Circulating the internet is the idea that the key to success is waking up early. Not just 7am early, but 4am early. This list of successful individuals is endless including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, all crediting their productivity to early waking hours. However this concept is nothing new to Ayurveda, which knew for the longest time that the best time to wake up is 4am.
When we say ‘waking up’ we do not mean setting your alarm clock for 4am, snoozing it for 2 hours and then proceeding to scroll through social media in bed. During the early hours of the morning our brains can be fully focused and alert due to the chemistry at that time and it offers the perfect opportunity for productivity and a moment of calm to ourselves. Not only are we able to absorb more information at an early hour, but without the distractions of usual morning life we can spend the time focusing on things that really matter.
Have you ever considered the time a newborn wakes up? Typically they rise with the crack of dawn. As newborns we are untouched by caffeine induced slumbers and have no jobs to be awake for. Instead we are completely ruled by our natural body clock, rising with the sun and sleeping at dusk. As we grow we begin to fight against our natural body clock and instead become ruled by phone calls, late night emails, social media and technology, causing us to suffer from avoidable ailments.
Whilst you may not need to wake up at 4am to attend international meetings, waking up early can come with untold physical and mental benefits. Not to mention the increase in productivity and the elimination of morning stress from rushing. Tonight, instead of rolling into bed far too late, settle into your slumber a little earlier and set your alarm for 4 am and see how your Ayurvedic morning ritual transforms.
If you need a little help dozing off you can read our Ayurvedic Guide To Sleep here.
Vata Dosha Hour
The early hours between 4am and 5:30am are dominated by the Vata dosha, the biological energy which is ruled by space and air. The Vata dosha governs mental activities, activity and body movement. When you rise at this early hour, take advantage of this added time in your day to get out of bed and move and think. This moment in your day can be filled with reflective Ayurvedic activities such as meditation, yoga, or even something as simple as house chores. The proactiveness of this time will set you in an upward trajectory for the rest of your day.
Kapha Dosha Hour
From 6am to 10am the hours are governed by Kapha dosha, the biological energy which is ruled by water and earth. This grounding dosha translates to the sensation of heaviness within the body, something you will inevitably feel if you rise at these hours. Rising between 6am and 10am will result in you feeling sluggish and slow throughout the rest of your day.
Pitta Dosha Hour
Finally, between the hours of 10am and 2pm we are ruled the Pitta dosha, the biological energy that governs fire and water. This fiery dosha translates to productivity... No wonder we are getting most of our work done during this part of our day. After rising early and filling your morning with movement and reflection, begin your working day around 10am and watch how your efficiency soars.
As you approach 4pm your Ayurvedic body clock takes another rotation. Between 4pm and 6pm fill your afternoon with light exercise and mental reflection. This is the ideal time for a gentle stroll, visiting the gym or taking part in a hobby that you thoroughly enjoy. Between the hours of 6pm and 10pm you will begin to feel heavy from your day, so take this opportunity to relax and unwind with a calming Ayurvedic evening ritual, self care and relaxation. Finally from 10pm onward Pitta will be governing once again. Instead of physical activity, this time will be filled with internal activities where your body will repair and recover for the day ahead.