The evening routine is critically important because it lays the foundation for success with the morning routine. An evening routine can be as simple as establishing a consistent dinnertime and bedtime. Or, it can incorporate a few simple practices. Here are some nice things to consider.
Stick to A Consistent Dinner Time
Ideally, we would eat dinner early enough that our food has time to move completely out of the stomach before we go to bed. This means allowing your body a minimum of 2-3 hours between dinner and bedtime. It may also mean eating a lighter dinner than we might otherwise be accustomed to. These practices allow for proper digestion, prevent the unnecessary accumulation of toxins, and support healthy sleep patterns.
Take Triphala or Tulsi Tea
Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic formula comprised of three fruits that is balancing for vata, pitta, and kapha. It is revered for its unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the tissues. About half an hour before bed, steep ½ teaspoon triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink. Or, take 2 triphala tablets with a glass of warm water. Holy basil benefits are vast and is consumed mostly as Tulsi Tea. Holy basil, as its name suggests, is an important spiritual herb in India. Holy basil is one of the most sacred plants in India and has incredible significance, spiritually and health wise. It hails from the Indian subcontinent, though it is now commonly grown throughout the Southeast Asian tropics. It is a subshrub with green or purple leaves that are very strong in aroma; Ayurveda describes them as pungent, bitter, and warming. De-stress with this super herb Tulsi, is your go to herb for after a stressful day at work.
Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Oil Massage)
This ancient practice of self-massage with oil calms the nervous system, lubricates and rejuvenates the tissues, and promotes healthy circulation throughout the body. It is no coincidence that the Sanskrit word for oil, sneha, also means love. Abhyanga is a profound practice of rejuvenation and loving self-care that benefits both the physical body and the more subtle realms of consciousness. Each morning, before a shower or bath, massage about 1/4 cup warm Kapha Massage Oil (because vata is inherently calmed by the practice of Abhyanga) or Organic Pine Nut Oil into the skin. Alternatively, you can choose your oils seasonally or according to your current condition. For further instructions on this rejuvenating technique, click here.
Apply Warm Oil to the Ears
The ears are closely related to vata dosha. Lubricating the ears with warm, untoasted sesame oilregularly can help to pacify vata in general, but can also support the sense of hearing, prevent stiffness in the neck by lubricating local tissues, and encourage healthy brain function. You can use an eyedropper to place about 10 drops of warm pine nut or sesame oil in one ear at a time – letting it sit for several minutes before draining any excess and then repeat the process on the other side. Or, you can simply use the tip of your pinky finger to lubricate the inside of each ear with a bit of pine nut oil.
Apply Warm Oil to the Top of the Head
Oiling the head and scalp is deeply soothing and can help to prevent headaches, hair loss, and greying. It also supports each of the sense organs and encourages sound sleep.
Our feet literally carry us through each day. Massaging them each morning, focusing on the soles in particular, is a very grounding and nurturing practice. But because various points on the feet correlate with organs and tissues throughout the body, it also supports proper vision, relieves stress, and offers many other systemic benefits.
Massage the Body With Dry Powder
Massaging the body with soft powders (like chickpea or rice flours), stimulates movement of the lymph, balances kapha, encourages circulation, liquefies fat, bolsters the health of the skin, and lends strength and tone to the tissues of the body.3 It can also help to remove excess oil from the skin following abhyanga.
Bathing is a very important part of the traditional Ayurvedic routine. It is said to cleanse and purify the body, to bring energy and alertness to the being, and to promote longevity. Use soap only where necessary. If you’ve done abhyanga, rinsing the skin with warm water will generally suffice to remove excess oil.
Create a Brief “Bedtime Routine”
The idea here is to create a simple series of events that helps to signal your body that the day is winding down and that you will be going to sleep soon. This practice can be incredibly helpful in supporting our ability to surrender to sleep. It is important that these activities be consistent from one day to the next. A bedtime routine might include things like:
Brushing the teeth
Washing the face
Applying oil to the feet and scalp
Other soothing, quieting activities that appeal to you
Note: Reading in bed is not recommended, as it disrupts the desired association between being in bed and sleeping. If you like to read before bed, designate a specific place – other than your bed – and enjoy. But keep in mind that reading before bed can be quite stimulating to the eyes and the mind, which can disrupt healthy sleep patterns. If you tend to struggle with disturbed sleep, you might want to try giving up your bedtime book for a while to see if you notice a difference in your quality of sleep.
Establish a Consistent Bedtime
The trick here is to be consistent. Having predictable sleep and wake times helps our bodies naturally attune to a daily rhythm. It is often helpful to work backward from your desired wake time and establish a sleep time that ensures that you get enough rest each night without being excessive. This is a beautiful way for us to honor our need for sleep and to ensure that an appropriate amount of rest is built into each day.
Other Considerations That May Alter Your Routine
You may also find that there is good reason to deviate occasionally from this traditional vata or pitta or kapha placatory routine.
Each of the seasons arrives with its own unique personality. I can support an improved state of balance throughout the year by making a conscious effort to live in harmony with the cycles of nature and by making small adjustments in our routines in order to accommodate the arrival of each new season.
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In Ayurveda, the importance of a consistent daily routine can’t be underestimated. It sets the tone for your entire day, bringing a sense of calm and well-being. It gives the body, mind, and spirit the chance to ground and cleanse, to start afresh. Continue Research
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