Ep 028: Ayurvedic Morning Routine & Daily Self-care (Dinacharya)
Today I share my personal Ayurvedic morning routine, daily self-care practices, and nighttime routine. Pulling from ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, I share simple daily practices that you can use to keep your mind, body, and emotions in balance.
Below is a brief outline of today’s episode. Please tune in to the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast, 028: Ayurvedic Morning Routines & Daily Self-care (Dinacharya), to hear the full episode.
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Ayurvedic morning routines and daily self-care keep our mind and body in balance through the seasons of life. Photo by Chelsea Shapouri on Unsplash.
What is Dinacharya?
Dinacharya is a Sanskrit word that roughly translates to “daily routine.” It’s the Ayurvedic practice of aligning our daily lives with the cycles of nature. By establishing routine and ritual in our lives (daily, monthly, seasonally, etc.) we can keep our minds and bodies in balance and thriving.
All of the self-care practices that I’m going to talk about today are practices that will help you get in touch with your inner voice, your body, and nature. This is true self-care.
You can learn more about Ayurvedic seasonal self-care in these episodes:
An Environmentalist’s Approach to Morning Routines & Self-care
Our morning routine and the ways that we practice self-care can be an extension of our values.
I often say, what’s best for me is best for humanity is best for the planet. So keeping that in mind, if a self-care practice or a product is harming the planet in some way, or harming the people that produce it then I don’t consider it self-care
If nature is being harmed then I am being harmed because I am nature.
I also want to invite you to let go of any perfectionism that you’re feeling about your daily routines. Our goal is not perfection, it’s self-care. If you miss part of your morning routine or fall asleep before finishing your nighttime routine, that’s okay! Show yourself some compassion.
Our routines can flow with the seasons of life.
Prioritizing Your Morning Routine is Activism
Over the years I have realized that making time for a nourishing morning routine, nighttime routine, and daily self-care practices is a form of activism.
As activists and environmentalists, it is so important that we take care of ourselves. No matter how hard we work the climate crisis and social justice issues are not going to be solved tomorrow. If we are to be in this for the long haul (and I am) then we need to be healthy, strong, energized, and emotionally stable. We need to take care of ourselves.
And it’s important to note that because we are all different our morning and nighttime routines will also look different. According to Ayurvedic wisdom, we are each a unique combination of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether). This combination of the elements is called our Dosha in Sanskrit, aka our personal constitution.
That being said, most of what I am sharing today will be helpful for all constitutions. If a practice that I share today piques your interest try it out, keep what feels good, and let go of what doesn’t.
Personalize Your Morning Routine
In order to figure out what to include in your daily routines and rituals you can ask yourself these simple questions:
- How do you want to start your day? What feelings do you want to experience by the end of your morning routine?
- How do you want to feel as you go through your day?
- How do you want to feel when you go to sleep?
My Ayurvedic Morning Routine
- Tongue scraping
- Drink a big glass of structured water
- Oil pulling
- Brush teeth
- Yoga and/or meditation
- Big breakfast
- Get to work
On the podcast, I describe these practices in depth, and how I fit them into my day. Below are brief descriptions of some of the lesser-known practices.
This is the first step in my morning routine. When we sleep our body naturally detoxes, and our tongue is related to one of the main detox pathways. If you take a look in the mirror when you wake up you’ll notice a coating on your tongue. When tongue scraping, we remove that coating and help to clear this important detox pathway.
Purified water is a very new substance, evolutionarily speaking. In a natural setting, like a mountain spring, for example, water would include minerals. Therefore, many people believe that our bodies cannot fully make use of purified water. But by simpling adding a few ingredients we can make it easier for our body to absorb.
The simplest form of this is commonly called, “Ayurveda Gatorade,” because it’s so hydrating. Add a pinch of pink sea salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your water, stir it up and drink.
There are also a group of powerful demulcent herbs that aid in hydration. When soaked in water they produce a “goo” that coats and protects mucus membranes. Their cupping action brings moisture deeper into our body’s tissues.
I am currently using marshmallow root, licorice root powder, and a pinch of pink sea salt (from Maras, Peru) to structure my water. Other demulcent herbs include flax, plantain, and slippery elm.
I mix the powdered herbs into my water and wait until they’ve turned the water into a sort of gel, and I drink it throughout the day!
If you want to add this practice to your morning routine you can get started by keeping the oil in your mouth for just a few minutes and overtime work your way up to 20 minutes.
Other Daily Self-care Practices
In addition to my morning routine and nighttime routine (more on that in a moment) there are other daily practices that I use to show myself some love. How might you incorporate these simple practices into your days?
Cooking at Home
Back when I was training to become an Ayurvedic Health Counselor at the Shakti School one of my beloved mentors, Katie Silcox, said something along the lines of, “One of the most loving things you can do for yourself is cut vegetables.” I took this to heart. Cooking for yourself or with loved ones and knowing what’s going into your food is a wonderful way to show yourself some love.
Another daily practice that is incredibly important to me is walking, especially in nature. Recent scientific research often points to walking as the most beneficial form of exercise. I’ve talked in depth about the importance of connecting with nature here.
Sometimes I turn that walk into a more heart-pumping form of exercise. Intense exercise is an excellent way to manage stress and process emotions. This is not something that I do every day, but when I’m going through stressful seasons of life or I’m doing things that are well out of my comfort zone I make a point of including vigorous exercise in my daily routine. This might include kickboxing, trail running, or dancing.
It’s so important that we take time to celebrate ourselves and our accomplishments. This helps us to stay motivated and to build self-trust.
Simple Ayurvedic Nighttime Routine
Like my morning routine, I keep my nighttime routine simple and powerful.
- Brush teeth
- Exfoliate & wash my face with a homemade oat & bentonite clay face scrub (commonly referred to as “cleansing grains” in Ayurveda)
- Moisturize my face and body with a seasonal and Dosha appropriate oil
- Talk to my husband
My husband and I end each day by telling each other three specific things that we are grateful for. This helps to train our minds to focus on the positive. We feel good when going to sleep and therefore sleep better and wake up in a more positive state.
As always, I hope that this podcast and blog post are helpful to you. Consider this your permission slip to keep your daily routines simple, potent, and aligned with your values!
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Featured image: Photo by Chelsea Shapouri on Unsplash