Dinacharya: Ayurvedic Daily Routine

Do you want to avoid all diseases in your life? Do you want to live a healthier, happier and longer life?

If yes, this article is going to be an important asset in your life. The facts that I will discuss in this article will help you to stay healthy and happy forever. It will further help to prevent all types of mental as well as physical ailments in your life. The tips in this article are based on ayurvedic principles.

What is Dinacharya?

Dinacharya (दिनचर्या) refers to ayurvedic daily routine recommendations that educate how to live a healthier, happier and longer life and avoid all diseases.

Ayurvedic Daily routine helps in maintaining balance and harmony in your body and nature by regulating your biological clock and advocating a healthy lifestyle. It also helps in proper digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. The discipline that you adopt in daily routine also improves self-esteem, brings happiness and promotes longevity.

Let’s start with the daily routine steps:

Wake Up in Brahma Muhurta

ब्राह्म मुहूर्त उत्तिष्ठेत् स्वस्थो रक्षार्थमायुषः।।

Ayurveda recommends waking up early in the morning. According to ayurveda, you should wake up 96 minutes (around 1.5 hours) before sunrise. It is called Brahma Muhurta in ayurveda and yoga science. This is the perfect time for waking up for a healthy person.

However, the time of sunrise may vary according to season and country. So, you should fix your time for waking up for supporting the rhythm of your biological clock. For example, if you are living in India, then 4:30 am is a perfect time to wake up for healthy people.

Timings can be changed according to your body’s requirement during disease. If you suffer from any Kapha Disease, then you must get up by 4 am in the morning.

If you suffer from any Pitta Disease, then you should wake up before 5 am.

If you suffer from any Vata Disease, then you should wake up by 5:30 am in the morning.

Children, pregnant women, and aged people may require more rest, so they can get up just before sunrise.

However, if you don’t suffer from any disease and want to keep yourself healthy and happy, you should wake up by 4:30 am in the morning. If you cannot get up so early, you should try to wake up as early as possible, but you must wake up at least before sunrise.

Don’t sleep for a longer duration after sunrise, otherwise, the stool in the bowel starts spoiling your health. It will start causing gas, bloating, acid reflux, and several other diseases later in the day. If you don’t experience these symptoms yet, they may appear later in your life.

Expressing Gratitude

Yoga Ratnakar recommends you should express your gratitude toward God by reciting its name for 1-2 minutes immediately after waking up.

You can meditate for 1 – 2 minutes and feel the surroundings and nature. You can also do prayer. If you want to do prayer, it should be in your own words.

The most important thing when you do any of these rituals, you should feel happiness, peacefulness and kindness in your mind and keep a sweet smile on your face. This thing is more essential for living a stress-free life and improving your memory, intelligence, mental capabilities and analytic skills.

Evacuation

शरीरचिन्तां तिर्वर्त्य कृतशौचविधिस्ततः॥१॥

After waking up, you will feel the urge for urination and bowel evacuation. Follow your urge and rush to the toilet for evacuating your bowel and urinary bladder. In most people, this is an autonomic reflex for a bowel movement and urination in the morning. This urge should commence on its own. Do not force to evacuate the bowel. Sometimes, you may need to walk a few steps before getting this urge.

If you suffer from constipation or you don’t get the natural urge in the morning, you must treat it with healthy foods and Triphala Rasayana. In such cases, you should follow the rules of Vagbhata’s Triphala Rasayana. According to him, you should take 3 grams Triphala Churna along with 2.5 grams of ghee and 5 grams of honey in the evening after taking the evening meal. Following this Rasayana, you will start getting a bowel evacuation urge in the morning. You can continue this Rasayana throughout life. Because Triphala contains powder of three fruits – Amla (आंवला), Behera (बहेड़ा) and Harad (हरड़), which also provide nourishing and antioxidant benefits like other fruits. It also helps in the prevention of several diseases.

After evacuating bowel and urinary bladder, wash your hands and face with cold water. It can be your tap water or water kept in an earthen pot.

