How to Live Healthy Everyday With Ayurveda

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ayurveda is a science which has been healing the mankind of the physical and mental ailments from time immemorial. It is a comprehensive healing science as much as it is a preventive science. It gives equal importance to both preventive and curative aspects. 

We need to care ourselves every moment if we need to prevent diseases from occurring and also to lead a healthy life. It is all about being consciously aware and judicious so as to what we do and what not in our daily activities.

Comprehensive personal healthcare is a part of daily regimen as per Ayurveda. A properly designed daily regimen is essentially an inseparable branch of preventive healthcare. Ayurveda explains daily preventive healthcare measures as Dinacharya.

The word Dinacharya is a term made of two terms i.e. Dina = Daily, Charya = Activities or Regimen.
Thus the activities or regimen which needs to be followed daily, by every individual is called Dinacharya.

Definitions of Dinacharya

दिने दिने चर्या दिनचर्या।(अ.हृ.सू.२/१, सर्वाङ्गसुन्दरि टीका)
आचारात् आयुः लभ्यते इति आचार्याः।(स.सु.टीका, अ.हृ.२/१) 

The regimens done daily are called Dinacharya.
Arunadatta, the commentator of Ashtanga Hridaya, further elaborates that these regimens are performed to prolong ayu or life span.

The Dinacharya or Daily rituals or regimen are all those activities we should do (or we do) from the time of awakening in the morning till we go to the bed at night.
Read related: Ayurvedic Way Of Teeth Brushing And Tongue Scraping

Activities included in Dinacharya

Dinacharya consists of all the activities from morning to evening.

It comprises of –

Day time regimen

Pratah Kala Charya (Day time regimen)
The activities which should be done during day time (morning and noon) are as below enlisted –

  • Brahmi Muhurte Uttishte – Awakening early in the morning
  • Aachamana – Sipping of Water
  • Danta Dhavana – Brushing of Teeth
  • Jihwa Nirlekhana – Tongue cleansing
  • Gandusha – Gargling of mouth and throat
  • Kavala – Mouth wash
  • Anjana – Application of Collyrium to the eyes
  • Dhumapana – Medicated smoking
  • Nasya – Nasal Drops
  • Vyayama – Exercise
  • Chankramana – Mild exercise, strolling
  • Abhyanga – Herbal oil massage
  • Pada Abhyanga – Foot massage with medicated oils
  • Shiro Abhyanga – Head massage with medicated oils
  • Udvarthana – Massage of the body with herbal powders, in a reverse direction (from below upwards)
  • Samvahana – Mild massage
  • Snana – Bath
  • Anulepana – Anointments
  • Rakshogna Vidhi – Protective measures
  • Pada prakshlana – Washing of feet
  • Vastra Dharana – Wearing of clothes
  • Mala Dharana – Wearing of garlands
  • Padatra Dharana – Wearing of foot wear
  • Danda Dharana – Holding stick for self protection
  • Kavacha Dharana – Wearing of protective covering over the body
  • Keshya Dharana – Wearing turbans
  • Chatra Dharana – Holding umbrella

Read related: How To Do Ayurvedic Nasya Treatment At Home? Nasal Drops For Long Life

Evening regimen

Sayam Charya (Evening Regimen)
One should avoid the below mentioned activities during evening:

  • Aharam – food consumption
  • Maithunam – sexual intercourse
  • Nidraa – sleep
  • Sampaatham – reading
  • Adhwa gamana – walking

Night regimen

Ratri Charya (Night Regimen)
Ratri Bhojana – Food to be taken at night
Bhojana uttara Karma (post dinner activities) – including activities like:

  • Hasta Prkashalana (hand wash after food)
  • Danta dhavana (tooth cleaning)
  • Mukha dhavana (mouth wash)
  • Tambula sevana (eating betel leaves)
  • Dhumapana (medicated smoking)
  • Shatapada gamana (walking for 100 steps)
  • Consumption of Triphala
  • Anjana (application of collyrium)
  • Dhumapana (medicated smoking)
  • Nidra (sleep)
  • Maithuna (sexual intercourse, indications and contraindications)
  • Read related: How To Do Oil Pulling In Genuine Ayurvedic Way? 9 Tips

Benefits of Dinacharya

Dinacharya aims at providing comprehensive body-mind health through a well maintained daily regimen. Dinacharya is like a daily written diary.
Dinacharya aims at preventing the diseases in long run. Thus it becomes an important preventive healthcare strategy.
Dinacharya or daily regimens are indicated for following reasons –

