Dinacharya comes from the root words 'Dina,' meaning 'day' and 'Charya,' which means 'guidelines' or 'to be founded in.' Thus, the actual word means, 'to be founded in the day.'
Dinacharya truly invites us to be found, to discover and uncover ourselves in each moment of the day, by aligning ourselves with the specific energies that that part of the day imbibes. Dinacharya is a set of rituals and practices that draw us into natural alignment with the shifting energies that appear throughout the day, so that we are living with, rather than against, the wisdom that nature holds.
How do I remember the alreadiness of Ayurveda; the fact that Ayurveda is beyond time and space and that it exists as the heartbeat of this life? How can I remember that Ayurveda is not something 'foreign' that is taught from someone or something outside of me? How can I know that it as the very alignment to my natural state? Through Dinacharya.
Dinacharya is truly the grit of integrated Ayurveda. It is the opposite of living on auto-pilot. It allows us to experience that Ayurveda is not something that we 'practice.' It is not something to come in and out of, or use sometimes, when we really need it. Ayurveda is the natural wisdom, the subtle hum of knowledge in the background. And this knowledge is not for the mind, but is meant to be lived and known in every cell. This is the knowledge of who we are and how we are called to live.
Dinacharya offers us the chance, moment by moment to live in and as this Presence, rather than just waking up every morning and 'doing' our days. Instead of living as if we are entitled to another breath, to another chance to pet our dog, to another moment of gazing into the eyes of our beloveds, our children and our neighbours, this sacred ritual of living in tandem with time and with life reminds us of who we truly are, and that it is an unbelievable gift to live in this body and in this moment.
So if you have no Dinacharya practice yet, or if you already have one but sense that you have been practicing it at the surface level, tomorrow morning, when you arise, bring your hands together at your heart and gaze at your palms. Notice the miracle of these hands. Ask yourself, who do these hands belong to? Who do these hands serve?
The left and right hands represent the opposing energies of the sun and moon, of the masculine and feminine, Pingala and Ida Nadis, Shiva and Shakti. When we bring them together in this conscious way, we are actually physically reuniting that which can never be truly separated, and we can serve ourselves this reminder every single morning.
We recommend chanting this prayer, Karadarsanam (“kara” in Sanskrit means “hand,” and “darsanam” means “looking, seeing, witnessing”), immediately upon arising:
Karagre vasate Lakshmi Kara madhye Saraswati Kara moole stithe Gauri Prabhate Karadarshanam
This prayer can be roughly translated as:
On the tips of your fingers, Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth + prosperity)
In the center of your palm, Saraswati (the goddess of knowledge, art + creativity)
At your wrist, Gauri (the Mother goddess, the incarnation of Shakti power)
This fertile prayer is an acknowledgement and expression of devotion to the many forms of Shakti that express through your very own hands. Through this understanding, you can move through the actions of your day, knowing that your hands are the Divine incarnated, and that they can be a bestower of this love and this power, whatever or whomever they may touch. This prayer is also a call to the Divine to guide your hands and your actions throughout the day, so that they might be little servants of God, even while they perform the seemingly average tasks of life, like washing dishes, folding laundry, wiping away tears, cuddling loved-ones, filling out mundane paperwork, and taking out the trash.
Even if this was the only Dinacharya practice that you could make time for every day, and if you did it with the Sankalpa (intention) of Self-remembrance, this would be enough.