Ayurveda also recommends washing face with medicated water or milk. I will discuss this in my later articles.

You should also wash your hands before and after eating food, after cleaning nasal discharge and dried rheum from eyes and after touching hair or another person and after returning home.

Drinking Water

Acamana: Sipping Water

Vagbhata in Ashtanga Sangrah recommends Acamana. Acamana is an ancient ritual of sipping water on a specific occasion. He recommends sipping a small amount of water:

  1. After getting up from sleep.
  2. After sneezing.
  3. After taking a bath.
  4. At the beginning and end of meals.
  5. At the commencement of worship.
  6. After traveling.
  7. After the usual daily activities.

How much water should I take for Acamana?

The water that you can hold in one hand making a concavity with your fingers and palm, you should take it for Acamana.

Ushapan: Drinking Water in Morning

Drinking water in the morning in large quantity is not written in Dinacharya by Charak, Vagbhata and Sushruta. It is mentioned by Nighantu Ratnakar in Rasayana Chapter. Drinking water in the morning is a kind of ayurvedic water therapy, which helps to prevent and manage several diseases. So, it is called Rasayana (rejuvenation therapy). Here is a brief introduction:

Timing of Drinking Water in the morning Dawn – a few minutes (about 20-30 minutes) before sunrise.
Water quantity 8 Anjali #
Contraindications During panchakarma, Chest injuries, excessive hiccup, loss of appetite due to Kapha and Vata disorders, indigestion, abdominal heaviness or stiffness.

# Anjali means concavity formed by adjoining both hands. 8 Anjali means the quantity of water that you hold 8 times in the concavity formed by adjoining both hands. For example, if you can hold 50 ml water in 1 Anjali, then your drinkable water recommendation is 400 ml. The amount of water varies person-to-person.

Read More: Ushapan – Drinking Water in the Morning According to Ayurveda

Cleaning the Teeth

Use plant twigs or herbal tooth powder. Do not use any toothpaste.

Most people are using toothpaste, but ayurveda don’t recommend it. Ayurveda recommends the use of plant twigs or herbal powder for cleaning teeth.

Ayurveda recommends the use of astringent, bitter and pungent tree stems (twigs). You can use any of the following plant twigs:

Tree Twigs Most suitable for Body Type
Bargad (वट or बरगद) – Banyan – Ficus benghalensis Kapha and Pitta
Asana (आसन or साज) – Terminalia alata Kapha and Pitta
Arka (अर्क) – Calotropis procera Kapha
Khadira (catechu) – Acacia catechu Kapha, Pitta and Vata
Karanja – Pongamia pinnata Kapha and Vata
Karavira – Nerium indicum Kapha
Sarja -Vateria indica Pitta and Vata
Irimeda (Sweet acacia) – Acacia farnesiana Pitta and Kapha
Apamarga (अपामार्ग) – Achyranthes aspera Kapha and Vata
Malati (मालती) – Aganosma heynei
Arjuna – Terminalia arjuna Pitta and Kapha
Babul (Kikar) – Acacia arabica Pitta and Kapha
Neem – Azadirachta indica Pitta and Kapha

The twig should be straight, soft and healthy and without knots and leaves. The thickness of twig should be around that of your little finger. Tree twigs should be collected from the unpolluted area. They must not be foul smelling, sticky to teeth or dry.

Khadira stems can be used by anyone. A person with Pitta Body Type can use twigs of neem or arjuna tree. People with Vata-Pitta body type should use a stem of banyan (Bargad) tree. Vata body type people can use Khadira stem or Apamarga. twigs. People with Kapha body type should use Karaj stem. You can select the most suitable plant twigs for you according to the above table.

You can check your body type for free here: Ayurvedic Body Type Test.

Children should use the stem of the licorice (Mulethi) plant. People with Vata and Pitta body type can also use licorice stem. Neem or catechu (Khadira) stems provides additional benefits for people suffering from skin diseases.

Contraindications of Teeth Cleaning with Twigs

Who should not use tree twigs?