  • Maintenance of hygiene – like bathing, tooth brushing, tognue scraping, Gandhusha (oil pulling), gargling, feet washing etc etc
  • Suprasanna Indriyatvam (Promote the brightness and health of sense organs) – like collyrium, tongue scraping, nasal drops, oil massage, dry massage, powder massage, feet massage, cream application, sleep, head massage etc
  • Deha Balartha (To enhance and maintain physical strength) – like exercise, walking, massage, powder massage etc.
  • Ayusho Labha (Promotion of health and longevity) – like awakening during Brahmi Muhurta, exercise, massage, bathing, sleep, sex etc.
  • Soumanasyata (to keep the mind at peace and harmony) – Getting up at Brahmi Muhurtam, bathing, head massage, wearing garland, wearing clean clothes, sleep, sex etc
  • Rakshnartham (for self protection) – like Rakshogna Vidhi, feet cleaning, cloth wearing, garland, , Padatra Dharana, Danda Dharana, Kavacha Dharana, Keshya Dharana, keeping an umbrella etc

Dinacharya And Dosha Relation

Rules and regulations mentioned in this context are not obligatory, but are mandatory for everyone. One may make small amendments in those rules according to their convenience, geography and practices, but adherence to rules is must.

Looking from perspective of doshas, most daily regimens seem to be explained in terms of keeping functional units of body i.e. doshas in a state of balance. Dosha balance is key for good health and endurance and this can be achieved by following daily and seasonal regimens.

Dosha balance and daily regimen

If dina or day is taken to be a time period which extends from sunrise to another sunrise, i.e. a duration of 24 hours, we can classify daily regimens into –

  • Regimen to be followed during earliest hours of day
  • Regimen to be followed during rest of day
  • Sayamcharya i.e. regimen to be followed during evening time
  • Ratricharya i.e. regimen to be followed during night time

Day time regimen and Doshas

Effect of Pratah Kala Charya (Day time regimen) on doshas

Awakening at Brahmi Muhurta i.e. early in morning
Keeps the mind and senses at best of their health, induces freshness and alertness. Vata is chief controller of mind and senses. If vata is healthy, mental functions and perception of sense organs will be intact and perfect.

On other hand, if mind and sensual health are good, they help in keeping vata in balance. Early awakening also keeps prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha, i.e. vata, pitta and kapha subtypes operating at brain level healthy.

Therefore thought process, wisdom and memory will be at best of their functioning capacities. This activity when regularly practised will keep sattvika quality of mind on surge and also keeps the mental contaminants i.e. raja and tama quality under control. This reduces stress and in turn will balance vata-pitta-kapha axis.
Read – Oral, Ear And Head Therapy – Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 22

Impact of regimen related to oral hygiene on doshas
Below mentioned daily activities are recommended for oral health and also to balance doshas in mouth, head and those related to sense organs.

  • Aachamana – Sipping of Water
  • Danta Dhavana – Brushing of Teeth
  • Jihwa Nirlekhana – Tongue cleansing
  • Gandusha – Gargling of mouth and throat
  • Kavala – Mouth wash

Read – Ayurvedic Way Of Teeth Brushing And Tongue Scraping

Mouth is doorway of gastrointestinal tract. First part of digestion i.e. chewing and smoothing food, mixing of food with oral secretion and making it into a smooth bolus enabling its easy swallowing starts in mouth.

With thought of food, at timing of food and with sight of food, mouth becomes moist with salivary secretions and prepares an environment for consuming food. This goes in sync with preparedness of mind to take food.

Oral secretions put together are considered to be bodhaka kapha explained by Ayurveda. This sub-type of kapha not only keeps mouth moist, but also enables tongue to perceive taste. All above mentioned activities enable balance of bodhaka kapha in mouth.

Sipping of water early in morning
Enables motivation of channels of water transportation which are located in palate. Channels will get replenished. Water element in body is represented by kapha.

Brushing of teeth-
Ayurveda advocates choice of herbal twigs which have anti-dosha properties.
Example, twigs which are sweet in nature balance vata and pitta, those which are bitter and astringent balance pitta and kapha.
Brushing of teeth alleviates kapha in mouth, cleanses mouth and produces desire for food.

