I had the pleasure of being on guest on the Body Geeks Podcast this week with my wellness colleagues Carrie & Laura from Firehouse Fitness & Wellness. I was excited to geek out about circadian rhythms with these two. Circadian rhythm has received a lot of attention this year. Three scientists, who study the working of the circadian clock, won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine for their discovery of a protein cycle that guides our bio-rhythms.
This is my language! Āyurveda is science of rhythm, routines, and cycles. It acknowledges that the movement of nature isn't linear, but is instead cyclical. Like these lyrics from one of my favorite bands remind us,
'Nature is always round.'
~ Wider Circles by Rising Appalachia
what do these rhythms mean to you?
These cycles of nature certainly include us as humans, although I find we like to pretend that due to our technologies, the laws of nature do not apply to us. In fact, the further we stray from these rhythms, the more dis-ease we experience. The more attuned we are these natural cycles, the better health and wellness we'll experience. As a practitioner, I see a myriad of imbalances in my clients that are caused simply by a misalignment of their everyday practices. Symptoms like indigestion, constipation, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, metabolic disorders, skin diseases, and immune system issues can all be addresses by realigning our rhythms to the rhythms of nature. These are imbalances, not that indicate something is wrong with our organism, but that instead indicate in some way we are misaligned in how we are caring for the body.
Āyurveda and western science agree that misalignment of our circadian clock can affect behavior, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature and metabolism. These are all major measurements of how we experience wellness. By relearning how to align with our own inner clock with the larger environmental clock we bring the body back into balance.
where can you find rhythm?
Āyurveda uses a concept, called the Āyurvedic Clock, that informs us of the prevailing doshas and energies during any given time of day, season, and time of life. By using this clock as a guide, we can select a wake/sleep time, meal times, practice/exercise schedules, fasting intervals, categories of work, daily and seasonal routines, and more that will pacify our constitutional/doshic imbalances, and restore wellness to the body systems. By making the appropriate simple schedule changes for your constitution you can begin to mitigate your symptoms.
While some of these routine shifts are common sense, others have been lost in decline of our traditional cultural knowledge. We used to know well how to sync up with nature's rhythms. It can be useful to work with a practitioner to identify which routine shifts would have the biggest impact on your specific health concerns.
While some schedule adjustments will be very specific to the individual, some are more universal. Here are three of my favorite schedule/routine hacks that can be useful for everyone...
1. Get good sleep between the hours of 10p and 2a. These are the power hours for rejuvenation and immune boosting sleep. Miss these and you can't make them up that night.
2. Use your phone to remind you of what you want to do, and when. For example, set a reminder that says 'Go to bed, love.' for 9:30p and when it goes off0 remember your loving intention to get enough rest and have adequate energy the next day.
3. Use your calendar to schedule your SELF. You won't magically have the time to shop, cook, meditate, do an āsana practice, etc if you don't schedule it in like you do everything else. Block out your daily routines on your calendar, and hold them as your non-negotiables each day.
I'd love to hear what routines keep you most balanced, and how you find balance in a culture that is constantly pushing and pulling at our rhythms. Share your stories in the comments below.
Yours in radical wellness,