What is Dinācharya (the Āyurvedic Daily Routine)?

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There’s a lot that I learned from the Yoga into the New Year Immersion and from working with Ayurvedic doctors was this beautiful practice which has really expanded me in more ways than one:

Dinācharya, The Āyurvedic Daily Routine

As we are talking about transitioning into a holistic lifestyle, creating new habits… I wanted to expand further as to what I was talking about… which is the importance of routine!

Routine established in the body helps to create balance in ones constitution or dosha makeup, according to Āyurvedic teachings. The many benefits of following rather closely to this daily rhythm include building and maintaining highly efficient agni (an essential concept in maintaining health), generating self esteem, longevity and health - just to name a few. Many factors in daily life move through steady transition such as changing seasons, the movement of your own biological clock, and the cycle the sun follows each day.

Integrating the daily regimen of Dinācharya supports an overall grounded quality and collectedness within, even while life continues to move through the fluctuations that are constant. Below is an introduction to a few steps you can take to begin bringing the practices of daily Āyurveda into your life through Dinācharya, presented here as morning ritual.

Tools for Dinācharya:

• Tongue Scraper

• Sesame Oil and/or Coconut Oil

• Neti Pot

• Nasya Oil (can be purchased from Banyan Botanicals)

Dinācharya steps:

1. Rise out of bed before the sun makes its way to the horizon. Getting to your feet at this time of morning will lead you to feeling a lightness and sharpness through the day. Once you have awoken, you may spend a moment journaling regarding your dreams or gently massaging your hands across the body. 

2. Splash cool water over the face, 3-5 times. Gently rub the fresh water over the eye lids.

3. Drink warm a mug of warm water with a slice of fresh squeezed lemon. This awakens the GI track and flushes toxins that have accumulated from the day before.

4. Visit the toilet to have a complete bowel movement. Even if your body does not feel one coming on, sitting for a few minutes on the toilet at this time will regulate bowel movement activity so that your body can release waste, supporting strong digestive fire for the day.

5. Scrape the tongue and brush the teeth. With your tongue scraper, gently drag from back to front across your tongue a few times, rinsing each time in between. This stimulates internal organs and takes ama, or dead bacteria away from the tongue.

6. Oil pull. This is done to strengthen the gums and teeth, along with other benefits such as improving the voice. Hold sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for a moment until it is warm. Then swish around for 5-10 minutes. Once complete, spit it out in the trash.

7. Neti Pot rinse for refreshing the mind and clearing the nasal passages:

a. Mix 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of finely ground non-iodized salt and 1 ½ cups of warm water into your neti pot. If you experience burning (which shouldn’t happen), it may mean you have not used enough salt.

b. Lean over the sink so that you are facing down and turn head to 45 degree.

c. Insert the spout in the upper nostril and breathe through your mouth as water drains through the bottom nostril.

d. Once done with first side, remain leaning over sink and blow through nose to clear excess water. Then repeat to 2nd side.

e. After complete with both sides, tent tissue over nose without pressing into side of nose (as is normally done) and exhale strongly.

f. *This is best explored for the first time with a friend or someone that is familiar with the neti pot rinse.

8. Nasya Oil can be applied to the nostril just after the neti pot rinse. In your palm, drop 3-5 droplets of Nasya Oil. With the other hand dip your clean pinky finger in the oil, the massage gently into each nostril. Inhale strongly.

9. Massage the body next with warm coconut oil (or sesame, almond, sunflower – depending on dosha). This is known as Abhyañga. Start by warming the oil. Then massage into body, starting at the feet and working up. On the long bones of the body, move the hands in long stroking motions. On the joints, move the hands in circular motions. If you would like, after about 15 minutes the excess oil can be rinsed off the body (without the use of soap), in a quick shower. *Benefits of daily massage includes bestowing of good health and nourishment to the body, which slows down aging process and supports restful sleep.

10. Enjoy this daily routine before heading into the rest of your sadhana practice!





 

Glossary of Terms in this Context:

Agni

The biological fire that aids our ability to digest, adsorb and assimilate the food that we eat. This transformation also takes place with the sensory impressions that come

our way.

Āyurveda

This 5000 year old (more or less) system of medicine is translated as the science of life, which originated in India. The purpose of Dinācharya is to heal and maintain the

quality as well as longevity of life.

Dinācharya

The daily regimen followed to support the maintenance of a healthy life.

Nasya

A method of administering herbal oil through the nostrils as a therapy for one of the five major senses.

Neti

A body cleansing technique used for nasal irrigation and cleansing of nasal membranes. This simple therapy has many benefits for the both the body and the mind.

LIFESTYLE, HEALTHAlice Chen