post

A person who has equilibrium in his three doshas (vat, pitta &kapha) (bioenergy), Agni (metabolic process), excretion process. His senses, soul and mind are in balance and harmony, then one is in optimal state of health.
We all support and advocate the significance of nutrition, fitness and rest which are the key drivers of human machinery. Still we overlook the most crucial part, the foundation of all these activities, Dincharya- Din: Day + Charya: activity. Dincharya encompasses all the activities we perform the entire day consciously or unconsciously from waking up, cleaning, exercise, having meals, working, to sleeping.
hellomyyoga has approached personalities from Medicine, Yoga & Ayurveda who have profound knowledge and rich experience to  enlighten us about Dincharya and comprehend its meaning for health.
 
(EXPERTS)
Dr. Anjana Rastogi, MD, FACP, FAARFM Advance fellowship in Anti-aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine, practices in USA. Her philosophy towards good care is to assist people of all ages to improve their overall health and vitality with the use of medicine, nutrition, technology, and lifestyle intervention.
 
Dr. Usha Vaishnav, carrier of profound knowledge of Ayurveda, founder and Chief consultant at Dr. Usha’s  Ayurveda Nirvana, a holistic centre for Ayurvedic Cure and therapies at Tapovan, Rishikesh. 
 
Mini  Shastri, a renowned yoga icon and founder of Yoga Studio Omyogashala, New Delhi. She has designed unique curriculums on yoga and nutrition for all levels and curated a unique range of conscious self-care products at Paro, Good Earth.

hellomyyoga - How important is Dincharya with aging & how its imbalance affects our body’s metabolism and hormonal system?
 
Dr. Anjana - “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” - Aristotle
Everything in nature works with the ticking of clock, has a rhythm, and human body is no exception.
Having a good routine is very essential for achieving and maintaining physical and mental health at all ages. Your body is a very complex but sophisticated network  wherein all your systems are interconnected including hormones, nervous system, immune system and so on. During late evening hour’s cortisol levels dip down, consequently metabolism starts slowing down. During sleep, energy gets shifted for repair and rejuvenation. In Brahm muhurt hour, which is close to 4 am, system start to make more cortisol, adrenaline etc for waking up, metabolism goes up and mind wakes up. Other hormonal and metabolic changes occur along with this. With increased metabolic need, you require to refill your body with right fuel, hydration. Also relaxed muscles overnight need some early morning stretching exercises to preserve the integrity of various joints. Just because we have created artificial light, and other technical advances, it has not changed our natural rhythm. Because of challenging and deviating from nature’s designed rhythm, we develop various diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression, chronic gut problem, chronic constipation or irritable bowl, poor immune system which can result into frequent infections and even cancer.
 
Dr. Usha – Actually dincharya affects everybody but as we get older we become fragile or not so energetic then we feel more effect of eating. Usually after 50 years of age it is more important to reschedule our life style as we undergo more hormonal & age related changes. According to ayurveda, during old age we enter in vata age, our metabolism gets slow & body energy reduces. Therefore it becomes essential for us to plan and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
 
Mini Shastri- My first Ayurveda teacher, Dr. Vasant said that, in the early morning, “there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that can bring peace of mind and freshness to the doors of perception.”
Guru Arjandev says, “Always go on remembering him, and every morning rise up early and make the efforts. Take the food of the devotion of lord almighty, then you will have no difficulties at all.”
By observing the natural rhythm’s of and experiencing their effects on life; by living in harmony with it , we start to make healthy adaptations to our morning routine. Yoga and ayurveda teaches us that one of the most important things for a good health practice is to build a healthy routine. These practices can focus the mind, quietly energize the body and calm the nervous system.

hellomyyoga - How important is circadian rhythm ( sleep wake cycle) and how it varies with age and physical composition?
 
Dr. Anjana - Circadian rhythms are biological processes that change in predictable ways over 24 hrs, affect hormone production example cortisol, melatonin and various biomarkers of health like blood pressure, heart rate, lipids, body temperature, and virtually all physiological processes.Disruption in this rhythm has been linked to premature aging, many diseases and metabolic issues like weight gain, diabetes, chronic insomnia, anxiety, headaches and many more. In order to minimize unwanted health outcomes and produce robust health, circadian rhythm must be constantly adjusted to be in sync with the natural world’s light dark cycle.  For example exposing your eyes to sunlight early in the day acts as a primary cue for our light sensitive circadian rhythm.
 
