Ayurveda Dinacharya: Use the Circadian Rhythm of Your Body for Optimal Wellness

By Ganesh Puttur | Posted: March 14, 2019

Dinacharya is a Sanskrit word made up of ‘dina,’ meaning day, and ‘acharya,’ meaning activity. So Dinacharya is a daily routine designed to maintain and connect us to our circadian rhythms or internal body clocks. While Ayurveda has emphasized the importance of a connection with nature for millennia, western scientists are only now beginning to understand exactly how important it is for the body to stay connected to the rhythms of nature. Disconnection from circadian rhythms is called chronodisruption. It is linked to a host of health concerns, including poor cognitive function, mood and sleep disorders, daytime sleepiness, reduced school performance, substance abuse, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.

Ayurveda tells us that on any given day, there are two cycles of change that exist - the sun cycle and the moon cycle - and they’re connected with the ayurvedic body type, or doshic constitution (vata, pitta or kapha).

Dinacharya makes us understand the best time for our daily routines, such as waking, exercise, bathing, meditation, prayer, meals, study, work, relaxation, and sleeping. This is necessary to maintain a healthy body, mind, and soul.

Benefits of dinacharya

Helps in balancing doshas
Helps in digestion
Inculcates discipline
Promotes peace, happiness, and longevity

Daily dosha cycles according to ayurveda

First cycle (sunrise-sunset)
6 am to 10 am - Kapha

10 am to 2 pm - Pitta

2 pm to 6 pm - Vata

Second cycle (sunset- sunrise)
6 pm to 10 pm - Kapha

10 pm to 2 am - Pitta

2 am to 6 am - Vata

An ideal daily schedule

Based on the above dosha cycles is an ideal daily schedule that needs to be inculcated into our daily routine.

Morning wake up time:

A healthy person should get up two hours before sunrise. It’s believed that the vata element is dominant during this time. Being the best time of the day, tuning our body to the frequency of the vibrations existent at that time refreshes and energizes us.


Drinking around two glasses of warm water early in the morning helps in the detoxification process. It empties the colon and bladder and ensures healthy functioning. This will help in mitigating any chronic conditions of the digestive system that may arise.

Maintaining hygiene:

Triphala or rose water can be used to clean the eyes. Our oral hygiene should consist of gargling the mouth with water, brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue to activate the taste buds. Oil pulling or rinsing your mouth with coconut oil or sesame oil is recommended for healthy teeth and gums.

Exercise & bath:

Exercising is most optimal in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am, because the body is in its kapha phase and at its strongest physically. Exercise removes body sluggishness, ignites the digestive fire, burns fat and promotes feelings of peace and joy.

Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), yoga, and breathing exercises (pranayama) will boost energy levels that will see you through the day. Other alternatives are a brisk walk, a swim, or skipping.

After exercising, a warm water shower or bath is recommended to wash away the sweat and grime. Don light, comfortable clothes which feel good to the body.

Pray & meditate:

Praying and worshipping is our time with God. It’s also important to meditate for around 20 minutes to observe and balance our prana (life force). This state is very important in Dinacharya as this will cause immense peace and contentment from within and set the tone for the day.


Breakfast should be nutritious and wholesome. Eat a small amount, but make it big enough to get you through to lunch without needing a snack. Quantity may vary based on body type.


Lunch is to be taken between 12 and 1 pm. The dominance of the pitta dosha makes it the ideal time to have the largest meal of the day. Pitta is responsible for digestion and it’s advisable to stick to this time. Ayurveda recommends that lunch should consist of wholesome food with all the six tastes - sweet, acidic, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. It’s better to have a stroll after lunch to help digest the food.

Avoid a nap after lunch:

Anything more than a short nap should be avoided because it may trigger the accumulation of vitiated Kapha, which is not a healthy sign. A short nap, preferably on the left side, will keep you fresh and alert. Work or study can go on till supper.

Time for self after sunset: 

Sundown is a special time of balance between day and night. This is the time for evening prayers and meditations in many cultures around the world.


It should be taken around 6 - 7 pm. It should be lighter than lunch. Dinner should be at least 2- 3 hours before bedtime as it gives the body ample time to digest the food. Sleeping just after dinner with a heavy stomach may lead to a number of digestive problems. Always take some time to walk for about ten minutes after dinner. Time till bedtime can be spent with family and dear ones. Reading and relaxing can also be indulged in during this leisure time.


The best time to hit the bed is between 9 and 10 pm so that we can get 6 to 7 hours of sleep. It is advisable to massage the soles of our feet and head with oil before going to bed. This will calm the body systems and regulate well being. Drinking triphala before sleep will help in digestion, avoiding constipation, and keeping the eyes healthy.

For the first few days, there may be some resistance from the body to accepting this routine. However, if we make it a habit, we gain peace, joy, and longevity.

Make it happen

Studies and research have shown that any new activity, carried out judiciously for 21 days, naturally becomes a part of our routine. There are exceptions in following Dinacharya. It can be followed according to one's needs and capability. Children who are very young, the elderly, and people with diseases can desist from following this routine. Medical advice is necessary if you’re taking medication.

This article was originally published by Art of Living, India.

Based on inputs from Dr. Ganesh Puttur of Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital.