The Ayurvedic clock is based on the natural circadian rhythm of nature. Living a life based on the principles of circadian rhythm (the Ayurveda clock) supports the system for optimal health.
The clock is based on 4-hour increments of time. 3 cycles of 4 hour time increments during day-time (sun up) and similarly 3 cycles during night time (sun down).
Each increment of time is dominated by either
Earth and Water,
Fire and Water
Ether and Air
These waves of energy support and influence the lives of all life forms on the planet. The Ayurvedic clock is based the cycle of the sun and the moon, in relationship to our planet earth.
Neuron receptors in our brain trigger certain biological functioning in our body when the retina of our eyes detect morning time natural light. This phenomenon of recognition the sunrise starts up the bodily systems engine.
Heightened sense of awareness of these body signals followed by appropriate action supports a healthy life. Mind, Body and Spirit.
The first segment of time for sun up hours according to the clock is from 6:00 am - 10:00 am. During this time the body’s natural processes are in sync with the nature of Kapha energy. Kapha energy is dominated by the energy of earth and water. Earth and Water elements are heavy, descending, watery and sticky energy. The dew forms on leaves during this time of day and animals begin to roam, hop, skip and fly in forage for food and water. For our system to function optimally we need only to hydrate with a tall glass of water upon arising to assist the system in it's descending energy. Doing so, allows for a complete bowel movement elimination within one hour of waking up, or at least before 9:00 am.
The denseness of Kapha energy needs to be released by some form of cardio exercise. Whether it be an asana yoga practice, walking, running or going to the gym. It is an opportunistic time to prime the body to receive energy for the day.
The next four-hour segment is from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. The elements of fire and water dominate this segment of time. The fire of our digestion is our ability to transform food into human cells. A fun easy way to grasp this concept is to think of it as if the cook comes to the kitchen around 10:00 am and turns the stove on and then turns the stove off around 2:00 pm. This stove is our digestive fire. Which means our body is firing itself for to be nourished by food. The liver an organ dominated by the element of fire becomes activated producing bile to digest heavier protein rich, oily/fatty food. Since it is the right time for digesting heavy food, the body’s energies need to be concentrated in the digestive area therefore; it is not an opportune time for exercise. The mind this time is active as well, which is perfect for detail oriented thinking and planning. Eating heavy meals past 2:00 pm is burdensome for the system as the liver starts its decline in producing bile and by 9:00 pm it’s at a bile-producing crawl.
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm is predominated by Vata energy. Vata energy has the qualities associated with air. It’s the systems time for quicker thinking and since the digestive fires are diminishing and the liver is reducing it’s bile output, eating a lighter dinner supports the night time’s internal body ‘house cleaning’ time. This air dominant energy needs to be supported with good hydration. Vata time is also a time for light exercise, heart centered conversation with family and friends or perhaps even write a book or music.
For creative writers, it may be a perfect time to write since the energy is light and the mind is very active.
One can see the air influence in nature as afternoon dry winds.
The next segment of time moves us to the after daylight time.
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
This time is dominated by Kapha energy. In this case, the descending energy is about settling in for a good night's sleep energy. The system begins its production of melatonin, which is a hormone to promote healthy deep restful sleep.
When we are in tune with this energy there is a natural tendency to begin to feel sleepy between 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm. The digestive fire is minimal and the body begins to wind itself down. To support this energy, an earlier lighter dinner is required as well as activities, which support a winding down process such as an evening walk or light housework. To be in bed by 10:00 pm and asleep by 10:30 the latest supports the system immensely. Because the next wave of energy to move through our system is the energy of Pitta. Pitta as mentioned before is dominated by the energy of Water and Fire.
Pitta time of the night from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am is the systems detoxifying time. The liver's energy is fire energy. The nighttime fire energy is transformational energy. This fire of transformation is for the transformation of food eaten during the day, to transform it into living healthy body tissue. The system is also activated to purge it of any toxins by releasing them into the colon for morning elimination. We can think of this Pitta time of the night as intense house cleaning time. Suppose we are eat late at night and make a mess of the kitchen, how do we suppose the cleaning crew can do their work efficiently and clean house?
This fire energy of the night lifts the veil of our subconscious programming. A perfect time for decongesting the mind and perhaps colorful dreams may appear in dream state too.
The last of the segments of time to discuss is Vata energy time of the early morning.
2:00 am - 6:00 am is called Vata time. Vata is air dominant energy time. Air energy is light. Sleep becomes lighter and dreams more vivid. The body is preparing for an active day cycle. Generally people who have had a good night of sleep will naturally wake during these hours feeling refreshed and tuned into life's vast current of energy. For people who like to meditate, other dimensions of reality are easily accessible during this time. Air time as is during the day is creative energy time. The brain is light and thinking is quick. Air is dry energy and this is why the system requires hydration upon awakening. It is actually easier to wake before 6:00 am than after 6:00 am because Kapha energy can make one sleepy again. Time to rise and shine. And witness the dawn.