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For the Ask Dr. Sheila column, Dr. Sheila Patel, Chopra’s Chief Medical Officer, answers questions from our community. If you have a general question for Sheila around health and wellness, please send an email to email@example.com, and your question may be the one she answers next.
In this article, Dr. Sheila answers a question about how to determine the best daily routine for your dosha, or mind-body type, according to Ayurveda.
I often get questions about what is best for each dosha, from food to activity to daily routine. As we are all unique individuals, the ideal practices and routine will vary according to dosha and our individual life circumstances.
Unlock personalized meditations and well-being practices to tune into your creative potential and elevate your life with our quick in-app dosha quiz.
That being said, there are several things that are good for all of us to consider when it comes to our daily routine. Ayurveda gives us the foundation to understand how to set up a daily routine. Ayurveda recognized thousands of years ago that our physiology is intimately connected to the time of day and that the time in which an action or activity is performed has significance.
We can look to the teachings of Ayurveda and its understanding of nature’s elements to guide our daily activities and routines. The term used for a daily routine is dinacharya, literally: Dina- meaning ‘day’ and acharya – meaning ‘activity.’
First, let’s explore the qualities of various times of the day, also known as the Ayurvedic clock. The qualities expressed in nature, as well as in everyone’s physiology, correlate to the qualities of the doshas during different parts of the day. When we align our daily routine to balance and coincide with what’s happening within us and outside of us, we experience the best health.
Let’s look at Ayurveda’s daily rhythms:
Recognizing that morning, from 6:00-10:00am, is Kapha time, we can all benefit by maintaining routines that help us easily awaken and get our energy and circulation flowing to begin our day. When we do this, our body and mind are ready to experience and fully metabolize the day’s experiences.
An ideal morning routine for everyone includes practices that optimize our metabolism for the rest of the day and help to balance the heavy Kapha energy that we may be feeling in the morning. This is especially important if one of your primary doshas is Kapha, or if your Kapha is out of balance.
Here are general principles for a good daily routine:
Where the early morning is Kapha time, the late morning and early afternoon is Pitta time, which is from 10:00-2:00pm, when the sun is highest in the sky and also when our digestive fire is the strongest. We then enter Vata time from 2:00-6:00pm. No matter what our primary dosha, or prakruti, if our day has been busy, we may notice an excess of energy and stress in the body.
A good afternoon routine would be:
We have used the energy of Pitta and Vata during the day to maximize our daily activity and are now ready to move into a restful evening.
One of the most important aspects to good health is getting natural, restorative sleep. Our modern lives keep us in a state of activity, therefore it is important for all of us to have an evening routine that sets us up for restful and rejuvenative sleep.
In the Ayurvedic clock, from 6:00-10:00pm we are in Kapha time. The day is ending and the sun is setting. It is getting darker so we can transition to sleep.
After a calming meditation at the end of the day, there are other Ayurvedic practices that support the physiology to slow down and be ready to fall asleep by 10:00. Kaphas usually don’t have trouble sleeping, but if you are not sleeping by 10:00-10:30, you may notice a ‘second wind’ as the fire of Pitta time lights up after 10:00, especially if you are a Pitta. You may feel tempted to answer emails, eat, or do some work, and then find it hard to get to sleep. Therefore, it is best to utilize the Kapha energy of the late evening to align with our natural desire to sleep by 10:00. Even if you are a good sleeper, you will get the deepest and most rejuvenative sleep with a good evening routine.
Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep with the following routine:
If you’re a Vata, you may find your mind is still quite active from the day.
Pitta mind may still be analyzing the day and reviewing conversations that occurred.
For all doshas, we may still feel the Vata and Pitta energy that accumulated throughout the day so journaling in the evening can help us to let go of the day.
I invite you to take time each day to stop and connect to nature’s rhythms.
Reflect on what is happening outside in nature and how nature is reflected within you. Ask yourself how you feel when you are not aligned with these rhythms.
When our daily rhythm is in harmony with nature’s rhythms, we experience our best health and well-being.
Choose the practices that work best for you, and make it a routine. Enjoy your daily routines by remembering that it connects you to nature’s rhythms and feel the difference this makes in your life.
Connect with rhythms of nature and explore new routines in Dinacharya for the Doshas, a four-part series with Dr. Sheila Patel, available now in the Chopra App.