In Sanskrit the daily routine is called the Dinacharya. Din means 'day' and acharya means 'to follow' or 'close to'. To be 'close to the day' in this respect actually means to merge your daily cycle with the natural cycle of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and the other planets in our Solar system. The reason for this is that your most healthy and happy state is your most natural state, and vice versa. Intrinsic to this natural state is the basic intelligence of everything from how a baby should take its first step to how the sperm should enter the egg to conceive the baby in the first place, to how a cell should remember when to live and when to die.
Dinacharya is one of the best things that you can do to stay in balance, prevent disease and treat almost any disease.
Since our biological clocks are attuned to the rising and setting of the sun, it is obviously better to awake at sunrise in perfect synchronisation to the natural clock. An ideal time to let the body cells soak in the strength of a tempered sun to be charged for the day. Drinking a glass of luke-warm water helps flush out all toxins accumulated overnight in the body.
The last portion of the night being ruled by vata – involved in the process of elimination – dawn is the best time to eliminate the body's physical waste. Proper elimination also helping remove the kapha that naturally accumulates overnight. Defecation once or twice daily is the best. Preferably not immediately after a meal. But urination then is wise. Examine your eliminations each morning and if you notice any disturbance indicating poor digestion, go on a fast. It will allow the body rest to correct the system before disease sets in. Never suppress the natural physical urges as elimination, hunger, thirst, sleep, sneezing, yawning, vomiting, flatus and ejaculation, for it will lead to discomfort and even disease.
Thorough washing of the limbs, face, mouth, eyes & nose purifies the bodies sense organs. Best done with a bath in clean water, it should accompany brushing of the teeth (should be repeated after every meal), scraping off a toxicated coating of ama from the tongue, occasional gargling of salt water with a pinch of turmeric to keep gums, mouth & throat healthy, proper cleaning of the nose and the ears and washing the eyes with warm water held in mouth for moments (saliva being very good for the eyes). Keep your hair trimmed, nails filed and wear clean clothes. Feel free to use perfumes in moderation and feel good.
Either passive like massage or active like aerobics or both as in yoga postures, regular exercise increases the body's stamina and resistance to disease by facilitating the immune system, clearing all channels, promoting circulation & waste disposal, and destroying fat. Done regularly, it can reduce anxiety but become addictive. Depending on age & body type, kaphas can go for heavy exercises, pittas should do it in moderation and vatas should perform yoga and not aerobics. Never exert more than half your capacity, during illness, just after a meal and without rhythmic breathing. Swimming, walking and even laughing are excellent options.
Necessary for every person, a regular self-massage with herbal oils is usually adequate but needs to be supplemented with professional attention occasionally. It makes the skin supple, controls vata by reducing its cold, dry, light, rough & erratic qualities, enhances blood circulation, encourages quicker removal of metabolic wastes and relaxes the body. Follow the normal direction of hair growth, use a little extra oil over the body's vital parts, massage the scalp and head at least weekly and just the soles of your feet if short of time.
After exercise bath to remove any excess oil and dirt. Both showers and bathtubs are recommended in the classics. Usually warm water baths are suggested, but care should be taken not to put very warm water on the neck and head, as this will throw you off balance. Bathing increases the digestive fire, especially if the water is a little cold. Put on clean clothing after the bath and apply essential oils as you wish. I always put a tilak on my forehead with sandalwood oil and use lavender instead of deodorant. This is also the time to put on your gems if you want. Gems and good clothes can increase intelligence and longevity, destroy inauspiciousness and attract good vibes. The point is that you finish the bath feeling and looking so great that you are ready to face even God. And indeed that is next.
Ideal for disciplining the mind and removing stress & strain, it is best done after a quick bath to cleanse yourself. Critical in satisfying the mind's hunger, when done well it is so nourishing that even the body can survive on less. Control of desire, or mental hunger, is the key to longevity and immortality. Anything can be meditation so long it is sincere and heartfelt. The simplest and healthiest involves the sun and its golden colour is deemed the most nourishing and productive.
While this routine acts as a critical shield of defence against the destabilising influences of an external environment, by using selective choice in some of the other factors mentioned below you can easily improve upon the condition of your total health.
Take a light breakfast. I like to drink a thick fruit-spirulina-herb-bee pollen-etc drink for breakfast. Western science has studied the aging process for some time and has come up with only one practice that is definitely anti-aging. This is to minimize calories while maximizing nutrients. Think of this when you are deciding what to eat and fill your mind with gratitude and Love for your food as you eat. Also, you may think that nobody does fire ceremonies anymore, but according to Ayurveda every time you eat you are offering your food to the fire of digestion so that this fire can carry the offering to the gods, and that is you.
Take lunch between 1pm to 2 pm in a happy frame mind .. Eating food before the previous meal is digested is considered one of the main causes of disease. It is also one of the hardest habits to get out of in our society where there is so much food everywhere. This is the main meal of the day so eat a healthy nutritious meal that has moderate calories. After the meal it is good to take a little walk, a couple hundred steps only, to help the food digest.
This is the time for evening prayers and meditations in many cultures around the world.
Eat around 6 to 7. This meal should be lighter than lunch. In fact, people doing spiritual practices often skip it entirely so that their early morning practices are crystal clear instead of having their awareness dulled and loaded down because dinner is still being processed. After dinner take a Peaceful walk with family and friends.
A good practice is to massage the soles of your feet with a calming oil before going to bed. .There must be atleast 2 hours gap between dinner