Dr. Usha - actually day & night rythm according to Ayurveda is categorized into different phases of vata , pitta & kapha. Morning & Evening 2 - 6 are prana vata hour, 6-10 morning and evening kapha hour,10 -2 day & night are pitta hours. Therefore it is advised to wake up early at 6 am when energy levels are high and mind is in a better state to work and concentrate. Similarly heavy meals are taken between 10-2 when pitta levels are at peak and metabolic processes work at their best to digest food and release energy. It is advised to sleep between 10-2 atleast so that the body gets time to rejuvenate and do repair mechanisms. So each time of the day needs an approach to keep the three doshas/tendencies of our body vat, pitta and kapha in balance to live a healthy lifestyle.
 
Mini Shastri - To be in sync with the rhythms of nature and riding on that cleansing cycle of the day is the reason that the concept of dinacharya (daily self-rituals) or ritucharya (seasonal cleanses) came into being. A daily morning routine is one the most powerful traditional tools for creating a baseline for a nourishing self care practice for improving well being and health.

hellomyyoga - What is the ideal meal and meal times?
 
Dr. Anjana - Meals should act as right fuel for body and mind and not just pleasure or indulgence. It should preferably be locally grown, seasonal, non GMO, grown without toxic chemicals, wholesome, full of natural fiber and also various natural colors. It should be a good mix of high biological value proteins, fats and complex carbs. Proportion may vary a little based on age and other metabolic factors. Preferably we must take plant based diet. After 12-13 hours overnight fasting / total gut rest, start next morning with hydration and wholesome breakfast, preferably home cooked with fresh ingredients providing protein, fats and carbs.   Try to consume 3 meals without snacking in between during day over 8-12 hours time period. Least amount of calories should be consumed in evening and should try to have last meal ATLEAST 2-3 hrs before bedtime.  Eat very light, preferably only cooked easy digestible meal in evening. Overall calories requirement is based upon the amount of activity to be performed during the day and muscle mass as well as individual metabolic rate.  Also with aging, calorie requirement goes down for most people.
 
Dr. Usha - There should be 3 meals during the entire day- breakfast between 6 to 8 pm, lunch 12 to 1 pm & dinner around 7 pm. As per Ayurveda, one should have satvik or simple food that includes seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs and food that is non spicy. Moreover every person must eat according to their constitution of vat, pitta and kapha in their bodies as everybody is unique and must be nourished with right kind of diet suitable to balance doshas.
 
Mini Shastri- In ayurveda, time is associated with the functional energies of air, fire and earth. The 24 hour day is divided into six parts and each part is dominated by one of the three functional energies. Our daily activities have been arranged so that you are optimally supported by these energies. For example, the functional energy of air is dominant around sunrise and sunset hence it is the best time to connect with the subtler energies of our being; the fire around noon supports our digestion and the earthiness of evening grounds us for sleep.

hellomyyoga - How important is cleansing and elimination process in a daily routine (Dincharya)?
 
Dr. Anjana - Body creates plenty of metabolic waste after consumption, also other unwanted stuff which enters in our body with food, through skin and breath.  Body needs to constantly eliminate this unwanted stuff through various routes for example in form of stool, Urine, sweat, shedding top layer of skin outside and also inside, expiration. Any delay or obstruction in these elimination process leads to various serious illnesses including premature aging, chronic fatigue, constipation, gut inflammation, various aches and pain, depression, weight issues and list goes on. Just imagine if you start to keep all daily trash inside your home, what it will do to your home.   So consume plenty of fiber daily and develop a routine to defecate every morning,  hydrate well to flush out soluble waste through kidneys in form of urine, from skin with sweat,  regular breathing exercises and proper breathing techniques , regular personal hygiene, taking bath to clean skin all very essential to maintain a healthy body and mind.
 
Dr. Usha- Ayurveda says as early as morning you eliminate stool more good as later it starts reabsorbing in body & once in a while detox the body to release metabolic waste which collects in the body.
 
Mini Shastri- Dawn is the natural time of change – from darkness to light. It’s a time when our senses transition from sleep to wakefulness, for the nervous system, for the formation of neural pathways. A time of transition for nature and for us from within.
It’s a cycle of the day when we are governed by the time and qualities of vata. Vata is associated with movement. Especially at dawn, a downward moving form of vata called apana, responsible for the bowel movements in the apana time of the mornings.
Our innate subtle and practical intelligence, prana or life force is especially active in the mornings. It’s the time of stirring up of this prana and we don’t want to miss this window of opportunity to sleep in as to not optimize nature’s dominant energy. Which is why sleeping way beyond vata period of early morning and rising in the inertia period of kapha may leave us feeling sluggish and heavy later in the day.
It’s also a time when rasa or lymph/ blood circulation needs assisting movement towards the cleansing organs of the kidneys and liver. Hence, is the best time for gentle yoga, walks, regulated deep diaphragmatic breaths or pranayama, even a self-face massage, or feet and joints massage. It is also a time to be easily affected by negative as well as positive influences and an opportunity to bring changes to how our day will unfold.
Your morning routine, introduced one at a time, sometimes short, sometime longer should start with a feeling of gratitude, first attention to the day should be peaceful to infuse a sense of joy. To counteract the mornings intensely shifting, changeable qualities, we can introduce the stability of routine.
We can enjoy sweet sounds, mantras, images, tastes, sweet stretches, sensations and breath practice ending with meditation.
So it’s not sufficient to go through the motions of a healthy daily routine. We need to willingly fall in love every morning.

