The Ayurvedic Clock: Syncing with Nature's Daily Cycle

Imagine finishing your day with the same energy you started your day with…

Imagine going through your day without cravings for sweets, coffee or chips…

Imagine waking up early without an alarm refreshed and ready to go…

Imagine feeling like your life is not a struggle – like the wind is at your back and you are gently floating downstream...

In nature, there are two 12-hour cycles that are each divided into three smaller cycles. Each 4-hour cycle is linked to certain bodily functions governed by Vata (air), which controls the nervous system, Pitta (fire), which controls digestion and metabolism, and Kapha (earth and water), which controls immunity and structural strength. Understanding how to connect a daily routine to these cycles is key to living in-sync with your body clock.

First 12 Hours of the Day: 6am-6pm

6am – 10am – Kapha Increases

This is the best time for exercise and physical labor before the sun is giving its peak heat. Kapha is steady and sturdy,  supporting greater physical strength.

10am – 2pm – Pitta Increases

This is the best time of the day to eat your biggest meal, as Pitta -- digestive fire -- is the strongest midday. Because the body’s energy is focused on digestion at this time of day, naturally there is less energy available for exercise and mental or creative activity. Instead, this is a good time of day to get other things done like mundane, checklist items.

2pm – 6pm – Vata Increases

This is the best time for mental and creative energy, as the nervous system is most active. To make the most of this time of day, stay grounded, warm and calm. If you find yourself craving sweets or feeling tired at this time of day, it may indicate exhaustion so rest when it's needed. Remember, Vata is the most delicate of the doshas, the one that is most prone to imbalance; If you can pay special attention to it in the afternoons, you will reap its wonderful benefits.


In life, we can go with or against the nature’s current. When we choose to work with our diurnal rhythms and hormonal fluctuations rather than against these natural cycles, life can seem frictionless – like swimming down a stream instead of fighting to stay upstream.

Second 12 Hours of the Day: 6pm-6am

6pm – 10pm – Kapha Increases

Eat dinner early and keep it small avoiding overly fatty and spicy foods as this will impact your sleep. In general, the lighter you eat in the evening, the more refreshed you will feel the next morning. After eating a light meal, this is the time to begin settling down for sleep. Kapha is heavy and dense, and with cortisol levels dropping, our body is primed for rest.

10pm – 2am – Pitta Increases

This is the best time to be sleeping. The liver (pitta) engages in detox at this time (like a janitor cleaning floors and windows). It basically “digests” everything that happened in our bodies during the day, gives our insides a good housecleaning, and resets our bodies for the following day.  If you are constantly up and awake during this time, this process can be disturbed.

2am – 6am – Vata Increases 

This early morning Vata is not for being creative like late afternoon; It’s for being receptive. This is by far the best time of day for meditation, contemplation, or other spiritual practices. If you are asleep, you are likely to have vivid dreams; If you are awake, you may notice that you're more in tune to valuable insights and understandings. 

At a glance:

Kapha  6am-10am & 6pm-1opm

Pitta   10am-2pm & 1opm-2am

Vata    2am-6am & 2pm-6pm

 

Most of us break the day into work time, free time, meal time, and sleep time, with the most number of hours generally allocated to work time. But following this energetic clock allows us to organize the day in such a way that each activity is aligned with the dominant energy of that timeframe, enabling us to use the support of nature's rhythm rather than fight against it. 

That said, its important to remember individual variations apply in Ayurveda. If this daily clock feels right, but you have trouble making changes, be gentle with yourself and make a slow progression to your new schedule. If you make changes gradually, they will feel more natural and are more likely to stick. If you try a drastic change rapidly, this will create too much stress on your system, and the changes will seem too difficult.

 

**Sourced content from J Doulliard's Life Spa

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.