What is Dinacharya?

What is dinacharya?

Dinacharya is the daily ritual to live a healthy and balanced life according to the ancient tradition of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is yoga’s sister science. The two traditions have been practiced side-by-side for thousands of years. Yoga supports many of the functions of Ayurveda and Ayurveda supports many of the functions of yoga, so the two are often intertwined.

Most humans, especially in the United States, don’t have time to practice the full dinacharya practice… it’s just not practical with jobs, kids, etc. I’d rather not bore you with too much information, so here is a list of a fairly attainable morning practice of dinacharya…. but it’s still 13 items!!! Okay, but lets be honest you most likely at least do 5 of them already without thinking about it.

Sunset meditation

1. Rise early before the sun.

 

I’m not going to lie the morning hours are beautiful and peaceful, but I am kapha and getting out of bed in the morning is often the hardest part of my day. No joke. At least one day a week though I wake up before 5:00 am and I’m probably better for it.All my kaphas out there…. you understand how hard it is to get out of bed early (early I mean 6-7 am), but if you can stomach it just try to get up at 4:30 am or even 5 am before the first kapha cycle of day begins (first cycle: 6-10am; second cycle 6-10pm). According to Dr. Vasant Lad, the leading Ayurvedic doctor in the United States, “It is good to wake up before the sun rises, when there are loving (sattvic) qualities in nature that bring peace of mind and freshness to the senses. Sunrise varies according to the seasons, but on average vata people should get up about 6 a.m., pitta people by 5.30 a.m., and kapha by 4.30 a.m. Right after waking, look at your hands for a few moments, then gently move them over your face and chest down to the waist. This cleans the aura.”

2. Drink a large glass of warm lemon water.

Well this one is easy. Slice up a lemon and squeeze it into some warm water. Drink your lemon water before anything else goes in your body (including coffee). Warm lemon water helps jump start your metabolism and digestion and also flushes the kidneys.

3. Wash face and clear out sinuses with neti pot.

Likely you already wash your face in the morning, but using a neti pot might be new to you. To be honest I don’t neti pot everyday, but I do use it when I feel congested, when I am experiencing allergy symptoms, or suspect that I might be getting sick. I also will use my neti pot if I plan on having an extensive pranayama session. Want to try out using a neti pot? Watch this Web MD video first (also, please feel free to contact me if you have questions).

4. Scrape tongue.

Yep, give it a good scrape before you brush your teeth. The build up of ama (toxins) in the body is what causes that white filmy layer on the tongue. The practice of tongue scraping takes just a couple of seconds and helps improve overall oral health. You can purchase tongue scrapers at most natural food stores like Whole Foods or Natural Grocers.

5. Brush teeth.

Brush your teeth. Please tell me you’re already doing this!

6. Evacuate your bowels.

It’s time to go number 2. The warm lemon water should assist with emptying your bowels. In a perfect world you would relieve yourself within one hour of getting out of bed. When we are unable to evacuate our bowels a build up of toxins within the body can occur. Anyone else get headaches when the plumbing isn’t working right? I do… and it’s terrible. If the whole morning routine is new to you it may take a couple of days to get into the rhythm. Don’t stress.

7. 10-20 minutes of yoga.

Once you’ve had your bowel movement begin your yoga practice. A few simple stretches and movements to the body can help “clear out the cobwebs” that built up overnight and improve mood and overall wellbeing.

8. 5-10 minutes of pranayama or breathing exercises.

A very simple pranayama exercise would be 1:1 ratio breathing. An example would be inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 4 counts. Another option would be to practice nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing). If you will be venturing into more stimulating/challenging pranayama exercises please consult with your yoga/pranayama teacher. You may even want to consult with your doctor.

9. 5-15 minutes of meditation.

I recommend practicing meditation seated and not lying down. Find a comfortable seat in a comfortable quiet place. A simple meditation would be to follow the breath as it flows in and out of your body. There are also plenty of meditation apps that you can use for a guided practice.

10. 5-10 minute abhyanga.

Abhyanga, the self massage, is the best part of dinacharya. Use a warmed sesame or coconut oil and massage the limbs in long strokes, the joints and abdomen in circular strokes. Don’t forget your back, scalp and face. (I have sensitive skin, so I use a different blend on my face than on my body.)

11. 10-20 minute oil pulling.

Oil pulling might take a little time to get used to. Oil pulling clears out any residual bacterial buildup in the mouth. It improves breath and overall dental health. Use a tablespoon or so of coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Spit it out when you’re finished. Do not swallow the oil. You can oil pull while you’re doing your self massage or while showering to save time.

12. Shower or bathe.

Yep, hop in the shower or bath and you’re good to go.

13. Eat breakfast.

Eat a healthy, balanced breakfast.

I’d love to hear about your morning ritual. What do you do to make sure your day gets started on the right foot?

Love and Light,

Autumn

 

Jamu Recipe

turmeric-jamu-recipe

Jamu is a healing Balinese elixir made of turmeric, ginger, lime, tamarind and honey. I drank Jamu religiously during my yoga teacher training at Zuna Yoga, and will likely drink it religiously again this fall at my upcoming yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia.

