Daily Cycles, Circadian Rhythms and Life’s Phases

clear glass with red sand grainer

Ayurveda’s goal is to achieve, maintain and preserve our health and prevent disease. Prevention is the key in Ayurveda. In order to prevent dis-ease we need to create balance by moving with the flow of nature and harmonizing our tendencies.

We all have specific tendencies (or doshas) and it is important to identify your tendencies in order to begin to balance them. Hopefully, you are already familiar with your basic dosha energies. If not, please connect with my dosha post.

These tendencies or inherent qualities are affected by the daily cycle of darkness as it transitions to light, the rhythms in nature (which are the seasons) and the various phases we move through during our life. Therefore, time is a key component for balance in Ayurveda. Time or Kala as it is called in Sanskrit is the cyclic remodeler of our lives. 

I will soon talk of the specific lifestyle routines of Ayurveda, but for now I would like to introduce time as it relates to the doshas or the functional energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. 

Each dosha has its predominant time period, season and phase of life. I have developed a “Kala Wheel” that explains how the cycles of day/night, season and life phases correspond to each dosha.

Day and night cycles are at the heart of Ayurveda. 

Let’s take a closer look at this…Maybe you have heard of the circadian rhythm. This is a natural sleep/wake cycle that is stimulated by the brain. As darkness starts to approach, the pineal gland deep within the brain produces a chemical change that initiates the feeling of sleepiness. And, conversely, when the light approaches in the early morning, the same sensor will detect this light and begin to awaken the body.  It is your built-in alarm clock. 

Not only should we be following a good daily cycle in Ayurveda, the time of season is another important component to balance for our health. Like we change our clothing for the season when the weather becomes cooler or warmer, we should consider changing our diet and activities according to the season to maintain a wholesome balance.

On a broader scale, the phase of life is another pattern that we should honor and try to balance. The life cycle can also be defined by the functional energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

The Kapha phase of life is from birth to puberty during which our bodies are growing and developing and nourishment is key. This is also the time when respiratory issues and allergies can develop. 

The Pitta or fiery time is from puberty to age 55 or 60. This is the phase of life when we are transforming and converting ourselves and there is high energy or fire being cultivated for building a career and possibly starting a family. We stay up later, eat more…and there is generally more stress in our lives during the Pitta phase. 

As we approach the age of 60, the body becomes drier and more variable with big changes in structure and physiology. Our bones become brittle and our skin and hair become friable. We tend to experience more digestive and sleep issues as we approach this Vata phase of life.  

Understanding the time cycles of our day, the changing seasons and the phases of our lives helps us to understand ourselves and what we need to do to balance accumulation and prevent disease.  Fine-tuning our energy with the changing times is a primary disease prevention technique of Ayurveda.  

If you would like more details and examples for understanding how these cycles of time can balance us and prevent disease, tune into my podcast: Daily Cycles, Circadian Rhythms and Life’s Phases.

“All nature works, and then rests; works and rests. I caught its rhythm and worked and rested with it. When I felt that inertia stealing over me, I rested; and while resting my power recuperated – the tide rose in me.” 

Elizabeth Towne

Thanks for joining me today On Wellness Way. 💜🌱

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