Oh, what a time to be alive! This great mystery of Life has ushered in some very harsh and swift lessons this past year, and with them, a greater and more urgent call to awaken as a collective. The message is clear, that none of us can stand for living apart from our Self any longer, as our mental and physical health, our connection to one another and to the planet suffers tremendously. 2020 was the year of our great and global triggering; a call to pay attention, to cease and desist, to make radical transformation, and to wake up.
Ayurveda offers the life-changing gift of Dinacharya–the daily routine–wherein 'dina' means daily and 'chary' means regimen or response. These beautiful practices are not intended to serve as extra 'self-care' or 'self-help' duties to add to your 'to-do' list, because, in the ego-mind, that list will never come to an end. They are not performances to be done for the 'improvement' of the personality and the body, although, the mind and the body will certainly benefit. They are rather, a calling and an opportunity to wash away what is not real, revealing the purity and the essence your Heart, shining through and as the body/mind vehicle. These practices can act as metaphorical Lekhenas–the term classifying herbs in Ayurveda that scrape Ama (waste, toxins) out of the body–literally scraping away the lie of separation. They give us the chance to show up as Presence in each action of our morning routine, and thus, in every moment of our days.
As you move through these actions, we invite you to ask yourself the question, "Who am I?" or "Who is doing this?" Do not simply settle at a surface-level answer, in fact, do not settle at any answer at all. Let this be an open exploration, even as the body moves and the mind, perhaps, produces thoughts.
This blog will be expanded regularly over the next 2 weeks with our favourite Dinacharya practices, with a new one offered each time. We recommend that, if you are new to Dinacharya, that you begin with the first recommendation and gradually add more as they are offered here, and as your schedule permits. When you have experienced all of these practices, you may wish to chose and continue with those that resonate most strongly with you.
Brahmamuhurta is the deeply auspicious period of the day between roughly 2-6am, that is ripe for receiving the spiritual insights and clarity offered by Brahman, or the Divine Source. This is the time when there are Sattvic (loving, pure) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Right after waking, look at your hands for a few moments, say a prayer and gently move them over your face and chest down to the waist to wake up the energy and cleanse the subtle body before beginning the day.
Rising early, and partaking in meditation and/or other spiritual practices will also realign your internal clock with the natural circadian rhythms. It only takes a look into nature to notice that the rest of the natural world arises before sunrise, and it is always in nature that we find the true remedies.
“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you Don't go back to sleep! You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep! People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch, The door is round and open Don't go back to sleep!”
~Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī
DAY 2: PRAY
What do you do first thing in the morning, upon waking up? For many of us in the modern age, we instinctively reach for our phones, or we go straight into autoplay, diving into the same neural patterns that the brain plays on repeat every single day. Ayurveda asks us to break through these patterns of habit–as the ego-mind, being the creature of comfort that it is, favours habit over the unknown–to pierce through the veil of conditioning to the true purity of our Self.
The hands are considered a sacred motor organ of action, a vehicle for the action of giving and receiving. By bringing the hands together at the heart in Namaste, the two opposing poles of the left and right hand, the masculine and feminine, solar and lunar, Ida and Pingala, lose their seeming sense of separation and distinction, transforming this gesture into a portal for self conscious introspection.
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)
Pray to your hand in the morning.
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.
You can begin by following along with this video if you would like to get a grasp on the Sanskrit pronunciation:
DAY 3: DRINK COPPER OR WARM WATER
While the 2010s ushered in the lemon-water craze to the maturing holistic databanks of the internet, we invite you to ring in 2021 with a new way of drinking your water first thing in the morning; a new way that dates back thousands of years.
Drinking copper water or warm water in the morning is vital to the promotion of health because this practice triggers the release of the Malas (waste-products) of urine and feces. Evacuating in the morning allows us to leave behind the physical, emotional, mental and energetic residues of yesterday, making space for the freshness of the new day
Warm or hot water produces a laxative effect, and the act of simply filling up the stomach in and of itself induces motility in the gastrointestinal tract. Tamra Jal, or copper water as it's known more commonly, is also an effective way to stimulate a bowel movement. This medicinal water is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, helping to strengthen the body's immune function and remove Ama (waste) from the system. Ama is the antithesis of Swastha (health); the very opposite of its translation–to be situated in the Self. Because when our bodies are congested with Ama, we are quite literally, living in the muck of the past.
Additionally, daily intake of warm or copper water hydrates the bowels–the seat of Vata dosha–treating or preventing dryness in this area, one of the most common prerequisites to chronic constipation.
We recommend drinking 25-30 oz of purified water after rising in the morning, before you intake anything else.
If drinking from our hand-hammered 100% Copper Water Bottle(holds 30 oz) or Copper Cup (holds 16 oz), let the water sit in the vessel overnight, then drink in the morning on an empty stomach. You may even wish to heat the copper-infused water before consuming, by pouring it into a pot and heating on med-low, especially in the colder months or if you have a Vata or Kapha Prakruti (constitution) or Vikruti (imbalance). Drink the copper water alone, without adding anything to it, especially avoiding adding lemon as this can result in nausea.
If drinking plain water, you may wish to spice things up with these optional additions to support the balancing of the Doshas: