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Principles of Ayurveda

Ayurveda, the ancient science of life, originates from the Indian subcontinent and is revered as one of the oldest holistic healing systems. Rooted in the belief that health is a delicate balance between body, mind, spirit, and the universe, Ayurveda offers a comprehensive approach to well-being.

Ayurvedic principles serve as a timeless guide, providing insights into maintaining holistic well-being through an understanding of our unique constitution and harmonising with the ever-changing seasons. By embracing Ayurvedic principles, individuals can cultivate balance, vitality, and longevity in their journey toward health and harmony.

Ayurveda recognises the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether – as the building blocks of the universe. These elements manifest in our bodies as three primary energies, known as doshas. These building blocks make up everything in our existence, and govern the way in which these interact with each other.

The doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, represent the dynamic forces that govern our physiological and psychological functions. Understanding one's unique doshic constitution is fundamental to Ayurvedic practices.

The Doshas

Vata: Comprising Air and Ether, Vata governs motion, creativity, and communication, and is the dominant energy in Autumn and early Winter.

  • People governed predominantly by Vata energy are of thin build, with a tendency towards drier skin and thinner hair/nails. They are creative and fluid, with a pre-disposition to fast-paced thoughts and anxiety.

An imbalance may lead to heightened anxiety and digestive issues, as well as brittle bones and bad circulation.

​Pitta: Governed by Fire and Water, Pitta embodies transformation and metabolism, and is the dominant energy in Summer.

  • People governed predominantly by Pitta energy are of medium build, with a tendency towards warm, oily skin and strong metabolisms. They are motivated and active, with a strong orientation towards goals, and are pre-disposed to burnout and acid reflux.

  • Imbalances can manifest as irritability and digestive problems, as well as blood-pressure problems and skin issues.

Kapha: Influenced by Earth and Water, Kapha regulates structure and stability, and is the dominant energy in the late Winter and throughout Spring. 

  • People foverned predominantly by Kapha energy are of a strong build, with a tendency towards cool, oily skin and strong hair & nails. They are calm and steadfast, with a love of structure/repetition, and are therefore pre-disposed to anxiety from, and resistance to, change.

  • Being the energy from things 'rebuild', imbalances may result in lethargy and respiratory/mucous issues.

Ayurveda's main aim is rooted in achieving and maintaining harmony among the doshas to promote overall well-being. Lifestyle choices, diet, and practices should all be tailored to one's dosha in order to help restore balance and achieve optimal health, both inside and out. Another important part of this goal is to live in line with the seasonal changes of Nature's energies.

The Seasons

In the ancient science of Ayurveda, the approach to well-being extends beyond individual constitutions to include the ever-changing influence of the seasons. Rooted in the belief that the balance of the doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—is vital for overall health, Ayurveda provides a unique perspective on navigating the varying energies of each season.

  • Autumn and Early Winter
    Vata (Air and Ether): As autumn heralds the transition from warmth to coolness, Vata tends to increase. To counterbalance the dry, erratic qualities of Vata, Ayurveda recommends warm, nourishing foods, grounding practices like meditation, and self-care routines to maintain stability.

  • Late Winter and Spring
    Kapha (Earth and Water): Spring marks the Kapha season, characterized by dampness and coolness. Ayurvedic practices include incorporating warming spices into meals, engaging in invigorating exercises, and embracing a sense of renewal to balance the slow and steady Kapha energy.

  • Summer
    Pitta (Fire and Water): Summer, with its fiery intensity, corresponds to an increase in Pitta. To pacify excess heat, Ayurveda suggests cooling foods, staying hydrated, and engaging in calming activities. Embracing the slower pace of life during summer fosters a harmonious Pitta balance.

General Ayurvedic Tips for Each Season

  • Autumn (Vata): As Vata gains momentum, grounding practices become essential. Warming, well-cooked meals, routine-based self-care, and staying warm help counter the cool and erratic qualities of autumn.

  • Winter (Vata and Kapha): To combat the cold and dryness, Ayurveda recommends oil massages (Abhyanga) using warming oils like sesame. Nutrient-dense, warm foods, herbal teas, and staying hydrated help maintain internal warmth.

  • Spring (Kapha): As Kapha begins to thaw, favoring lighter, pungent foods helps stimulate digestion and reduce sluggishness. Incorporating invigorating spices like ginger and turmeric aids in detoxification and revitalization.

  • Summer (Pitta): To pacify the intensity of Pitta, cooling foods like cucumbers and melons are recommended. Hydration is crucial, and practices like moonlight meditation help soothe the mind during the warm summer nights.

The Ayurvedic approach to seasons invites individuals to align with the natural rhythms of the environment, fostering balance and vitality. By understanding the dynamic interplay of the doshas and embracing season-specific practices, one can embark on a journey of holistic well-being, attuned to the ever-changing tapestry of nature.

Regardless of the season, Ayurveda places a significant emphasis on daily routines (Dinacharya). Establishing a consistent wake-sleep schedule, incorporating regular meals, and practicing mindfulness contribute to overall balance, promoting health and well-being.

The Daily Cycles of Doshic Energies

In Ayurveda, the doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—are not static; they ebb and flow in response to the rhythms of the day. Understanding the dosha cycles allows individuals to tailor their daily routines to maintain balance and promote overall well-being.

