Your most productive day
Most of us just do whatever comes our way without considering how the specific time of day affects our potential to best complete certain tasks. For example, we eat lunch at 3pm after a whole morning of meetings, we respond to emails as soon as we wake up and we work out in the evenings. But according to Ayurveda, that’s not the way to schedule the most optimal day.
Have you heard of the Ayurvedic clock? We hadn’t either until deep-diving into Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system originating from India.
Just like the AIR, FIRE & EARTH Mind & Body Types govern our physical constitution and mind, Ayurveda believes they also influence the natural clock of our day. Each Mind & Body type rules a certain time of day affecting our mood, energy levels, affinity for particular tasks and even our digestion - independently of what our own unique type is! This explains why it’s often difficult to brainstorm in the morning, or complete a complex analysis task in the afternoon.
WHEN TO DO WHAT?
Instead of dividing the day into 24 hours, Ayurveda splits it into six 4-hour periods that relate to each Mind & Body type and happen twice throughout the day.
6-10AM is associated with the EARTH type. This is when the sun is rising and when you should feel grounded, but also sometimes can feel lethargic. This is why Ayurveda suggests waking up before or at the beginning of that timeframe as that’s when you’ll feel the freshest upon waking. We know that waking up early can sound counter intuitive, but give it a try and you’ll see! If you still wake up later in that timeframe and feel groggy upon waking, activate the body by doing some exercise.
10-2PM is associated with the FIRE type. This is when the sun is at its highest and when you should feel strong, focused, high in energy and able to accomplish the most difficult task of the day. This is also when you should eat your main meal of the day as your digestion is at its strongest.
2-6PM is associated with the AIR type. This is when we are our most creative, light and sometimes anxious because our nervous system is at its most active then. This is the time to complete creative tasks and take a break from the day and ground ourselves rather than running to the closest coffee shop for a caffeinated ‘pick me up’.
6-10PM is the second EARTH moment of the day. This is when the sun is setting and you should unwind from the day, eat a light dinner, spend time with family & friends and practice self-care in view of the night’s sleep. Note that we should go to bed around 10PM before experiencing the second wind of energy that everyone experiences from 10PM-2AM.
10-2AM is the second FIRE moment of the day. This is when most people get a second wind of energy and appetite. That second wind of energy is for meant for the body to detoxify itself so you don’t want to disrupt that time. If we are up well after 10pm, that second wind of energy is used by the mind instead the body for cleansing and eventually, will create deficiency patterns that aggravate the nervous system and create anxiety. That is why Ayurveda recommends getting to be before you’re well into this time window. 10PM seems really early but if you use the ‘earthy’ time from 6-10pm to truly unwind then it should feel natural to fall asleep around 10PM. Truth be told, members from the YOOM team report turning lights off closer to 10:30pm – that already feels like an accomplishment for everyone. Read How to finally sleep better
2-6AM is the second AIR moment of the day. This is not a time of creativity, but rather of receptivity. Yogis discovered long ago that this time of day, when air and ether dominate, is the best time of day for meditation, prayer and other spiritual practices. By arising prior to 6AM, we are able to maximize this experience, spending this peaceful time of day in spiritual pursuits. If we are still in bed, we may find that our sleep is light and disturbed, or that we awaken and have a hard time shutting off our mind.
Following the Ayurvedic clock makes us more effective at all our tasks – increasing our productivity and peace of mind - allowing us to make our day work for us rather than against us.
Happy day ahead!