A Guide to Perfect Health: the Ayurvedic Doshic Clock
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Jul 15, 2019
The interconnection between Pindanda (the body) and Brahmanda (nature/the universe) is a central concept in Ayurved. Each Ayurvedic teaching is based on this interconnection, emphasizing that every change on the outside influences and is reflected in the inside. The five physical elements of fire, earth, air, ether and water not only comprise the universe, but also the human body. It is no surprise, therefore, that Ayurved necessitates the alignment of the human body with the rhythms of its natural surroundings through our daily lifestyle practices.
Due to this deep interconnection between the inner microcosm and the outer macrocosm, the fluctuation of the Doshas
in the environment affects their presence and relative strength in our bodies. In other words, at each point of the day, there is a particular Dosha that is at its peak in the universe, causing its increase within our bodies. In order to prevent diseases and promote perfect health, our activities throughout the day must be undertaken with consideration to these fluctuations.
The doshic clock can be divided into six segments throughout the day, each of which consists of one Dosha in the highest concentration. From 2AM-6AM is Vata time, resulting in variable energy in the environment. Vata’s qualities of movement, sharpness, activity and lightness are reflected within the body as well. To counter this variable energy, it is imperative to rise during this time, eliminate and detoxify, and follow a grounding morning routine that includes relaxing practices such as yoga, meditation and pranayama. This energy reemerges between 2PM-6PM, which is the perfect time to take an afternoon or early evening break, wind down, and consciously relax. Like increases like in Ayurved, so high-energy activities that increase Vata should be avoided during Vata time.
From 6AM-10AM, Kapha energy takes over, resulting in dull and static energy in the natural environment. The body is bound to reflect this sleepy, heavy and sluggish energy, often leading to procrastination and laziness. To counter the effects of Kapha, energetic activities such as walking, exercise and work are important. Sleeping and other sedentary activities should be avoided at all costs, as they increase Kapha within the body and cause excessive dullness and stagnation throughout the rest of the day. This is also why Ayurved recommends waking up before 10AM, which is when Kapha time begins. Kapha energy reemerges between 6PM-10PM, which is when dinner must be consumed followed by light exercise such as slow walking or yoga. It is essential to go to bed during this time, before Pitta time begins.
From 10AM-2PM and 10PM-2AM, Pitta energy takes over in the environment. Since Pitta consists of heat energy, it is important to avoid heat-causing activities during this time. From 10AM-2PM, a big enough meal should be eaten to satisfy the increased appetite caused by the thermal energy in the environment. The Pitta Dosha also energies the body, making it a great time to complete important tasks and assignments. During the reemergence of Pitta between 10PM-2AM, however, the body must be asleep so that the Pitta energy can be successfully utilised to regenerate and repair it internally.
In order to bring the Doshas into balance within us, we must align our daily activities with the changing doshic balances in our environment. These days, basic activities such as sleeping, eating and exercising are undertaken as per our convenience, because of which the Doshas become aggravated, the internal organs cannot be efficiently regenerated, and the body begins to tread towards illness and imbalance over time. Simply incorporating Ayurvedic principles into the way we live can be transformative to health, for it is said that a lifestyle that follows the doshic clock can never lead to imbalance and disease. When the energy in the macrocosm is reflected in the activities undertaken by the microcosm, perfect health and harmony are guaranteed.
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