Dinacharya is the Sanskrit word Ayurveda uses to talk about daily routines. Daily Routines are very important in Ayurveda. They provide a consistent stable framework (this is pacifying to Vata dosha), and they are self-care practices that support us in optimal health and wellness. Daily Routines are activities that often don’t seem to matter very much—as in we could do them or we could not. However, as Ayurveda knows, it is these mundane activities that, done consistently over time, yield great benefit and really do make a positive difference.
Here’s what Katrina’s Daily Routine looks like:
- wake up
- bathroom time #1: use toilet & scrape tongue; drink copper water
- oil swish
- drink hot water + lemon or lime water (depends on the time of year which fruit I use)
- make, eat, and clean up from breakfast
- bathroom time #2: floss and brush teeth, use peelu stick, do neti, use nasya oil, take vitamin D, do eye wash
- pranayama breathing exercises & meditation
- bathroom time #3: shower, do light abhyanga
- get dressed
- do the day’s work and activities, including eat lunch
- prepare, eat, and clean up from dinner
- brush teeth & take triphala
- massage feet with oil
- go to bed and to sleep
That’s a lot of stuff, eh? Most of it is stuff that you already do (or, at least, I hope you brush your teeth!), and what is extra is something that I work in around the other things that I have been doing for my entire lifetime, anyway. Regardless, I won’t lie; self-care does take up a lot of my day. Tending to my health on a daily basis is my best form of health insurance.
Having done a daily self-care practice for several years now, I can tell you that I have better energy, I sleep better, my brain is clearer, and my digestion and elimination have improved. I also “know” my body better. I am able to avoid getting sick because I notice the “pre” symptoms and take measures at that time to stave off illness.
Please know that I didn’t begin this regimen in its entirety and all at the same time. I have added practices in one at a time as I had capacity. As often as I am able to, I add a new practice in alongside an existing practice to help pattern it in. I’m just better at remembering to do it that way! I’m also a bit over-the-top practical: I keep a bunch of things in the bathroom (measuring spoons, for instance, for measuring out neti salt) so that they are handy and I don’t get distracted by going to get them (like from the kitchen).
Now. You might have noticed that there is no yoga or exercise or movement work in my Dinacharya list. I would be a bad Ayurvedic health practitioner if I didn’t model this good behavior, right? Rest assured these activities are a regular part of my self-care practices. I do them 2-3+ times a week as part of the day’s activities.