Time Cycles To Live By
When it comes to the health of your body and mind, the time of day makes a difference.
If your motivation is low in the morning, or in the afternoon, or you feel as if you would like to take a nap, and by the end of the day, you feel as if you had been run over by a truck, you may need to evaluate the timing of your activities.
The body’s metabolism is run by an internal clock that is directly connected to the rhythms of nature.
With certainty, a person living in synchronicity with existing natural time cycles will have positively enhanced functions for their body and mind.
Each of the 100 trillion cells of the body runs in time cycles that are connected to the rhythms of nature.
When you connect your cellular time cycles with nature’s time cycles, you will have more energy and feel more balanced and rejuvenated than when you are disconnected.
If you feel you have lost your connection with nature’s time cycles, be assured that with some awareness you will find it easy to discover ways to reconnect. It is helpful to know that every cell in your body has intelligence and remembers the way back to what is natural.
In fact, your body may be sending signals to you like feelings of sluggishness, or cravings for sweets, caffeine, or salty chips. This is a sign that your Kapha, Pitta and Vata Doshas are out of sync with nature.
Kapha, Pitta and Vata Doshas are energies in nature that govern the natural world including all your bodily functions. Every day nature’s rhythm progresses through Kapha, Pitta and Vata Doshas in four hour cycles.
Ayurveda says that the first cycle of the day belongs to Kapha Dosha. It begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 10:00 a.m. Kapha Dosha is more dominant during this time span.
Kapha Dosha is a combination of two of the five elements in nature, water and earth. Kapha Dosha is heavy and sticky in nature.
Therefore, it is important to wake up and get out of bed before this time period begins. Sleeping during this period of time brings sluggishness, tiredness, and stiffness to your body, and you will feel out of sync all day.
Digestive fire is low during this time of day, so breakfast should be light, and easily digestible.
If you eat heavy, greasy food for breakfast, you will add to the heaviness and stickiness that already exists naturally at this time of day.
This is the time to move your body. Find something that makes you feel alive, like yoga, walking, biking, or any activity you like to do that is stimulating.
The second cycle of the day is governed by Pitta Dosha. It begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. In nature and in your body Pitta Dosha is more dominant during this time span.
Pitta Dosha is composed of water and fire elements in nature.
Digestive fire is highest during this time cycle. Take advantage of Pitta Dosha’s digestive ability and eat your biggest meal of the day some time between 11:00 and 1:00.
Finish eating lunch by 1:00 p.m., so during the last hour of this time cycle you take advantage of nature’s best time to digest, metabolize, synthesize, and utilize your lunch for upmost nutritional benefit.
Lunch should be eaten sitting down and not while working, or in a meeting, driving or on the phone, otherwise Pitta Dosha’s energy will divert to tasks other than digestion and your lunch will stagnate, ferment and cause problems.
The third cycle of the day is governed by Vata Dosha, and is between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Vata Dosha is composed of ether and air elements in nature.
This is the time when your brain and nervous system are most active.
Try saving your most difficult intellectual work for this time of day. This is when mental acuity is high. Vata Dosha can distinctly affect mental and creative ability by clearing the mind of distractions.
Sometimes, this time of day can bring sleepiness for you if the food you have eaten is not providing enough fuel for your brain and nervous system.
In order to counter sleepiness and take advantage of Vata’s specialty to enhance mental and creative ability, remember to eat your largest meal at lunchtime. A salad or skipping lunch will not be enough to see you through to dinner time.
If your lunch was insufficient, you will experience sluggishness, gloominess and crabbiness when your blood sugar falls, while the brain has to scavenge for any accessible glucose it can locate.
You may need to take a fresh piece of fruit or a small handful of almonds to keep well fueled if your lunch doesn’t provide enough energy for you.
Stay quiet and calm during this time of day.
Drink hot tea and slow down, and meditate for a few minutes. By doing this you will pacify Vata Dosha, so you can access Vata’s time and garner its extraordinary rewards.
The fourth cycle of the day is between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. and is governed by Kapha Dosha(earth and water) again.
In the morning Kapha Dosha is for waking up, and in the evening it is for winding down.
Like Kapha time in the morning, this is a good time to exercise to help release the tension built up during the day. In the evening your exercise should be one that makes you feel more relaxed and helps to prepare your body for sleep.
Your ability to digest food is less at this time, so eat a light dinner in order to feel refreshed in the morning. Avoid overly fatty or spicy dinners because this will adversely affect the way you sleep. Remember to make lunch your largest meal of the day.
Eat early(6:00-7:00) during this time cycle so you are finished digesting before 10:00 p.m. Eating at the end of this time cycle is linked to obesity, because digestive functions have slowed down and the body is preparing itself for sleep.
Take advantage of the natural heaviness of the end of this time cycle and be in bed by 10:00 p.m.
If you stay up much past 10:00 p.m. you may feel a “second wind,” and then you will have a hard time falling asleep. This is because you will have entered the next cycle, Pitta Dosha cycle, which is transformative and can cause mental alertness.
The Fifth cycle of the day is between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. and once again is governed by Pitta Dosha(fire and water).
During its night time cycle, Pitta Dosha, not only cleanses by detoxifying our body’s systems, especially the liver, but Pitta Dosha transforms and synthesizes new tissues, thereby, resetting our body for the next day.
Pitta Dosha, in a sense, digests everything that transpired during the day including the early evening meal, the day’s activities, thoughts and emotions. It is very important to be sleeping during this time period in order to take advantage of Pitta’s purifying ability.
Eating during this time cycle should be strictly avoided because it would cause Pitta Dosha to be diverted from its specialty of transforming, detoxifying and resetting the body to concentrating on digesting a late night snack instead. If you eat during this time cycle, you will wake up feeling sluggish and unrefreshed, because Pitta Dosha was unable to preform its very important duties.
The Sixth cycle of the day is between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and once again is governed by Vata Dosha(ether and air).
This early morning time period is naturally quiet, and calm and the best time of day for meditation. Waking up gradually just before dawn is a natural, and peaceful way to enter the new day.
It is beneficial to develop a morning routine(dinacharya) that’s soothing and nurturing to your body and mind.
For example, try this routine: drink a cup of hot water, perform a gentle yoga routine, meditate for an amount of time that works for you(even a few minutes is beneficial), apply warmed sesame oil to your whole body, take a warm shower, and eat a warm breakfast while sitting down in a tranquil setting.
Starting the day in a relaxed and quiet manner will help set the tone for the day. The quieter the mind is, the better your ability will be to make decisions throughout the day.
In conclusion, begin bringing yourself into sync with nature’s cycles by
being out of bed by 6:00 a.m.
enjoy a morning routine that includes exercise
enjoy a light warm nourishing breakfast
eat your largest meal at lunchtime
take advantage of the creative time of day
relax with early evening exercise that you enjoy
enjoy a light dinner early in the evening
prepare for sleep by 10:00 p.m.
You may choose to make these adjustments gradually. Once you begin, you will notice that your body already knows the way back to reconnecting with this internal clock.
There are 100 trillion cells in your body each with intelligence, and already synchronized with nature. Once you become more aware of your habits that run counter to nature, you will notice how these habits cause a struggle with life that manifests in sluggishness, low motivation, and other negative feelings.
Nature doesn’t run exactly on time with “our clock,” but close to it, and these are good guidelines to follow. If you choose to follow them your health will be affected in positive ways.
I begin now: by getting up before 6:00a.m. and to bed by 10:00p.m., and integrate all these suggestions one by one over the next few months. Make habits that are in sync with nature.