By modern standards it seems that if we’re not go-go-go then we’re missing something. It’s easy to live with the impression that if our calendars aren’t packed then we aren’t achieving enough. Let alone the unspoken obligation we feel sometimes to stay constantly connected.
Thankfully, shifting towards daily routine and monthly ritual can provide peace of mind, more time in life to feel settled and offer some of the best tools available for managing stress. Having a yoga practice and a deeper understanding of Āyurveda can allow us to enable these shifts with ease.
As women, we deal with two very distinct cycles in life – the circadian rhythm, which happens every 24 hours; and our monthly cycle (approximately every 29 days on average). This allows us two ways to establish routine in life, that honors exactly where we’re at.
So what exactly does a daily routine look like and what monthly rituals are beneficial to helping get more balance in life?
Here are some of our favorite ways to create balance each day:
Establish a Morning Routine
— Rise with the sun
— Set an intention or say a prayer
— Enjoy a bowel movement to flush accumulated toxins
— Drink a cup of warm water first thing to encourage a bowel movement. Even just sitting on the toilet after helps, so your body gradually becomes accustomed to this routine of flushing accumulated toxins first thing in the morning
— Care for your body (pick + choose: scrape tongue, brush teeth, oil pull, abhyanga/oil massage, shower, wash hair, nasal care, splash cold water on your face face)
— Settle your body and mind with a pranayama / breathwork practice or moment of meditation
Enjoy 3 meals a day. For breakfast, focus on something smaller and healthy. By lunch, choose the items that are hardest for the body to digest and eat a bigger meal. For dinner, consider something lighter that is easy to digest and make sure to give yourself a couple hours or more to fully digest the food before bedtime.
Āyurveda encourages eating at the same time every day, so that your body knows what to expect. Typically we eat the largest meal midday, when the sun and our digestive fire is highest. Eat foods that are warm, cooked and balanced with the season and your dosha (constitution)*.
Āyurveda recommends ~45 min of exercise and choosing exercise that is balanced to your particular dosha. Just like the constant go go go mentality mentioned above, we are also often feeling like we’re not moving our body best unless we are really giving it our all and sweat, sweat, sweating. Āyurveda suggests more moderation and using movement to balance your life. Been on the go and anxious (typically vata)? Then practice yin yoga and deep rest. Been obsessed with marking things off your to do list and getting things done (pitta)? Balance with moderate, cooling exercise – mellow yoga flows or long walks. Been stuck at a desk, feeling heavy, lethargic or depressed (kapha)? Then shake it up, sweat and move more. Find an opposite quality to balance any stuck energy.
This is time for the mind to relax and unwind. Āyurveda loves structure and recommends going to bed by 11pm. But what it really wants the most is again, consistency. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and create a bit of a night time routine for your body and mind to prepare as well!
For me having this routine is like a road map and anchor I can turn to. I get to find a consistent routine that has a few core elements to it, like eating meals at the same time each day and getting the same amount of sleep each night. Doing this feels so good for my body and it has become more natural now. Perhaps the best part is I can hand select what parts to skip when I need to and if I have a hard day, the next day I get to try again.
It is easy to shy away from your menstrual cycle, thinking “my period doesn’t define me!”. But this is doing a disservice to yourself by rejecting your body’s clues and wisdom. Instead, you can honor your own cycle and use it as a check-in for how your body is doing by embracing the wisdom Āyurveda offers.
By understanding your menstruation, you can check in with your health and dosha imbalances monthly. Heavy flow? Hello Kapha. Breast tenderness? Hi Pitta. Very light flow? Howdy Vata.
You can even use your personal ~29 day cycle to help organize your monthly activities:
— During flow (Vata) – Rest + relax (read a book + meditate)
— During tissue rebuild + ovulation, right after flow (Kapha) – Start new projects + move (use new energy to go to heating vinyasa classes)
— From Ovulation until bleeding (Pitta) – Finish projects + reflect (go to yin or restorative yoga to unwind and relish intuition)
“Living a more balanced, in-tune and anchored life can enable us to trust and listen to ourselves, it frees up mental space and allows us to really feel more grounded + relaxed. Enjoy your newfound routines and rituals and remember it’s great to start small.”
~ Our Yoga Family
*If you aren’t sure about your dosha or constitution, take a dosha quiz online.
ABOUT BECCA COVINGTON:
Becca Covington has been practicing yoga + meditation for the last 13 years. In 2020 she was introduced to the many benefits and wisdom of Āyurveda. She loves sharing her yogic knowledge and Ayurvedic practices with students. She feels grateful to have the pleasure of teaching at the Feathered Pipe Ranch the last two summers at the Our Yoga Family Women’s Yoga & Āyurveda Retreat.