Natural body care

Dinacharya, Daily Self Care

DInacharya

Dinacharyais the Ayurvedic daily ritual of self-care. According to Ayurveda, routine plays a significant role in health. A healthy life can best be maintained by creating a daily regimen tailored to a person’s constitution. Governing  all daily actions, such as the time you wake up in the morning, the time you eat, the  time you begin daily body purification, and the time you go to sleep, is the essence of dinacharya.

Ayurvedic dinacharya has been practiced for thousands of years and has many benefits. It cleanses the body and prevents the buildup of toxins, it helps to keep the senses and mind clear, and it’s very nourishing. Repeating a routine every morning sets the rhythm of your day and gives you a feeling of stability and steadiness. It promotes a healthy organization of the energy channels and the seating of prana (life force) in the body, creating calmness in mind, limiting stress, and minimizing decision fatigue.

The new science of circadian medicine suggests that our genes have lost their ability to perceive and harmonize with the natural circadian cycles of nature. In our modern high-tech world, following the dictates of our body’s circadian clock is becoming more and more of a challenge, and some people are starting to have symptoms of a “nature deficit disorder.” While modern scientists are only now beginning to recognize the relationship between our overall health and the cycles of nature, Ayurveda has emphasized the primacy of this connection for millennia. Current research on this connection may revolutionize modern medicine as we know it, and Ayurvedic practices can be a foundation for this research to build on.

Ayurveda aims to reconnect our bodies to these natural circadian rhythms through the practice of dinacharya. At first, the challenge of establishing a daily self-care routine may seem overwhelming, but you can take things gradually and ease your way into it.

Starting the day right is the most important aspect of dinacharya. According to Ayurvedic teachings, you will have the best health if you wake up before sunrise and excrete waste shortly after. The early morning hours are the body’s natural purification time. Various dinacharya practices that are performed first thing in the morning—including tongue scraping, oil pulling, nasya(herb-infused nose oil) applications, and drinking a glass of warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon or lime—support this time-sensitive purification process.

Next, to provide a sense of alertness and freshness, you should rub your body with oils and take a bath or shower. Then put on comfortable clothes, exercise, and practice yoga for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Light exercise is necessary each day to keep the digestive system at peak functioning by creating internal heat. Choose the form of exercise that’s best for your constitution, and avoid overexercising. Afterward, rest comfortably on your back with arms and legs outstretched, and breathe from the lower abdomen to calm the central nervous system.

Daily self-enhancing practices are considered crucial in Ayurveda. They don’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Taking a break as short as 10–20 minutes to refresh your mind and spirit with activities like meditation, pranayama(regulation of the breath), yoga, journaling, or prayer provides immense health benefits. The more time you allow for these types of practices, the greater the rewards.

Eat regular meals daily! Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire. The natural course of the day sets the rhythm of our digestive system. Having scheduled eating times is essential, with lunch being the largest meal of the day and occurring between noon and 2 p.m. When the sun is at its highest, our digestive system is also at its peak, so naturally, this is when the largest meal should be eaten; it’s also the best time to eat raw foods and animal proteins. If possible, have dinner before sunset, as the digestive system slows down as the sun goes down. Breakfast should be eaten before 9 a.m. and should consist of something simple and easy to digest. Remember to favor warm, cooked, light meals that are appropriate for the seasons and the doshas you want to balance.

It is best to go to bed by 10 p.m. Keep this regular bedtime as it lets the body know that it is time to wind down and recuperate. To promote healthy sleep, drink a glass of warm cow’s milk or almond milk with cardamom or nutmeg shortly before bed. You can enjoy this while listening to relaxing music. Stay away from stimulating conversations, music, and television for at least one hour before sleep. This suggested regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and its relation to the external environment. Continuous awareness of this natural energy flow is the key to getting the most from your daily routine.

Check out our video 10 things to do before 10 a.m. for dinacharya tips!

