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Ayurvedic Guidelines for Daily Routine: Living in Sync with Nature’s intelligence 

Ayurveda recommends a healthy, consistent daily routine (Dinacharya) based on the 3 pillars of health, (including proper digestion and elimination, proper rest and sleep, and moderation/discipline in lifestyle) which is Synched with the cycles of Nature, including the daily circadian rhythm cycle, seasonal cycles or cycles of Aging.

A regular practice like above which is synced with the Intelligence of Nature, is more potent and helpful than medicine, by bringing the body, mind, emotions, and spiritual elements back to balance. It also helps rest the nervous system by decreasing decision fatigue by following a grounding, soothing, healing, personalized routine which is in contrast with present hectic and unsettling lifestyle.

The Ayurvedic routine creates a series of comforting reference points throughout the day which are very reassuring and rejuvenating to the cellular intelligence and the nervous system, a much needed, welcome break.

So, all of us are welcome to start living with some more self-care, filled with love and compassion towards ourselves, as much as we offer it to the outside world.

You can start practicing couple of these tiny habits gradually and make it manageable for yourself, rather than overwhelming. You can pick up the habits which you feel comfortable doing on a regular basis, or just try them for fun.

Stay committed and relaxed, add things realistically, be predictable and well-paced.

Remember to have self-compassion all through the process!

Here are the brief recommendations below:

-Morning:

  • Wake up before Sunrise, which is the perfect time for the nature’s quietude, light and peaceful energies.
  • Eliminate in the morning to help with early detoxification (bowels and urination)
  • Wash face and eyes with a cool splash of water to drive away the remnant drowsiness and induce freshness.
  • Drink a glass of pure warm water with lemon juice on rising to promote detoxification.
  • Sit down to meditate, enjoy the stillness outside and within, say a prayer, or focus on your breath for a few minutes.
  • Be grateful, reflecting on the blessings in your life.

Cleansing:

  • Clean tongue by scraping 3-5 times, back to front to help detoxify
  • Oil pulling for 2-5 minutes after or before brushing your teeth. Massage gums.
  • Nasya, lubricate nasal passages, or practice nasal rinsing.
  • Practice Yoga, or Stretch and flex your body, to 50% of your capacity.
  • Self-massage with the right kind of oils, try to massage all body parts
  • Take a nice warm shower to rinse off excess oils, with minimal soap use

Food:

  • Eat 3 consistent timed meals a day, or as per your true hunger.
  • Eat foods which are seasonally appropriate and as per your body type and imbalance.
  • Try to include all 6 tastes into your meals
  • Try to minimize snacking in between meals.
  • Eat mindfully, in a pleasant state of mind , with loved ones
  • Eat while sitting comfortably
  • Try to eat when truly hungry
  • Avoid eating when angry or upset
  • Largest meal preferably at noon, medium breakfast and earlier, lighter dinner.

-Afternoon:

  • Establish a consistent, predictable work and rest schedule.
  • Focus on cleaning and decluttering your work and home environment to facilitate good energetic flow.
  • Develop mutually nurturing relations in your interaction with others during the day
  • Be of service to others when possible.

-Evening and bedtime

  • Allow time for proper rest and winding down as needed.
  • Perform the evening routine of brushing, cleaning face and massaging feet etc.
  • Sit down to meditate, say a prayer, do body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation or focus on your breath for a few minutes.
  • Be grateful, reflecting on the blessings during your day.
  • Try to establish a consistent bedtime, preferably by 10 pm, to honor the cyclical energies of nature.

