Dinacharya is a fundamental concept in Ayurveda which refers to daily routines or rituals that are recommended for maintaining overall health and well-being. The term “Dinacharya” is derived from two Sanskrit words: “Dina,” meaning day, and “Acharya,” meaning activity or conduct. According to Ayurvedic principles, aligning one’s daily activities with the natural cycles of the day is essential for promoting physical, mental, and spiritual balance.
The practice of Dinacharya encompasses a variety of activities tailored to different times of the day, such as morning, noon, and night. These routines are designed to harmonize the individual with the natural circadian rhythms and the changing qualities of each time period. It sets the tone for the entire day, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. It gives the body, mind, and spirit the chance to ground, cleanse and align. A typical Dinacharya may include activities like waking up early, cleansing the body through different morning practices, engaging in regular exercise or yoga, consuming balanced meals at appropriate times, , meditation, prayers, work, and sleep.
By following Dinacharya, individuals aim to support their bodily functions, enhance digestion, promote mental clarity, and cultivate a sense of discipline and mindfulness. The personalized nature of Dinacharya allows individuals to adapt these daily routines based on their unique constitutional types or doshas, ensuring that the practices are tailored to their specific needs and imbalances. Dinacharya is a cornerstone of Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations, emphasizing the importance of aligning daily activities with nature’s rhythms to achieve holistic well-being.
The Winter season in Ayurveda consists of Hemanta Ritu(pre-winter) and Shishir Ritu (winter), which falls between November to February. During this time of the year, many people suffer from joint pains, winter depression, heart problems, cold, cough, dry skin, and scalp, etc. Ayurveda recommends some Dinacharya tips to be followed during winter months to keep you healthy in winters. Let’s discuss in detail your dinacharya for winters :
Wake up early: Whatever maybe the season, ayurveda recommends waking up before the sunrise to synchronize your body’s natural rhythm with the day-night cycle. With electricity readily available and lights ‘on’ in our homes all the time, people are waking up and sleeping at the time they wish. But as per ayurveda it is not recommended if you want good mental and physical health.
Elimination of body waste : Expelling waste out of the body is an important step in the morning. Use bathroom and never resist the urge for elimination. You may drink some warm water preferably kept in a copper container to help in the process. After the bathroom job you may brush your teeth and do nasal cleansing (Jal neti) using warm saline to cleanse your nasal passages.
This helps prevent respiratory issues and keeps the nasal passages moisturized. You can lubricate your nasal passage with a little oil to protect against infections in winters. After this, Oil pulling can be done using sesame oil or coconut oil. Swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 5-10 minutes, then spit it out. This helps remove toxins and promotes oral health.
Abhyanga (self-massage): Perform self-massage with warm sesame oil or olive oil every day. This helps in maintaining skin health, improving circulation, and preventing dryness.
Daily bath : Bath is a very important step in ayurveda. Bathing should preferably be done everyday in the morning. It is not recommended to use hot water for bathing. Cool water is refreshing. You may bring down the coldness of water and keep it at bearable temperature.
Warm and nourishing breakfast: Choose warm and nourishing foods for breakfast made of seasonal produce and avoid cold foods and drinks. A rich, healthy breakfast is highly recommended in ayurveda. It is considered as the most important meal of the day and a good meal ensures energy throughout the day.
Staying hydrated: Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking warm water, beverages, and herbal teas throughout the day. This helps in maintaining hydration and aids digestion.
Balanced meals: Winter has Vata quality as it is comprised of cold, dry, light, rough, and erratic qualities (gunas). To counter this favour warm, moist, well-cooked, and rich foods in winter. Focus on warm, cooked, and nourishing meals. Include a variety of seasonal vegetables, whole grains, and moderate amounts of healthy fats. Millets are very healthy in winters. They are high in nutrition as compared to wheat and may be helpful in building immunity in winters.
Ghee and butter are recommended to be added in foods for strength and cold protection. You may prepare some dry fruit laddoos with your favourite nuts, seeds, and dates. Favor spices and herbs like ginger, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cumin, ajwain, saffron and cinnamon. Herbs like liquorice, holy basil are particularly good to balance ‘Kapha’ in winters. Chyawanprash made with amla, honey, ghee, and herbs like saffron is highly recommended to be taken with milk every day. It is an ayurvedic formulation to strengthen immunity in winters.
Lunchtime: Eat your main meal around noon when digestion is strongest. Include a variety of flavours to balance the doshas. Sweet, sour, and salty tastes are mostly favoured in winters.
Light dinner: Have a light dinner at least 2-3 hours before bedtime. Opt for easily digestible foods, such as soups, stews, or steamed vegetables. Dinner must be the lightest meal of the day. Ideally, you should not eat dinner after 7 pm. You may have a glass of turmeric or saffron milk.
Bedtime routine: Establish a calming bedtime routine. Consider activities like reading, gentle stretching, or meditation to promote relaxation.
Keep warm: Dress appropriately for the weather to avoid excess exposure to cold. Use warm blankets and keep your living space well-heated.
Herbal teas: Incorporate warming and immune-boosting herbal teas into your routine, such as ginger tea, Tulsi tea, or cinnamon tea. Ayurvedic teas are available in market which are a blend of various herbs good for winters.
Moderate exercise: Engage in regular, moderate exercise to keep your circulation healthy. Indoor activities like yoga or walking are good options. Do not indulge in strenuous exercises in winters.
Sleep hygiene: Ensure you get enough sleep during the winter months. Nights are longer during winters, so going to bed early is recommended for a good , refreshing night sleep. Meditation and prayer before sleep is highly recommended for a peaceful sleep.
These recommendations are general guidelines, and it’s always advisable to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for personalized advice based on your individual constitution (Prakriti) and imbalances (Vikriti).