Changing my routine, diet and exercise according to Ayurvedic wisdom has completely transformed my physical and emotional health. I rarely get sick, I feel happy and have abundant energy, and enjoy fulfilling my goals.
As an Ayurvedic consultant, I set up my week for success by scheduling my activities to coordinate with the cosmic forces that predominate on each day.
Many of the world's cultures have displayed a primal understanding of how planetary forces influence different days of the week. They formed their beliefs, language and rituals based on the understanding of how the cosmos impacts the individual. Ayurveda, yoga's sister-science of healing, considers this when it comes to Tridosha theory, in which the five elements combine to form the three governing principles known as the doshas.
For instance, air and space form the Vata Dosha, the principle of movement which is light, dry, rough and irregular. Fire and water combine to form the Pitta Dosha, the principle of transformation which is hot and sharp. Earth and water make the Kapha Dosha, the principle of structure which is heavy, cool, slow and stable.
These principles apply to all of nature and the celestial cycles can either increase or decrease the qualities of the doshas within your body.
Each day of the week is ruled by a different planet, making some activities optimal and others best left for tomorrow. In a Western context, our weekly schedule is likely dictated by what we do for a living, but knowing which planets and doshas influence you on each day, can allow you to make small changes to your schedule.
Here's how you can align yourself with the planets and use Ayurvedic wisdom to cultivate success, happiness and health:
Sunday is governed by the Sun, so the Pitta Dosha dominates.
DO: Take advantage of your increased energy and run, hike, bike, dance or enjoy a strong yoga practice. Your digestive power will be high, so enjoy Sunday brunch with friends!
DON'T: Overload on foods and drinks that are heating in nature, like chillies, alcohol and red meat.
Monday is governed by the Moon, which is celebrated for its cooling, soothing and nourishing properties, so Kapha and Vata predominate.
DON'T: Overdo it. Even though Monday is seen as a day to rev up your engines after the excesses of the weekend, from an Ayurvedic perspective this is actually the day to take extra rest and meditation.
DO: Eat a light diet. I frequently take only fruits and fluids on Mondays, and prefer Restorative Yoga or Yin Yoga.
Tuesday is governed by Mars, the red planet that invokes fire, anger, and courage — all characteristics of Pitta!
DO: Set aside this day for challenging tasks and difficult conversations requiring you to summon courage and strength.
DON'T: Pick fights. Things can really escalate quickly on Tuesdays!
Wednesday is governed by Mercury, the planet with the biggest variation in temperature, ranging from -280 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day, so all three doshas predominate on Wednesdays.
DON'T: Waste your time with a Hump Day attitude. The cosmos is on your side promoting balanced intellect, speech and communication!
DO: Apply yourself to studies and self-improvement, reading, goal setting and journaling.
Thursday is governed by Jupiter, a planet so big it casts shadows visible from Earth, so down here we feel the grounding dominance of Kapha.
DO: Get work done, and plan a home-cooked meal. This day is infused with knowledge, wisdom, nourishment and happiness.
DON'T: Skip your workout. Because Kapha is naturally heavy, we want to stay balanced with cardio or dynamic yoga practices.
Friday is governed by Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and is influenced by Kapha and Vata.
DO: Enjoy the arts, beauty and music. Take a walk in nature, head to the local art gallery with a friend, catch a concert with a lover, or stay home, cook and create!
DON'T: Opt for a Grey's Anatomy marathon and a bottle of wine. Television dulls the senses and yours are ripe for smelling roses today.
Saturday is governed by Saturn, an enormous ball of gas, so this day is associated with Vata.
DO: Bask in the creativity, movement and enthusiasm inherent in Vata and enjoy your hobbies and passions.
DON'T: Skip meals! Vata needs grounding.