hellomyyoga - How well planned routine since childhood can help in the long run?

Dr. Anjana - Habits are slow to build.  So keep on acquiring good activities throughout growing period which can start since birth and keep on practicing them till they become habits.  A good disciplined person from younger age stays ahead in life, less anxious, more focused, less stressed, and less likely to develop various preventable health issues.

Dr. Usha - Actually it's good to get started with the proper life style since childhood as it is the age of developing the habits & the body is more adaptable and receptive to change. As we get older the zeal to change, bodily tenderness and physiological changes makes it arduous to stick and follow a planned routine and we have to struggle to change habits.

Mini Shastri- A ritual is a doorway to a moment of internal relaxation, sanctity and serenity. Ritual can be 20 minutes. 5 minutes. 3 minutes or even 1 moment.
Ritual requires only your attention and dedication. It can be added one at a time, ideally at the same time everyday
Ritual directly involves you to take your health care in your hands.

 hellomyyoga - What factors should be considered while setting our routine?

Dr. Anjana - Our body and mind naturally works best in sync with rhythm designed by nature so respect that fact and do not try to ignore or fight with that. Keep enough time for sleep 7-8 hours during night, practice daily morning meditation for atleast 30 minutes where you can visualize rest of your day and plan your day ahead, 1 hour of exercise / yoga is recommended preferably in the morning, 1 hr should be given to personal hygiene, 1 hour for 3 meals, 1 hour for quality time with spouse/ family and appropriate time for meal preparation if no house help is available. Rest of the time should be distributed between your work and other activities accordingly.

Dr.  Usha - For setting routine most important is eating three meals & sleeping proper hours and waking up fresh and energized. The three activities though are inter related and should be planned wisely as this form a big part of our routine.

Mini Shastri- Same as the answer of Question 3

hellomyyoga - How working people plan Dincharya that can be adhered to while fulfilling personal and professional commitments?

Dr. Anjana - We are born to be functional productive people so we will be working all our lives. It is our utmost duty to give equal importance to our body which is the only vehicle or temple of worship (if we consider that our life is a gift and our work is privilege given to us to serve the humanity and nature) we will have. We are only productive if we have fulfilled our basic commitments towards this body and mind first. You cannot be productive with a sick mind and body but in contrast will be a liability to family and society eventually. A healthy and happy mind will be more likely to create a balanced goal for himself or herself and a healthy body will be more likely to take on that journey. In today’s society, many physical, mental and also social illnesses are on rise because of unrealistic expectations and extreme materialistic goals with disrespect and neglect of our basic nature. Start writing a journal and at the end of the day mark out your gains and losses in terms of what made you and your loved ones happy or sad and if you were able to sleep well that night. Gradually you may start to make better choices with time realizing what truly mattered in life.

Dr. Usha - Actually dincharya is important for everybody just we have to set our eating hours; getting up early morning & sleeping early night. It will give you proper rest & enough stamina to perform your daily activities and fulfill your commitments related to work and home. Till your routine is not proper there will be low stamina, less energy & more problems because irregular eating & sleeping will affect your metabolism also.

Mini Shastri- To break patterns of unhealthy habits an even more powerful habit must be introduced to rewire the old neural pathways or wiring by introducing habits that are stronger dopamine producing. This really is the bio chemistry of habits. Which is why dinacharya are the ancient kriyas handed down through deep observation by yogis and ayurveds, especially early mornings give us a window of opportunity to go back in time to change, heal, re pattern stubborn negative patterns to re-inforce positive ones that will most naturally be adapted and ushered one ritual at a time.
But breaking old, unhealthy habits is extremely challenging, and the presence of new habits doesn’t necessarily mean that the old ones cease to exist.
What it does mean, is that the new habits must become more powerful than existing ones in influencing behavior.
Sometimes in life we resist the very thing that makes us feel happy, healthy and alive. Old habits do die hard, however, with practice, commitment, dedication and consistency, yoga and ayurvedic interventions may just be the very thing that you’ve been searching for.