6 min read
by Katie Silcox
Regular, nature-inspired routines are the body’s best medicine. When I say routine, you may think of a bored factory worker tediously repeating the same movements on the line, day after day. But far from being life-draining, Ayurveda’s daily to-do list affirms life by embracing the idea that routine asks us to remember the sacred. What would your life look like if every repetitive act were done as a prayer to inner and outer Divinity? If we are able to taste even the tiniest drop of the beautiful mystery of life as we brush our teeth or chop vegetables, we come close to heavenly bliss right here on Earth. Try doing the suggested routines in this chapter with a sense of the sacred, but do not feel guilty if you don’t get them right every day. In fact, it’s better to take a few of the suggestions and work with them until they become second nature, rather than trying to do everything at once, failing miserably, and sending yourself to guilty town.
Aligning with Daily Subtlety
It’s easy to get excited about a new program. You feel supported and ready to make changes. The same thing happens when we go on a great retreat or a workshop with an inspiring teacher. We feel juiced up and ready to make the changes that will bring us closer to our goals in life. But what happens? Over time, the bright fire burns out and we lose the momentum. We fall into the old routine because it is familiar and comfortable. A daily routine will keep your efforts consistent. Ayurvedic texts call daily routine a dinacharya. I’m giving you my version of this routine, tailored to a modern lady’s life. Print this baby up. Post it in your bathroom or on your fridge until practicing it becomes second nature!
Starting the Day with Love for Yourself
Your daily routine begins the night before: Getting in bed by 10:00 or 10:30 pm (or a little later in the summer) will help you start the morning off right.
Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day. Eat in a pleasant, calm place without distraction.
Take some time to bless the food prior to eating. After eating, if you can, lie down on your left side for 5–20 minutes. This is ideal. Why? Because it helps the digestive organs do their work to assimilate the meal. If you are at work, even just leaning to the left side in your chair will be helpful.
Afternoon/Early Evening Routines
One afternoon routine that helps you deeply relax into your evening is the practice of yoga nidra—a yogi nap. See the resources section for a recording from Para Yoga’s Rod Stryker. It’s also nice to do this prior to dinner, just before sunset.
Eat lightly at night. Having your last meal before sundown, and at least 3 hours before bedtime, will ensure better sleep. If you don’t feel hungry, drink one of my nighty-night tonics in the Kitchen Pharmacy appendix of this book.
There is no excuse for us to not be sleeping. Women need sleep. Men need sleep. Everybody on the planet needs 7-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Just as we need to exercise, we also need to surrender into rest.
It is impossible to accomplish your goals if you are chronically sleep deprived. Plus, your mind and body use sleep as the washing machine for the subconscious mind. If we aren’t slipping into deep dreamtime every night, much of our toxic, unprocessed emotions and experiences don’t get drained away. As Dr. Robert Svoboda says, “Sleep is known as the wet nurse of society.” Raise your hand if you feel like you need to be wet-nursed.
Ayurveda offers an ideal way to transition from the activity of the day into the sacred chamber of sleep. Following these routines will make sleep come effortlessly, and will help keep you asleep through the night:
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