Yoga for Our Nature Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 11

Daily Rituals

15 min - Talk
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In this talk, Melina beautifully shares the art of Ayurveda, a traditional Hindu system of medicine designed to promote balance to the bodily systems in relationship with the seasons. This ancient approach integrates nutrition, herbal treatment, pranayama (yogic breathing), and daily rituals to enhance digestion, increase vitality, and transform the quality of our life.
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Feb 19, 2015
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So we have come this far together in the Ayurvedic practices. And if you are interested now in taking your practice one step further to really integrate it into your daily life. One of the terms we use in Ayurveda is called Dinacharya. Which starts to describe the map of daily rituals that work to align your practices with the rhythm of the day. So, for example, the early pre-dawn time of the day is Ayurveda time of day.

No matter what Dosha you are. It's always Ayurveda time of the day. Which is very light and expansive. It's also a dry time of the day and the body after we have been sleeping for awhile to get up and notice that we feel often very stiff. So, some of the best practices that you could start adding to your daily routine is to wake up and enjoy a big glass of room temperature water first thing in the morning to help hydrate and to counter pose from an evening of sleeping.

The other things that are really helpful to do during the Ayurveda time of the day are to get your breath and your bowels moving. So, Pramayana is a wonderful morning practice. If that's something that you haven't been doing, to perhaps consider that at that time of the day where you might have more success in doing the Pramayana versus trying to do that late in the afternoon or in the evening, where you might find yourself too distracted to actually focus. So, nature in some way helps to make it a little easier at that quiet hour of the day, that calm time of the day to perhaps help you have a more successful sit. Whether you are sitting or doing Pramayana.

Hopefully in the morning time Ayurveda rules the colon area that we have elimination so we are craving new space and hopefully through craving new space in the body gradually developing an appetite. So that by early morning we are ready to eat some warm delicious food. So, the Ayurveda summary of the morning time would be to try to do things that either hydrates, to get your breath and to get your bowels moving. Then as we slide into the morning phase, the early morning phase of the day, that's more of a Chopra window. So no matter what Dosha you are we all experience what the benefits are of that Chopra energy.

So, Chopra tends to be more cold, more heavy, slow and so what's the great time of the day to do a little bit of exercise to help increase your core temperature to get things circulating, so that you're not feeling in any way burdened or heavy in the chest respiratory tract. Which is one of the areas that Chopra rules. So, the more that you can get a little bit of cardio vascular exercise the more this area clears. And often times we'll then have the energy to really stay focused on some work project during that early morning time of the day. I don't know if you noticed, I noticed for myself that's where I can get the most work done without feeling the irritation that I might feel if I try to get serious work done at noon time.

So if you find that you have the choice to do work, try and do you work that requires a lot of energy, a lot of focus in that early morning time of the day where maybe it still feel kinds of slow in the external environment, things don't feel so fast. Like they do late in the afternoon, feels like things are really moving in the outer world. So, we try to do some exercise at the Chopra time of the day. If we are consuming beverages at this time we're trying to look for warming drinks, maybe we have are ginger tea, maybe we have area Chai. Things, that again, that can be warming and stimulating for you and if you haven't had food already it's a great time of the day to eat the appropriate breakfast for your Dosha.

But we are typically looking for the feeling of hunger before you eat. That's one of the basic rules in Ayurveda, no matter what time of the day or what Dosha you are, that you wait until your hungry before you eat. Then we try and eat just the right amount so that we don't squelch are digestive fire by eating too much on a regular basis. So, between the Ayurveda time of the day, the pre-dawn and the morning, those together make up basically the spring time of everyday. And so in the spring time it's a lovely time to plant new seeds, create new intentions and then we get to watch that mature as the day progresses.

So, um, just think for yourself, that morning time what's the energy of spring like for you and what are some things that you might add to your daily routine to enrich your health. To also deepen your connection to this art of living, called Ayurveda. Alright, so now they day progresses along, and next we've hit the noonish hour. So, that's one of the hotter times of the day, the noon to the two-ish hour. So, when it's really hot and intense out this is the Pitta time of the day.

So, no matter what Dosha you are, we typically feel a little more hot. We typically have more of an appetite to eat. Which is one of the areas that Pitta rules is the small intestine and the stomach. It helps us break down food that we've taken in from the outside. So, in our Pitta time of the day the best thing you can do is to feed the Pitta.

Is to eat your dense, well balanced meal at that hour, which is different than overeating at that time of the day. It just means try to be more like the Europeans, and eat a full well balanced meal. At that time of the day versus scheduling your work meetings At that time of the day where you might notice you're more irritable, whether it's because of extra heat or just pressure you feel of all the things you have to get done in the short period of time in the day. Whatever it might be that eating often times will help decrease the intensity of your frustration and that will be good for everybody around you as well. So, if you have to do work meetings make sure that your work meetings include some food so that you keep everybody calm, as calm as possible as we can imagine for the work meetings in the middle of the day.

So after the Pitta time of the day starts to awaken it's like the summer time of everyday. So, something that's also nice to do in the summer is to have a little bit of an adventure or do something that's fun that's maybe a little bit playful so that the whole day doesn't feel like a lot of work. And that will tend to make people pretty cranky by the end of the year if throughout the days we haven't taken a little time to have fun. So, whatever that looks like for you, just somewhere in the middle of the day, how can you squeeze in, you know, one to five minutes of something that you enjoy. Whether it's just putting on a song that you like to sing to, or to find a funny little video to watch or to go outside and take a picture of something, whatever it might be.

That it's something you enjoy. So that's the Summer time of the day. And of course the time begins to move along and now we have slipped into the early-ish, afternoon, so lets say we are in the 3 o-clock to 5 o-clock window, where there's a lot of change happening with lights, there's often times a tendency to feel a little bit spacey at that 3-ish o-clock hour. That's where we notice people's energy level starts to change. Often times it starts to go down.

