At this point, you may be familiar with the philosophy of Ayurveda and that there are 3 doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) which govern our physiology as well as our mental and emotional bodies. But, did you know that these 3 doshas ebb and flow within a 24 hour period and that this fluctuation affects how we process and respond to our day? From how well we digest our food, to our ability to focus, to how we react to stressful situations, the way that we interact with our day is influenced by the balance of the doshas. According to Ayurveda, between 6am-10am is governed by the force of kapha dosha, 10am-2pm is predominant in pitta dosha and 2pm-6pm is considered the vata time of day. At 6pm, this whole cycle begins again, with 6pm-10pm being governed by kapha dosha, 10pm-2am predominant in pitta dosha and 2am-6am we move back into vata hours. So, what can you do to help support your inner balance throughout this continuous fluctuation of the doshas throughout the day? One way is to utilize Ayurvedic aromatherapy to help keep your mental and emotional bodies happy and in harmony with nature. Let’s take a look at which essential oils are the most beneficial during specific times of the day according to Ayurveda.
Have you ever noticed that if you wake up at 6am or earlier it is actually easier to get out of bed versus trying to arise at 7am or later? Hitting your snooze button may feel like a God send when you hear your alarm clock rudely jolt you out of your slumber; however, we encourage you to resist the temptation to hit that snooze button and instead rise with the sun around 5:30am or 6am, depending on where you live in the world. Ayurveda believes that waking up at this time of day will help keep you in tune with the circadian rhythm of nature and also help you to avoid rising between the hours of 6am-10am when the heaviness of kapha dosha becomes predominant. During this time of day, the cold, dense and sluggish qualities of kapha can make it harder to motivate yourself and ultimately it will be more of a challenge to get going in the morning if you wake up during the kapha time of day. This is especially true from 8am-10am when kapha dosha has fully accumulated.
This information is certainly helpful to know and we can all strive for that 5:30am or 6am wake-up call but we are all human and life happens. For instance, maybe you get to bed super late the night before and have had the kind of week that has pushed you mentally, physically and emotionally. Hence, when you hear that alarm clock go off the next morning, there’s no way you’re not hitting the snooze button. We’ve been there! Our recommendation during mornings like these is to call upon plant medicine to help keep you balanced and feeling revitalized despite waking up during the heavy kapha time of day. The best essential oils to counterbalance the cold, stagnant, cloudy and dense qualities of kapha dosha are oils that are warm, activating, light and purifying. Your go-to essential oils during 6am-10am are oils like:
- black pepper
- tea tree
- juniper berry
Our Kapha Spritzer combines bergamot, grapefruit, juniper berry and sage and is the perfect companion to help you seize the day and invigorate the senses.
The hours between 10am-2pm are when we feel the most focused, sharp and productive. This is because the energy of pitta dosha is strongest at this time; therefore, its inherent qualities influence this time of day. According to Ayurveda, this is the best time to get work done because you have the fiery and hot aspects of pitta dosha to help ignite you, keeping you motivated on the task or project at hand. Mid-day is also when agni or our digestive fire is the strongest; hence, Ayurveda recommends eating the largest meal of the day at this time to ensure optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
We love the proactive and productive aspects of pitta dosha; yet, sometimes these positive qualities of pitta can spill over into pitta imbalance in the form of anger, intensity and irritability. For example, you may be in your 10am board meeting and the discussion gets a little heated when someone criticizes your proposal and challenges your position on a particular topic in front of your boss. You start to feel flushed, your heart starts beating out of our chest and you might begin to feel anger arise within you. Despite these feelings, you of course handle this situation with professionalism and grace. However, after you leave that meeting, you can’t help but still feel heated. For situations like these, call upon cooling, soothing and calming essential oils such as:
- ylang ylang
- sweet marjoram
Our Pitta Spritzer blends rose, sandalwood, peppermint and lavender, making it the perfect aromatherapy ally to have on hand when things get intense and heated! Pop it in your bag, leave one in your car and always have it by your side to keep you feeling cool, calm and collected.