Tongue cleansing –
Keeps tongue, seat of bodhaka kapha clean. Thus, it enables proper perception of food.
Read – Natural Dosha Increase During Day And Night

Gargling of mouth and mouth wash –
Gargling of mouth and mouth wash with medicinal liquids, pastes and powders will also keep oral hygiene intact and enables proper functioning of bodhaka kapha. Different types of gargles and mouthwashes balance different doshas.

Unctuous substances having sweet, sour and salt tastes alleviate vata.
Sweet and bitter taste substances which are cold in nature pacify pitta.
Gargles and mouthwashes prepared with hot and dry quality herbs mitigate and expel kapha.

Gargles are indicated to be done till watering of mouth and eyes occur. This means that these regimens also stimulate eye.
Gargles and mouth washes are useful for eyes and vision. This means to tell that they are good for balance of alochaka pitta.

Anjana – Application of Collyrium to eyes –
Functions of eye and its capacity of perception of vision depend on balance of alochaka pitta, sub-type of pitta located in eyes.

Alochaka pitta is functional component of eye. It works on basis of tejo mahabhuta i.e. fire element in pitta. Fire element will always have threat from water element of body i.e. kapha, which is a representative of water in body.

Medicated collyrium, when applied daily, will expel and drain excessive kapha and protect eye. At same time, they help in maintaining balance of alochaka pitta, thus helping in proper perception of visual objects by eye. Collyriums also have preventive role. They prevent many eye disorders and keep vision perfect.

Medicated smoking alleviates vata kapha disorders occurring above level of shoulders, mainly those disorders occurring in neck, head, eyes, ears and nose. Thus, smoking has vata and kapha mitigating effect.

Nasal Drops are instillation of medicinal drops in nose. This forms important part and one fifth of Panchakarma group of treatments. But in small doses, it is advised to be done on daily basis.
Read – Anu Tail Uses, Ingredients, Side Effect, How To Use

Head is said to be most important part of body. Nose is said to be entrance way to head. Medicines instilled in nose cures diseases of head and senses.

Nasya brings about –
balance of doshas in head, neck and senses,
keeps them healthy,
expels morbidity therein, strengthens nerves and senses,
prevents and cures diseases of mentioned organs and keeps mood high.

A type of nasya called pratimarsha, used in small doses, drops to be precise is indicated for daily usage.

Lightness of head,
proper sleep and awakening,
cure of diseases of head and sense organs and
clarity of organs and pleasantness of mind are said to be features of proper nasal instillation.

All these are achieved when there is a balance of prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha in head. Nasya taken regularly expels excess doshas in head through nose and helps in maintaining their balance.
Read – Nasya Karma Procedure, Types, Benefits, Contra Indications

Vyayama – Exercise
It is advocated to be done every day by Ayurveda. It alleviates kapha and increases agni i.e. metabolic fire. Metabolic fire is represented by digestive pitta located in stomach and intestines. This pitta is called pachaka pitta.

Exercise kindles this pitta and enables it to digest food properly. With this, body gets proper nutrition and stays healthy. By alleviating and expelling excessive kapha in body, exercise helps in burning out tissues belonging to kapha, mainly fat. With this, body stays strong, trimmed and fit.
Read – Benefits Of Gym And Exercise – Ayurvedic Explanation

Mild exercise or strolling is said to increase digestive fire, which means it balances activities of pachaka pitta.

Since it helps in improving perceptive power of sense organs, it is good for vata. Vata controls perception through senses.
Healthy senses and proper perception through sense organs reflects balance of vata. Similarly balance of vata reflects good health of sense organs.
Read – How To Analyse Effects Of Exercise On Health? Ayurvedic View

Abhyanga Herbal oil massage
Herbal oil massage given to body alleviates vata. It improves vision, hence balances alochaka pitta in eyes. It tones up skin, makes it attractive and lustrous and thus maintains balance of bhrajaka pitta located in skin.

Foot massage with medicated oils will pacify vata and improves vision. Thus, foot massage balances vata and alochaka pitta. Similar benefits are obtained by washing feet.

Head massage with medicated oils controls and balances vata, nourishes pitta located in skin i.e. bhrajaka pitta. Gentle massage i.e. samvahana mitigates morbid kapha and vata.

