend it. You will notice the effects and feel good… The routine can get quite long, so start with reasonable goals that you can accomplish. A good start is to choose one of the techniques (preferably one that you can easily do) and work with it consciously for a week and see how it feels. If you like it, then add another one because it will only get better! Think of these as something to enhance your life rather than trying to add yet another thing to your busy life. If you stick with it, the rewards will be life changing!