What is the Daily Rhythm?
We live in a fast-paced, high-tech, and electricity-ruled world. There are so many distractions, bright shiny objects, opportunities, and entertainment all the time. In trying to do everything, please everyone, burn the candle on both ends, and disregard our bodily self-care needs, we end up overwhelmed, exhausted, burnt out, and often sick and diseased. Life is moving more quickly than ever before and we’re becoming more and more disconnected from our own internal, natural rhythms and circadian clock.
John Douillard, a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine, reports that the most recent “Circadian Medicine” research suggests that human genes have lost the ability to perceive and stay in tune with the circadian rhythms of nature. That’s crazy pants, insane if you ask me!!! Our human genes have actually lost the ability to be in integrity with themselves. So where does this leave us?
We need to get in tune with and follow the rhythms of the day.
The Daily Rhythm, or Dinacharya in Sanskrit, means “to follow the rhythms of the day.”
Ayurveda, the 5000+ year-old sister science to yoga, recognizes Dinacharya as the key to vibrant health. The human body thrives when it is in alignment to the rhythms of nature and it suffers when it is not. Think of it this way...who keeps the beat in a band? You guessed it - the drummer. What happens if the drummer loses the beat, or falls off his stool? Yep- the whole band eventually goes pear shaped. Nature's like the steady, predictable cool dude in the background, minding his own business and having a party in his head. All we have to do, to live our best life possible- is follow his beat.
I’ve been a yoga teacher for nearly 20 years. Life has taken me down different paths where I taught less and redirected my focus onto other passions, careers and children. That said, I’ve always been pretty “health focused”....or so I thought. I ate healthy, organic, whole foods, I exercised regularly, I meditated sporadically. I’ve practiced and studied yoga, asana, yoga texts, and numerous other philosophies around spiritual growth for more than 20 years. Not until the past three years, have I really delved into Ayurveda (the science of living) and it’s deep connection with Yoga. Even in my numerous Yoga teacher trainings, Ayurveda has never been given the time and focus it deserves.
Here’s the thing -- each of us is a part of nature. Nature is a part of us. There’s no separation, there’s no difference! As much as some us would like to think that we’re an exception to this rule -- it just ain’t possible. Nobody is getting a “hall pass” on this one folks. Sure, you may get away with more for a certain period of time, perhaps your teens and 20’s. Eventually though, going against nature’s rhythms, burning the candle on both ends, abusing your digestive system, and disregarding your senses is going to catch up with you. It’s going to wrestle you to the floor, head lock ya, and pin you down ‘til you face this simple truth. No freebies here, dude!
To truly THRIVE and to experience OPTIMAL health in YOUR body, mind, and spirit -- aligning your internal body/energy clock with that of nature’s is an absolute MUST! To be able to actually follow the rhythms of the day and not feel that we have to lead -- how awesome is that!!!
Resistance is futile!
Some of you may be contesting and thinking, “I feel good, I’m healthy, strong, and get enough sleep.” Here’s the thing -- you only know what you know. If you think that “optimal thrive” is something you can force or experience without this basic attunement, you simply just don’t know the difference.
I know it sounds harsh, and I would’ve told me to stick a sock in it 10 years ago, too. I’ve now spent enough time experimenting with the 10 daily habits of Dinacharya, comparing and contrasting, and testing what I can and can’t get away with. I’m happy to report -- it’s 100% true.
My latest test…..Spring break last month with two kids for two weeks, relatives in my house, the Easter bunny, friends visiting from out of town, a 20th year wedding anniversary celebration and a husband that landed two days before it all started after being away for two weeks…...and that’s just the beginning.
To put it mildly, my routine was a little put off. I wasn’t going to bed before 10pm most nights, I wasn’t eating before 6pm most nights. I was indulging in foods and drinks that I know do not support me in waking up early and having my precious morning routine and feeling vibrant, motivated, and excited for my day. I didn’t take the time to take care of me, my business, or my own needs, as I was focusing more on everyone else. My energy was low, my mind was foggy, and I felt out of integrity with what I knew and how I wanted to feel.
