between 10 am and 2 pm. To reduce pitta, try evoking the sensation of the body as water moving through water, using cooling breaths as needed (such as shitali), incorporating meditation
practices that evoke gratitude, love, and compassion (to mitigate
fiery energy), and making sure to dress in clothing that breathes
well.After practice, coconut water, water infused with mint or a
little aloe vera juice can all dispel extra heat.
The day’s second pitta surge begins around 10 pm, leading to a
late-night second wind. For this reason, Ayurveda suggests going
to sleep before 10 pm. Falling asleep (or at least moving in that
direction) before the fire rises also directs the energy of digestion
toward deeper healing in the body. The hours of deep sleep that
occur during this cycle of the day are vital for the metabolic processes that support rebuilding. If you are trying to rebuild in any
way, utilize this energy appropriately for repair.
To combat the effect of runaway fire that shows up as irritability or
difficulty falling asleep, try adding cooling practices to an evening
routine, such as walking or bathing beneath the moonlight, drinking water left out to absorb the rays of the moon, meditating and
envisioning the light of the moon, practicing a late-night restorative, or engaging in a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing.
GROUND AIRY VATA IN THE AFTERNOON AND EARLY
Understanding that the mid-afternoon is the vata time of the day
reveals something about why we may experience be a mid-afternoon crash, particularly if we have ignored the instruction to eat
a hearty lunch. Since vata is emptiness, when emptiness takes
hold in the world around us, our energy sinks.
Try practices to get moving and get in touch with the breath.
Take extra care to stay grounded rather than succumb to the impulse to simply fling the body through space. Throughout practice sessions, maintain awareness and connection with the actual
feeling of the feet on the earth, the strength in the body, and the
flow of prana, or life-force, through the nadis (energy channels).
Warming breaths (as long as they are not overdone) can stoke
the internal fire during the naturally cold early morning. A long
savasana (resting pose) after fully embracing movement can help
soothe the nervous system, which can be prone to irritation during the vata time of day. Stay hydrated to cultivate balance.
The early morning vata time, the predawn hours, are valued by
many traditions for their powerful effect on connecting with spiritual potential, intuition, and the great expanse that exists both
beyond and within the body. Interestingly, this is the time of day
when a person’s sleep cycles allow for the most space within the
land of dreams—the intuitive movement within the psyche.
For difficulty sleeping during this time of day or feelings of anxiety, try pre-bedtime practices to calm vata, including massaging
the feet while in bed, alternate nostril breathing, a few minutes of legs-up-the-wall before bed, or drinking a cup of warm
almond milk alone or with with a soothing herb such as ash-wagandha. These can help calm to a cool breeze the hurricane
winds that can blow when vata is out of balance. However, if
you wake up during this time of day restless or ready to engage
in practice, try indulging in a long meditation, a series of sun
salutations, or pranayama practices that enhance mental clarity
STIMULATE KAPHA, ENJOY STRENGTH
The kapha times of day are times of strength, particularly in the
morning, which for many are one of the most productive times
of the day (particularly if a person arises and gets ready before
sunrise, or before this time of day begins).
If you’re sleeping late and having trouble breaking the pattern
because it feels as though you’re waking up and having to fight
through a heavy, wet blanket (the energy of the kapha dosha),
the remedy is to shift the waking cycle to getting up before or
around sunrise and engaging in a few sun salutations, standing
poses, or other warming practices (including the breath) to break
up the stagnation.
The evening kapha time is one of the peak times in most yoga
studios, where classes are full of people needing to shake off and
counteract what may have been a sedentary day. When we use
this kapha strength to move through stagnation, to uplift ourselves, to connect to the truth within the heart, then it cultivates
the deep and sustaining strength of the earth element. Standing
tall, balancing poses, sequences that include warrior poses or that
evoke the warmth of the sun, sessions that incorporate gentle
warming pranayama practices—all of these can create balance
within this time of the day.
Every time of the day has its potentials and its pitfalls. When
we observe the cycles for what they are, rather than becoming
frustrated, we can experience clarity and harmony every hour
of the day.
This article originally appeared in Yoga Therapy Today,
published by the International Association of
Yoga Therapists: iayt.org. The upcoming Conference
Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research will be held
in Austin, Texas, June 5 - 8: sytar.org
Felicia Tomasko is the Editor of LA Yoga Magazine.
A long savasana after fully embracing
movement can help soothe the nervous system,