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Why and How to Perform Daily Oil Massage on Yourself (Abhyanga)

Ayurveda is a natural approach to holistic wellness that originated in India thousands of years ago. This traditional medical system uses herbs, nutrition, yoga, lifestyle regimens, and body treatments to achieve balanced health. An ancient Ayurvedic practice known as abhyanga(self-massage with warm oil) is an easy way to incorporate this intuitive health wisdom into your daily routine. The multitude of benefits it provides can enrich your journey to total well-being and help ensure its long-term success.

The Physical, Mental, and Emotional Rewards of Abhyanga

Abhyanga helps calm the nervous system, strengthen the joints and connective tissue, and stimulate the internal organs. One of the best things about this healing practice is its dependability as a consistent source of opportunities throughout the week to pay close, loving attention to our body. We all could benefit from more self-love, and self-massage is an excellent way to love ourselves while also reaping some serious health benefits.

By increasing the flow of blood and lymph throughout the body, daily self-massage delivers healing nutrients to our joints while relaxing the muscles surrounding them, thereby improving their integrity, flexibility, and range of motion. These benefits are particularly important for maintaining the functionality of joints that suffer a lot of wear and tear over time, such as those in our wrists, ankles, and hips. Self-massage further contributes to the repair of these tissues by increasing the number of circulating red blood cells that keep the tissues supplied with oxygen. 

In addition to benefiting our joints and muscles, the positive impact of massage on blood circulation supports lower blood pressure and more efficient heart function. By stimulating the flow of lymph, massage may help not only boost metabolism by efficiently clearing waste products from the body but also reduce the edema associated with pulmonary hypertension. The improved circulation of both blood and lymph further nurtures well-being by invigorating the brain and strengthening the immune system. 

By helping you overcome fatigue, abhyanga nourishes and soothes the nervous system and promotes undisturbed sleep, leading to increasing vigor and vitality in your everyday life Equally important, abhyanga helps you relax and offers the pampering that many of us enjoy after a hard week at work or during stressful situations. 

Ayurvedic oil massage loosens deep-seated toxins from joints and tissues and releases them into the excretory system for elimination. The removal of these accumulated toxins from the skin contributes to a healthier and clearer complexion. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the application of oil through massage equates to injecting “medicines” into the body. The massage promotes the absorption of beneficial compounds in the oil into the bloodstream, thereby supporting the body’s capacity to overcome illness.

Ideally, you should consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine the type of medicated oil that’s most appropriate for your constitution or imbalance. Otherwise, use only use raw sesame oil. Apply the warm oil all over your body for 15–30 minutes before taking a hot bath or shower to help the oil quickly penetrate the joints and deeper tissues.

Abhyanga Instructions

  • Begin by running hot water over the bottle of oil or set the bottle in a bowl full of hot water, gently warming the oil.

  • Pour about a tablespoon of the warm oil into your hand and apply to the scalp, vigorously working it into the tissue by moving your fingertips in small circles.

  • Transfer some of the oil on your head to your face and ears, massaging with a lighter touch.

  • Move to the neck, and with an open hand, massage both the front and the back of the neck, more rapidly, creating friction.

  • Apply more oil, and use this same technique, vigorously massaging your arms with straight up-and-down motions.

  • At the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, make circular motions and then resume massaging the whole arm with vertical strokes.

  • Then move to your chest and stomach, applying more oil if needed, and use gentle circular motions. When massaging the breastbone use straight up-and-down strokes.

  • After applying a bit more oil to your hands, gently reach around to the back and shoulder blades, and massage them without straining.

  • Move to your legs and buttocks, and repeat the same rapid up-and-down strokes you used on your arms. Use small circular motions at the hips, buttocks, knees, and ankles.

  • Then give your feet a thorough massage—it’s important not to rush through this part. Use an open hand to vigorously massage the soles and the top of your feet, moving your hand back and forth. Then use your fingertips to trace small circles all over the foot.

  • Let the oil soak into your skin for at least 15 minutes, but no longer than 45 minutes. Rinse off in a warm bath or shower.

  •  Remember to focus on self-love throughout the massage, inviting your body to absorb nourishment and care.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.