People suffering from the following diseases should not use plant twigs for cleansing the teeth:

  • Indigestion.
  • Vomiting.
  • Severe breathing trouble.
  • Persistent cough.
  • Fever.
  • Facial paralysis.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Heart diseases.
  • Eye diseases.
  • Diseases related to head.
  • Ear disorders.

In such cases, tooth powder should be used for cleaning the teeth.

Tooth Powder

We can understand, it is not possible for everyone to collect fresh plant twigs on a daily basis. So, ayurveda also provides a solution for it. You can use herbal tooth powder. Please do not use marketed products. It is better to prepare your tooth powder at home. Here is a recipe:

Triphala powder 25 grams
Khadira (Catechu) bark powder 25 grams
Arjuna bark powder 15 grams
Dalchini (Cinnamon) 15 grams
Green cardamom powder 15 grams
Clove powder 5 grams
Trikatu powder 5 grams
Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) 5 grams

Note: In the case of children, you can also add 25 grams of Yashtimadhu (Mulethi) Powder in this formulation.

How to Use Tooth Powder

  1. Take a small amount of tooth powder in your hand.
  2. Add some water or honey in it to make a paste.
  3. Now, do gentle massage of teeth and gums with this paste for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Then gargle with warm water and clean your mouth.
  5. If you suffer from pyorrhea or any gum or dental problems, then mix this powder in mustard oil instead of water or honey.

How Many Times Should You Clean Your Teeth?

According to Ayurveda, you should clean your teeth 3 times a day.

  1. In the morning after evacuating bowel and urinary bladder.
  2. After morning meal.
  3. After evening meal.

Check Here: How to Make Herbal Tooth Powder at Home

Gum Massage

After cleaning teeth, you should also do massage of gums with the fine herbal powder made of Kuth (Saussurea Lappa), Triphala, Trikatu and Trijataka.

Kuth or Kushta (Indian Costus Root) – Saussurea Lappa 10 grams
Triphala: Amla, Behera, Harad 30 grams
Trijataka: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Indian Bay Leaf 30 grams
Trikatu: Black Pepper, Long Pepper, Ginger 7 grams

How to Use

  1. Mix all ingredients in a given ratio.
  2. Then take 3 grams of this powder and add sufficient honey to it.
  3. Mix this powder with honey to make a thin paste.
  4. Apply this paste on gums and do gentle massage with the index finger for 3 to 5 minutes.

Note: If you use herbal tooth powder as recommended above, then you do not need this powder. Because herbal tooth powder can also be used for gums.

Cleaning Tongue

According to ayurveda, you should clean your tongue using tongue scraper made of copper, silver or gold. You can also use tongue cleaner made of wood or plant twig.

However, tongue scraper made of gold is considered best, silver is better, and copper is good. You can use any. Tongue cleaner made of copper and silver are easily available. You can buy any according to your affordability.

In most case, we recommend using a copper tongue scraper. It helps in removing bad breath, kills microbes and improves the function of taste buds. It is most suitable for Kapha Body Type people.

However, if you suffer from frequent mouth ulcer, sour taste in the mouth, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer, GERD or any acid peptic disorder, then silver tongue scraper is best for you.  It is most suitable for people with Vata body type and Pitta body type.

Tongue scraper made of gold is more suitable for children and adults who have low immunity and frequently suffer from common cold, cough and fever. Regardless of the body type, anyone can use a gold tongue scraper. It also increases glow on face, improves memory, boosts intelligence and removes all toxins from the mouth.

Benefits of Tongue Cleaning

  • Tongue cleaning removes dirt from the tongue.
  • It removes bad taste and smell of the tongue, mouth and teeth.
  • It produces better taste in the mouth.
  • It is also helpful in the prevention and treatment of diseases related to tongue, mouth and teeth.
  • After using a tongue cleaner, you will experience the feeling of softness and cleanliness in the mouth.

