By Donah, Ayurveda Counselor
It is important to have a daily routine or Dinacarya, because we are the microcosm of the macrocosm. Which means that all part of our being is connected to the bigger picture of the universe. We are connected to nature and all things that make up the planet, therefore everything affects us. We are affected by the water on the planet that is connected to our blood and plasma. We are connected to the earth that is connected to our bones. I was taught that our teeth and bones hold the memories of the earth just like the rocks and stones. We are connected to all phases of the moon as well as the rise and setting of the sun. Our energy wanes and waxes with the moon. When the moon is dark it is a time to be quiet and plant the seeds for creation. When the moon is full everything comes to fruition. A woman’s cycle is in sync with the moon.
By maintaining a Dinacarya we are essentially establishing a base line in our bodies. so that when we bring in something different, like staying up to late, too much of one food or person, we notice the different. Being balanced in Ayurveda for me is about noticing all the qualities, elements that we take in. If we take in too much of one, then we can balance it daily, because we have a ‘dosha dance’ that changes if we do not stick to the “plan”, that is why dinacarya is so important
Some imbalances are taking in too much of one quality or element. We can also miss if something subtle comes up. If we stay up one night too long, the next morning we could be sleepy, then our eating schedule is off, then it continues like this.. like a domino effect. At the end it could be very chaotic.
A daily routine or Dinacarya keeps us in sync with nature and the universe. If we are in sync our at our best health, and our minds, heart and spirit are clear, because we are connected to all there is. When we do not follo a Dinacarya we are more likely to feel disturbances in the body and mind. Having a Dinacarya also helps the body be more disciplined and scheduled. When this happens the body is prepared for what comes next and more capable of bouncing back from what is unexpected because it is stronger. It supports digestion, absorption, agni and the balancing of the doshas.
When we do not have a daily or seasonal routine, Ritucarya, we are more susceptible to disturbances, including disease and illness. Some of the things that can be disturbed are sleep. If we go to bed at different times each night, the body will not know when to be prepared for sleep, and the natural circadian rhythm may be disturbed. This can cause hetus, which is a disturbance.
Not enough sleep prevents the body from resting and healing which can cause insomnia, mental and emotional disturbances as well as obesity and diabetes. Not eating at the same time every day can lead to indigestion, heartburn, cravings for foods that can upset the dosha and balances in the body.
Ritucarya or seasonal routines are important because they prepare the body for the next season, i.e, moving from winter to spring. If we are connected to mother earth then it makes sense that we would feel the change or the seasons and the change of the seasons would affect us. There are two weeks between seasons that are a great time to prepare the body for the change. One might do a cleanse moving into the warmer seasons. This is a good time to shed the extra kapha that has kept us static for winter. We move into a lighter season that has more vata or pitta energy. We begin to eat lighter foods so that our bodies can feel lighter. A pitta season such as summer would be a time to plant seeds. This would also be a good time for any type of transformation for us even if it has to do with our thoughts and lives.
Dinacarya and Ritucarya are disciplined and schedules of which to live by that create balance and harmony within the body and mind, and keep us intuned with nature, the planet and spirit.