Massage of body with herbal powders, in a reverse direction i.e. from below upwards, decreases kapha. Since this regimen gives good complexion to skin, it balances bhrajaka pitta. A type of udwarthana named udgharshana mentioned by Sushruta cures vata diseases and enhances bhrajaka pitta.
Read –Udvartana – Ubtan: Benefits, Types, How To Do

Taking bath with hot or cold water as per ones constitution and convenience is conducive for body and mind health. Cold water bath cures diseases of pitta and blood. Hot water bath destroys kapha and vata. Taking head bath with cold water is good for eyes and balances alochaka pitta. Hot water bath over head is not conducive but one can take head bath with hot water during aggravation of kapha and vata.
Read – How To Make Ayurvedic Herbal Bath Powder At Home?

Anointments stimulates and balances bhrajaka pitta in skin, improves color, beauty and complexion.

Vastra, mala dharana
Wearing of clean clothes and garlands are good for mind, balances vata and pitta.

Padatra Dharana
Wearing of foot wear balances alochaka pitta and bhrajaka pitta, hence protects and maintains health of eyes and skin respectively.

Kavacha Dharana
Wearing of protective covering over body is conducive for skin and bhrajaka pitta, enhances complexion and luster.

Keshya, Chatra Dharana
Wearing turbans and holding umbrella are good for alochaka pitta and conducive for eye health.

Night regimen and Doshas

Ratri Charya (Night Regimen)

Among regimen of night –

Exposure to moonlight is said to pacify pitta. Exposure to mist will lead to aggravation of vata and kapha. Darkness prevailing at night is said to be conducive to pitta and kapha, alleviates them.

Medicated smoking after dinner is said to remove kapha from upper parts of body.

Taking triphala powder with honey and ghee at night after dinner is conducive to and promotes eye health and vision. Therefore it supports and balances alochaka pitta. Application of Sauviranjana collyrium at night has similar impact on eyes and alochaka pitta.

Good sleep at night enhances digestive fire and balances pachaka pitta. Good quality and quantity of sleep balances tridoshas and enhances sattva quality of mind. This guides one towards positive thinking and positive life.

Sexual intercourse with woman in menstrual cycle imbalances alochaka pitta and bhrajaka pitta, causes eye and skin disorders and loss of vision and luster.

Indulgence in coitus while having hunger and thirst, in a state of disturbed mind and physical weakness and at noon will lead to aggravation of vata. Sexual intercourse practised in diseased conditions, during day time or midnight will result in aggravation of vata and pitta and cause related disorders.

Impact of Dinacharya activities in balancing doshas related to mind and sense organs

Body and mind are two sides of same coin. Most things conducive for well being of body are also good for mind. Converse is also true. Most of these activities mentioned in daily regimen of Ayurveda also have a direct or indirect impact on mind.

While some activities balance body doshas, lead to good physical health and contribute towards mental well being.

exercise, strolling,
herbal powder massages,
protective coverings,
planned food and sex,
herbal smoking etc.

Some activities produce direct impact on mind and contribute to mind health.
Example –
awakening early in morning,
head massage,
sleep, etc.

Some activities produce freshness of mind and balance mind health, like brushing of teeth, gargles, bath, oral cleansing, exercise, balanced sex, wearing good and clean clothes, garlands, perfumes, etc.

All these activities enhance sattva quality of mind which is very much essential for keeping mind pleasant. If mind is pleasant and serene, all thought processes and decisions will be right and good.
One will conduct all activities in a wise way, and keep himself free from stress. These activities also will keep contaminants of mind i.e. raja and tama qualities at bay and thus help in keeping diseases of mind and negative emotions and thoughts away.

Some activities are directly conducive for good health of sense organs and aid proper perception. They are –

Brushing of teeth and cleansing of tongue,
oral rinsing and gargles,
betel leaf consumption after dinner – balance bodhaka kapha and contributes towards oral and tongue health.

Collyrium contributes towards eye health by balancing alochaka pitta and expelling excessive kapha in eyes. Consumption of triphala powder after dinner will have similar role.

Herbal oil massages and powder massages contribute towards skin health by balancing bhrajaka pitta and vata. Bath and anointments have similar role in contributing towards skin health.

Nasal instillation of medicines balances doshas in nose, expels excessive kapha and controls vata.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu) – Email / Skype

Abundance Vs Scarcity

Abundance vs scarcity – how to balance?
Dr JV Hebbar
In the book Lifespan, Harvard Professor Dr. David Sinclair explains that it is good to make the body (and mind) suffer with scarcity once in a while.  He goes on to explain with proof, how sudden exposure to the body to cold temperatures, or hot sauna, fasting once in a while, intermittent fasting etc. help the body to be at its defensive best. This type of scarcity helps the body to always be “prepared for the winter”.

