I am sitting in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in the middle of the woods (for a city girl like me, if the coffee shop is a twenty-minute walk, I call it country living), working on my upcoming novel, Louisiana Catch. The air is slightly nippy, and the rain, relentless. The house is beautiful and there are three other writer friends sharing space in this lovely cottage with me. There is spring foliage surrounding us. When I go to bed at night, I hear nothing but the sound of my own breath. It’s perfect writing weather.
My goal, which I only share with a handful of people: 7 days, 100,000 words to edit. Sounds like an impossible task to accomplish, I know. But incompletion is my least favorite noun (I blame it on my boarding school upbringing!). Also, I am aware that once back in New York, I won’t have the luxury of devoting 24 hours of my day thinking or writing about my characters or novel, because there is work, family, and friends. So, I work doubly hard. Partake in invigorating conversations about life, writing, and the craft with fellow writers. Explore the small island where we are staying. Socialize. But I also stay rooted in practices that ground and nourish me. The week progresses. My bones ache, and I feel spent. But I finish this article and make my book deadline before catching a flight back to New York. A friend asks, “What’s your secret? How are you so high-energy in the morning?” I wish I had a fancier or more eloquent answer, but the truth is, there is no secret. I rely on ayurveda to elevate my productivity.
The Secret Of Dinacharya Revealed
My power kick comes from the very ancient ayurvedic concept of dinacharya, which is a daily ritual of self-care. Dinacharya is the Sanskrit word for “daily routine” (‘din’ means day and ‘charya’ means to follow or close to). According to ayurveda, a daily routine utilizes our natural biological clock, per nature’s rhythm. Every day, I wake up to roosters crowing and singing at the crack of dawn. Each afternoon, bees stagger against my bedroom window, as if they are drunk on life. All of these creatures are in rhythm with nature.
Keep The Routine Of Dinacharya Simple
In a nutshell, dinacharya is a simple, yet profound way to bring radical change to one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. How we begin our morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. My morning routine allows me to awaken and prepare my body and mind for the day’s goals. I am awake before sunrise, no matter the season, and that helps me feel more alert and energized. I allow myself to begin each day with mindfulness. My mornings are meditative, that doesn’t necessarily mean I sit down and meditate for an hour. But I purposefully remain present in the now. And stay wordless for the first hour of the day (trust me; I am a big chatterbox otherwise). Being in the moment and paying close attention to everything I think, observe, act upon, write, or put in my mouth, this is how I strive to calm my mind and body. As I sip hot water, I say my words of gratitude.
My evening routine helps me release any physical and mental blockages accumulated during the day. I don’t bring my work or any untoward conversations to bed. Practicing alternate nostril breathing calms the mind. Massaging the foot with oil is a simple, drug-free method for reducing stress and stimulating the body’s natural relaxation response. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), “Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, and nerve and circulatory disorders can present their initial symptoms in the feet, so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.” Between the alternate nostril breathing and foot massage, the stage is set for a night of deep rest and rejuvenating sleep. Even when I am traveling, or working 18-hour days at my writing residency, I wake up energized. The ayurvedic daily routine is designed to maintain and reconnect us to the natural circadian rhythms. The dinacharya guidelines can vary and get elaborate.
Few Simple And Easy To Follow Steps:
- Wake up before sunrise
- Say words of gratitude
- Drink hot water
- Scrape your tongue with a tongue cleaner
- Wash your face and brush your teeth
- Abhyanga—massage the body with warm oil
- Take a shower
- Do yoga and pranayama for 10–15 minutes
- Make lunch your biggest meal
- Take a walk/work out in the middle of the afternoon (depending on your schedule)
- Eat dinner by 7 p.m. at the latest
- Practice anuloma viloma, alternate nostril breathing, before going to bed
- Meditate for at least 10–15 minutes
- Apply oil to your feet and massage the nerve endings
I know that some people find the idea of predictability and routine boring. Waking up and going to bed, as well as eating your meals at the same time every day, can sound mundane. Truth: establishing a daily routine is one of the best ways to assure a balanced state of mind. It can help you stay healthy. After all, our daily habits, not occasional indulgences, have the most significant impact on our health and well-being. Did you know that the gut and brain have the steady ability to communicate via the nervous system, the hormones, and the immune system? If our digestion is good, our brain works better, which directly impacts our productivity.
So, are you ready to start your ayurvedic daily routine?