Ratricharya – The nightly rituals with Ayurveda

by Jun 11, 20212 comments

Namaste from HemaVeda,

Everyone is seeking good health. And we must also appreciate and observe how we live our life – whether it is eating, drinking, sleeping or even how we emotionally experience our life. Health is all encompassing aspects of body and mind and often extends to our social life – the people close to us and on the internet that affect our wellbeing these days. 

When we all are trying our best to live a healthy life we seek routines – crash diets and at times get-quick-in-shape plans. Whether it is a juice diet for 10 days or that $19 gym membership – that will quickly undo all the excesses we might have enjoyed over the last weekend. 

These plans have helped us all to varying degrees but do not seem very sustainable. What we need is something more natural that does not shock our bodies and also allow us to keep up with these routines without being excessively stressed and stay the course. 

This is where Ayurveda comes to help. It is an ancient science and not a quick-fix-make-it-go-away technique. 

Pls. allow me today to share some of this wisdom – as discussed in Ayurveda Literature.

night ratri moon

Ayurveda offers us few fundamental principles for maintenance of good health. The definition of good health is not just an absence of disease but it is a harmonious balance of physical, mental and social well-being. These principles are described in the form of dina-charya (day regimen), ratri-charya (night regimen), and ritu-charya (seasonal regimen). 

This blog is divided into each of these regimens. For din-charya, pls. see this.

Here I will discuss Ratri-charya (night regimen) and try answering these questions like

Why do I feel bloated going to bed?

Why do I struggle falling asleep?

Ratri (Night) Charya

Ratri (Night) Charya  is night rituals. Ratricharya is the regimen that is followed from dusk through dawn that helps balance doshas and health. Night is considered to be full of tamas (darkness). It is said to create fear in the minds of the people, enhance moha (delusion). It is also the time when pitta dosha recedes but increases kapha dosha. [Add links that discuss these doshas]

The important aspects of ratricharya are: 

  • Ahara (Food)
  • Shayana (Sleep)
  • he influence of Moonlight (Jyotsna)
  • The Evening time rituals (Sandhyacharya) 

AHARA (food)

As much as what we eat is important it is also important to understand when we eat matters! Our body believes it or not prefers a routine. This routine is not just within our bodies but is also influenced by external factors like time of the day, season etc.

According to the Ayurveda classics dinner time should be in the time period after the sunset and in the first part of night itself. This practice of early dinner helps in proper digestion of food and restful sleeping patterns. Ayurveda recommends the dinner to be lighter than the lunch as the digestion is weaker at night. Heavy foods like meat, obstructive foods like yogurt should be completely avoided. It is best to completely avoid dinner at the time of sunset ( the point of time when the sun is setting). Consumption of food during this time creates imbalances in Doshas and debilitating health disorders.

dinner plates

Here are a few recommendations per Ayurveda

  • Dinner time should be before 7pm
    Traditionally this is right after sun-set and early night. Also, Ayurveda suggests us to avoid eating at the time of sun-set. Eating at sun-set creates imbalances in Doshas and debilitating health disorders
    An early dinner time helps with digestion. Our body is usually slowing down and when we sleep our body is actually resting – this affects our ability to digest food. Overeating/or eating late leaves undigested food and causes many gut related health issues. See this for more on Gut health per Ayurveda.
  • Dinner quantity should be lighter than lunch
    This has multiple benefits – 
  • When we are sleeping our body then has less food to digest 
  •  This automatically gives us the benefits of fasting for almost 12 hrs which means a complete rest for the digestive system as well as detoxification of the body. 
  • Eating early also helps in regularity of the bowel movements.

Sleep

Ayurveda regards nidra (sleep) as one of the most essential factors responsible for a healthy and fulfilling life.

Sleeping at the proper time and proper duration leads to equilibrium of dhatus (tissues) and alleviates lethargy. Adequate night sleep provides nourishment, good complexion, strength, enthusiasm, restores gastric fire and enhances digestion. 

Proper night sleep pacifies kapha dosha and eliminates the toxic compounds in the body. Appropriate sleeping environment and space is an important aspect of Night rituals according to Ayurveda classics. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is also beneficial.

Evening

This is the conjunction of the last part of the day and the first part of the night. The time of sunset. This period is considered to be inauspicious and many regimens are contraindicated at this time of the day. There are few important activities that

Ayurveda recommends during this particular timing. They are as follows 

  • It is best if we do not consume any form of food in this time period. Consumption of food during this time leads to ill health. 
  • Avoiding any form of sexual act should be prohibited at this particular time of the day, it contributes to fetal abnormalities 
  • Sleeping in this time period could lead to loss of wealth and the fame of that person

Here are a few recommendations per Ayurveda

  • It is best if we do not consume any form of food in this time period. Consumption of food during this time leads to ill health. 
  • Avoiding any form of sexual act should be prohibited at this particular time of the day, it contributes to fetal abnormalities. 
  • Sleeping in this time period could lead to loss of wealth and the fame of that person.

Moonlight

The other significant aspect of the night routine is the presence of Moonlight. As per the Ayurvedic classics the moonlight that falls on the body has a direct effect on the body and mind. The moonlight is said to act as a cooling agent for the human body. Moonlight also enhances the desires, revitalizes the body.

    Ratricharya

    Ratricharya or night regimen is an important practice which was first mentioned in Ayurvedic classical literature. It is about the regimen to follow at night for the maintenance of health and well-being. 

    These rituals help both the body and mind. Such self care in itself allows our minds and bodies to align and help us rest better and feel rejuvenated the next morning.

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