A lot has been said about daily routines in our scriptures. How one should spend his day and what essential things should constitute his day.
Though these things were suggested thousands of years ago, they retain their relevance even today. Of course we have to make suitable adjustments depending on our circumstances, they certainly give us a framework to build on.
How do they help us?
They keep us “in control”. We feel we are on the driver’s seat of our life.
Gives tremendous self- confidence and a sense of discipline.
Allows us to concentrate on important things rather than fire fighting always.
Gives us a feeling of satisfaction and pride.
Basics of an ideal routine - Dincharya are given below.
1. Get up in morning
It has been recommended that one should get up early in Brahma muhurt every day. Those who rise in this period gets rewarded in terms of health, wealth, knowledge, strength and power. A period 90 minutes to 180 minutes prior to sunrise is called Brahma muhurt.
वर्ण कीर्तिमति लक्ष्मी स्वास्थ्यायुश्च विन्दति
ब्राह्मे मूहुर्ते सज्जाग्रच्छिर्यं वॉं पंक्कजं यथा ।।
2. Sighting the hands
After getting up one should see palms of his hands while still in bed. It is believed in the first portion of palm resides Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the middle - Saraswati the goddess of knowledge and in the last part Brahma- the creator. This ensures wealth and knowledge .
कराग्रेवसते लक्ष्मी: करमध्ये सरस्वती
करमूले स्थितो ब्रह्मा प्रभातेकरदर्शनम्।।
3. Sight of auspicious things and saluting the Gurus
After getting up , as far as possible, one should see auspicious things which are nearby like cow, Basil or Peepal tree, idols of Deities. Thereafter one should pay respect to the elders - father, mother etc and Gurus. This gives one longevity , knowledge , respect and strength. One should not go out of his place for this, the provision is, if they are available in one’s house.
4. Morning water- Ushapan
According to Ayurveda system it is good to drink water in the morning. Drink two to four/ five glasses of water, as per capacity, particularly the one kept in a copper vessel overnight . This destroys problems of all the three doshas- vata, pitta and kapha. One gets his stomach clean and cured of stomach related problems.
5. Cleaning Bowel and bladder ( Toilet)
Then one should clean ones bowel and bladder. There are certain prescriptions to be followed here. If possible cover your head, and if you wear the thread, wrap it around your right ear. This makes the flow of wind downward and helps in evacuation. Keep your jaw ( upper and lower teeth ) pressed over each other. Don’t strain.
6. Cleaning the teeth
Now a days we use tooth paste and brush but in olden days people used a soft twig of neem or babool tree which was considered to be beneficial for the problems of teeth. But the essence is cleaning of teeth whatever may be the medium.
7. Exercise or walking in fresh air
Depending upon place and time, one should exercise daily. It could be morning walk, yoga or any physical activity. It is good to keep the body healthy , to gain strength and to ignite the digestive fire. One should walk in open, fresh and pure air morning and or evening. This in itself ensures good health. Physical exercises, walking or for that matter any type of movement offers tremendous benefits. American Heart Association recommends any type of physical activity for 30 minutes five days a week .
In Ayurveda massage is recommended before bath. For bath it suggests bathe only in pure water kept in pure vessel. Bathe in fresh water not in warm water. Hot water is recommended only for old, diseased and in winter. Don’t bathe in haste. Don’t take bath after food, in sickness and in late night.
For clothes it is suggested that they should be clean, properly washed, according to season and gracious. Clothes should be according to ones constitution, they should not cause any disease and promote simplicity and purity.
10. Mantra chanting
A lot has been said about yajna, oblations, and chanting in our scriptures. Doing our daily routines perfectly well and keeping the constraints of life and time in view, if we could accommodate worship, mantra chanting in our life, we should. This is energizing and builds confidence. You always have a reassuring feeling that some Higher Force is there to take care in case of any difficulty.
For adults two meals are recommended. In addition, one can take milk, fruits etc. While taking food, care must be taken that every morsel is chewed 32 times and it is taken with proper attention. It is good not to take water in between. Food which is spicy, is taken in angry mood, without hunger, excess of hunger are not good for health.
Food should not be taken when you are sick , there is pain in stomach or urge to defecate.
Don’t take food at impure and dirty place, at dusk or dawn and in a broken plate.
The one who prepares food and also one who serves should not be immoral, adulterer, back biter and suffering from any communicable diseases.
While taking food don’t argue, speak harsh words and be angry.
We should not find fault in food, cry and shout while eating.
Half cooked, tasteless, left out food are tamasic food.
There should be four types of purity in food
A) Kshetra Suddhi ( purity of place)
The place where food is prepared and taken should be pure. A place where there is dust and dirt, mosquitos and flies, bacterias germinate and when they get attached with the food they produce diseases.
B) Dravya Suddhi- ( purity of money)
Food prepared or bought by money earned with unethical, illegal, immoral means affects our body and mind and cannot make us pure and satvik.
C) Kala Suddhi ( purity of time)
Those who don’t take their food on time suffer from various stomach related diseases. Taking food when you are hungry is the best time .
D) Bhava Suddhi ( purity of thoughts)
Take food in good mood. Don’t take food when angry, irritated, disturbed, distressed, depressed.
12. Earning livelihood
Those who are responsible for earning livelihood should devote at least eight hours or more on work and do their job, business or profession, whatever it is, with utmost honesty, sincerity and diligence .
Avoiding deceit, theft, fraud, falsehood one should engage in one’s business or service or whatever his occupation is.
Don’t go to bed immediately after food. Sleeping place should be airy, pure and clean. One should read holy books or scriptures before sleeping. Keeping ones head in east or south direction one should sleep on clean bed. Remembering God , lie down on your left side. It is good to sleep for 7/8 hours. Switch off your TV, phones half an hour before going to bed. Don’t cover your face and don’t sleep with socks on . It is good to go to bed early and rise early.
As mentioned, following healthy routine is becoming free. It may seem contradictory that when you follow certain discipline, how can you be free. Freeing oneself means I am making deliberate, well thought out choices that gives me control over my life. It allows me to do important things and discard trivia. So choose points from the above that appeal to you, follow them religiously and see for yourself how it goes. Our advice would be to decide about your wake-up-sleep timings, exercise and diet. These three constitute pillars of your physical and mental health. In order to form a habit do it for at least 60 days.