Ayurvedic Rhythms: How to use the Ayurvedic Clock to improve your Daily and Nightly Regimen
Ayurveda has been practiced in India for thousands of years. It is the science of life, a study and manual in best practices that lays out everything you need to know to balance and improve your daily physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Ayurveda is a science and lifestyle and as studies have shown, its practices have tried and true results.
At AVYA, we use ingredients in our products that have been proven over millennia to heal and rejuvenate skin. We know that healthy radiant skin plays a part in feeling your best, so we incorporate tried and true ancient ayurvedic botanicals like peony, neem, and turmeric into our products to balance the potent medical-grade actives in our formulations to bring you gentle yet effective skincare.
Ayurveda has emphasized the importance of a connection with nature for thousands of years. However, western scientists are just now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the human body to stay connected to the rhythms of nature. Disconnection from circadian rhythms is called chronodisruption and can be linked to a host of health concerns, including poor cognitive function, mood and sleep disorders, obesity, and increased symptoms of inflammatory autoimmune skin disorders among several other conditions.
We are transitioning to Winter, a season of rest and rejuvenation, so we want to share some information with you about how to integrate ayurvedic rhythms into your life to improve everything from your sleep and mood to your energy and skin’s appearance.
Doshas and the five elements are used to make up the Ayurvedic Clock
Ayurveda is built around the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and ether. Ether, according to AyurvedaCollege.com, is the space that the other 4 elements occupy, and is also part of all 4 elements, and is defined more-so by the qualities it lacks. For instance, ether is considered to be light (weightless) because it lacks the weight of water and earth and it is cold because it lacks the heat attributed to the element of fire.
These elements combine in three unique ways to make up doshas, or body types, that control all aspects of human life and health.
Earth, Water, Ether
As noted on Healthline, Ayurveda teaches that when doshas are balanced, the body, mind and spirit are at their best.
Understanding the Ayurvedic Clock and how to use each cycle
The Ayurvedic clock can be broken into two larger cycles: the sun cycle and the moon cycle. It is then further broken into six 4-hour zones that are governed by doshas:
Cycle 1 - Kapha
Cycle 4 - Kapha
Cycle 2 - Pitta
Cycle 5 - Pitta
Cycle 3 - Vata
Cycle 6 - Vata
According to Nature.com circadian rhythm is an internal clock, also popularly referred to as a sleep-wake cycle, that governs most earthly beings including other animals, plants, and even microbes. These rhythms regulate our sleepiness, wakefulness, hunger, and many of our hormones.
Ayurveda pays close attention to these cycles which govern dinacharya, daily activities based on circadian rhythms, that make up the Ayurvedic clock. As Winter months commence, there is less sunlight which can impact our circadian rhythms. Deepak Chopra’s site, Chopra.com, notes that by following set times for activities, we can offset the imbalance created by seasonal changes. We’ve listed a few ways to incorporate Ayurvedic rhythms into your daily routine year-round to improve balance in your daily life.
- 5:30-6am: Rise before or with the sun. Dry, light, airy Vata, rules the cycle from 2-6am. This is a great time to wake up. Ayurveda teaches that waking at this time after a good night’s sleep will produce a clear, productive mind. This is a great time for meditation and exercise.
- 6am-10am: Cool, heavy, earthy, Kapha dosha rules this cycle of the day. This is a time for progress, so have a light breakfast and check off your daily tasks and work.
- 10am-2pm: This cycle is ruled by fiery Pitta. According to Ayurveda, this is the best time to eat your largest meal of the day as it will be more easily digested. This is also a great time to complete the bulk of your work and strategize.
- 2pm-6pm: We now begin the second major cycle of the day, the moon cycle, returning to Vata. The light, airy energy of this cycle makes it an optimal time to create, exercise and make a task list for the next day.
- 6pm-10pm: Kapha, a heavier energy, is back at play as the sun has set. This time is best for having a light dinner and taking time to unwind.
- 10pm-2am: Once again, Pitta’s hot, sharp energy is in charge. It is best to go to bed at the beginning of this cycle. During this time, your body will digest your light supper and your mind will also process your thoughts from the previous day. This is a restorative time for your body.
How to use the Ayurvedic clock to create a beneficial regimen
Taking cues in our daily lives from these Ayurvedic rhythms can create lasting benefits for our physical, mental and spiritual health. Change can sometimes feel a bit daunting, however, even making small changes to your daily and nightly regimens can help you implement these rhythms into your life. Here are a few ways to do that:
Create a daily/nightly ritual.
Tailor your eating habits.
Take advantage of the light, open energy of Vata cycles.
A great way to start your day, and similarly to wind down and prepare your body for sleep, is by cleansing and preparing your skin. Having set morning and evening skincare routines that you stick to is not only beneficial for your outer appearance though. These rituals can signal your brain that it’s time to wind down for sleep and can give you an energy boost in the morning. AVYA’s Best-selling Night-time Skincare Set is gentle, hydrating and perfect for preparing your skin for a restorative sleep cycle.
Ayurveda dictates that it is best to eat a light breakfast and a light supper with your heaviest meal during the middle of the day. Adhering to this one simple suggestion can have profound effects on your energy and sleep cycles
Vata cycles occur twice per day and are the best times for creativity, meditation and/or prayer, and exercise. Use these times to improve and maintain your mental health.