The concept that we are a continuation of everything around us — ever-present consciousness underlying all creation — lies at the heart of Ayurveda. When we cultivate and experience this underlying field of silent awareness, we can begin to understand what is happening within and around us, as well as how to manage it… we become more integrated with our world. And instead of going against the current, laden with imbalance, we can begin to flow with the natural rhythm of nature.
Plant the seeds of divine connection with these four simple Ayurvedic tips to stay grounded with the earth and vitally live in the world, aware of our own true nature, happy and healthy.
1. Follow Nature’s Rhythm
Like time, our bodies are in constant motion. The cycle of time which governs the days around us also connects us to our internal cycle. As nature begins the day, so do we. 6:00 - 10:00 a.m. is Kapha time, characterized by the stable, heavy, and sometimes lethargic Kapha dosha. We can feel these qualities if we sleep past 6 a.m., or sunrise, into Kapha time. This is why waking with the sun is prescribed by Ayurveda. 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. switches to Pitta time, following the fiery Pitta dosha. When the sun is its brightest and warmest, around noon, is when our digestive fire, or agni, is the warmest too. We can balance our digestion by eating our main meal in the middle of the day, between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. 2:00 - 6:00 p.m. aligns with the Vata dosha, known for its qualities of movement, energy, and clarity. During the afternoon Vata hours, and when we are in balance, we may find that our mental clarity is sharp and concentrated and we’re able to complete much work.
After the complete dosha cycle during the day, we continue with Kapha time from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. We can support our digestive system, which is slower during this time, by eating a light dinner before 7 p.m. (minimum of three hours prior to sleep), so our body has a few hours to process the meal before we go to sleep. Still in the heavy Kapha evening cycle, going to bed prior to 10:00 p.m. allows our body to settle and begin a good night’s sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may love the routine of drinking a warm cup of Organic Vata Tea or Slumber Time Tea before bedtime, or a warm glass of milk. Many of our customers love to have their tea boiled in milk. The peak hours of the evening cycle of Pitta are from 10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m. Going to bed on a light meal prior to Pitta time allows our body to fully rest rather than be preoccupied with digestion. If wakefulness during the night is an issue, a Deep Rest tablet an hour before bedtime supports sleeping through the night, or returning to sleep if awakened. We cycle back to Vata from 2:00 - 6:00 a.m. We often stir or wake up during Vata time because of its quality of movement. If falling asleep is an issue in the evening, try Blissful Sleep. The movement of Vata supports that of moving waste from the body, which is often our natural tendency upon waking.
Kapha Time: 6:00 - 10:00 a.m. and p.m.
Pitta Time: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Vata Time: 2:00 - 6:00 a.m. and p.m.
2. Eat Food Containing Nature’s Intelligence
The act of eating is life-giving — “intelligent” foods provide whole nutrition for the body and mind. When we take the extra time and effort to cook our meals with fresh organic ingredients and prepare them with loving attention, our meals contain prana (life force), or vital energy.
Eat intentionally; turn off electronics, do not read, and pay attention to your food — the taste, texture and smell. The process of eating intentionally honors the food we are eating. It improves our digestion, allowing our body to maximally utilize nutrients. Healthy digestion is the cornerstone of Ayurvedic health; it is essential, as it converts food into energy-producing nutrients.
Eat the Ayurvedic way:
Favor fresh, well-cooked foods, when possible. Avoid eating leftovers (food over one day old), genetically-altered, processed, preserved or artificial foods.
Eat slowly, chew your food well and eat in a settled, undistracted environment.
Avoid cold or iced drinks, as they tend to dampen the “digestive fire.”
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3. Practice Daily Meditation
As mentioned above, consciousness, or transcending, lies at the heart of Ayurveda. Having this experience is the ultimate goal of the practice of Ayurveda. Good health, according to Ayurveda, is not just physical health; rather it is living in a state of 24-hour balance, experiencing the highest that life has to offer. Meditation helps calm our mind and bring our body back into balance, bringing the sense of feeling grounded. Practicing the effortless mental technique, Transcendental Meditation®, twenty minutes twice a day offers a direct means to transcend and experience the underlying field of silence, and this experience restores balance to both mind and body. It allows for a more powerful awareness of our self and deep connectedness to the world we live in. According to Ayurveda, we metabolize with all our senses. The experience of transcending and experiencing the field of pure silence, bliss, is metabolized by our body — there is a biochemical correlate for the experience every time we have it. So just like exercising, getting in better and better shape, our body and mind begin to support this underlying experience in all activity.
Visit www.tm.org for more information about this meditation practice.
4. Be with Nature
A regular daily routine that follows the rhythm of nature includes waking with the sun and sleeping with the stars. As the sun shines through our windows in the early morning, we can begin to wake up along with nature. A walk in the early-morning sunlight sets our body’s natural rhythms to prepare for the day ahead. (This is also a fantastic tool to reset our biological clock to a new time zone when traveling.)
After dinner, when the hot sun is cooling, we can take a walk to settle our body and support the natural movement of digestion.
As the sun sets, our bodies begin to do the same. Spending a few moments outside under the stars at night re-connects us with the universe and reminds us of our inner cosmic nature. The very act of looking up is uplifting! — we raise our chin and sternum, allowing the rib cage to open and the lungs to expand. Stargazing can ignite a sense of wonder and dreams, just before settling in for a good night’s sleep. If falling asleep is an issue, consider sitting in your home with all the lights off and allowing the natural process of the setting sun and darkening room to reset your body’s rhythm.
As our founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, said, “Water the root to enjoy the fruit.” These simple Ayurvedic tips are tools in which we water our roots. Grounded and connected, we enjoy the fruits of life through integration of mind, body and consciousness.
© 1999, 2021 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.