Splashing Cold Water into Eyes

Vagbhata recommends splashing cold water into eyes in the morning every day during the summer and autumn seasons. It helps to improve vision and reduces tension and tiredness of the eyes. But he did not talk about what should be done in other seasons. So, splashing water into the eyes is only recommendable for two seasons – summer and autumn. In other seasons, you must avoid it.

How to Splash Water into Eyes

  1. Take water into your mouth.
  2. Keep the mouth filled with water.
  3. Now, take drinkable cold water (kept in the earthen pot overnight) in hands and splash water into the eyes.
  4. Repeat this process 5 times.

Precautions

  • Polluted or contaminated water can cause an eye infection. Therefore, water should be drinkable water and free from germs and dirt.
  • In ayurveda, cold water does not mean water kept in the refrigerator. It means water kept in the earthen pot overnight and this pot is kept in a place where natural air circulates. So, you must not use chilled or cold water kept in the refrigerator.
  • Splash water into eyes only in recommended seasons – summer and autumn. Don’t do it in other seasons. Some suggest splashing warm water into eyes during winter, but the use of warm water for eyes is not recommendable. It can cause harms to eyes instead of any benefits. If you require splashing water into eyes due to any reason in other seasons, use drinkable water with normal temperature.

Meditation & Pranama

After following above routines, the next step is meditation or chanting mantra for 108 times. Vagbhata recommends repeating the name of god for 108 times and ask to do Pranama to god and elder members of the family.

You can recite any name of a god or any mantra that provides you feeling of peacefulness, kindness, gracefulness and joyfulness.

In Sikhism, we chant Mool Mantra for 108 times or meditate for 17 minutes.

Instead of chanting mantra, you can also meditate for 17 minutes. 17 minutes meditation provides excellent results in the prevention of neurological disorders and psychosomatic diseases.

Meditation or chanting mantra may or may not relate to god, but it surely relates to mental health. It is also important to feel and understand the surrounding mother nature. Several research studies have shown positive effects of meditation and mantra chanting in the prevention and treatment of stress disorders, depression and anxiety.

In breathing meditation, you just need to watch the process of inhaling (breathe in) and exhaling (breathe out) for a couple of minutes.

If you cannot do this, you can practice deep breathing. Take a deep breathe in and hold it in the abdomen for a few seconds and release the breath out.

You should also express your gratitude toward mother nature by saying thank you for a wonderful life, thank you for a wonderful day or anything that you want to say to express your gratitude.

During meditation, chanting mantra or deep breathing or while expressing your gratitude toward mother nature, keep a smile on your face and feel joyfulness, gracefulness, kindness and peacefulness in your mind. It is more important than anything else.

You should also Pranama to your elders in your family. They could be your parents and grandparents. Pranama is a respectful salutation, which is done by adjoining both hands, bowing the head and saying Pranama (प्रणाम), Namaskar (नमस्कार) or Sat Shri Akaal (सत श्री अकाल). Whichever tradition you follow, you can do it accordingly.

Pranama helps in better communication in the family and improves the relation between family members. It also makes a person feel connected with each other and their importance and respectfulness in the family. It is most important in terms of social health.

Nasya (Nasal Therapy)

Charak Samhita recommends putting a few drops of Anu Thailam in each nostril every day in the morning. This process is called Nasya or nasal therapy in ayurveda. Charak advocates it during three seasons:

  1. Raining Season.
  2. Autumn.
  3. Spring.

He further advises that Nasya should be done during clear weather when there is no cloud in the sky.

Note: Vagbhata has no restriction on its use according to season. So, question is – can I take nasya during other seasons? Yes, you just need to check that the weather is clear and there is no rainy cloud in the sky.

How to Do Nasya

  1. Lie down with straight back and tilt your head slightly back, so your nose opens towards the sky.
  2. Instill 3 drops of Anu Thailam in each nostril. Put drops lateral side of each nostril so that drops move into the nose through the lateral wall of each nostril.
  3. Inhale or sniff deeply for 1-2 times. Then take rest for about 5 minutes in the same position.

