Dinacharya: Daily Routine
Ayurveda as a system of health care believes in preventive health care. Having a predictable and stable rhythm is a part of this preventive routine: a DINCHARYA
In ayurvedic texts, Dinacharya or a routine is defined as a set of important activities done daily for good health, long life, and well-being. They keep our bodies in harmony and balance. I am currently enjoying reading a book: Atomic Habits, and so much of what I am reading I can relate to as being said in Bhagwat Geeta and Ayurvedic studies. Small habits, done consistently over a period of time.
It consists of a variety of activities from everyday activities like oral hygiene to some more practical advice in great detail. Holding an appropriate daily routine is undoubtedly one of the most grounding things one can do for oneself, and while the concept of having a daily routine is at the heart of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, no single prescription is right for everyone.
What is Dincharya and why is it Important?
Life can often feel like it's zipping by in fast forward. We feel obliged to accelerate our own speed along with it until our productivity turns into a frenzied accomplishment. We find ourselves cramming as much activity as possible into the shortest periods of time. We disregard our natural rhythms because it seems we have to just keep up. In truth, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal.
To keep a sense of normalcy, especially in the socially distanced, lockdown world, a routine is vital for maintaining our mental health and those around us.
REDUCED DAILY DECISION MAKING, REDUCES ANXIETY
Our brains use more than half their energy for functions such as thinking, memory, and decision-making. Biological fatigue sets in after a strenuous bout of decision-making, just like after a physical workout. Do we really need to take so many decisions daily about a basic routine? Should I go for a walk? should I meditate today? Should I do Abhyanga? etc etc
A set routine gives us free space to then work from there.
We no longer have to decide when to eat, exercise, meditate, and how we will spend our days. Thus our routine becomes a discipline. Discipline becomes a habit, the habit eliminates the need to make decisions, and our mental resources are freed up for new possibilities.
Some Indications of Dinacharya in Ayurveda
Here are some simple practices indicated in the ayurvedic texts to support the building of a daily routine. One may take these as guiding posts and then design a self routine, suited to oneself around this:
wake up before dawn each day and spend some time in meditation, the study of the scriptures, and a short pranayama and asana yoga practice
do a daily whole body self-massage/ abhyanga, at least 35-40 mins before taking a bath with warm water.
good oral hygiene through oil pulling, it also supports good digestion
ensure clearing your bowels every day, preferably in the mornings
eat meals at the same time every day and especially eat your dinner before sunset
sleep at the same time every day, preferably early by 8-9 pm
Old sages knew that how we spend our days adds up to how and where our life is headed. The times may have changed greatly now, but there has never been a greater need for a stable sustained routine for our race than today.
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