On the other end of this, activities that cause abundance – sedentary habits, junk foods, excess eating, eating many times in a day, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol etc. makes the body to let the guard down. This leads to lack of defensive mechanisms, lowered immunity and early aging.

When it comes to nutrition, sleep, bowel habits etc., Ayurveda follows a principle of balancing between abundance and scarcity.

Advice for scarcity – Eating only twice a day, eating only when hungry, avoiding munching, snacking and unnecessary beverages, drinking water only when thirsty, avoiding day sleeping, eating just before hunger satiation, keeping stomach empty by 1/3rd for air movement, fasting once in a while, undergoing sweating treatment, seasonal panchakarma detoxification, everyday cleansing procedures such as herbal smoking, daily exercise, nasal drops, eye salve application, powder bath etc.

Advice for abundance –
The meals should be rich in nutrients, with all tastes included, unctuous, freshly made and served hot. The food should have sufficient liquid components in terms of broth of pulses, soups, beverages, juices etc.

Water should only be consumed when one is thirsty, but water should be consumed till thirst is completely quenched.

Day sleep is generally avoided, but is recommended during summer, and for children and aged people.

Everyday nourishing procedures such as oil massage, oil pulling, applying perfumes, scents, hair oil etc.

Purpose of abundance is to maintain a good reserve of nutrition. 

So, the principle of Ayurveda can be said as – nourish the body to its peak, when needed, but keep the body prepared for scarcity.

Probably this also applies to our lives and mental health. We should enjoy all the happy moments to its fullest but should not get carried away with it. We should also be alert and active to thwart any type of danger.

We should earn good money but should also save it for the rainy day.

We should focus on improving the concentration of the mind, by being spiritual but should not let go of the opportunity of mingling with family and friends on festivals and special occasions.

Look at the monks, they can laugh like a child and be focused and still like a rock. The goal is to hit the right balance between abundance and scarcity.  

10 comments on “How to Live Healthy Everyday With Ayurveda

  • k.s.sankar

    28/04/2018 - 3:38 pm


    Reply to comment
  • K.Umamahesh

    28/04/2018 - 9:44 pm

    Is oil pulling to be done daily? Is Triphala daily intake necessary?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      31/05/2018 - 6:42 am

      1. It can be done daily, on empty stomach.
      2. Not very necessary.

      Reply to comment
  • Manomay

    22/05/2020 - 4:55 am

    Namaskaram doctor,

    It is mentioned that bathing and exercise are contraindicated during indigestion. Is it referring to all the types of indigestion(rasasheshajirna, amajirna, vidagdhajirna, vishtabdhajirna and dinapaki)? Or is it just referring to vishtabdhajeerna and vidagdhajeerna caused due to vata and pitta?

    Thanks doctor

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      14/05/2021 - 2:46 pm

      It is largely for Vishtabdhajeerna and Vidagha ajeerna, as exercise can further aggravated Vata and Pitta.
      In case of Kapha induced indigestion, exercise is good, to counter Kapha dosha and also to boost agni.

      Reply to comment
  • Manomay

    22/05/2020 - 5:59 am

    Namaskaram doctor,

    What is being referred to as evening in the sayam charya? Is it the last one third of the day(2pm to 6pm)? Or is it the last quarter of the day(3pm to 6pm)? Or is it the sayam sandhya kaala which is 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after sunset? Because usually it is advised to eat before sunset which would mean that eating the second meal of the day during evening time which would be against sayam charya? It is quite common for students to read and some people do walking as exercise in the evening time from 2pm to 6pm, so what is the ideal activities to do in the evening time?

    Thanks doctor

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      14/05/2021 - 2:48 pm

      Sayam Charya is for the time period between 4 – 5.
      In olden days, people used to eat by sunset – 6 pm and sleep by 8 or 9 pm.

      Reply to comment
  • Manomay

    22/05/2020 - 6:02 am

    Namaskaram doctor,

    Usually meditators are advised to take cold water bath before meditating. Is it ok for vata-pitta Prakriti person to take a cold shower early in the morning before doing classical hatha yoga and kriya yoga? If the joints make cracking sounds also is it ok to take a cold bath considering that the experience of hatha and kriya yoga will be enhanced?

    Thanks doctor

    Reply to comment

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