Daily Morning Dinacharya
The morning is the most important time to create space to take care of yourself. The word dinacharya comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and translates to mean “to follow the knowledge of the day”. It sets the tone for the rest of the day to keep you feeling grounded & balanced.
When reading these morning dinacharya practices try not to get overwhelmed thinking you have to start all of these recommendations at once. Pick one & start there. Once one feels like it’s a natural part of your day you can pick another one to work into your morning routine. Keep in mind that this is just a general guide. To get more specific recommendations based on your Ayurvedic constitution & current imbalances it is best to work with a practitioner so they can tailor the recommendations specifically to your needs to create optimum balance & healing.
Wake with the sun
Depending on your prakruti this varies depending on your dominant dosha. Vata can stay in bed a bit longer & it’s best that Kapha get up a bit earlier. This helps us to feel most alert as long as we’ve gone to bed by 10pm the night before. Arising with the sun gives us enough rest without oversleeping & feeling sluggish. If you are used to sleeping into the morning a great tip to begin this practice is to keep the curtains open so that you naturally become aware that the sun is rising & your circadian rhythm can begin to reset.
Go to the bathroom
Empty your bladder to expel the toxins your body has eliminated throughout the night. Then wash your face with water a few times being sure to get some water into the eyes for a light eye wash. Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper & brush your teeth. Doing each of these things upon awakening will stimulate the body helping you to begin to wake up & feel more alert.
Prepare Warm Lemon or Lime Water
Head to the kitchen to prepare warm lemon or lime water. This simple beverage hydrates the body, stimulates digestion & metabolism & detoxifies the body. If you are prone to dehydration you can add a pinch of high quality salt to act as an electrolyte. Your body does a lot of detoxification overnight. The lemon helps to stimulate the liver to further help flush the toxins out of the body. Drinking warm water rather than cold is crucial for supporting health digestion & metabolism.
This should help to stimulate the digestive system to create the urge for an elimination or bowel movement. Having a bowel movement in the morning is an important part of your health. Doing the above practices daily should help to encourage this elimination if it is not already happening naturally on it’s own. If you are still having difficulties with having a morning bowel movement it is advised to work with a practitioner to help move the bowels to eliminate waste & toxins that accumulated overnight.
Additional purification practices like warm salt water with a neti pot to cleanse the nasal passages, followed by nasya oil (nasal oil) to bring protection & nourishment. Eye wash is another great cleansing practice for the eyes using rose water.
You can stimulate the skin & movement of your lymphatic fluid with abhyanga (self oil massage) and garshana (silk gloves) or dry brushing followed by a shower. If your skin is dry (Vata) abhyanga is a great practice to nourish dry skin & brushing the skin would only be recommended once a month. If your skin is oily (Kapha) garshana or dry brushing is a great choice & can be done daily, with or without oiling. If your skin is in between (Pitta) you can try both of these practices together by applying oil first & then brushing and it is recommended to brush once a week. Afterwards enjoy a warm, not hot, shower. Be sure not to over wash with harsh soaps over the entire body if you don’t need to. Reserve daily soaping for the parts of your body that excrete the most oils, sweat & waste. Water is cleansing on it’s own.
Movement like yoga, running or brisk walking. 20 minutes daily is a great minimum goal to get your heart rate up & sweat, up to an hr. Working the heart for 20 minutes a day helps to keep your muscles strong & daily sweating helps to move toxins out of your body through your skin. It also helps stimulate the lymphatic system that doesn’t have a pump like your heart does, so it requires exercise to stimulate movement. This wakes up your metabolism, flushes stagnation out of the respiratory system & warms up muscles that have stiffened throughout the night.
Grounding practices like meditation, prayer, gratitude, intention setting or Pranayama (breathwork). Contemplate how you can show up as the best person you can be.
Finally have some breakfast at 7:30-9am. It is best to wait to have breakfast after your metabolism has been stimulated. This can all depend on your constitution as Vata types need to eat earlier & Kapha types might wait until later in the morning for their first meal. It’s best to include some protein in this meal as it will help to keep you going through the morning & get you to lunch. It is recommended that your morning dinacharya be completed by 10am.