Establishing a daily routine is key for a healthy and productive life. A concept central to Ayurveda, Dinacharya is a Sanskrit word made up of ‘din’ which means day, and ‘acharya’ which means routine. Vasu Gandhi, founder of the Ayurveda inspired hair and skincare brand Sova Care, walks us through her daily regimen and gives us tips and tricks on how to ace Dinacharya.
During the pandemic induced lockdown last year, Gandhi began to notice a subtle shift in the attitudes and behavior in a few of friends and family. There were undertones of anxiety, stress, loss of temper, and most importantly fear. In order to relieve her friends and family of these issues, she turned to Ayurveda.
Dinacharya helps take care of both our mental and physical well being. Gandhi begins her day by washing her face and eyes with cold water from an earthen matka. “One can alternately use water from a copper vessel as well,” she suggests. She cleans her tongue with a copper tongue cleaner and moves on to five minutes of oil pulling with coconut oil. Oil pulling is believed to help leach out the toxins created in our mouths overnight. This is followed by drinking warm water, which helps in flushing out the kidneys.
“All these are very basic steps and can be done easily. A round of jal neti completes my morning ritual,” shares Gandhi. Jal neti is a Shatkarma (a purification practice) that clears out the nasal passage and helps one breathe well. The practice allegedly prevents respiratory ailments.
Vasu recommends: KannsSky ceramic jal neti
LINING THE SYSTEM
“If jal neti is not possible, I most definitely use anu taila for nasya. Followed by a warm medicated ghee shot, as prescribed by my doctor,” says Gandhi. Nasya involves putting drops of ghee or oil into one’s nostrils to help clear the sinuses.
She follows this up with a session of pranayama, which helps calm the mind, release cerebral tension, and dissipate anger. “After pranayama, I practice hatha yoga. Yoga done in any form helps relieve stress and boost the mood by decreasing circulating cortisol levels and increasing endorphin secretion. It also helps us develop awareness which helps us live in a more conscious way,” reveals the Ayurvedist. On every alternate day, Gandhi indulges in abhyanga, a massage with warm oil.
Vasu recommends: Aerolite yoga mats
Our diet profoundly affects both our physical and mental health. A nutritious diet can help regulate stress and anxiety. Warm, freshly cooked food including prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, cooked fibrous vegetables and fruit help promote a proper balance of gut bacteria which strengthens and activates the gut brain axis. Gandhi consciously focuses on including healthy fats such as walnuts, almonds, avocados and ghee in all her meals. Antioxidants and omega fatty acids support the growth of new neurons and help produce neurotransmitters like serotonin.
Along with food and energy management, sleep is one of the three pillars of health according to Ayurveda. Poor sleep is linked to a weakened immune system and mental health issues. Sleeping for a good 7-8 hours a day is most necessary.
“Times like these call for extra fortification, for which I turned to well researched Ayurvedic herbs like Brahmi, Shankhapushpi, Ashwagandha, and Jatamansi. These herbs act as potent natural nootropics and adaptogenics, and help regulate the secretion of neurotransmitters thereby boosting overall brain function,” shares Gandhi. Everyone in her family, from her in-laws to her kids take supplements to maintain their mental wellbeing.
She also suggests reducing screen time and taking breaks from consuming news and viral information, as it may substantially exaggerate anxiety levels.