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Heads up — this is not a practice I currently maintain, but it’s one I’ve been interested in off and on and thought I’d revisit to actually diagram out what a week might look like if I organized my time in this way. Jump to the bottom to skip to the Google doc, though it may not make much sense without reading the middle!
Using Doshas to Define Hours of the Day
I am not going to try to do a crash course on Ayurveda here — there’s a lot out there and it’s an extensive science that fills books and books. Instead, I’ll focus on the idea of doshas that are key. Doshas are like constitutions determining that nature of a person. There are three types, and everyone has some mixture of the doshas in their own nature.
The three are vata, pitta, and kapha, and they are associated with different types of energy and activity. Vata is more associated with things like busy thoughts, and intellectualism. Imagine a tall, lanky, fine haired, wiry librarian with dry skill and sensitive digestion.
Pitta is willful, active, and energetic with strong digestion and a strong hunger for life generally. An always active, body aware business person with strong opinions and influence can serve for a quick proxy of the idea.
Kapha is the final dosha, which is more downbeat, maybe even sluggish, but also harder to knock off balance. Again, this can just as much be true from a physical perspective as an attitudinal ones — kaphas are nothing if not grounded. I’ll go really easy here — think Santa Claus. Or… someone’s funny grounded optimistic dad.
So, from a data perspective, I’m going to consider these to be three dimensions, each of which are associated with specific times of day. I’ve researched this a bit in the past, and while there are some calculators that will give you the exact timing for the date and your location, generally you’ll see a broad generalization that is making a very rare assumption – that it’s the equinox OR an assumption that is possibly more true for places like parts of India, Mexico and Central America, or Kenya… that you live near or on the equator.
All that aside, I’m going to start this exploration by working with the concept of an equal part day (vernal and autumnal equinoxes). Each row in this planner will be an observation of time; how a specific hour is spent any give day of the week.
Using Classical Planetary Rulerships to Define Days
While the timings of the day are informed by dosha, each day of the week has its own specific governing energy. The names of days of week are perhaps not so secretly named after various Roman gods..except for when they’re named after variants of Germanic and Norse gods. Either way, there’s some embedded wisdom, or at least longstanding cultural implication about the energy of these days that’s tightly woven in. This isn’t just in Roman rooted western lineages, but also shows up in Jyotish as a branch of the Vedic tradition. Here’s another opportunity for a linguistics project that I won’t yet get into. for now, let’s look at what these energies are.
Sunday – Sun – Surya
The sun provides the light we shed on other people. It’s only because we reflect light that we can be seen at all. The impression that we get from people, the sense of their vision and what they care about comes through in this expression of the sun. The sun is consistent and the measure of all our time – in many senses it is the ultimate governing force. Often we let our natal Sun shine from our ego, so using this as a spiritual reset to align on who the “I” really is can be powerful.
Monday – Moon – Chandra
Reflecting our mind, perception, and sense of emotional well being, our natal Moon can feel more like a would-be steady point that is constantly being swayed by the swirling energies and changes around us. In the Vedic tradition, the Moon is exalted at the beginning of Taurus, which is arguably the most stable, grounded part of the zodiac as the initial period of fixed earth energy.
Tuesday – Mars – Skanda
Mars is a warrior ready to take commands and kick butt — the question is whose? Warriors need to take advantage of any moment they have to rest, to eat, to enjoy themselves, because it may be their last, or it may need to carry them for a very long while. Mars keeps the good stuff for itself, but it’s only because it serves as its fuel. Hard tasks and refueling indulgences may be a great one-two punch on the habit front on these days.
Wednesday – Mercury – Budha
Mercury the witty, the wordsmith, the manager, the messenger. You’ll notice the name in Sanskrit is similar to Buddha and also Bodhi – all root back to this idea of awakening and awareness. Mercury helps governs the capacity and speed of our intellect (rather than the depth of our wisdom). Organizing work and collaboration with peers and colleagues, as well as how we communicate have strong ties to Mercury. Perhaps the most playful of the planets.
Thursday – Jupiter – Guru
Often associated with the archetype of the sage or the minister, Jupiter is also a great benefic. Optimistic, always trying to share gifts, you can go back and borrow that image of a jolly Santa dad and that might do well here. Potentially more likely to try to make things easy through granting you access to wisdom and knowledge than to material things.
Friday – Venus – Shukra
Venus on the other hand definitely wants you to have nice things. Ruler over Taurus and Libra, Venus is very concerned with your comfort, material, and social success. Diplomacy matters not to manipulate or suck up to people, but because fairness, justice and equity can’t only come from one place. All parties need to be attended to and included to bring comfort and ease to as many as possible. If you imagine that Venus and Mercury might get along well, you’d be right. Their strengths build on each other well, and their conjunction is one of the most common found in natal charts because of their proximity to each other and to Earth in space.
Saturday – Saturn – Shani
Saturn tends to bring us trials and help us grow through experiences that go on for some amount of time. The best way to show up to this kind of energy is with gratitude, diligence, and with some forgiveness and grace to yourself. You can’t beat time, and you can’t buy your way out of death, but you can show up to be present for your day to day life and make sure that you’re accounting for what’s piling up. That also means taking the time to do the self work to really notice what the lesson is and how you can accept and work with the lesson rather than try to just overcome the obstacle by outsmarting or outperforming it. Rumor has it that Saturn can’t be tricked, and the backlash for thinking you can is worse than humbling to yourself to the fact that some things are just hard and tedious — and that those things help make everything work, too.
There’s also a great, concise article on colors and days of the week on Kripalu’s site, as well as further discussion on the planetary energies.
Try It Out!
I made a model of what a week for myself might look like when combining these two considerations, assuming I had total control over when I had meetings and that all of my evenings were clear.
While this is currently infeasible as a total life design, it’s interesting especially to see how evenings vary, and subtle changes to the morning routine which is otherwise, more or less stable. What does stand out to me from this is that most ideally, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays actually feel most ideal for conventional ‘work’ — Tuesdays being very project and implementation focused, Wednesday focusing on collaboration and communication, and Saturdays leaning into things like administration and operations. Sunday stands out as great for integrated visionary leadership, while Mondays and Fridays are actually most ideal for actual rest, connection, and renewal. Would love to hear any thoughts or reactions to this idea. Feel free to make a copy of the template and try out your own day planning using these ideas if it sparks any thoughts.