In Ayurveda, a daily routine is known as Dinacharya and it essentially refers to the practices that we begin each day with – the time between waking and breakfast.
There’s a softness to the early hours of the day that cannot be denied. When we wake at or before sunrise, we give ourselves some time to spend connecting inwards before getting into the business and external focus of the day. On our road to health and healing, this is important. It’s a time to connect with the wonders of nature, and to acknowledge, in the
stillness and silence, our divinity.
Each person’s morning routine will look a little different from the next, but here are some ideas of how to spend the early, sacred hours of your day:
- Splash the face and eyes with cool water and rinsing the mouth…this helps remove Kapha and sleepiness;
- Scrape the tongue and brush teeth…tongue scraping removes any build up on the tongue and prevents it from seeping back into the system. Don’t be afraid to encourage a slight gagging reflex – this stimulates the digestive system to kick into action for the day, as does brushing the teeth;
- Drink warm water with lemon, ginger and honey…lemon stimulates the liver and gall bladder increasing bile flow; ginger increases blood flow to the digestive tract, and honey has a mild scraping action. Bring all of this together and it’s a great way to get the bowels moving. Even just a mug of warm water will help things along;
- Eliminate the bowels…think regular! Take the time to sit even if nothing happens initially (remember not to strain…take a book, instead). In time, the bowels will develop a regular elimination;
- Self-massage…use an appropriate oil for your constitution (sesame is warming, coconut is cooling, sunflower is quite neutral and light, olive is heavier) and gently massage the entire body from head to toes. This feels amazing, and is such a gift to give yourself, if not each day then at least 2 or 3 times a week. If you are a Kapha type and tend towards heavy sluggishness and don’t require extra oil, it might be more appropriate to stimulate the system with a dry brush using a nice quality glove. This is fantastic for stimulating the lymphatic system, and Kapha folks in general;
- Shower or bath…it’s good to leave the oil on the skin for a bit to allow it to penetrate before washing it away with a tepid shower. Use only natural soap;
- Breath practice and yoga postures…breathing deeply in the early morning hours is a practice that I don’t think I could live without, anymore. It wakes up my mind and I feel more alive, and when paired with yoga asanas (postures), my entire being feels revitalised and ready for the day. If yoga is not your thing, go for a walk or practice some other form of constitutionally appropriate exercise to get the body moving;
- Stillness…finish the practice with stillness, connecting inwards and expanding outwards. Allow the movement of energies to be integrated and experience one-ness, becoming receptive to inspiration. Then create from here;
Make a start today!
All this may seem like a lot but don’t let it overwhelm you. Get curious about what you might need to say ‘no’ to in order to say a resounding YES! to your morning life-promoting practices. What would be an easy first step?
Start with small changes and go with what works for you, then gradually add in more when you feel ready. Small changes add up to big gains.
There is no race! The most important thing is that you are developing your ability to tune inwards and listen. This is where we find inner wisdom and peace, and where vital energy and true health are unleashed and reclaimed.