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Healing with Circadian Rhythms

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

Disease or dis-ease occurs when our bodies are not working with ease, a concept that is called “sukha” in yoga. Our body has an amazing ability to heal when it is provided a harmonious environment. Chaos and irregularity in schedule cause disruption of processes in our body. A daily routine would provide a balanced environment for our bodies to heal especially when this routine is aligned with the rhythms of the earth, this concept has been taught in Ayurveda and other forms of traditional medicine for thousands of years. The Nobel Prize was recently awarded to three scientists for proving this very concept, let’s take a look.

In 2017, Jeffrey Hall, Michael Roshbosh, and Michael Young received the Nobel Prize for their “discoveries” on how we “adapt our biological rhythm so that it is aligned with the earth’s revolutions”. This is often referred to our sleep wake cycles and disruptions in these cycles can cause many sleep disorders including insomnia. Other disorders that can occur include restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, etc.

As the sun goes down, our pineal gland produces melatonin which is released into the blood. Melatonin is a hormone that aids in regulating our sleep and wake cycles. Body temperature, behaviors, and metabolism are some other examples of how circadian rhythms influence our own body’s processes during the day. If we are aware of these timings and influences, then we can learn to work with these processes. For example, we know to get our work done when our body is alert during the day and not when it is preparing for sleep during the night.

Since most people that come to our workshops have digestive related problems, let’s analyze how our rhythms with food can also align with the timings of the day. Just as the fire from a wooden stove needs to be kindled slowly to come back to life, we should kindle our digestive system with food in small amounts to slowly awaken our system. If you put too much wood in a wooden stove in the morning, you may put out the fire instead of bringing it back to life. Similarly, ingesting too much food in the morning can weaken our digestive system instead of strengthening it. We should slowly bring it back to life after our fast from our previous meal by starting our day with a glass of warm lemon water. Simply heat some water and squeeze some lemon juice into it. After 20 or 30 minutes, choose to eat a breakfast that is easy to digest. Our largest meal should be when the sun is at its peak because of our increased digestive strength at this time, which signals lunch time. Learning how to align our eating and living to align with the natural rhythms of the earth, can help our bodies live in harmony with ourselves and the earth. It can provide a peaceful environment for maintenance and healing of our bodies. We hope you can use this information and integrate into your daily life. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this article or if you would like to learn more about this topic.

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Lucy Vine
Lucy Vine
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