In life, we can go with or against the current of nature’s rhythms.
Our diurnal rhythms and hormonal fluctuations are tied to the natural cycles and, when these are all in sync with each other, life seems a lot easier—like swimming downstream instead of upstream.
Imagine finishing your day with the same energy you started your day with.
Imagine going through your day without cravings for sweets, coffee or chips.
Imagine waking up early without an alarm refreshed and ready to go.
Imagine feeling like your life is not a struggle – like the wind is at your back and you are swimming downstream in the river of life!
According to Ayurveda, the stress of living against these natural cycles is a fundamental violation of healthy living. Emerging science suggests that each cycle of the day, as described in Ayurveda, supports different activities.
Living in sync with nature’s cycles is a powerful lifestyle tool to de-stress the body and mind and begin to enjoy life.
The Ayurvedic Clock—Living Downstream
In nature, there are two 12-hour cycles that are each divided into three smaller cycles. Each 4-hour cycle is linked to certain bodily functions governed by vata (air), which controls the nervous system, pitta (fire), which controls digestion and metabolism, and kapha (earth and water), which controls immunity and structural strength.
Understanding how to connect a daily routine to these cycles is powerful medicine in Ayurveda.
First 12 Hours of the Day: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
6 a.m. – 10 a.m. — Kapha increases. This is the best time for exercise and physical labor before the sun is giving its peak heat. Kapha is heavy and supports greater physical strength.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Pitta increases. This is the best time of the day to eat your biggest meal, as the pitta or digestive fire is the strongest in the middle of the day.
2pm – 6 p.m. — Vata increases. This is the best time for mental and creative energy, as the nervous system is more active. Craving sweets at this time indicates exhaustion, blood sugar issues, poor digestion or that you didn’t eat a sufficient lunch.
Second 12 Hours of the Day: 6 p.m. – 6 a.m.
6 p.m. – 10 p.m. — Kapha increases. This is the best time to begin settling down for sleep. Kapha is heavy, and with cortisol levels dropping at this time, you should be getting sleepy!
10 p.m. – 2 a.m. — Pitta increases. This is the best time to be sleeping. The liver (pitta) engages in detox at this time (like a janitor cleaning floors and windows). If you are constantly up and awake during this time, the detox can be disturbed.
2 a.m.- 6 a.m. — Vata increases. The nervous begins to stir during this time before the sun rises. This is the best time to sleep deeply and naturally wake up before the sunrise.
Understanding how we have lost our connection to nature is the first step in restoring optimal health. Connect your cellular clocks (we have about 1 trillion of them) with the natural ebb and flow of nature’s cycles, and you will live a life of balance and vitality.
Douillard J. The 3-Season Diet. Three Rivers Press 2000 New York
Author: Dr. John Doulliard
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author, flickr