Yes -- life happens, holidays happen, kids have breaks, people get sick, businesses are built and collapse, babies are born, people divorce… you get my point. When we are energetically aligned with the natural energetic clock of life we THRIVE, but when we’re not, we suffer.
For me, I know what it feels like to align, so when I don’t, I feel it ten-fold in every level of my being. What was my “I feel good” ten years ago, today is my “I feel like crap.” The scale has shifted. The beautiful thing though, is now I know how to get myself back on track -- and fast. My bounce-back is awesome, simply because I have the tools to reset -- and so can you.
Getting back on track.
As a culture we need to DO LESS. It’s all about SIMPLIFYING, STREAMLINING and STEPPING INTO THE CURRENT that is your life. I’m sure I’m not the only that has spent a good part of my life pushing boulders up cliffsides. When we attune to the daily rhythms, life just gets easier, energy increases and flows more freely, and time and space open up so that you can do what you’re put on this earth to do…. whatever that is.
Most people are unaware that:
Just as important as what you eat, is when you eat.
Not all sleep is created equally.
Snacking wreaks havoc on our health on many levels.
When you wake up and what you do upon rising, has a massive impact on your day, your health, your mental capabilities, your attitude, and your life.
We need to take care of our senses -- and there’s more than five.
Meditation is mandatory for optimal mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Each of us requires a different diet, different exercise, and different practices to optimize our life experience based on our cellular makeup or Constitution.
Our digestion has a massive effect on the quality of our overall health.
Below is a very basic outline of the daily habits for optimal health and wellness, which will connect you with the daily rhythm.
The 10 Daily Habits of Dinacharya in a nutshell:
1. Arise early in the morning, preferably before sunrise.
2. Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper, which stimulates digestion and elimination.
3. Drink a large glass of warm water (preferably guzzle, not sip), with lemon if preferred.
4. Evacuate your bowels and bladder, ideally within the first hour of waking.
5. Do a 10-20 minute breath, body practice. This could be yoga, walking, H.I.I.T, jumping jacks, treadmill, etc. Get out of your sleepy head and into your body.
6. Do 5-20 minutes of meditation (aka: sit in silence).
7. Take a shower or bath.
8. Perform oil pulling for 10-15 minutes while showering (great, but not necessary to start)
9. If you have time, enjoy a daily abhyanga (self-massage with oil) before or after shower.
10. Drink a green smoothie on an empty stomach. If you’re still hungry 20 minutes later, eat an easily digestible breakfast. It should be enough to get you through to lunch without snacking.
1. Have a good lunch. Make it satiating and yummy with enough good fats to get you through to supper without snacking. Sit, relax, and enjoy your meal.
2. Enjoy a brief rest, then take a walk or do something that’s easy but moves the body and facilitates digestion.
Make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Sit and enjoy it.
Eat an earlier and lighter supper.. Good ideas are salads, soups, and one-pot meals that are easy to digest. “Sup” means supplemental. Eat early so you can avoid going to bed with undigested food in your stomach.
Move your body. Do housework, go for a walk with your family, jump on the trampoline, play, bond with loved ones.
All screens should be turned off at least two hours before bed.
Establish a relaxing wind-down routine. This might include bathing, self-massage with oils, reading, journaling, meditation, foam rolling, playing cards with your kids, yoga, etc.
Lights out by 10pm. Your body and mind will get the rest needed to wake up early with the sun, feeling refreshed, energized, positive, and ready to optimize your next day.
There are very specific reasons why we want to eat at specific times of the day, go to bed before 10pm, wake with the sun, scrape our tongues, have regular bowel movements, meditate, move first thing in the morning, etc. I will delve deeper into each of these practices in my blogs, newsletter, and on my mindbodybright (glow with soul) Facebook page. Follow my Facebook page and sign up for my newsletter to keep getting more information and details on the DAILY RHYTHM and its practices -- it only gets better!