Your mental and physical health are unarguably shaped by your daily habits and the routine that you put in practice.
From the time you sleep, the food you eat, the thoughts you experience and the company you keep, every decision you make for yourself impacts your health.
If you want to change for the better, prioritise your health and become more efficient and disciplined, start with organising your daily routine.
The Indian Vedic system is a legacy of over 10,000 years of deep-rooted research- a holistic scientific network that empowers us to understand our body.
It recognises the oneness of this entire 'Brahman' or universal consciousness and believes that all life force is symbiotic.
To establish this connection, Ayurveda gave us 'Dinacharya'.
These rituals have the power to support a life of optimal wellness, that includes detoxification, purification and nourishment, for the mind and body.
The Yajurveda says Yatha pinde tatha brahmande, yatha brahmande tatha pinde, which means, 'As is the human body, so is the Cosmic Body, as is the cosmic body so is the human body.'
According to Ayurveda, on any given day, there are two cycles of change that exist- the sun and moon cycle.
These daily cycles are connected with the three doshas (vata, pitta or kapha) present in the human body.
So what does this really mean?
Doshas are indicators of the general composition of a person, food or any biotic element. Vedic studies emphasise that the changing doshas in the universe directly affect the human constitution.
In the 24 hours cycle of a day, these doshas are divided into 6 grids which change every 4 hours.
Based on the dosha cycles, an ideal daily schedule is proposed, and that is what dinacharya is.
Listed below are the standard practice of dinacharya as mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts.
A simple time table that lays out the best timings for the things you do in a day -- like waking, exercise, bathing, meditation, prayer, meals, study, work, relaxation, and sleeping.
It is advised that our dinacharya is best completed during the morning hours between 6 and 10 am, since it is that time of the day when we have the most strength and fortitude to work on ourselves.
1. Wake up in Brahma Muhurta: 'ब्रह्ममुहूर्त'
A healthy person, according to Ayurveda must wake up in Brahma Muhurta -- two hours before sunrise, between 4 and 6 am.
It is believed that the vata element is dominant at this time, helping us tune our body into the frequency of the universe, thus refreshing and energising us.
2. Introspection: 'आत्मविचार'
As you wake up from bed, take a few deep breaths.
Sit still, straighten up the spine, stretch the hands, legs and neck.
Slowly rub the palms and open your eyes into them.
You will notice an immediate effect.
3. Detox: 'उष:पान'
Drink two glass of warm water early in the morning. It aids detoxification.
This process strengthens the colon and bladder thus it helps mitigate any chronic conditions of the digestive system.
Two glasses of warm water with two limes is ideal.
4. Maintaining hygiene: 'दंत धावन, मुख धावन, जीव्हा निरलेखन, आँजन'
Our oral hygiene must consist of gargling the mouth with water, brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue to activate taste buds.
This removes ama
Also, splashing cold water on your face and using rose water to clean your eyes will not only activate you instantly, but also keep your eyes sharp and healthy.
5. Gandusha: 'कवल: गण्डूष/कवल'
Rinsing your mouth with a spoonful of coconut or sesame oil is highly recommended for healthy teeth and gums.
It massages the larynx, vocal chords and the tonsils, eliminating any day-to-day bacterial or viral infection.
Kawal or gargling will tone the gums, make the wall of the mouth and cheeks stronger and will also help remove any leftover food from between the teeth.
6. Cleanliness: 'शौच'
Evacuating your bowels is perhaps the most important step that determines your overall health status.
If your stools float, if it is effortless, quick and non-sticky, then you are on top of your health.
Remember that it is important to examine your stools every day for a first-hand report on how your internal system is working.
7. Excercise: 'व्यायाम'
Between 6 am and 10 am, the body is in its strongest phase physically.
Working out in a gym, walking, jogging or practising yoga removes sluggishness, ignites the digestive fire, burns fat and promotes the feeling of peace and joy.
Yoga will not only makes you flexible, but most asana practices will also facilitate optimum blood circulation throughout the body. Your respiratory, skeletal and muscular system will also improve.
8. Breathwork: 'प्राणायाम'
Even though the most important part of our existence is the breath that we take, we pay the least amount of attention to the process.
Practising pranayama even 10 minutes a day will clear the obstacles in our bodies, allowing breath and energy (prana) to flow freely.
Once our breathing pattern improves, our bodies function better and we experience a clearer and calmer mind.
Sit in a quiet corner after exercise and make sure the windows are open, letting fresh air and light fill up the space.
Close your eyes and observe your breath. If you are aware of simple pranayamaanulom-vilom or ujjayi, practice a few rounds.
Touch your abdomen to observe the flow of your breath. Relax.
9. Meditation: 'ध्यान'
It is important to meditate for at least 20 minutes a day to help balance the prana.
A very important stage in dinacharya, is practicing silence and mindfulness that will usher immense peace and contentment from within and set the tone for the day.
Meditation will bridge the gap between our internal and external worlds, awakening consciousness and quietening the monkey mind.
Find a tranquil spot in your home, arrange a few cushions around you, light a small diya or candle.
Play some music if it suits you. A diffuser with some calming aroma oil will elevate the experience. Resolve to start meditating today.
10. Massage: 'अभयंग'
Massage or abhayanga is a de-stressing technique to help activate energy centres in the body.
Not only does it calm the nerves, but it also increases body stamina and vitality.
The muscles relax and the joints become stronger.
Better sleep is ensured and the skin starts to look more toned and radiant.
After a relaxing yoga and meditation session, it is time to massage yourself.
Take a few drops of warm coconut or sesame oil and apply it lightly to your entire body.
Wait for a few minutes to let the oil be absorbed into the skin and then massage your entire body. Bathe in lukewarm water after 15 minutes.
11. Bathing: 'स्नान'
Ayurveda emphasises that taking a bath everyday should be a conscious, almost meditative exercise.
Bathing everyday will keep you fresh, healthy, energetic and rejuvenated.
A regular bathing time will also evoke your jataragni or digestive fire which is sign of good health.
Showering after abhayanga will tone muscles, hydrate skin, remove dead skin, increase glow on the face and maintain moisture in the body.
Ideal shower time should last between 5 to 15 minutes. It is to be noted that Ayurveda recommends the use of lukewarm water only.
12. Prayer: 'प्रार्थना'
After you have showered and dressed comfortably, Vedic routine involves praying to the Almighty.
Lighting a small diya or lamp and placing some incense sticks or agarbatti in the altar of your puja room will invoke a feeling of gratitude, love and peace.
It will charge you for the day, instilling positive energy within. Regular practice will ground you and make you more aware of your thoughts and conversations.
13. Breakfast: 'आहार'
Breakfast should be nutritious and wholesome.
Eat small amounts but make it big on nutritional value.
Fresh fruits, juices, soups, porridge etc. are highly recommended in the Vedic diet.
Eating warm, cooked, fresh food at regular mealtimes is a vital part of this practice.
Caffeine is generally avoided; but given the lifestyle we are used to, consuming it in moderation will work.