Ayurveda is a traditional healing modality from India that has been in practice for as many as 5,000 years. The word, ayurveda, is a Sanskrit word that literally translates as “the wisdom of life,” or “the knowledge of longevity.”
What continues to make Ayurveda relevant and practical today is its ability to identify and treat imbalances across the trifecta of human life: body, mind and spirit. It does so by looking through the lenses of three biological energies, or doshas: vata, pitta and kapha.
Vata has the qualities of air and space. It is dry, light, cold, rough, mobile and clear. Vata regulates the principle of movement, and bodily motions like muscle movements, chewing, nerve impulses and breathing require balanced vata. When vata is dominant, it presents itself physically and emotionally in a multitude of ways: a thin frame, dry skin, hyperactivity, restlessness, fast metabolism, erratic personal habits, fast speech, insomnia, introspection, innovation, adaptability, and anxiety.
Pitta is composed of the qualities of fire and water. Its domain is transformation, meaning it regulates the body’s ability to convert or process anything: digestion, metabolism, body temperature, sensory perception and comprehension. When dominant, Pitta presents itself physically and emotionally through problematic skin, hot-naturedness, freckles, strong desires, restful sleep, passion, aggressiveness, ambition, competitiveness, intelligence, and discernment.
Kapha brings the qualities of earth and water, and governs stability and structure. It forms the substance of the human body through its skeleton, organs, connective tissues and fluids. When dominant, Kapha presents itself as plumpness, oily skin and hair, dense structure, slow digestion, lethargy, excellent memory, sentimentality, tolerance, forgiveness, excessive sleep, slow movement, taste for rich foods, above-average stamina, and tranquility.
Although every human exhibits varying degrees of each dosha, it is common to have a dominant dosha. And dominant doshas are not meant to be changed; your primary dosha is your elemental nature. Instead, seek health practices that support balance as it relates to your specific constitution.
Dinacharya: A simple daily routine
The benefits of a simple daily routine are numerous. In Ayurveda, this essential routine is called dinacharya, and it is considered necessary to inspire radical change in the body, mind and consciousness.
Routine helps to establish balance in your constitution. It also helps decrease decision fatigue at the start of your day and helps you stay ahead of toxic build up.
The following practices are recommended by Dr. Vasant Lad, a deeply knowledgeable and respected Ayurvedic Physician. Dr. Lad offers professional education and patient care in New Mexico and in his home country of India.
Wake before dawn
Say a prayer or mantra, or set an intention before leaving your bed
Clean the face, mouth and eyes
Drink warm water with lemon or lime
Scrape your tongue
Brush your teeth
Gargle with warm sesame oil
Nasal and ear drops
Apply oil to head and body
Dress in clean clothes
Apply natural scents
Exercise to half your capacity
Pranayama or breathing observation
Meditation or prayer