Daily Routines – Dinacharya for Brain Health

In ayurveda, all healing modalities are explained in relation to the rhythms of Mother Nature. The universe, just like our individual selves, loves cyclical rhythms. Just as the Moon orbits around earth every 28 days, and the earth rotates around sun every 24 hours, each year has 4 seasons, and every 365 days we have a new calendar year.

Our bodies and every single cell in within them operates this way as well. Our bodies have similar cyclical rhythms that we must pay attention to if we wish to heal and maintain good health. Staying aware of these rhythms, such as our sleep patterns, digestive cycles, water intake and optimal food intake, will give you the support to function at your best while healing from a TBI. It can give you a greater sense of clarity, vision and purpose on the road to recovery. To truly get in the groove with Mother Nature try some of these daily routines, called dinacharya. We can’t change everything overnight. Slowly incorporate the ones you are most drawn to, incorporating them into your daily routines at the speed of Mother Nature.

• Wake up just before sunrise to give the body a chance to harmonize with the rhythms of the day. This is the most satvic (pure, clear, light, spiritual) time of day, and is the best time for meditation, gentle yoga, and setting intentions for the day. Intentions such as I am going to stay positive and eat mindfully all day, or I will find the strength to take a shower, or set loftier goals like starting an art project or going to work.

• Drink a cup of warm water first thing in the morning to awaken and cleanse the digestive track. Occasionally add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a mini liver cleanse. To awaken your system with something pure, like H20, tells your body you are supporting it in flushing out toxins. Drinking pure water continuously all day each day is greatly important in healing a TBI.

• Inspect your tongue for signs of toxins (called ama, a white coating, especially on the back of the tongue). Use a tongue scraper gently each morning. The markings and coating on you tongue is a great indicator of your overall internal health. If you have a significant white coating, it means you have undigested food in your colon and toxins in your system. The colon is represented on the back of the tongue, if that area is very white, it means that your colon needs some help and cleaning up your diet is a great idea. Commit to eating healthier food, less white flower and refined sugar and more veggies and grains, for example. You will notice the tongue change to a healthier pink the healthier you eat and digest your foods. If you eat a pretty optimal diet already and still have a white coating, it is a sign you are not digesting your food properly, and we need to strengthen your digestive fires by setting a rhythm your body can trust around when you eat, not just what you eat.

• Eat your meals throughout the day in rhythm with Mother Nature. When the sun is highest in the sky, that is when your own digestive juices are at their peak and we want to eat our biggest meals of the day then too, between 11-1pm. In ayurveda we say “we are not what we eat, but what we digest”. To assure healthy digestion of all your meals – for optimal immune function and over all health – follow these guidelines.

• Eat breakfast between 6-8am, breakfast is “ breaking a fast” from the night before, and should be a medium sized meal, one that is nutrient rich and easy to digest (like oatmeal, eggs or a green protein smoothie). Lunch should be eaten when the sun is highest in the sky, and should be the biggest meal of the day. Supper is a word meaning “supplement” and dinner should actually be the smallest meal of the day. This can be a challenging routine to embrace, so just do your best. Keeping in mind, if the body is not busy digesting a big meal while you are sleeping, it can use all of its good energy to work at healing your brain while you sleep. Simply put, let lunch be your biggest meal each day, breakfast is the second largest, dinner is the smallest.

• Sip water throughout the day. I strive for a gallon a day. Helps heal the brain. Drinking water is especially important at mealtime as it supports the healthy digestion of food. The optimal amount of intake for each meal should be roughly 1/3 water, 1/3 food and 1/3 empty space. This promotes healthy digestion.

• Try to get to sleep before 10pm, as this promotes the deepest sleep and guarantee that you’ll have adequate rest if you are to awaken with the sun rise.

• Practice meditation, yoga and pranayama each day to keep you connected to your body, mind and spirit in an optimal way.