A daily routine is establishes peace, balance, and clarity. The traditional Ayurvedic texts all agree on how that routine starts: with the early hours of morning. We've composed an example routine below.
Please don't try to do all of this tomorrow morning! Take what resonates most, and make changes slowly. Not all recommendations will fit all people. Remember: Ayurveda teaches that people are unique and should aim to know themselves.
Some of these recommendations are separated by dominant doshas. If you haven't yet, take the dosha quiz to better understand your constitution.
Wake Up Early
The early morning has sattvic (loving) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, but on average vata people should get up about 6 a.m., pitta people by 5:30 a.m., and kapha by 4:30 a.m. These different times allow each group to be awake and alert before the busier times of the morning. Kapha will need the most time to warm up and become active.
Clean the Face, Mouth, and Eyes
Splash your face with cold water and rinse out your mouth. Wash your eyes with cool water and gently massage the eyelids by gently rubbing them. Blink your eyes and rotate your eyes in all directions. Dry your face with a clean towel.
Brush your teeth, clean your tongue, and gargle with clean water or oil. While many Ayurvedic practitioners will staunchly advocate tongue scraping, we recommend at a minimum cleaning your tongue with your toothbrush to remove any bacteria that accumulated overnight.
After cleaning your mouth, drink a glass of water. This washes the GI track, flushes the kidneys, and stimulates peristalsis. The morning is a Vata period of the day, with cool and light energy, and many individuals may benefit from warm water or non-caffeinated tea made with dosha-balancing spices to encourage warmth and prepare the body for the day.
Yoga and Pranayama*
Regular exercise, especially yoga, improves circulation, strength, and endurance. It helps one relax and have sound sleep, and improves digestion and elimination. Exercise* until you begin to notice sweat on your forehead or back. The numbers below are a suggestion; do only the amount that is comfortable until you are properly warmed up and can do the exercises safely.
Vata: Sun salutation x 12, done slowly; Leg lifting; Camel; Cobra; Cat; Cow. Slow, gentle exercise.
Pitta: Moon salutation x 16, moderately fast; Fish; Boat; Bow. Calming exercise.
Kapha: Sun salutation x 12, done rapidly; Bridge; Peacock; Palm tree; Lion. Vigorous exercise.
After exercise, sit quietly and do some deep breathing exercises as follows:
12 alternate nostril breaths for vata;
16 cooling shitali breaths (curling up your tongue lengthwise and breathing through it) for pitta;
100 bhastrika (short, fast breaths) for kapha.
Meditation brings balance and peace. The method is often less important than the regular practice of clearing your mind, and becoming focused on the day and your goals.
Bathing is cleansing and refreshing. It removes sweat, dirt, and fatigue, brings energy to the body, and clarity to the mind. After drying off, you can choose to apply a light natural scent, essential oil, or perfume.
For vata the best scents to use are calming and warming
For pitta, cooling and relaxing
For kapha cheery and brightening scents
Now it is time for your breakfast!
Your meal should be light in the hot months (or if your agni, or digestive fire, is low), and more substantial in the cold months. Enjoy your day!