Why is routine important for the body

Why is sticking to a routine important and how Ayurveda helps us follow the natural rhythms and be healthy

sunrise in Mysore

Routine is the best thing for our body. Waking up and going to bed at the same time, having regular meals, exercising at the same time every day. The body needs to have a rythm in order to function well. If you mess up with it and the rythm is disrupted several problems arise such as sleep disorders, stress, daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration, digestive issues etc. Jet lag after travelling overseas is an extreme example of this but we all impose mini jet lags to our bodies everytime we mess up with our rythm.

According to Ayurveda, “Dinacharya”, which means daily routine, helps us stay connected to our circadian rythms and to the rythms of nature. The cycles of sun and moon should be taken into consideration while setting our daily routine. This is because different doshas are predominant at different times of the day and according to that, different activities are suitable for every particular time.

A few basic principles of Dinacharya are the following:

  • Wake up two hours before sunrise. This is the when vata dosha is predominant and the vibrations are the highest, which makes us feel refreshed and energized.
  • Exercise between 6 and 10am. This is when kapha dosha is predominant and the body is the strongest physically
  • Eat a small breakfast, then lunch between 12-1pm. This is when pitta dosha is predominant and our digestive fire is at the highest level so lunch should be the largest meal of the day
  • Avoid long naps after lunch
  • Sunset is the best time for meditation
  • Have a light dinner between 6-7pm and go to bed 2-3 hours after. Avoid going to bed straight after lunch as this can lead to digestive issues and troubled sleep. It is recommended to massage the feet and head with oil before going to bed.

This might sound like a very strict routine to stick to since we all have busy lives, work responsibilities and the need for a social life as well. Also it is something quite difficult for the mind to accept since the mind craves adventure, excitement, constant change and stimulation, otherwise it gets bored.

Still, when I think about the times when I feel at my best, it is when I’m in India and follow this routine. I always wake up by myself just before my alarm, never drink coffee because I feel a strong energy from the second I open my eyes, my sleep is uninterrupted and my body feels strong and balanced.

Give it a try! Maybe for 2-3 weeks at first and see how it feels for you. Chances are you will feel the difference in energy levels and quality of sleep! Even if you cannot stick to it religiously it is useful to have it as a map and example and then make small adjustments when needed.