Setting a Daily Schedule, Ayurveda Style

Smooth-Touch-Workspace-1300x866Studying Ayurveda has helped me understand the benefits of proper diet and lifestyle, but that doesn’t make me immune to the lure of delicious snacks and late nights (leading to late mornings).

Ayurveda thoughtfully lays out the optimal times to eat, sleep, and exercise to maximize health and energy each day (called dinacharya). By following the flow of nature–going to bed when it’s dark, waking up before it’s light, eating when you’re hungry, drinking when you’re thirsty–you are at your healthiest, most energetic, and feel your best. 

That said, a demanding full-time job, patients, exercise, and social life often foil my best-laid plans. In an ideal world (and when I’m my most disciplined), this is the routine I follow to feel my best.

Morning routine

  • Wake up 45 minutes before sunrise, ideally, between 5-6 a.m.
  • Eliminate.
  • Splash cool water on my face.
  • Scrape tongue 11 times with a copper tongue scraper.
  • Swish warm water in my mouth and gargle.
  • Practice yoga, pranayama, meditate, chant mantras, and set an intention for my day.
  • Take the dog out for a walk or run (length of time and level of intensity depend on the season and my overall state of health).
  • Shower – I do abhyangha and nasya before showering two or three times a week. (Most Vedic texts say to shower before meditation and yoga to cleanse the body, but I prefer to do it after that and my run so I don’t have to shower twice.)
  • With the morning routine out of the way, I start work after breakfast.

Meals

  • 7 – 8 a.m. breakfast.
  • 12 – 1 p.m. lunch: eat the heaviest meal when the sun is highest.
  • 3 – 4 p.m. snack: a small sweet, chai, or a piece of fruit (only if hungry).
  • 6 p.m. dinner:as close to sunset as possible — late eating can lead to digestive issues.
  • No late-night snacking; if I need something before bed, I have spiced milk, a handful of raisins or herbal tea.
  • There should be at least three or four hours between meals as constant snacking puts strain on digestion.

Bedtime routine

Ideally, in bed by 10 p.m. This is the most difficult part of the routine for me as I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. If I’m not tired, I use this routine to get relaxed and ready for bed.

One note: This routine is ideal for me and my constitution. You may find that your body needs more sleep, a different amount of exercise, and so on.

What does your daily routine look like? What would you change?

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