What we don’t know and should remember as women trying to achieve optimum health is that our health cycles throughout the day and throughout the month. Our circadian rhythm allows our bodies to reset and recover during sleep, positively affecting our respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems. The hypothalamus is also quite active during sleep, secreting hormones such as melatonin to help regulate our health cycles. A big part of the circadian cycle is to control melatonin production as the body prepares for sleep.
For thousands of years Ayurveda has incorporated circadian rhythm and circadian medicine related to one's natural cycles. Women’s menstrual cycles are also connected to these patterns in nature. Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can alert and activate certain genes that positively affect the natural rhythms and pattern in a woman’s body. In fact, the mitochondria in your cells (considered the very first organelles) are highly sensitive to the circadian rhythm’s light and dark cycles as well as the lunar cycle.
Following a daily healthy lifestyle is key, according to Ayurveda principles. The word ‘dinacharya’ is an Ayurvedic principle where “dina” means day and “charya” stands for practice. It’s pretty obvious that human beings need to stay connected to these daily rhythms and practices if we intend to stay healthy. If we lose these rhythms then the body may come out of alignment or become unbalanced. This is where many women can begin to feel tired, experience hormonal changes, increase inflammation and eventually manifest disease. That’s why it’s very important to stay grounded regularly. What exists in nature can be seen within in every single one of us.
Ayurveda recommends exercise in the early mornings between 6am- 10am. The body is usually at it’s strongest during this “kapha” phase. A great exercise for early mornings begins with breath work for 15 minutes, yoga or brisk walking, meditation, oil pulling, and tongue brushing with a shower or a bath. Breakfast should include a warm lemon tea and a small breakfast based on your body type.
A mid-day meal should include a heavier meal that suits your body type. Snacking before dinner isn’t recommended under Ayurvedic principles. Once your meal is complete a light walk of 15-20 minutes following a rest period can improve the function of the digestive system. Dinner is typically a smaller meal during the early evening, and is followed by yoga and breathwork.
Depending on your “dosha” constitution, following a structured daily plan will help you reclaim your health and wellness and improve imbalances that are causing chronic health problems. If Ayurveda is something you desire, consider researching it further and implementing one of the daily practices. There are many ways to improve your health through Ayurveda which include meditation, yoga, breathwork, Ayurvedic massage, nutrition and herbs. This alternative medicine option is a great way to start living well once again!