On any given day, the three doshas each take predominance in the atmosphere during a set period. By aligning your daily life with these forces, you can bring yourself into greater alignment with nature and improve your health.
Get going and get creative with vata.
Ayurveda recommends awakening early because vata dosha, made of the air and space elements, predominates the atmosphere in the early morning, from 2 to 6 a.m. The basic nature of air is to move. This makes it easiest to wake up, eliminate, and get moving during the vata time of morning. We’re advised to do less physically strenuous work from 2 to 6 p.m., when this bioforce becomes activated again. When you feel spacey during this time in the afternoon, you are naturally feeling the presence of the air and space elements contained in vata dosha. Because creativity is an inherent quality of vata dosha, this can be a great time to do many creative activities.
Use your strength and rest with kapha.
The kapha dosha governs the time from 6 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. It is kapha’s presence that makes it hard to wake up past 6 a.m., because this dosha is made of the heavy earth and water elements. When you stay in bed past 6 a.m., the atmosphere takes on a heavy, inert quality, making it very difficult to get up and moving. The morning kapha period is actually a great time for strenuous exercise and other hard physical work, like moving boxes or lifting heavy objects. Your body is at its strongest during the kapha times of day. Due to kapha’s grounding, stabilizing qualities, Ayurveda recommends winding down your day and going to sleep before 10 p.m., when the other kapha period ends.
Digest with pitta.
Pitta dosha consists of fire encased in water. Just as fire has the power to convert whatever it touches to other forms, including ashes, pitta dosha accordingly governs the principle of transformation. Pitta dosha provides you with mental and physical fire. This bioforce rules the atmosphere from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, and from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night. Because of the strong connection between pitta dosha and digestive fire (agni), it’s important to eat lunch in the middle of the pitta time, around noon. This connection also explains why you may crave a midnight snack if you stay up during the pitta time of night.
Opt for more natural toothpaste options for healthier teeth.
Neem powder or oil are wonderful natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agents that purify your blood. Neem is an excellent ingredient to have in your toothpaste.
Turmeric powder mixed with water makes a refreshing mouthwash alternative. It’s a great pain-relieving spice, which also reduces inflammation.
Pomegranate fruit rind has been traditionally used in Ayurveda for dental disease prevention. It helps remove plaque from your teeth, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, benefits your heart and brain, and uplifts your spirits.
To make your own toothpaste, grind a pomegranate fruit peel into a powder and mix it with 1/4 part neem powder and 1/4 part turmeric powder. Add a little sesame oil to bind it together or simply sprinkle it onto your toothbrush.
Do oil pulling to strengthen your voice and boost your oral health.
Oil pulling has become popular in modern times. As with any practice that has origins in ancient wisdom traditions, it’s important to get the prescription right before passing it along. Sesame oil is the preferred oil; many online sources recommend coconut oil, but its heaviness, sweetness, and cooling qualities make it difficult for your mouth to absorb the full benefits of this practice.
Oil Pulling Slows Aging
Oil pulling gives strength to your facial muscles and is one of the best anti-aging practices to prevent wrinkles.
How to Do Oil Pulling
The best time to do oil pulling is on an empty stomach, before breakfast.
1. Brush your teeth, ideally with a neem-based toothpaste.
2. Scrape your tongue with a copper, silver, or gold tongue scraper. This practice ensures your mouth remains toxin, odor, cavity, and infection-free.
3. Place 1 or 2 teaspoons of sesame oil into your mouth. Swish the oil around your teeth and mouth, ideally for up to 3 minutes, then spit it out.
4. Swish around a small amount of water, then spit it out.
When to Avoid Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is not recommended for anyone experiencing:
- Any kind of infection
- Eye inflammation
- Bleeding conditions
Drink warm or room-temperature water soon after waking up to aid healthy digestion.
The downward-moving form of vata dosha predominates the atmosphere from 4 to 6 a.m. When you wake up during this time, or at least before sunrise, drinking warm water supports the downward-moving action of vata dosha, helping you eliminate your bowels.
Eat on time to maximally benefit from your food.
Ayurveda recommends eating breakfast sometime between 7 and 9 a.m., lunch between 12 and 1:30 p.m., and dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.
According to Ayurveda, lunch is the most important meal of the day. That’s because your digestive fire peaks between 12 and 1 p.m., the same time the sun is at its peak. All of Ayurveda’s daily routine practices are deeply synced with the sun’s cycle. We want to keep at least 3 hours between meals and between eating and sleeping, which is why breakfast and dinner should be timed accordingly.
Exercise before breakfast or dinner for the best results.
Exercise helps provide stability to your body, rids you of excess fat, increases your ability to do hard work, and promotes healthy digestion — when done at the proper time, in the proper quantity, with respect to guidelines for overdoing it and seasonal considerations. You want to find a balance between exercising enough but not too much that it harms you. Signs of imbalance include cracking joints, pain anywhere in your body, and exhaustion from overexercising, so it’s important to follow Ayurveda’s exercise guidelines.
According to the Ayurvedic texts, the signs of over-exercising are:
- Having a really dry mouth
- Breathing from your mouth
- Sweating excessively
In addition to paying attention to when and how much you exercise, consider how much sound accompanies your workout. Too much sound aggravates the vata dosha, which is already increased through exercise. Silence is one of the best ways to balance vata. Ayurveda advises against talking while working out, so if you want some type of sound, try listening to relatively calm music (ideally a nature soundtrack).
Showering every day is considered extremely healthy.
Excerpted from The Ayurveda Way Written by Ananta Ripa Ajmera