  • Kapha Time (6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.):

Energetic Quality: Cool, Heavy, Stable
Focus: Nourishment and Stability
Ideal Activities: Mindful Awakening, Hydration, Gentle Exercise

  • Pitta Time (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.):

Energetic Quality: Hot, Intense, Sharp
Focus: Digestion and Mental Activity
Ideal Activities: Productivity, Main Meal, Problem-Solving

  • Vata Time (2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.):

Energetic Quality: Cold, Light, Mobile
Focus: Creativity and Movement
Ideal Activities: Creative Pursuits, Light Snacks, Movement

  • Kapha Time (6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.):

Energetic Quality: Cool, Heavy, Stable
Focus: Winding Down, Relaxation
Ideal Activities: Light Dinner, Gentle Exercise, Relaxation

  • Pitta Time (10:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.):

Energetic Quality: Hot, Intense, Sharp
Focus: Cellular Repair and Detoxification
Ideal Activities: Restful Sleep, Deep Regeneration

  • Vata Time (2:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m.):

Energetic Quality: Cold, Light, Mobile
Focus: Dreaming and Subconscious Activity
Ideal Activities: Deep Sleep, Restful Rejuvenation

Understanding Dosha Cycles:

Kapha Dominance: Morning and evening Kapha cycles encourage stability, nourishment, and winding down. Ideal for grounding activities, hydration, and relaxation.

Pitta Dominance: Midday sees the peak of Pitta energy, focusing on digestion and mental tasks. Harness this intensity for productivity and have the main meal during this period.

Vata Dominance: Late afternoon and early morning are marked by Vata's creativity and movement. Engage in activities that stimulate creativity and movement during these periods.

Tips for Balancing Doshas:

  • Eat Mindfully: Align your main meals with the dominant dosha of the time for optimal digestion.

  • Stay Hydrated: Begin your day with warm water and stay hydrated throughout to support bodily functions.

  • Mindful Rest: Incorporate short rests during Kapha-dominant times to maintain energy levels.

  • Productivity: Leverage Pitta's peak for focused work and decision-making.

  • Creativity: Engage in creative pursuits during Vata-dominant periods to enhance inspiration and innovation.

By attuning daily activities to the dosha cycles, individuals can optimize energy, promote balance, and embark on a journey toward holistic well-being.

The Ideal Daily Routine

In keeping with the above principles, one should aim to maintain a routine to keep the body & mind balanced and in rhythm with its surroundings. The Ayurvedic approach to daily routines, known as Dinacharya, serves as a guide to harmonize mind, body, and spirit. By embracing mindful practices at specific times throughout the day, individuals can cultivate balance and well-being.


  • Rising with the Sun (Brahma Muhurta):

Ayurveda encourages waking up during the Brahma Muhurta, the sacred hour before sunrise. This auspicious time is believed to be filled with pure, vital energy that sets a positive tone for the day. Upon waking, individuals are advised to perform self-care rituals, including tongue scraping, oil pulling, and meditation.

  • Elimination and Hydration:

Following waking, the body naturally seeks elimination. Establishing a regular bowel routine aids in the removal of toxins. Hydration is crucial at this time, with warm water or herbal infusions supporting digestive functions and kickstarting metabolism.

  • Oral Care and Oil Massage (Abhyanga):

Ayurveda places importance on oral hygiene, suggesting practices like oil pulling and gentle tongue scraping to remove toxins. Abhyanga, or self-massage with warm oil, follows, promoting circulation, lubricating joints, and nourishing the skin.

  • Balanced Breakfast:

Breakfast, ideally eaten within the first two hours of waking, should be wholesome and balanced. Ayurveda recommends incorporating a variety of tastes, textures, and temperatures to ignite digestive fire (Agni) and provide sustained energy throughout the morning.

  • Midday Meal (Lunch):

Lunch, the main meal of the day, aligns with the peak of the sun's energy. Ayurveda advises a well-balanced, warm meal with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal foods. Taking time to eat mindfully and chew thoroughly supports optimal digestion. Contrary to the teachings of Western traditions, Lunch should be the largest and most-nutrient-dense meal of the day.

  • Post-Lunch Rest (Siesta):

A short rest after lunch allows the body to focus on digestion and rejuvenation. This Ayurvedic practice aids in maintaining energy levels and mental clarity throughout the afternoon.

  • Afternoon Activities:

The afternoon is considered a time of productivity. Ayurveda encourages engaging in work or creative activities, avoiding heavy meals during this period. Herbal teas or light snacks can sustain energy without burdening digestion.

  • Evening Meal and Sunset Reflection:

Dinner, consumed at least two hours before bedtime, should be light and easily digestible. Ayurveda suggests reflecting on the day's events during sunset, fostering gratitude and mental calmness.

  • Bedtime Rituals:

The evening routine involves winding down to prepare for restful sleep. Ayurveda recommends avoiding stimulating activities, electronic devices, and heavy meals close to bedtime. Practices like gentle stretching, meditation, or reading contribute to a restorative night's sleep.

  • Consistent Sleep Schedule:

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is vital for overall well-being. Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of going to bed by 10:00 p.m., during the Kapha time of the evening, to align with the body's natural circadian rhythms.

The Ayurvedic approach to daily routines offers a holistic roadmap for fostering balance and vitality. By integrating these practices into our lives, we can tap into the inherent intelligence of the body, aligning ourselves with the natural cycles that govern health and well-being. Dinacharya becomes a sacred dance, guiding us toward a harmonious existence in rhythm with the universe.

The Doshas
The Seasons
Daily Cycles of Doshic Energy
The Ideal Daily Routine
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