Circadian Rhythm: Nature’s Intelligent clock cycle

  • Embedded deep within the brain is a master clock, Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN Weaver, 1998) inside the hypothalamus that regulates the timing of many of the biological, hormonal, and behavioral processes that occur in the human body, playing a critical role in sleep, metabolism, aging and overall health and maintaining homeostatic .
  • Circadian Rhythms (CRs) are biological temporal processes that display endogenous, entrainable free-running periods that last approximately 24 h. They are driven by molecular internal clocks which can be reset by environmental light-dark cycles on a feedback loop (Edery, 2000).
  • Researchers have shown over the past few years that cellular and regional, peripheral clocks can be found in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart, fat and other organs and tissues that are synchronized with the sleep-wake cycle (Zylka et al., 1998). These cellular clocks regulate the activity of 3 to 10 percent (and up to 50 percent) of genes in various tissues and other parts of the body as well, by regulating the expression of clock-controlled genes (Ccg).
  • The first clock gene was isolated, or cloned, from fruit flies in 1984. Now, we have identified dozens of genes in cyanobacteria, plants, and mammals (Reppert and Weaver, 2002) that help the body keep time, including those going by such names as Clock, Per (for period) and Tim (for timeless).
  • Important genes are involved in CRs including Clock (Circadian locomotor output cycles kaput), Bmal1 (brain and muscle aryl-hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like 1), Cry1 (cryptochrome 1), Cry2 (cryptochrome 2), Per1 (Period 1), Per2 (Period 2), Per3 (Period 3), and Ccg. They organize transcription/translation autoregulatory feedback loops comprising both activating and inhibiting pathways (Reppert and Weaver, 2002; Schibler and Sassone-Corsi, 2002) forming a complex network.
  • In mammals, sleep-awake and feeding patterns, hormone secretion, heart rate, blood pressure, energy metabolism, and body temperature exhibit CRs.
  • Zeitgebers like light and food (rhythmically occurring phenomena that have primary control over circadian rhythm) for e.g. Routinely eating or sleeping at the wrong times may throw these peripheral clocks out of sync with the master clock in the brain, seen often in people with shift working, frequent trans meridian air flight, exposure to artificial light.
  • There is sufficient evidence to suggest that these chronobiological disruptions predispose individuals to the development of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sympathetic/parasympathetic dysfunction, hypertension, ailments of the heart and stomach, as well as various cancers, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, and psychiatric illnesses including depression and other disorders.
  • Resynchronizing the body’s many clocks may help to restore health and proper functioning and prevention of Many chronic illnesses.
  • In the presence of light, particularly of blue wavelengths, the hormone melanopsin is produced, inhibiting the release of melatonin. at night, in the absence of light and melanopsin, melatonin is released and contributes to sleep onset.
  • During the light period, particularly in the morning, larger amounts of cortisol and insulin are released. Notably, insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity are both controlled by circadian rhythms. Insulin production diminishes and remains low throughout the day unless foods requiring insulin are consumed. During the morning, we are particularly sensitive to the action of insulin. as the day progresses, we become more resistant to insulin, and during sleep we are most insulin resistant.
  • Disruption in the circadian function leads to abnormal levels of insulin, leptin, and ghrelin, hormones affecting appetite, satiety, metabolic rate, and fat storage—a key hormone mitigating this function is melatonin.
  • Night shift workers have among the highest rates of obesity due to the presence of light at night and disordered sleep and eating rhythms.
  • Circadian disruptors related to the second zeitgeber, food, include frequent snacking, high-fat foods, late-night eating, and medications that alter sleep-wake patterns. These disruptions lead to altered melatonin production, a potent hormone that, when dysregulated, leads to insulin resistance, glucose insensitivity, and sleep disturbance. Interestingly, because food is also a driver of the circadian clock, intermittent fasting mitigates circadian dysfunction and, if performed appropriately, resets a dysregulated circadian clock.
  • CR dysfunctions in blood pressure and heart rate, are involved in arrhythmias which may lead to sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction or stroke, often occurring at the early morning during the surge in blood pressure.
  • CRs are dissipative structures due to a negative feedback produced by a protein on the expression of its own gene (Goodwin, 1965; Hardin et al., 1990). They operate far-from- equilibrium and generate order spontaneously by exchanging energy with their external environment (Prigogine et al., 1974; Goldbeter, 2002; Lecarpentier et al., 2010).

It can be really confusing to differentiate between all the types and styles of medicine being practiced.

Here is a list of simple, one-line explanations to try to differentiate between various styles.

  • Integrative medicine: an approach to health that takes into account the entirety or wholeness of an individual and uses a combination of conventional and alternative treatments.
  • Alternative medicine: an approach to healing that falls outside of, and is used instead of, conventional medicine.
  • Complementary medicine: an approach to healing that falls outside of, and is used in combination with, conventional medicine.
  • Conventional medicine: the mainstream/western medical approach, which is taught in most medical schools and practiced in most hospitals and employs treatments such as surgery, pharmaceuticals, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Functional medicine: a systems biology-based approach to medicine practiced by licensed physicians that focus on treating the root cause of disease, as opposed to treating symptoms. Most similar to Integrative Medicine.
  • Lifestyle Medicine: the use of evidence-based 6 pillars of lifestyle therapeutic intervention as a primary modality, to prevent, treat, and often reverse chronic disease.
  • Whole person health: refers to helping individuals improve and restore their health in multiple interconnected domains—biological, behavioral, social, environmental—rather than just treating disease.
  • Traditional medicine: healing practices that come out of the traditions of indigenous peoples.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): a collection of healing practices that originated in China and are based on the belief that free-flowing qi, or life energy, is the key to health.
  • Naturopathy: an approach to health that taps into the innate healing power of our own bodies and the natural world.
  • Ayurveda: “The Science of Life.” An ancient whole System of Medicine that originated thousands of years back in India and is wholistic, proactive, personalized, and preventive in its approach.
  • Osteopathy: a medical approach that focuses on treating a person as a whole and uses physical manipulation of the body to promote healing.

Nutritional Approaches

These approaches include a variety of products, such as herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and mineralsand probiotics. They are widely marketed, readily available to consumers, and often sold as dietary supplements.

Psychological and Physical Approaches

Complementary physical and/or psychological approaches include tai chiyogaacupuncturemassage therapyspinal manipulation, art therapy, music therapy, dance, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and many others. These approaches are often administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. The 2012 NHIS showed that yoga, chiropractic, and osteopathic manipulation, and meditation are among the most popular complementary health approaches used by adults.