Benefits of Nasya

Nasya has many benefits as follows:

  • It helps in the prevention of diseases of eyes, ears and nose.
  • If you take nasya on a regular basis, it will help to prevent white or grey hair and hair fall. It also promotes hair growth.
  • It is highly useful in the prevention and treatment of headache, torticollis, facial paralysis, lockjaw, rhinitis, hemicrania and tremors.
  • It improves the strength of the neck.
  • It provides nourishment to blood vessels, joints, ligaments and tendons of head and neck.
  • Your face will become more cheerful and plumpy.
  • The voice becomes sweet and more stabilized.
  • Sense organs become clearer.
  • A person who regularly take Nasya never suffer from head and neck diseases even in old age.

Precautions & Contraindications

A person should not administer Nasya in the following conditions:

  • Immediately after drinking water.
  • After drinking alcohol.
  • After eating food.
  • After head wash.
  • After blood donation or blood-letting therapy.
  • For the first 4 days of the common cold (acute phase).
  • Patients with asthma and cough.
  • When the weather is not clear.
  • People who stop the natural urge of urination and bowel movement should not take Nasya.

Gandusha (Ayurvedic Mouth Wash)

After nasya, Vagbhata recommends Gandusha. Gandusha is an ayurvedic mouth wash. It has 3 types:

  1. Oil Gandusha (Oil Pulling).
  2. Decoction Gandusha.
  3. Warm Water Gandusha.
Type of Gandusha Indications & Benefits
Oil Gandusha or Oil Pulling (Oils: Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil or Arimedadi Thailam) The roughness of lips, Cracking of lips, Dryness of mouth, Diseases of Teeth and disorders of the voice.
Decoction Gandusha (Herbs for decoction: Khadira and Irimeda) Loss of appetite, bad taste and excessive salivation.
Warm Water Gandusha Make the mouth clear.

Oil pulling is originated from ayurveda and become famous in the West due to its huge beneficial effects in oral hygiene. Gandusha also alleviates throat irritation caused by Nasya.

How to Do Gandusha & Oil Pulling

  1. Take warm Arimedadi Thailam or coconut oil into your mouth.
  2. Keep the mouth filled with it for a while.

Note: The procedure of taking all types of Gandusha remains the same, but only medicine changes.

Abhyanga (Body Massage)

According to ayurveda, morning massage helps to delay aging, reduces tiredness, prevents Vata disorders, improves eyesight, nourishes the body, increases lifespan and improves sleep quality.

Abhyanga mitigates vata dosha, promotes strength, improves sleep quality, increases the firmness of the hairs and boost growth in children. It also improves skin tone and tactile sensation. Therefore, you must massage your body on a daily basis.

It is also useful in the prevention and treatment of body pains, tiredness, debility and old age disability.

Which oil should I use for Massage?

Yoga Ratnakar recommends the use of mustard oil for Abhyanga or any of medicated ayurvedic oils.

Some of the most useful oils include:

  1. Maha Narayan Oil.
  2. Dhanwantharam oil.
  3. Maharajaprasarini Thailam.
  4. Balaswagandhadi Thailam.
  5. Chandanadi Thailam.

However, you can use any oil according to your personal needs. However, mustard oil is best for daily Abhyanga.

Before using mustard oil, boil it once. Then added a pinch of turmeric powder in it when it is hot. Leave it for 24 hours. After 24 hours, filter the oil and use this oil for daily massage. This process is not required for medicated oils.

How to Take Abhyanga

  1. First, apply oil to the head and ear. Do a gentle head and ear massage for 5 minutes.
  2. Then apply oil on feet and get a proper feet massage of about 5 minutes.
  3. Then apply oil to other parts of the body and get a gentle massage for every organ. This process may take 20 to 30 minutes.

Contraindications of Abhyanga or Massage

People suffering from the following health conditions should not get oil massage or abhyanga:

  • Kapha disorders.
  • Fever.
  • Indigestion.
  • Ama Dosha.
  • After taking purgatives or emetics.
  • Obesity.

Pre-Workout Massage

Ayurveda recommends both pre-workout (before exercise) and post-workout (after exercise) body massage. First, discuss the pre-workout massage. After discussing exercise, I will talk about post-workout massage.

