As fall approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are trying to re-establish the routines that kept us grounded before we began riding the whimsical waves of summer.
If you’re finding it difficult to return to the familiarity of your daily routine, or finding one that works for you, the holistic healing system known as Ayurveda offers some powerful daily practices that nurture health, balance, and a sense of inner calm.
Beginning Your Day
In the healing system of Ayurveda, morning is a special time when we are ready to be renewed for the day to come. Incorporating a few Ayurvedic practices to your morning routine will ensure that you are optimizing immune function, balancing mind and body, and preparing yourself to face the day with a calm mind and rejuvenated soul.
Meditation and Mindfulness
A traditional Ayurvedic lifestyle includes waking before or with the sunrise and meditating. Although not all of us can take advantage of this tranquil hour, or engage in a full meditation practice, taking at least 15 minutes after rising to breathe deeply and calm the mind will enrich awareness and clarity. If you’re new to meditation or want to experience a daily guided practice, we encourage you to explore the Chopra Center’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge.
Cleansing and Purification
When we first awaken, it’s important to eliminate wastes that have built up in the body from the previous day. If you’re not in the habit of having a morning bowel movement, you can gently encourage it by drinking a glass of warm water. Most people find that if they continue this practice, their body develops an instinct for morning elimination. Incorporating light exercise such as walking or yoga in the morning will also help ensure regularity.
Another form of accumulated waste is the thick white coating that some people notice on their tongue when they wake up. In Ayurveda, this coating indicates a buildup of ama, or toxins, from the digestive process. Before brushing your teeth, first scrape the tongue from back to front to remove this bacteria. Doing so will also freshen your breath and stimulate digestion. You can use special tongue scrapers for this purpose.
Self-Abhy Massage: A Great Addition to the Morning Ritual
The abhyanga or “self-abhy” is the application of oil to the body to nourish the skin, increase circulation, and aid in the removal of toxins. Although a self-abhy is not a replacement for the powerful and transformative Ayurvedic treatments provided by the Chopra Center, it is an excellent addition to your morning ritual that will stimulate the senses and increase circulation. A step-by-step guide to the self-abhy can be found here.
Putting It All Together
Gradually weaving some or all of these practices into your daily routine, or dinacharya, will help you to restore mind-body balance and experience heightened awareness.
Keep in mind that it takes some time to establish a habit or new routine, so be gentle with yourself if you miss a day. Just come back to the routine the next day. The benefits of dinacharya to your health and wellbeing are immense, so it’s worth putting your time and attention on developing a nurturing balancing routine for yourself.