Do you ever feel like you are kind of in a daze in the late afternoon and it is difficult to focus? Or maybe you hit that afternoon slump where you are battling to keep your eyes open? Ayurveda explains that the cold nature of vata dosha which governs this time of day causes body temperature to drop in the mid-afternoon, making us feel tired and dreamy. Furthermore, this influence of vata dosha ultimately makes it more difficult to remain mentally alert and focused on the tasks at hand. There are several activities you can do in the mid-afternoon to counterbalance the light, dry, cold and mobile nature of vata that is making you feel scattered, sleepy and drained. First, we recommend tackling the most challenging projects and tasks of the day between the hours of 10am-2pm because you will have the sharp, fiery qualities of pitta dosha assisting you to follow through and complete your work. If possible, allow the hours of 2pm-6pm to be a time when you let your creativity blossom. If you have more brainstorming or creative aspects of your work day to attend to, attend to them in the mid-afternoon. This way you are harnessing the full potential of vata dosha to shine. If you suffer from the afternoon slump and start to feel sleepy, try to avoid reaching for caffeine or sugar! Instead, take a brisk walk outside to warm your body and get circulation moving. This will help counterbalance the cold quality of vata dosha. Another idea is to connect on the phone or in person with a friend or loved one that gives you positive energy and helps to ground and uplift you. Lastly, here are some essential oils to help balance you during the vata time of day:
- sweet orange
- white fir
- clary sage
If you feel mainly scattered and ungrounded between the hours of 2pm-6pm, we recommend utilizing our Vata Spritzer for its warming, stabilizing and calming qualities. If you feel tired, heavy and unmotivated during this time of day, it might be helpful to call upon your Kapha Spritzer for its uplifting and revitalizing effects.
At 6pm, we circle back to kapha dosha being predominant once again. Instead of trying to counterbalance the heavy, stable and dense aspects of kapha dosha which arise at this time, you actually want to go with the flow and begin to wind down your day. Allow yourself to surrender to the nourishing qualities that kapha dosha offers because it will help you to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Ayurveda emphasizes that in order to get quality sleep, we should be asleep by 10pm. This means that ideally you would want to begin getting ready for bed around 9pm. One of our favorite ways to unwind for the day and prepare for bed is to rub sesame oil blended with an essential oil on the soles of the feet. This gentle massage allows for the body to receive the grounding nourishment of self-love while the large pores of the feet easily absorb the effects of the oil. Some essential oils we recommend for this bedtime ritual include:
- ylang ylang
We recommend our Vata Spritzer between the hours of 2pm-6pm because it invites in earthy, stabilizing and grounding properties thanks to its blend of vetiver, cardamom, palo santo and lavender.
Hopefully at this point of the 24 hour cycle you are fast asleep, restoring and regenerating for the day ahead. However, sometimes we let that second wind which occurs at 10pm to get us started on another project or down a rabbit hole of Google searches. (I mean, don’t you just need to know what your favorite Game of Thrones actors are up to now?!) This infamous “second wind” is brought to you by pitta dosha. If you stay up past 10pm there is a high likelihood you’ll be riding that second wave of pitta activation until midnight or even 1 or 2am. If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend shutting down your smartphone and banishing it from your bedroom! Then proceed to utilize the same essential oils we mention in the 6pm-10pm section to help calm your nervous system and get you into dreamland. You can also spritz yourself liberally with our Vata or Pitta Spritzer.
If you have ever been stirred awake at 2am, 3am or 4am for no apparent reason at all, you are experiencing the power of vata energy. Vata dosha’s light, subtle, mobile qualities are predominant in these early morning hours and it has the potential to wake us up and interrupt the beauty sleep we need to keep our ojas, or vitality, strong. Again, our Ayurvedic aromatherapy recommendations remain the same as above (see 6pm-10pm & 10pm-2am). Applying these grounding, calming and soothing essential oils can help get you back to sleep. In addition, we recommend the Vata Spritzer between the hours of 2am-6am.
*We would like to add that we find our Tridoshic Spritzer ideal to use at any point of the day because it simultaneously uplifts, calms and soothes the senses. Thus, if you are looking for a well rounded, overall tridoshic balancing Ayurvedic aromatherapy experience or to infuse more bliss into your day, try our Tridoshic Spritzer.
Enhance your Day with Ayurvedic Aromatherapy
As you can see, although we may be predominant in one dosha over another, we all experience a wide range of emotions and situations within a single day. Because of this, one does not need to stick to one Aromatherapy Spritzer based on your predominant dosha or prakruti. Instead, begin to listen to your body and its current needs. This will help you determine which Spritzer and essential oils will help you strike the greatest balance in any given time of day and situation.
Now that you have an understanding of the Ayurvedic clock, how do you find it inspires or challenges your day-to-day routine? Please leave your answer or questions in the comment section below. Thank you and we look forward to connecting with you all soon!