Pre-workout massage helps in warming up the muscles and make them more flexible. It prevents muscle tension and strengthens the body. Gentle massage with medicated ayurvedic oils also helps to prevent muscle soreness that can occur after a workout in a few people, especially sportspeople. It further speeds up cell recovery and reduces inflammation.

However, massage should be gentle. Deep tissue massage is not recommendable before a workout. The procedure of massage is already given above.

Exercise

Your body is not made for a sedentary lifestyle. Due to the current scenario, most people are suffering from lifestyle disorders. These diseases are a result of a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating. You eat more than you require and do no physical activity that produces sweating. Therefore, daily exercise becomes more important for everyone.

You must do the exercise according to your physical capacity. Normally, 45 minutes of daily exercise helps in the prevention of lifestyle diseases. If you never did any exercise or physical work before, you should gradually increase the duration of exercise to 45 minutes over several weeks.

In ayurveda, exercise is termed as Vyayama. Activities that produce tiredness in the body are known as Vyayama. So, you should stop doing exercise when you feel tired.

In winters (cold season), people who eat more fatty foods must exercise half of their capacity. Half of the capacity means when they start feeling the dryness of the mouth and get sweating on the forehead, nose, axillae and joints of the limbs. It is the time when you should stop exercising in winters.

Note: Whatever the recommendations, you must listen to your body and stay within your limits.

Benefits of Exercise

  1. Exercise increases work capacity.
  2. It produces a sensation of lightness in the body.
  3. It aids in improving and having a good appetite.
  4. It reduces excess body fats.
  5. Your body becomes firm and you gain more strength in your muscles.
  6. It helps to prevent constipation, diabetes, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, obesity, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases and several other diseases.

Who should not Exercise?

  • People suffering from Vata and Pitta disorders should avoid exercise.
  • Young children.
  • Old persons.
  • Patients suffering from indigestion.

Side Effects of Doing Exercise beyond Limits

If you do exercise beyond your limits, you may suffer from the following health conditions:

  • Excessive thirst.
  • Emaciation.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Fatigue (even without doing anything).
  • Cough.
  • Fever.
  • Sometimes, excessive exercise also leads to vomiting.

Post-Workout Massage

After exercise, you must get a body massage. Ayurveda strongly recommends getting full body oil massage after exercise. In ayurveda, oil massage before exercise and after exercise both are equally important.

Post-workout massage helps to speed up muscle recovery. It also improves flexibility and strength. It reduces muscle soreness, which may occur when you exercise. It relieves soft tissue tension.

Udvartana Massage

Massage with a fine powder of astringent herbs is called Udvartana. This type of massage is helpful for liquefying fats underneath the skin. It also mitigates the Kapha Dosha. It is highly recommendable for over-weight and obese people.

Read More: Udvartana (Udwarthanam) – Ayurvedic Powder Massage

Bath

After the massage, take rest for a few minutes (around 15-30 minutes). Then you can take a bath. In ayurveda, the bath is termed Snana. It improves appetite, vigor, lifespan and strength. It alleviates itching and removes dirt and sweat.

  • Hot or warm water should not be poured on the head. Too cold water should also be avoided. According to ayurveda, hot or warm water head bath diminishes vision and strength of hairs.
  • The warm water bath is suitable for the lower body – below the neck. Water should not be too hot.

How to Take a Bath

Ayurveda does not recommend the use of soap for taking bath. Instead, it recommends using Amla in place of soap.

  1. Take 5 grams of amla powder. Mix it in lemon juice. Add some water to make it thin.
  2. Apply and gently rub it on the head and your body. In a similar way, as you were taking a bath with soap or shampoo.
  3. Then take a shower and wash away the amla lemon from your head and body with water.
  4. Pat dry your body with a soft towel.

Alternatively, you can also use gram flour instead of amla. You can also use Amla water for taking bath.

How to Make Amla Water for Bath

Amla water is recommended by Yoga Ratnakar for a bath.

