Dinacharya in Ayurveda plays an important role – dina means ‘day’ and charya means ‘to follow a routine.’ It is a discipline to balance the body, mind and spirit. According to Ayurveda, certain rituals performed in the morning make for a positive start to the day. They help us maintain high energy levels and keep the mind and body cleansed, improving the appearance of our health.
Performing Dinacharya each morning clears out the accumulated Ama, or toxins from the night, nurtures the body, stimulates the energetic systems and helps us kick start the day. The result: improved health and appearance of hair, skin and nails to radiate our natural beauty from within.
1. A golden rule: wake before sunrise, the time when positive energy is at its peak.
If you have slept well, you will wake feeling peaceful, rested and ready to jump into the day. Waking early is generally easier for a Vata person than for a Kapha person, but practice makes perfect for all Doshas. At first, the idea of some extra zzz’s may be appealing, but after adhering to the discipline of early rising, the body will adjust as it attunes to the benefits – your mind & body will feel inspired stick with it!
2. Cleanse your bladder and digestive system to eliminate the nightly built-up toxins.
It is true: not all of us can achieve a healthy bowel movement immediately in the morning. Try having a warm glass of water with some honey and a squeeze of lime. This normally triggers the urge to eliminate.
3. Do not drink or eat without brushing your teeth and cleansing your tongue.
During sleep, bacteria and other toxins accumulate to be ingested – this generates the “bad taste” or “morning breath” we may feel or observe in others. A thorough brushing of the teeth needs to be rounded off with a cleansing of the tongue with a tongue scraper. Use a copper one if you can, though any metal will suffice. Tongue scraping removes all the Ama from the tongue and awakens the Agni, or fire to help digestion. This step towards elimination is easy to neglect, but don’t let it’s simplicity fool you.
4. A good morning exercise regimen is essential
A gentle pranayama session, a good, long walk and some yoga asana sets you right for the day to come. Ideally throughout the exercise time, focus on your breathing. If possible, spend additional quiet time meditating. The exercises will invigorate you, while the focus on breath and meditation will simultaneously calm your mind and energize it. You may wish to do your exercise after the following steps – do what suits your needs and schedule (just don’t eat prior to exercising).
5. Exfoliate and invigorate with dry brushing
Using a hard, dry brush, begin with your toes and, in circular motions, sweep the body – feet, legs, abdomen, back (where you can reach), chest and neck. Dry brushing eliminates dead skin cells, encouraging new cell growth and improving the texture and appearance of the skin. Consistent dry brushing can also assist with ingrown hairs and cellulite. Its benefits are not limited to the skin surface: it also stimulates blood circulation and cleansing of the lymphatic system, which makes it a perfect ritual for morning invigoration.
6. Self-massage or abhyanga with oils suited to your dosha
This does not have to be a time consuming process. A regular practice of self-abhyanga, or oil massage, in conjunction with at least one monthly synchronized abhyanga therapy by qualified Panchakarma Technicians is recommended. At home, you can perform self-abhyanga each morning after your skin is prepped by your dry brush and ready to receive the oil’s hydrating nourishment.
Warm your oil and gently, but firmly, massage your body, paying extra attention to the soles of your feet. The soles contain all the nerve endings and important marma points, or conjunctions of life force energy. Abhyanga nourishes the body, firms the muscles, calms the nerves, improves circulation and assists in the elimination of toxins. Try it – you are sure to love the effects!
7. Follow up with a warm shower using with a mild, natural soap
Be mindful of letting go of any linger toxic thoughts, feelings or other hindrances that would otherwise set you back. Visualize them flowing down the drain, leaving you clear and uplifted. This should set you up for your day!
8. Eat a light, healthy breakfast
According to Ayurveda, no single meal is the most important of the day – all meals consumed at the right times are crucial for balancing Agni. A light and healthy breakfast between 6-8am will awaken your Agni and help you step into your day confidently, fit and happy!