The Ayurvedic paradigm shows how body, mind, and spirit interactions can be predicted, balanced and improved to enable us to live gracefully, harmoniously. Â ~ Dr. Robert Svboda
Circadian rhythm makes it possible for organisms to coordinate their behavior with environmental changes in the day-night cycle.
Ayurveda gives us tools to live long, vibrant lives. It provides comprehensive support to balance day-to-day living. It reminds us that the body is a piece of earth. Spiritual people in ancient times walked barefoot and sat on the ground allowing for maximum contact with the earth. We can observe that as soon as the body connects with its origin, it responds positively.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with the rhythms of nature is to reset your biological clock. Each day, season, and individual has a predictable, repeatable rhythm.
Children wake vibrant and alive when the sun comes up; they feel hungry mid-day after moderate activity; and feel sleepy shortly after the sun sets. They are totally in tune with the circadian rhythm of nature.
Circadian rhythm makes it possible for organisms to coordinate their behavior with environmental changes in the day-night cycle. Modern scientific studies of brain and sleep patterns, make reference to fluctuating levels of melatonin produced by pineal gland and the activity of tiny neurons in the hypothalamus responsible for varying blood sugar levels, body temperature and hormone production.
When music plays you dance to the tune on the radio, not the one in your head. Our brain and bodies also move in rhythmic, cyclical patterns. Itâ€™s the same concept, feel the rhythm!
Hereâ€™s how it breaks down according to Ayurveda:
means the times of the day as related to the doshas. Just as time marches on, the bodily humors are constantly in motion.
Kapha Time: 6am-10am & 6pm-10pm
The times of maximum activity of kapha are just after sunrise and just after sunset.
To align with the kapha cycle:
- Lose the sluggish morning routine and the snoozed alarm clocksâ€¦ get out of bed! When you stay in bed long after the sun has risen, you capture the slow and sleepy qualities of earth and water.
- The body is strong and resilient during kapha time so it is the best time for any type of exercise.
- Lungs are activated during this time. Practice 10-15 minutes of breathing exercises and reap the benefits of stretched intercostal muscles and an overall increased oxygen carrying capacity of the lung tissue.
- Eat a small breakfast. Earth and water element provide heavy and stable qualities that do not need excessive sustenance in the morning.
- Notice cravings for sweets between 8-10am and 8-10pm; the pancreas (the gland that produces insulin, regulating the body's blood glucose level) is most active during this time. Instead of giving in to the chocolate croissant, make a cup of tea. *Cinnamon, ginger and turmeric are especially effective at regulating blood sugar levels*
Pitta Time: 10am-2pm & 10pm-2am
- Love yourself up. Between 6-8pm the pericardium, the small sac that encases the heart, becomes most active. You may especially enjoy spending time with friends and family during these hours. A weak pericardium can signify deep seated grief so this time may be marked by the uprooting of unresolved, unexpressed emotions. Soâ€¦ light a candle and hop in the bath tub! This is also a great time to practice gentle yoga, read your favorite book, or get a massage.
The air and fire elements are most active during midday when the sun is at its peak and midnight when animals can get a little crazy.
To align with the pitta cycle:
- Eat your biggest meal at lunch time. Pitta is considered the â€œking of digestionâ€ as it is responsible for digestion and assimilation of ingested food stuff. The body secretes an increased amount of digestive enzymes and the stomach is most active so your ability to digest heavier foods is increased.
- Eat in a relaxed fashion. Whenever possible, go for a brief walk after finishing your meal. Laying on your left side for 5-10 minutes can also assists the pancreas in secreting important enzymes needed for regulating blood glucose levels.
Vata Time: 2am-6am & 2pm-6pm
- Get to sleep around 10pm! Between 10pm-midnight the liver (a fire-dominated organ) is at work detoxifying the body. Late meals and late nights disturb the work of the liver. This can lead to a congested, toxic system causing weight gain, anger and irritation in the mind and body.
Vata is dominant during dawn and dusk. This time marked by clear, light and expansive qualities.
To align with the vata cycle:
- Wake up early. Dawn is the quietest time of the day so it is the best time for meditation and self-reflection. The element of space present during the early morning allows for a connection to unearthliness that is easily lost when going about day-to-day activities.
- Eliminate waste. The digestive tract is a big tube of space, so the organs of elimination, dominated by vata, become active just before the sunrise and you will have the natural desire to rid yourself of the nightâ€™s accumulated matter. Scrape your tongue with a metal tongue scraper to further stimulate the digestive organs via pressure points on the surface of the tongue. Starting the day off with a clean colon leaves you feeling light, clean and clear headed.
- Reevaluate your time spent from 2pm-6pm. Are you craving sweet snacks and caffeine? When lunch is small, the brain will crave glucose in the late afternoon so you the brain can finish the dayâ€™s tasks. Counter the mid-day blood sugar crash by ensuring healthy mid-day meal and adequate hydration.
An intellectual understanding of your biological clock that is not supported by experiential knowledge can lead to mind games that leave you confused and unwell. Attempting to reset your entire rhythm in one day, would be like trying to nail a dance routine in one hour. Forcibly stopping all â€œunsupportiveâ€ activity at once will likely exhaust rather than energize you. Take small steps, relish in the positive changes. Feeling the rhythm of your biology is like swimming downstream. Your entire system will respond to these changes, it is just a matter of becoming conscious of it. Put it to the test!
Please let us know how you stay in tune with the rhythms of nature in the comments section below.
Meet the author, Melanie Dolan