  1. For making amla water, take 1280 ml water. Add 10 grams coarse powder of amla fruit pulp.
  2. Boil water with Amla and then filter it.
  3. Add this water in your bathtub with 30 liters of water. Take a bath with this water. While taking a bath, you should rub all parts of the body with your palms.

Who should not take a bath?

People suffering from the following diseases should not take bath:

  • The acute phase of facial paralysis.
  • Acute diseases of the eyes, mouth and ears.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Runny nose.
  • Indigestion.
  • Soon after taking a meal.

Taking Food

Ayurveda talks about two times meal plan. All ayurvedic classical texts have mentioned 2 meals a day. There is no place for lunch in ayurveda.

Ayurveda recommends morning meal after 3 to 3.5 hours after sunrise during summers and 2 to 2.5 hours after sunrise in during winters.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the timings of the evening meal. Yoga Ratnakar and Bhava Prakash both agree that one should eat evening meal during the first Pahar of night and should not take meal during Sandhyayam. Sandhyayam is defined as the junction between day and night. It is the time during and after sunset when there is no sun and stars in the sky. According to ancient texts, the first Pahar of the night starts immediately after sunset. So, their statements are contradictory.

प्रसृष्टे विण्मूत्रे हृदि सुविमले दोषे स्वपथगे विशुद्धे चोद्गारे क्षुदुपगमने वातेऽनुसरति। तथाऽग्नावुद्रिक्ते विशदकरणे देहे च सुलघौ। प्रयुञ्जीताहारं विधिनियमितं, कालः स हि मतः ॥ ५५ ॥ (AH.S.CH.8)

Vagbhata, Charak, and Sushruta provide more clarity regarding eating morning and evening meal. According to them, a person should eat a meal when he has digested the previous meal properly. They provide a list of signs of proper digestion:

  1. Feeling hunger. Your stomach asks for food.
  2. Evacuation of urinary bladder and bowel.
  3. Feeling of lightness in the heart, chest, and abdomen.
  4. Clear burp without bad taste or taste of food.
  5. Increase in the digestive fire.
  6. Feeling of clarity in senses.
  7. Feeling of lightness in the body.

यामैश्चतुर्भिर्वाभ्यां च भोज्यभैषज्ययोः समे। पाकोऽग्रौयुक्तयोकि तीक्ष्णे मन्दे पुनश्चिरात्।।३७॥ (AS.S.Ch 11)

According to Vagbhata, a period of twelve hours is required to digest the food and 6 hours for digesting medicines. However, it may vary according to the digestive capacity of a person and type of food that he or she eats.

प्रातराशे त्वजीर्णेऽपि सायमाशो न दुष्यति। अजीर्णे सायमाशे तु प्रातराशो हि दुप्यति॥३९॥ (AS.S.Ch 11)

One can eat evening meal even if he has not digested the morning meal, but he must not eat the morning meal until he has not digested the previous day evening meal. Because microchannels are not closed during the day, so the body has still strong capability to digest the food. But at night, microchannels are closed and digestive capacity reduces. Therefore, if a person has not digested the previous day evening meal, he should not take next day morning meal until he again feels real appetite. It helps in proper digestion of previous day meal in the morning. However, if you take early dinner, then this will not occur.

Because timings according to sunrise and sunset are not applicable in all countries and seasons. I follow the concept of Vagbhata, which is more reliable and acceptable in almost every country. So, the best timings for morning and evening meals are:

During Long Days During Short Days
Morning Meal 8 am to 9 am 9 am to 10 am
Evening Meal 5 pm to 6 pm 4 pm to 5 pm

This is a general illustration. You can change timings according to your circumstances and appetite cycle. Just remember to keep a minimum 7 hours gap and a maximum 11 hours gap between morning and evening meals. Your body requires a minimum of 12-14 hours of fasting at night to digest and utilize the food properly. If you increase more nighttime fasting hours, it is good for your digestion and ultimately for your health.

