Save time in the mornings with these dinacharya shortcuts that make Ayurveda’s daily routine more accessible.
Ayurveda in the Shower
Ayurveda is famous for recommending a lengthy and elaborate morning to-do list as part of something called dinacharya, translated as daily routine. Many Ayurvedic practitioners are guilty, as I was early in my career, of prescribing a laundry list of Ayurvedic techniques, including dinacharya, that often overwhelmed patients.
Yes, you can start your day with a glass of warm lemon water, tongue scraping, oil pulling, daily self-massage (abhyanga), neti, nasya, ear oiling (karna purana), and marma head massage. Then if you have any time left you can try and squeeze in the most important stuff like your yoga, breathing, and meditation, and breakfast, and oh yes, it would be nice to get to work sometime before noon! Well, here’s a more accessible, abbreviated version that can help you save time and still secure many of the primary benefits of dinacharya.
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Save Time with John Douillard’s 7-Step Ayurvedic Shower Routine
While taking your daily shower, you can check off seven powerful Ayurvedic health-promoting rituals. Plug these into your shower routine and reap the benefits in a fraction of the time.
1. Tongue Scraping
Start your Ayurveda in the shower with tongue scraping, preferably with an antiseptic copper tongue scraper as copper is the only truly antiseptic metal. Tongue scraping will kick-start your digestive metabolism and remove undesirable bacteria that can cause plaque accumulation on your teeth, arteries, and brain, while removing bacteria that cause bad breath.1
Need a tongue scraper? Get one here.
2. Oil Pulling
After tongue scraping, use about an ounce of LifeSpa’s Swish, a traditional oil pulling formula with sesame oil, coconut oil, turmeric, and peppermint. Ayurvedic oil pulling has been studied to fight plaque and reduce volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath. Keep swishing until the end of your shower, as it takes time for the oils to saponify, or turn from oil into a more soap-like substance, and become activated as antiseptic for your mouth.2,9 Plus, by the end of your shower, it will be safe for your drain as well.
3. Daily Oil-Massage
For best vata-balancing results, use LifeSpa’s Tri-Dosha Massage Oil, or for decongesting and cleaning skin and lymph, use LifeSpa’s Lymphatic Massage Oil. These oils nourish beneficial bacteria on your skin. Avery little massage oil goes a long way in the shower, so you’ll only need a small amount. Use circular strokes over your joints and belly and long strokes over your arms and legs. Spend some extra time on your feet. Abyhanga in the shower will leave a light film of oil that does not soil your towels and takes the place of a moisturizing lotion.3
We Recommend5 Reasons for Self-Massage (Abhyanga)
4. Head Massage
At the end of the abyhanga, give yourself a vigorous Ayurvedic head marma-point massage, which has been shown to increase brain lymphatic circulation, or tarpaka kapha in Ayurveda. The brain drains three pounds of toxic material and plaque into brain lymphatics each year. Ayurvedic head massage has been studied for its ability to increase brain lymphatic circulation and detox the brain.4 For this you can use one of the Ayurvedic massage oils on your finger tips and massage the oil into the scalp or just use your fingers without oil and give yourself a vigorous scaly massage through your wet hair.
5. Ear Oiling
Next, use the practice of karna purana, or ear oiling, to increase brain lymphatic flow and enhance more subtle and refined hearing. Use a couple drops of either LifeSpa’s Nasya Oil or Tri-Doshic Massage Oil in both ears, close the flaps, and massage your ears for 30-60 seconds.6
Optional: Neti in the shower is extremely convenient as long as you prepare the neti pot with sterile water prior to getting in the shower. Neti is not considered a part of an Ayurvedic daily routine, but rather as a therapy that can be employed as needed. If you choose to perform neti in the shower, it can be done at this stage after discarding the Swish, or in the beginning of the shower before you add in oil pulling.
Need a neti pot? Find one here.
BONUS: End with an Himalayan Cold Water
For the brave, finish your shower by gradually turning the water from hot to cold. Try to end with a two-minute traditional Ayurvedic cold shower, classically performed by all yogis to boost brown fat, lower blood sugar, and stimulate your metabolism to turbo-charge your day with clean and vital energy.7 The science is based on the study of hormeses which suggests that, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
Don’t Skip Breakfast
With these morning routine shortcuts, you may now have more time to enjoy a health breakfast. Breakfast is one of the two most important meals of the day. Skip supper if you must, but the importance of a good breakfast and lunch are key to a healthy dinacharya and now backed by new circadian science.8