So, there's lots of reasons why that could be happening. So, often times that is happening when we are not sleeping enough, it can happen when we start out day too fast with too much caffeine, too much stimulation or we are having food that doesn't really work for us. We start to notice that we are really dealing with a low energy moment because of how we are digesting food that we have taken in. So, good things that help Ayurveda time of the day, it's Ayurveda time of the day, is to hydrate again. So, if we think about hydrating things that are more beneficial than having your second coffee, sorry coffee drinker friends, or to have more caffeine in general, or to have the extra little cookie snacks, at that hour of the day which tends to give you a little false sense of energy but then are often more depleting in, you know, within the next hour or so.

So, what is usually more beneficial is to hydrate with warm teas, non-caffeinated, it might be helpful to take a little walk outside at that time of the day to relax and to breath more air in. So, Pramayana practice is always going to be great for Ayurveda. So, the walking kind where you get some fresh air outside is nice, it's rhythmic, it's slow, hopefully you're not talking on the phone, or not doing anything but just walking, doing one thing at a time. To help refocus Ayurveda tendency to scatter and to put their attention in multiple places. So that Ayurveda transition time of the day, it's like the fall of every day.

So, it's a great time to wrap up projects, it's like harvest. You are doing that last little look at what are the things that need wrapping up. And you just become aware of that so you can start to focus your energy at one thing at a time to create some closure. And then what happens of course next is that the day moves into that evening hour, where we our once again experiencing darkness, so we don't have this light anymore from the outside to make you feel warm. The evening is now that Chopra phase again.

That means it's going to be a little bit cooler, we tend to move a little bit slower, for good reason, because we want to prepare for sleep. And some things that are good to do here, again, just like in the early morning time, is to do a little bit of exercise to help you unwind and relax from your day. I think of thinks like warm showers are also really great ways to separate from the work day, they are invigorating, they are warming. It's also really good for Chopra. Or to sit down with a warm cup of tea before you start to drop into your evening activities.

So, the evening time, because our metabolism starts to slow down and we don't have that extra energy from the sunlight to digest a really big meal, one of the best things that I can tell you about that evening window is to try to eat small. Too eat light. And so soup would be really one of the supreme food choices for the evening, or something I do a lot too is just have whether a little bit of grains or a whole big pile of sauteed kale with half an avocado, as an example. I want something that's light but also satisfying because the avocado is creamy and heavy but digest easily. So, that's just one example but for the most part I would say soup is going to be a great general thing to steer you towards for an evening practice versus having the larger meal.

If you are sharing food with people and having that larger meal that you should just become a little bit more aware of, when does your hunger stop? And that we try to stop eating when we have become aware that we are no longer hungry. Sometimes we just keep eating because we are all engaged with people socially. Pretty soon we all can realize that we will maybe sleep better if we eat less and knowing, again, just what the right amount of food for you. When we put the object down, the burrito, the fork, the spoon, in-between bites we have that moment to reflect and to notice have my hunger signals gone away?

So, ideally we want to stop before we are full. Especially in the evening hour when our digestive fire is a little bit smaller. If we eat until we are full, often time that means we have really packed the stomach. It's like you've put too much wood on a fire that's not burning really strongly. And it will tend to make it smolder and not be so efficient.

So, the idea would be to leave some space in your stomach. And then if you are someone who is prone to any insomnia type conditions, that you become really aware that you aren't having sugar after dinner, not having alcohol with dinner. If you do those type of practices, to try to do those maybe happy hour and have that earlier than your dinner hour. So that you have some time to have that process in the body, not so close to when your going to sleep. So, gathering with people is a great Chopra activity, eating light meals, getting a little bit exercise to unwind our great evening practices to do.

Then we try to get ourselves to bed before ten o-clock. That's just a generalization. Try to get to bed before ten o-clock so that you aren't awake for the midnight hour where it's the Pitta time of the evening again. And Pittas need to eat. So often times we will find we get hungry if we stay up much later and then if we are starting to eat late at night often times if we are staying up late at night we are doing things that are more stimulating than relaxing and they will effect how we sleep.

If we don't sleep well we don't get up and do our Dinacharya. So, the moral of the story is we try to go to bed early so that you are really excited and looking forward to all the practices to do in the morning and throughout the day to help you expand your yoga practice and to see how all these little daily choices that you make are really yoga. That you are bringing mindfulness to all those places in your day, all the times you're eating, all the things that you bring in through the senses. The more mindfulness that you bring to those actions, the more you are doing yoga. So, when people ask you, how much yoga do you everyday?

You are really with a lot of confidence saying your whole life is Yoga. So, I hope that it helps you expand your practice a little bit and that we hopefully continue this conversation in the future. Thank you. Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
very helpful-have a tendency to be "scattered" all over the place and the clarity and structure of your talk added some of same to my day. Thanks!
1 person likes this.
This is wonderful wisdom really well communicated. Thank you. I could relate to every part of this and Iā€™m excited to put it into action. More please.
1 person likes this.
Very helpful orientation to the Ayurvedic perspective on the appropriate activities for each time of the day. Thank you!
Thank you Melina! This is really useful information for me. Your delivery is wonderful and I'd love to hear more of your wisdom about ayurveda. Namaste.
1 person likes this.
thanks for watching my show clare. season 3 will be out soon with more ayurvedic and seasonal suggestions. happy new year. om, m
1 person likes this.
this is very helpful, thank you. I am just starting to tap into the idea that yoga is not something I do as an activity but something I live and practice all day long. Everything is integrating and it feels really good! YA has been a great companion on this journey. šŸ•‰

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