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10 DINACHARYA PRACTICES TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

Author - Surya Lanka

Dinacharya is the term used to describe a daily Ayurvedic routine which helps in improving one’s long term health. Following as many Dinacharya practices as possible can have a lasting impact on both your mind and body. 

Let’s look at 10 morning Dinacharya practices that you can incorporate into your routine.

Wake up before the sun rises

It is best to wake up at Brahma Muhurtha (around 5 in the morning). Waking up before the sun rises allows you to take advantage of the clean air and the calm and stillness, which will give you peace of mind and a freshness to your senses. Recent studies have also suggested that this is the time at which your brain is most productive. Having a consistent time in which you wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Wash your face with cold water

Splash your face with cold water and gently massage/rub your eyelids. As you know this helps you be awake, but it also helps to relax and soothe your eyes.

Tongue Cleaning. Image courtesy of healthygumslonglife.com.
Tongue Cleaning

Tongue cleaning is an Ayurvedic practice whereby you gently scrape the tongue from back to front in order to remove toxins (Ama) and dead bacteria which would have accumulated overnight. In addition to removing unwanted toxins, it also helps to promote Agni (digestive system) as well as helps in eliminating bad breath. Tongue scrapers are also generally made out of Copper, which has antibacterial qualities.

Kavala Graha (Oil Pulling or gargling)

Oil pulling has become a notable health trend throughout the Western world, however most do not realise that its roots are based in Ayurveda. It is the simple practice of swishing and gargling oil around your mouth, after which you spit it out and massage your gums for a minute. This can be for as brief as 1-2 minutes, or as long as 15 minutes. The traditional form of oil recommended according to Ayurveda is Sesame, however more accessible forms such as Coconut oil are fine as well. Benefits include strengthening your teeth, gums and eradicate plaque.

Coconut toothpaste. Image courtesy of organicfacts.net
Brushing your teeth

Yes, a practice we are all familiar with – or at least should be! However Ayurvedic principles recommend using a toothpaste or powder rich in herbs such as Neem and Charcoal, which are usually astringent and bitter. 

Drink a glass of warm water

Drinking a glass of mildly warm or room temperature water washes the Gastro Intestinal tract, flushes the kidneys, initiates digestion, promotes Peristalsis and prepares the body for elimination through bowel movements. Lemon or honey are two popular ingredients that are mixed with the water. Ideally you should drink the water after the Oral practices mentioned above so that you do not ingest the toxins and Bacteria.

‘Elimination’

Regular and consistent bowel movements are considered essential in Ayurveda. This helps in preventing the accumulation of Ama (toxins). Having 1-2 bowel movements a day is considered healthy. However a lack of bowel movements is indicative of Constipation (which is considered a Vata imbalance) and dehydration. Drinking more water, ingesting Triphala, and adding more healthy oils such as Ghee and Sesame into your diet can promote healthy bowel movements.

Meditation. Image Courtesy of Mindful.org.
Consistent Exercise

Regular exercise early in the morning, specially in the form of Yoga, energises and revitalises the body, loosens the joints and improves circulation. It is however not recommended to perform intense exercises at this time of the day – to half your capacity should be the benchmark. Yoga is a natural part of the Ayurvedic routine – click here to see our list of 10 health benefits of Yoga.

Practice Pranayama or Meditation 

Practicing Pranayama or Meditation for 10-15 minutes is maybe the most essential part of the daily routine, and should ideally follow whatever form of exercise you have chosen. It helps give us a sense of purpose, peace and calmness, as well as clearing our thoughts in anticipation of the day ahead. Meditation in particular has proven to improve mental discipline, reduce High Blood Pressure, reduce Stress and Anxiety as well as helps develop self-awareness. There are many forms of Pranayama and meditation to choose from, so pick one or more which work best for you.

Breakfast

The first meal of the day should start with a Herbal Porridge (we recommend Gotukola or Mukunuwenna soup) or Herbal Tea (variants such as Hibiscus and Chamomile are widely available). These help in improving your digestion as well as increasing your immunity. According to Ayurveda many diseases start in the digestive tract, and therefore having a fresh, balanced meal as your first meal of the day is very important. Like all other meals, having a consistent time at which we eat is a good way to discipline our bodies.

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