Have you ever woken up feeling energetic and on top of the world in the middle of the night whereas you have to literally drag yourself out of bed in the morning? Why do we feel energetic at times and tired at other times? Why are some of us productive during day time while some are night-owls? If you are wondering why does this happens, Ayurveda has some answers for you!
The core principle of Ayurveda is that the body should be aligned with rhythms of nature for a healthy life. The elements like air, fire, water, ether (space) and earth are the building blocks of nature and life and hence referred to as the energetic forces of nature also known as, doshas in terms of Ayurveda.
The tridoshas- vata, pitta or kapha are one of the fundamental concepts in the tradition of Ayurveda. Each dosha is predominantly composed of two of the five natural elements - vata is composed of space and air, pitta of fire and water, and kapha of earth and water and these doshas govern all physical and mental processes in the body and the dosha constituents vary between each individual almost like a fingerprint.
Each dosha occurs dominantly in nature as well as in the body during the four-hour window, which is referred to as “Ayurvedic dosha clock”. Basically, the characteristics of that dosha will affect how you feel during the respective time of day.
When we schedule our daily activities in line with natural rhythm, the more we support our well-being. To elaborate this process, Ayurveda has divided a day into two cycles and six phases, each phase comprising four hours.
The first cycle is as follows:
2 A.M. – 6 A.M. – Vata Time.
6 A.M. – 10 A.M. – Kapha Time.
10 A.M. – 2 P.M. – Pitta Time.
The first cycle repeats itself during the second half of the day. So, the second cycle goes like this:
2 P.M. – 6 P.M. – Vata Time.
6 P.M. – 10 P.M. – Kapha Time.
10 P.M. – 2 A.M. – Pitta Time.
Because vata dosha includes the elements of ether and air, the period with dominant vata dosha are great times to access ether (space) and establish a spiritual connection. The early morning vata phase (2A.M. to 6 A.M.) is time for receptivity, rather than creativity. You will connect more easily to stillness and peace when there is less activity outside and things are quiet and etheric. Vata dominant people may find it difficult to sleep or meditate during the vata phase and for them, chanting some affirmations or mantras during meditation can calm the mind. Besides this, having a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg before bed helps to pacify excess vata.
In the afternoonbetween 2:00 and 6:00 pm, the high vata energy makes it an excellent time to try to do creative endeavours. The qualities of air and ether that are present during this afternoon cycle of vata dosha are naturally more playful and lighter and are a great time to socialize, share creative conversations and engage in problem-solving. Vata is delicate of all three dosha and vata-dominant people may feel a bit uncomfortable and agitated. It is recommended for them to work in a calm environment. Sipping a cup of warm, herbal tea may help to balance the pitta.
The ideal morning begins with kapha energy, which is typically between 6 A.M.–10 A.M. The presence of water and earth gives the heavy, sluggish and overslept feeling when you wake up during this time. Instead, try waking up before 6 A.M and engage in some physical activity to get your heart pumping and to activate your senses. It is also the time to nourish your body with a light, wholesome breakfast and prepare yourself for work.
The next phase of Kapha begins at 6 P.M. and is a perfect time to relax and rejuvenate your senses. Have a light dinner, take a warm bath, listen to soothing music and prepare yourself to wind down by 10 P.M. Avoid any stimulants like coffee, brain-storming conversations or watching any disturbing shows during this period as it may affect your sleep.
Pitta is composed of water and fire, and is dominant between 10.00 A.M to 2 P.M. Pitta is the time of productivity and one should try and accomplish their goals in this time. As the sun is at the highest in the sky, the digestive fire is also at the peak and is the best time to have your biggest meal of the day. People who are predominantly pitta, should avoid going out at this time of the day under direct sun, as they may experience more heat symptoms like skin rashes and mood irritation.
The second phase of pitta for the day begins at 10 P.M and Ayurveda suggests that you are sound asleep at this time so that the fire of our body’s repair system begins to ignite, and internal cleansing happens. If you are awake during this time, cleansing is disturbed and instead you may feel the late-night binge thanks to the peak digestive fire.
By listening to the cues of nature, and following the rhythms, we will be rewarded with optimal health, balance, and peace of mind.