DAILY RITUALS FOR HEALING
Dinacharya (Daily Regimen) - Dina = “day” and charya = “regimen”
1. Rising Early
Before sunrise is the most auspicious time to awaken in the morning. The sages tell us that rising early is the most effective action in order to maintain health and longevity. Waking up before 6 am is preferable, if possible. One of my teachers, Dr. Claudia Welch, suggests meditating on falling in love (with life, love itself or ourselves) in order to stimulate endorphins at the start of our day.
2. Evacuating Wastes
Evacuation of the bladder and bowels should happen first thing in the morning. It helps to calm the mind.
3. Drinking Water
It is said that 1-2 glasses of water should be kept in a copper vessel (room temperature or warm).
4. Cleansing Teeth
Brushing the teeth, preferably with a natural toothpaste or your own combination of astringent, bitter and pungent herbs like black pepper, catechu, long pepper, camphor, turmeric and neem in equal proportions along with a small amount of cloves and honey.
5. Cleansing the Tongue
Use a tongue scraper made of silver, copper or stainless (but not plastic). While this cleans the tongue, it will also stimulate the digestive tract and improve the digestive fire. Scrape the tongue 4 or 5 times and rise with cold water afterwards.
6. Cleansing the Mouth
Rinse the mouth using cold or hot water, cold milk or sesame oil.
•Hot water is cleansing for the teeth, mouth, gums and tongue.
•Cold milk has a cooling and cleansing effect and is useful for inflammation of the stomach wall
•Sesame oil pulling is cleansing and strengthening for the tongue, gums, teeth, mouth and voice. Naturally antibacterial and good for receding gums.
7. Cleansing the Nasal Passages
The nose is the gateway to the head and brain.
•Netti - rinse nose with warm water and sea salt using a netti pot (available at most healthfood stores). Let the water drain out naturally.
•Nasya - follow the netti with oiling of the nose. Insert 2-8 drops of oil into each nostril. Plain sesame or ghee are fine, or use a medicated oil or ghee. Use at mid-day for Pitta diseases and at night for Vata diseases. In the winter,use at noon, and in the summer or heat, use at night.
•Cleansing the nasal passages maintains clarity of the sense organs, prevents impairment of the organs of sight and smell, safeguards against premature baldness and graying of the hair.
8. Caring for the Eyes
Cleanse by rinsing with fresh water or rose water. They are our most delicate sense organ.
9. Caring for the Ears
Dip the tip of the little finger into a small amount of warm sesame oil, insert the finger into the ear and rotate it around the aperture.
•Once or twice a week, the body may be dry-brushed with a natural bristle brush or raw silk gloves before bathing. This is good for stimulating lymphatic flow.
•Brush from the extremities to the heart to assist the flow of the lymphatic system back to the veins near the heart.
11. Your Daily Shower or Bath
•Helps maintain cleanliness and longevity.
•A bath serves as a release for all negative energies. The body is made pliable and fresh.
•Warm baths are good for Vata & Kapha, while lukewarm or cool baths are good for Pitta.
•After cleansing, anoint the body with natural oils.
12. Abhyanga: Self-Massage with Warm Oil
•“The body of one who uses oil regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, SU 5/88-89.
•Regular oil massage will remove excess fat from the skin, make the skin glossy and soft, and also strengthens the skin while protecting our skin from disease. It improves immunity and stimulates the lymph system to aid in the removal of wastes. Oil massage can begin to release repressed emotions especially when massaged in the opposite direction of the lay of the hair. Crystals of unresolved emotions become de-crystalized and dissolve with continued use.
• It works directly on the lymphatic, circulatory and nervous systems of the body.
• Regular head massage helps for premature hair loss or graying of hair and helps provide a sound sleep. Massaging oil into the feet helps improve eyesight, cracks to the skin of the feet and helps to strengthen the reproductive system.
•Abhayanga should be performed on an empty stomach and not during menstruation.
13. Swedana (Sweating)
Sweating helps to liquefy sticky and adherent doshas that are lodged in the peripheral tissues and it opens the pores to rid the body of impurities through the sweat glands. A light exercise that brings sweat to the armpits and center of the back is the perfect amount of sweating to help purify the body.
Vata constitutions should do light, gentle forms of exercise, Pitta should do moderate exercise and Kapha should do vigorous exercise. If too much exercise is done, Vata can become aggravated and imbalanced.
15. Eating a Wholesome Diet
•Wholesome, organic foods are best, when possible. Abstain from foods that are genetically manipulated, chemically treated or irradiated. Avoid eating animals and animal products that contain hormones, drugs and pesticides.
•Eat meals according to your body type.
•Generally, it is best to eat 3 meals per day with the noon meal (between 11am to 2pm) being the largest as the digestive fire is strongest at this time of day.
•After eating, lay on your left side for about 15 minutes to aid proper digestion, and then take a short walk outside.
•Allow 3-4 hours between meals to allow for proper and complete digestion.
•If possible, meditate in the late afternoon (before the evening meal) for 20 minutes.
•Dinner should be a light meal, preferably between 5-7pm, or at least 2 hours before bedtime.
•“Obesity and emaciation, happiness and sorrow, strength and weakness, virility and impotence, knowledge and ignorance, life and death are all dependent on adequate and inadequate sleep.” (ChSu 21:36)
•Proper and adequate sleep leads to the body tissues and doshas remaining in a balanced state of health, both physically and mentally.
•Staying awake at night leads to increase of Vata and Pitta. Common results are lack of concentration, constipation, giddiness, weakness, hyperacidity, burning of eyes, hands and feet.
•A healthy person should generally not sleep during the day, except in summer when the days are longer and generally hotter. Sleep during the day tends to increase Kapha dosha.