The flavor of Jamu, especially when it hasn’t been sweetened much, is an acquired taste for sure. Jamu packs an intense turmeric punch… made even punchier with fresh ginger added to the mix. On top of the basic ingredients you can add other spices for flavor or for Ayurvedic purposes. I like to add black pepper and cayenne to mine, and sometimes cloves. Jamu’s main ingredient, turmeric, is rich in curcumin, a fantastic anti-inflammatory. Combining turmeric with black pepper (which contains piperine) helps our body absorb the curcumin. Want to learn more about the amazing benefits of turmeric? Check out this article at AuthorityNutrition.com.

Just a few ounces of Jamu each day is enough and should be thought of as a natural medicine, so you don’t want to overdo it… although I’ve definitely guzzled it down on more than one occasion and survived.

Here is a simple Jamu recipe to follow:

Ingredients

  • 7-10 inches turmeric root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 T. tamarind paste
  • juice from 2 limes or 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1 T. honey or 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 1 liter of water
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on medium high heat add water and turmeric. Once the water begins to boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 18-20 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger and tamarind paste and simmer for another 4-5 minutes.
  3. Allow mixture to cool. Once mixture has cooled add the turmeric mixture and honey to your blender in batches (just a warning: if your blender is plastic it will be stained yellow afterward). Blend until smooth.
  4. Using a fine mesh strainer you will strain the ingredients over a bowl to separate the solids from the liquids. You may need to use a spatula to press some of the moisture out of the solids. Discard the solids.
  5. Add citrus juice, cayenne and black pepper to your mixture. Stir, taste and adjust… maybe add more sweetener if you feel like you need it… maybe dilute it with some extra water.
  6. Poor mixture into glass jars, seal them up and store in the fridge. Jamu will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

 

Turmeric in everything, please!

As a young girl, my mother dated a man from Pakistan. With this relationship came a really awesome point in my life, food wise. This was when I discovered my absolute favorite thing to use in my kitchen; turmeric.

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset My mother made potatoes doused in it and the glass dish would be covered with neon yellow oil while they cooked. The intense color blew my little mind. Along with the taste.

So, 20 years later I am still using it in everything that I can think of. Sweet or savory, you can find it a place.

The health benefits of turmeric are widely regarded in Ayurveda and many remedies call for this nifty little gem of a root. Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and it’s ability to heal those stomach issues that ail you, turmeric should become your new BFF.

Here are some delicious ways I utilize turmeric in my cooking:

Turmeric Hummus

My children will demolish an entire container of this in a day. It usually never even makes it into the fridge. This recipe is ridiculously easy and not to mention, SO YUMMY.

  • 2 cans of chickpeas; drained & rinsed.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
  • 1 clove of garlic (or more if you like it intense)
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Approximately 1/2 cup of tahini
  • Turmeric (the amount is up to you. I add maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons and will add more if I feel it needs it)
  • Sea salt (to taste. I would start with 1 tsp and adjust)
  • 1 cup avocado oil (add more to adjust thickness. avocado oil is my preferred choice since it’s mild, but olive oil is traditional)

*Throw ingredients into your blender and turn it in. It’s really that easy. Adjust your salt and oil and then dig in with fresh veggies or crackers. I also love a big dollop on top of a salad.

Carrot-Orange-Turmeric Juice

You’ll need a juicer for this, or else you can use a powerful blender such as a ninja or vitamix and then strain it.

  • Carrots (I buy a big bag of organic juicing carrots. I will usually use about half of a 5lb bag for this juice. And save the pulp! It goes great in muffins.)
  • Turmeric root (If you can’t obtain fresh turmeric, feel free to use powder in an amount that suits you. Fresh turmeric is intense so I usually use about a 1 1/2 inch piece)unnamed-4
  • Ginger Root (I like it ginger-y! Feel free to use as much as you like.)
  • Orange Juice (I buy organic fresh squeezed oj and use about 2 cups or more depending.)

*Juice all of your ingredients and either chill in the fridge for a few hours or serve over ice!

 

 

 

Golden Mylk

This is one of my favorite treats before bed time. On days when I make fresh almond or cashew mylk, this is most definitely a must.

  • Milk alternative (Avoid milk substitutes that contain the icky ingredient carrageenan gum. Califa Farms almond milk is a great choice and can be found in the refrigerated section of whole foods and the like. Otherwise, soak some almonds or cashews and make your own!)
  • Vanilla extract (Or vanilla bean)
  • Maple syrup
  • Turmeric
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamon

*This “recipe” is really up to your own taste. I’ve simply listed what I use in my golden mylk and then I think it’s up to you to see what your preferences are for the spices. Heat up in a saucepan and then enjoy warm.

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There are so many delicious ways to use turmeric – curries, ice cream, golden mylk, hummus…the options are endless!

Kelsey Bushong

Kelsey Bushong

Kelsey is a stay at home mother to two young boys, Silas (3) and Felix (1.5). As someone who always loved to cook, Kelsey really dove into health and wellness during her first pregnancy. Going back to school after Felix was born, Kelsey altered her plan from Nursing to Nutrition and was accepted to the National College of Natural Medicine this past Spring to complete her Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. With her studies being heavily guided by ancient Ayurvedic practices, Kelsey is most interested in how food can be used as medicine and how diet and diseases relate. She hopes to spread the idea that clean eating and wellness are very much achievable for everyone and cooking clean and healthy does not have to be difficult!
Kelsey Bushong

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