In this blog post, you’ll learn how Ayurveda can help you structure your day for your greatest productivity and peace of mind.
Ayurveda helps us to live in harmony and balance with nature. It teaches us how to orient our daily, weekly, monthly, and life routines with the rising and falling energy of nature – the rising and setting of the sun, the changing seasons, and the passing of time. One way that we can orient and rebalance ourselves is by understanding how the pancha maha bhutas, or 5 great elements, are at their peak at different times of day. The 5 elements are earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Perhaps you’ve experienced the groggy, earthy energy of cozying up in your blankets mid-morning. Or you’ve felt scattered in the airy/windy qualities of late afternoon. When we understand which elements rule specific times, we can adopt routines that enhance the positive aspects of these energies or balance the negative aspects of these energies.
When I adjusted my routines to be in balance with the elements about 4 years ago, the changes I experienced were revolutionary. There was simply a flow to life, and I didn’t find myself needing caffeine to perk me up or TV to calm me down. I was able to just feel balanced.
The pancha maha bhutas or 5 great elements tend to congregate in specific ways. These groupings are called the doshas, and they’re a powerful way for us to understand the energies present within us and throughout nature. So let’s explore what elements and doshas rule each part of the day and what you can incorporate into your routine to generate balance.
Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with the doshas! You can still use the information from this blog post to create supportive and balancing routines. But if you want to learn the basics of the doshas (or find out which one is most prominent in you!), check out this guide.
2-6am: Vata Time
Vata dosha is ruled by the elements air and ether, so this is a time to be more creative and spiritual. There’s a reason why monks of all traditions wake up before 6am for their morning prayers. Vata time makes it easier to explore our spiritual connection to the universe. Ayurveda takes morning rituals such as meditation and movement very seriously, and it’s recommended that we wake up before 6 (or as close to 6 as we can). We can use this time for introspection, cleansing routines, meditation, and asana practice. Waking up before 6 can help us start our day with a better boost of energy compared to waking up during kapha time (which we’ll discuss more below).
6-10am: Kapha Time
Kapha dosha is ruled by the elements earth and water. When we wake up during kapha time, we tend to feel more sluggish and tired. We use the snooze button again and again, we start endlessly scrolling on social media, and doing our morning workout just feels like too much…well…work.
To balance the inertia of kapha time, first start by getting up as early in kapha time as possible (or even during vata time if possible!). Once you’re up, kapha time is when you should get moving – exercise, get out of the house, and get the day started. Eat breakfast, but make sure it’s not too heavy, especially if you have a more kapha constitution. Kapha digestion tends to move slowly, and you don’t want to get too weighed down.
At work, use your kapha time to connect – have meetings, check in with your team, or work on correspondence. You’ll be more primed for connection and excited for that water cooler chatter.
10am-2pm: Pitta Time
Pitta dosha is ruled by the elements of fire and water. Pitta time is when we’re most fiery and energetic. It’s also when our digestive fire is at its strongest, and we can handle heavier or harder to digest foods without slowing down our digestive systems. Be sure to take a break for lunch and make it the largest meal of the day.
Pitta time is also a great time to get stuff done at work. This is the time to pitch an investor, close a deal, and balance the books. Do methodical, detail-oriented work during this time, and you’ll find success.
2-6pm: Vata Time
Use that airy creativity to your advantage! This time of day is perfect for brainstorming, starting new projects, reading, and making connections. We often make the mistake of trying to cram in a bunch of work and tasks at the end of the workday, but the airy nature of vata can cause scattered energy and an inability to focus.
You also want to resist the urge to take an afternoon snack break, especially if you opt for caffeine or crunchy foods. These will just act to aggravate vata dosha and create uncertainty, fear, and indecisiveness. If you can start eating your dinner before 6pm, that’s a wonderful way to ground vata dosha and make sure things aren’t too heavy for your evening kapha time (discussed below!).
6pm-10pm: Kapha Time
6pm-10pm, is the perfect time to wind down, see family, friends, and connect. Enjoy your kapha time by spending it with people you love. But be sure to head to bed before 10pm because pitta time is coming!
10pm-2am: Pitta Time
There’s a reason why we get a “second wind” if we’re up too late at night – our pitta takes over and we get all fired up. Aim to go to bed before 10pm (or as close to 10 as possible) for a restful night’s sleep.
While you sleep, pitta still has some important work to do! Pitta rules all types of digestion – literal food as well as the “food” we take in from our senses and from learning all day. From 10pm-2am, you’re digesting all that you’ve experienced. We need this sleep time to process, learn, and be ready for the next day.
Follow the Ayurvedic clock:
- Wake up as close to 6am as possible and avoid the dreaded snooze button.
- Work out in the morning to burn off some of your kapha.
- Once you’ve gotten to work and checked in (briefly) with emails, get to your most important, detail-oriented work. Finish some projects and move forward on concrete tasks.
- Eat your largest meal at lunch time.
- After 2 or 2:30, you can do another (brief) email break, and then dedicate 1-2 hours to brainstorming, creative work, new projects, and passion projects.
- Skip the afternoon snacks and aim to get your dinner between 5-7pm.
- Enjoy relaxing time with your family and friends from 6-9pm.
- Get to bed before 10pm.
Putting the Ayurvedic clock into practice
It’s always a good idea to start slowly, implementing one change fully before adding another. Start by taking a look at your current schedule and seeing where it does (or doesn’t) line up with the Ayurvedic recommendations. Then, choose one or two changes that you think would positively impact your day and get started!
Implementing these changes become much easier when you have personalized support. Here’s what one of my clients Marie said after a recent session:
“You always help me put things in perspective and have such an amazing impact in my life.”
If you’re interested in boosting your energy, productivity, and peace, consider an Ayurvedic consultation with me. We always start with a 30-minute complimentary call to make sure it’s right for you, so there’s nothing to lose! Learn more here.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,