The Ayurvedic perspective on our natural rhythms
If the sun has gone to bed… so should you! Nature as a whole is resting during the darker times. These days there is every excuse and opportunity to stay up later, and maybe to get up later. We can falsify nature with bright electrical lighting to make us think it’s still daytime at 11pm, and blackout blinds to make us think it’s still night time at 11am. But this is dragging us out of sync with the way our bodies are naturally attuned to be!
If you’re in sync with nature, life will be easier. Your dosha might also affect your meditation. Well, your dosha actually affects every aspect of your life, psychologically and physically. They are also affecting our environment. You might have wondered why you feel a certain way at various points during the day. Certain times of day have different energetic forces associated with them:-
6-10 am and pm is Kapha time. This is rejuvenating or slow down time.
10-2 am and pm is Pitta time. This is when the oven is on!!!! That is why the main meal should be at lunch!!! During the night, this is the time when everything you have ingested mentally gets processed.
2-6 am and pm is Vata time. Vata time is when you are at your most creative during the day and during the night it is lucid dreaming time.
I would like to mention here brahma muhurta, the one and a half to two hours before sunrise. This is the time Ayurveda recommends us to do our yoga and meditation practice. The sunrise brings with it the activity of the day ahead and our brains start to fill up with thoughts. During this time, however, the atmosphere is serene and there is a beautiful sensation of stillness. You might be horrified at the thought of getting up at 4am (who isn’t) but if you try to be up by at least 6am you will notice a significant difference once you are settled into your new routine. This is the Vata time of day, which makes it easier to wake up (I know you’re shaking your head, but just try it and see!)
At the various times during the day I mentioned above, the doshas naturally increase their respective influences within us, and we will become more aligned to that particular dosha. Naturally then, we will experience more harmony, with the world and within ourselves, when we set our daily routine around these natural rhythms.
For example, Ayurveda recommends going to bed by 10pm – during Kapha time, which is slow and grounding – perfect for dropping off for a peaceful night’s sleep. If we wait until after 10pm, when Pitta energy is more dominant, falling asleep will be more difficult. Pitta energy is almost opposite to Kapha in many respects: active and intense. Far from ideal for dozing off!
Since Ayurveda recommends that we wake early, it stands to reason that we should go to bed early – so that we still get enough sleep! The old saying, “early to bed, early to rise” really does have a basis in the oldest wisdom and teachings.
After 6am, we’re back in Kapha time – that slowing down and getting ready to rejuvenate time. Great for going to bed; rubbish for getting out of it! That’s why, if your alarm goes off at 7am, you might very well pull the covers over your head and groan at the very thought of getting up!
So to recap, here is an ideal Ayurvedic compromise for the westerner:
6am-7am Up you get, pop your meditation and yoga gear on and go straight to your practice!
7am-8am Breakfast, shower and get ready for your day
Midday-1pm Lunch, this is your largest meal of the day during Pitta time when the ‘oven is on!’
6pm-7pm Dinner (light and moderate please!)
10pm Bedtime and lights out!
Try it for 21 days and see how you feel…then you can let me know!