Eight DIY Ayurvedic rituals to jump start your day

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!
 

Subtle shifts for living life abundantly

According to some traditions, the key to abundance lies in the mind, which may give the impression that it is simply a matter of how one thinks. This can be a bit misleading if we aren’t clear about what exactly mind is.
An Ayurvedic approach recognizes that the mind, body and emotions are integrally connected. Manifesting our goals and actualizing our true potential is thus a function of shifting not just how we think, but how we move and act, and these functions do not operate independently; they work together. How you think and feels affects how you act, and how you act affects how you think and feel.
Learning to live abundantly doesn’t have to be a homework assignment in daily mantras. Daily training in thought patterning can and does work for some, but may feel too forced for others. We can also gently reorient our existing patterns by ushering in slight shifts in perspective that have a powerful impact on our energy levels, such as the following:
 

 

1. Cherish your body

We all have areas for improvement, but realistic goals for physical health should never inhibit our love and respect for the flesh, blood and bone that houses our spirit. Sometimes loving our body is as simple as giving thanks when it serves us. Try it! Practice gratitude for your body by consciously thanking it each day. Thank your legs for taking you places, your arms for lifting and making moves, your heart for pumping and oxygenating your blood. Our bodies contain our consciousness, so sending love to its various parts feels intrinsically good to our mind and allows us to become fully embodied – a popular concept that refers to the state in which our consciousness fully inhabits the body. Being embodied means we are physically, mentally and emotionally stronger, thus most capable of acting, creating and manifesting.
 

 

2. Walk it off, out and in

Our entire mind-body unit is composed of thousands of energetic channels known as Nadis. Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, balances two of the primary Nadis: the Ida and Pingala, through controlled breathwork. Walking also balances the Nadis, bringing the right and left sides of the brain and body into alignment. When we are confronted with a challenges, sometimes we rely more heavily on one side of the brain, either right or left, and are unable to reach a resolution as a result. Daily walks are our opportunities to sort and process whatever life is bringing to us, reinvigorating our senses so we are open to new possibilities.
 

 

3. Treat yourself… today

Waiting for the day when you can let loose and savor life cultivates an energy of stagnation and lack. If your idea of treating yourself is a grand to-do, come down to earth and recognize that life constantly offers sweet and savory moments – we just need to slow down, get off the #futuregoals bus and acknowledge them. Whatever inspires and impassions you is your key to self indulgence, and focusing on what you love cultivates progress and abundance.
 

4. Create daily rituals….

We are more productive when we have reasonable schedules that support what our minds and bodies need each day for basic functioning. When we take the bulk of guesswork out of tasks like eating, sleeping and carving out time for friends and family by sticking to a daily schedule and planning meals in advance, we free up more energy to enjoy these experiences and pursue higher aspirations. This is easier said than done for some people, so accommodate yourself. Rely on a calendar with reminders and notifications to keep you on track if you need, and involve other people in the tasks if you benefit from group energy. Maintaining a schedule is actually quite easy, it’s starting that is most challenging – just do it!
 

 

5. …so you can easily try something new everyday

In Ayurveda we emphasize routine for aligning one’s system with Nature’s cycles. Yet human consciousness thrives on new stimulation. Consciously try something new everyday. It can be as easy as jogging down a new road, taking your lunch at a new cafe or popping into an art gallery on your commute that you haven’t visited. Perhaps you already try new things all the time and don’t realize; tune into these experiences, becoming your own Observer. Acknowledge the new energy they usher into your life and allow your life course to be enriched by them.