In addition to this, ayurveda also recommends – “whenever you feel appetite, you should eat something. If you do not feel appetite, you should not eat.” Just remember if you feel appetite during the day other than your meal timings, then you should take fruits and uncooked vegetables.

Morning Meal

Your morning meal should be energy dense meal. You can take fruits, whole grains, legumes (pulses), vegetables and yogurt in the morning.

Ideal Morning Meal

Food Category Example for Adults
Fruits 1 pomegranate, 1 apple
Whole Grains 2-3 multigrain chapatis
Legume (Pulse) curry 1 cup (cooked)
Half-cooked Vegetables 1 cup
Yogurt/Curd 1 cup

Evening meal

Your evening meal should be a nutrient-dense meal.

Ideal Evening Meal

Food Category Example for Adults
Fruits 1 pear, 1 orange or 150 grams papaya
Salad ¼ cup cut beetroot, 1 medium cucumber, 1 medium tomato, 1 cup green leafy salad and grated coconut 1 slice
Half-cooked Vegetables or Vegetable soup or vegetable curry 1 cup
Whole Grains 1 multigrain chapati
Nuts & Seeds 5 peanuts, 5 pine nuts, 2 cashews
Milk (at least 30 minutes after above foods) 250 ml of milk

In the evening meal, do not take legume curries. They are heavier in digestion. Whole grain chapatis should be 1/3rd of morning chapatis. Instead, include more fruits, vegetables and salad in your evening meal.

You can increase or decrease the quantity of foods in each meal according to your physical needs. Above examples work best for people living a sedentary life. They don’t need much energy, but they do need more nutrients. This diet also helps in losing weight fast.

Food Ratio

Ayurveda also recommends food ratio according to solid and liquid foods.

अन्नेन कुक्षेठ्ठवंशौ पानेनैकं प्रपूरयेत्।।४६॥ आश्रयं पवनादीनां चतुर्थमवशेषयेत्।। (AH.S.Ch.8)

Solid foods ½ Part of Stomach
Liquid foods ¼ Part of Stomach
Keep Stomach Empty ¼ Part of Stomach

Solids foods include whole grains, lentils, cooked vegetables and hard fruits, seeds and nuts.

Liquid foods contain water-rich fruits, vegetable soups, fruit juices, lemon water, buttermilk, milk, etc.

Keeping ¼ part of stomach empty means you should eat less food than your hunger, so you still feel lightness in the stomach. You are comfortable with your abdomen. You don’t experience any fullness and heaviness in the abdomen after eating food. You must not overeat.

Multigrain Chapatis

We recommend the following formula for multigrain chapatis:

Whole Wheat 75%
Barley 25%

Rules of Drinking Water

When should I drink water – before, during or after a meal?

  1. You should drink water whenever you naturally feel thirsty.
  2. If you drink water and feel fullness and heaviness in the abdomen, you are drinking a large amount of water, which your body does not require. So, you should drink water by sipping and checking if your thirst is gone away.
  3. If you are eating solid foods like grains and cereals, rice, chapatis in excess, then you can take water in between meal. In between meal means when you finish half of the meal. Alternatively, you can also sip water frequently after every 2-3 spoons of solid foods.
  4. If you eat foods, which are already rich in water content such as fruits, vegetables and salad, then you should avoid drinking water during your meal.
  5. You should also avoid drinking water before sleep.
  6. If you suffer from frequent urination and diabetes, you should avoid drinking water, milk or any liquid food after sunset.

References

  1. Ashtang Hridaya, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 2, Dinacharya.
  2. Ashtang Sangrah, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 3, Dinacharya.
  3. Ashtanga Sangraha, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 11, Matrashitiya.
  4. Nighantu Ratnakar, Rasayana Chapter.
  5. Yoga Ratnakar, Nitya Prabriti Prakar Maah.
  6. Bhava Prakash.
  7. Sushruta Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 46, Annpaanvidhhi
  8. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 5.
  9. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 6.
  10. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 25.
  11. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 26.
  12. Charak Samhita, Sutra Sthana, Chapter 27.

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