This topic is inspired by a question that came up during a recent workshop on Ayurveda that I led. You’ll learn how Ayurveda can help you structure your day for your greatest productivity and peace of mind.
Just like there are dosha times of year, there are dosha times of year.
After that question from a student, I started applying more practices related to the dosha times of day to my daily routines. I can say that the changes I’ve experienced have been revolutionary. Following these daily practices makes me not feel guilty for those times that I just don’t feel like working, and it provides the structure that this vata-entrepreneur needs.
2-6am and 2-6pm: Vata Time
Vata time 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 is the easiest time to feel connected to the world and to our best selves.
Because Ayurveda takes morning rituals such as meditation and exercise very seriously, Ayurvedic theory suggests that we should wake up before 6 (or as close to 6 as we can).
For the afternoon Vata time (2-6pm.)…it explains why we can’t seem to get anything done in the afternoon, doesn’t it?! For me, late afternoon can leave me feeling pulled in multiple directions, and I have a hard time getting “real work” done. However, vata time of day is the perfect time to brainstorm, start new projects, read, and make connections.
6-10am and 6-10pm: Kapha Time
Kapha time is an important one. Waking up in the 6-10am timeframe makes us feel sluggish and tired. We hit snooze again and again, we start endlessly scrolling on social media, and it takes us an extra 10 minutes to get out the door.
To balance this kapha time, Ayurveda asks us to get moving – exercise, get out of the house, and get the day started. Especially if you have a more kapha constitution, don’t eat too heavy of a breakfast or it will weigh you down.
At work, use your kapha time to connect – have meetings, check in, or work on correspondence.
For the 6-10pm time frame, this is the perfect time to wind down, see family, friends, and connect. Enjoy your kapha time by spending it with people you love.
10am-2pm and 10pm-2am: Pitta Time
Pitta is our most fire-y and energetic 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 our energy all fired up again.
For the daytime – make lunch the largest meal of the day. At noon, our pitta digestive fire is at it’s strongest, and we can handle the most food without slowing down our digestive systems.
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 finish the books. Do methodical, detail-oriented work during this time, and you’ll find success.
Here are some ideas on how to put this into practice. Know that you don’t have to do all of them, in fact, that might put you out of balance! Instead, take a look at your day, and choose one or two changes that you think would positively impact your day.
- Wake up as close to 6am as possible to 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.
- Enjoy relaxing time with your family and friends from 6-10pm.
- Get to bed before 10pm.
I’m going to reiterate – you don’t have to try for all of these all at once. Investigate your day and the times you feel lowest in energy or unhappy. Those could be the places where making some changes would bring the biggest gains.
So, how in line with Ayurvedic principles are you? Where can you adapt?
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.