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Ananta Ripa Ajmera

advisor of Ayurveda at THE WELL

Updated: 03/25/2022

As hard as it may seem, rising at dawn — the most spiritually charged time of day — can improve your mood in dramatic ways.

For many people, just the thought of getting out of bed before the sun rises puts them in a bad mood. But the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda says the inverse is true — that waking up super early, between 4 and 6 a.m., is one of the best ways to curb negative thinking and depression, connect with nature and increase sattva (mental clarity and positivity).

The ancient seers or sages (rishis) of the yogic and Ayurvedic traditions have long regarded the early morning as a spiritually charged time and believe getting up then helps you connect with the sun, a symbol of our eternal, expansive, unlimited being. So what some Westerners consider an ungodly hour is actually considered to be the most auspicious time for meditating, contemplating, practicing yogic poses and breathing exercises and performing other practices in the Ayurvedic tradition. Ayurveda also teaches that we are naturally full of sattva — it's just a matter of harnessing those vibrations to infuse your day with positivity, hope, harmony and peace. Nature is the conduit for doing that.

If you're accustomed to waking up later than 6 a.m., gradually adjust your waking time. Set your alarm back 15 minutes each day or every other day, until you're waking up comfortably at 6 a.m. or earlier. In addition to all the mental health benefits of becoming an early riser, doing so also strengthens your ability to fall asleep earlier at night, which can improve your overall sleep quality.

Ayurveda is all about restoring your innate connection with the natural world, as a way to connect with your own true inner nature, which is a repository of health, wholeness and unlimited freedom and power.

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THE WELL Q&A: Ananta Ripa Ajmera

Our Director of Ayurveda on living a healthy, balanced and spiritual life