How great would YOUR life be if you could spend more time “in the zone”? That sensation of effortless ease, the feeling that the universe has totally got your back, a sense of harmony with yourself and your environment. Ayurveda calls it balance. I like to call it dancing with life.
The way we experience it best, just like a beautiful swirling tango, is by moving with the changing energy and influences of the natural world, and allowing ourselves to be supported from season to season and throughout the day by the elemental energy of the doshas.
Our Partners in the Daily Dance
According to Ayurveda, each of the three biological energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha govern a particular period of the day.
Vata is the energy of movement. Governed by the elements of wind and space, vata is the vital energy that keeps everything in motion. Vata supports movement, creativity and activity and drives the “doing” of life.
Pitta is the energy of transformation. A combination of the fire and water elements, it provides the hot, moist and intense energy needed to metabolize food, thoughts, ideas and emotions into mind-body nutrition that keeps us growing and going. Pitta provides the sharpness and focus that we experience as the “light” of life.
Kapha is the energy of cohesion. A mix of earth and water elements, kapha creates the structure and stability needed to ground us in the reality of who and where we are. Kapha energy is cool, heavy and calming. It supports the nurturing and devotion needed to stay the course.
Recommended Schedule With The Doshas
Dancing with life is about riding the ebbs and flows of daily living and working with the changing energy of the day to keep you moving forward. So if you sometimes struggle to find your flow, you might gain some insights by looking at this daily schedule according to the doshas:
- 2am – 6am is Vata time.
The energy of movement intensifies during this time of day. Our brains become active in dreams and thoughts, sometimes resulting in insomnia (which always seems to happen around 3 or 4 am. Coincidence? I don't think so!). Some of my best and most creative ideas come during this time of day when my mind and body are untethered and free.
This time of day is best for: Sleeping of course, however, Ayurveda recommends waking up during vata time, just before the sunrise in order to take advantage of the prevailing energy of movement to get out of bed, exercise, and get the body-mind moving.
- 6am – 10am is Kapha time.
During this time of day there's a shift from active energy of vata to a more peaceful, heavy and grounding kapha energy. Getting up and out of bed during this timeframe can be a challenge since you'll be working against the cold heavy and dull energy of Kapha (especially during kapha season – late winter and spring).
This time of day is best for: Grounding, nurturing and routine activities, like meditation and self-care. I like to take things a little slower during kapha time and avoid scheduling anything requiring a faster pace (meetings, brain-storming, etc.). It’s in this timeframe when the brain and body are likely to feel a little heavy and dull relative to the rest of the day.
Digestive fire tends to be at its lowest during this time of day as well so it's important to be mindful about what and how much to eat, since big, heavy breakfasts can further slow digestion.
- 10am – 2pm is Pitta time.
The energy of pitta intensifies during this time, coinciding with the hottest part of the day. This is the time when our minds are most likely to be at their sharpest, most organized, and intense. Physically, our digestive fire is at its peak around this time of day.
This time of day is best for: Ayurveda highly recommends enjoying lunch during pitta time (between 11am – 1pm) and making it the biggest meal of the day! As well, I like to use this time of day for strategic planning, or any activities that require a little insight, organization and intensity.
- 2pm – 6pm is Vata time… again.
Late afternoon is back to Vata time, when our minds and bodies are ready to move again. This time it may be in the form of restlessness or perhaps a burst of creativity or bout of anxiety. Feeling heavy during this time may be a sign of overdoing it at lunch a little… or a lot.
This time of day is best for: Anything creative or moving. Exercise, art, abstract thinking — all will be supported by the energy of Vata during this time of day.
- 6pm – 10pm is Kapha time
The heaviness of kapha returns in the evening. As the day cools, so too does our agni (digestive fire) and with it our ability to efficiently digest food, ideas, thoughts and emotions. A heaviness settles into the mind, body, and environment that calls for stillness.
This time of day is best for: Slow down, relax, and use the heaviness of kapha energy to support activities like chilling out, meditation and sleep. This is the time to scale back sensory input (anything that needs to be digested), including meals and snacks.
- 10pm – 2am is Pitta time
The heat of pitta returns when the moon is at its peak. Night owls (you know who you are) often experience a “second wind” around this time, and use the fire of pitta to fuel late night work or party sessions. Resting, or even better – sleeping, during this time allows us to put our pitta energy towards digestion and assimilation of the day’s food and activities.
This time of day is best for: Resting and letting the body do what it does best. This is the critical time of day for regulation of digestion and other metabolic processes.
So…what does your day look like? How well do you dance to the tune of the doshas? What simple shifts could you make in your daily activities to create harmony inside and out? If you're ready to spend more time in the zone and experience what it feels like to truly shine, don't be a wall flower…take your day for a dance!