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March 23, 2019

Using the Doshas to switch up your Daily Routine.

My whole life changed when I started waking up before 6 a.m.—and I’m talking bigger shifts than just dashing home from dinner parties by 9:30 to be sure I was in bed by 10.

I admit, going to bed “early” felt like a sacrifice and seemed odd to me at first. But as I fell in love with my improved sleep, focused mind, and bright energy, the shift became wildly worth it.

This is how I first discovered the wellness transformation available through Ayurveda’s wisdom of daily routine.

At the core of Ayurvedic healing is the understanding that the rhythms of our world perpetually influence our internal systems and, thus, our well-being. This means that by aligning our daily routines with the rhythms of nature, we can access our truest vitality and radiance, and even reduce chronic challenges such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, constipation, and PMS.

But what does it actually mean to align your routine with the rhythms of nature?

Consider that every day we each experience the rising and setting of the sun. This daily cycle is an example of one of the simplest natural rhythms to which you can attune your routine. Ayurveda’s three doshasvata, pitta, and kapha—are each present at different times throughout each daily cycle. When you organize your daily routine (called dinacharya) accordingly, you’ll start to wake up refreshed, eliminate toxins more easily, improve your productivity, and wind down with more ease.

Let’s do a quick rundown of how different hours of the day are influenced by the unique energy of each dosha.

Kapha is most influential from 6 to 10 in the morning and evening. Pitta is most influential between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Vata is most influential between 2 and 6, both morning and evening as well. During these times, we can leverage the energies of each dosha for our benefit.

Because each dosha comes with its own unique set of qualities, there are specific activities and routines that will be best suited for its corresponding time of day. Below, we’ll dive into which activities are best done at which times of the day and why.

Remember to be gentle with yourself, and pick and choose what works for you now. You can start to implement these ideas by making slow, sustainable shifts over time.

Morning

Vata: 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Morning time is an important time according to Ayurveda. From 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. is a vata time, and is when the world comes alive—just think of the singing birds! In my experience, it is actually easier to get out of bed if you wake up before 6 a.m. According to Ayurveda, this is because before 6 a.m. you are still within the vata time of the morning, which encourages movement, quickness, and lightness.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Wake up and get out of bed
>> Listen to or chant a mantra
>> Scrape tongue and brush your teeth
>> Have a bowel movement

Kapha: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is a kapha time of the day, so once 6 a.m. passes each morning, the predominant influence is static and heavy. This is why it is more difficult to wake up during this time, as opposed to before 6 a.m. If you find yourself tired and lethargic every morning, try waking up before kapha time begins. Rather than leveraging kapha during this time, your goal is to balance it by getting up and moving. With this in mind, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. is the best time of day to do physical activity.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Exercise
>> Hydrate with warm, lemon honey water
>> Dry brush
>> Take a hot shower

Midday

Pitta: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is when the sun is highest in the sky, and it is a pitta time of the day. Pitta his hot and sharp, so this is when the your internal fire is the strongest. Because your fire is burning bright, this is also the ideal time to engage in mentally stimulating activities, as well as to eat your main meal.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Get your work done
>> Schedule meetings
>> Solve problems
>> Eat your largest meal

Vata: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. is another vata time of the day, but rather than invigorating yourself with the vata energy as you did during the morning, this time you’ll want to start preparing for the evening by grounding and soothing vata. With this in mind, give yourself permission to relax, regroup, and take it easy. Because you have more access to ethereal energies, you might consider doing your meditation or pranayama during this time as well.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Take it easy
>> Hydrate with warm beverages
>> Meditate
>> Do pranayama

Evening

Kapha: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. is another kapha time of day, but unlike the morning when you worked to balance the kaphic influence by energizing yourself with exercise, this time you’ll leverage the kaphic energy to wind down. This is the time when it is natural to slow your pace and prepare the body for sleep, and if you can do so well, you will ensure a good night’s sleep.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Eat a light dinner
>> Take a casual walk
>> Journal or read
>> Massage the soles of your feet with oil

Pitta: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is the pitta time of the night, when the liver is actively detoxifying and cleansing the body. Make sure to get into bed and turn out the lights before 10 p.m., as staying awake longer will make it more difficult to fall asleep. This is because after 10 p.m., pitta kicks back into high gear and could keep you awake with its intense, analytical energy! You may also find yourself developing the unhealthy habit of night-eating because digestive fire flares back up.

Aligned daily routine ideas:

>> Sleep!

If the thought of shifting your life around to incorporate these suggestions intimidates you, you are not alone. Start small by making slow, sustainable changes one at a time until you’ve shifted your whole day. As you make small adjustments to living in sync with the energies of our world, the rest of your wellness efforts will be amplified—and you will be surprised by how much more radiant, vital, and productive you’ll feel.

For me, it is an ongoing process of refinement, but still I can promise you that even just after you begin you’ll see how worthwhile it is!

author: Sierra Brashear

Image: Author's own

Editor: Kelsey Michal

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Marlena Benjamin Mar 26, 2019 9:47am

This is the best explanation I have read of the doshas and their times of day, it finally clicks now how to make this work for me! Thank you!

Julia Dery Mar 26, 2019 9:20am

So interesting, thank you! I will start to move to this routine soon.

Haley Sage Mar 26, 2019 9:01am

Such a helpful article, Sierra! Posting this on EJ Yoga today. Thank you so much!

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Sierra Brashear

Sierra Brashear, MA, is a Clinical Ayurvedic Practitioner and wellness educator offering consultations and online courses in Ayurveda through her joint practice, Cultivate Balance. Her most recent co-authored course—The Art of Ayurveda: Ancient Secrets for Self Care—teaches the fundamentals of Ayurveda with a focus on nutrition and personal rituals that reawaken vitality and radiance. Sierra is also doula, founder of Vibrant Souls, and co-founder of Moon Bath.