Definition - What does Dinacharya mean?

Dinacharya is a principle in Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga. It refers to a daily routine that's meant to maintain physical health. According to Ayurveda, establishing a healthy and consistent dinacharya allows the body to be in tune with the cycles of nature, promoting optimal wellness.

Dinacharya helps to create balance during the changes in doshas (humors), which occur naturally throughout the cycles of the day. The activities included in dinacharya include cleansing, massage, exercise, study, meditation and yoga. There are clear guidelines about the timing of all these activities.

Yogapedia explains Dinacharya

The morning Ayurvedic practices of dinacharya are intended to both calm and energize the body, preparing the practitioner for the day ahead. The evening ones are to help the practitioner relax before sleep. The recommended timings for these practices are in tune with the natural cycle of the sun. Although the dinacharya practices are thousands of years old, advocates of Ayurveda say they are as beneficial in the modern lifestyle as ever before.

Guidelines can vary, but the suggested routines for dinacharya are as follows:

  • Morning: Rise two hours before sunrise. Wash the face and eyes, and scrape the tongue. Massage the body with oil. Exercise by practicing yoga and/or pranayama. Bathe, meditate and eat breakfast.
  • Midday: Eat the largest meal of the day.
  • Evening: Have a light dinner at least three hours before bedtime, then take a walk. Go to bed around 10 p.m.

This routine is said to keep the body in tune with the cycles of the three doshas - vata, pitta and kapha, which are dominant at the following times of day:

  • Kapha: 6 - 10 a.m. and 6 - 10 p.m.
  • Pitta: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
  • Vata: 2 - 6 p.m. and 2 - 6 a.m.

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