You may be surprised to learn that Ayurveda has some indispensable guidelines for something we thought required no technique at all – drinking water. There are actually some sure-fire ways of drinking water that, when closely followed, could assist our bodies in achieving optimum health. Who would have thought that this basic human practice is more than just gulping down a glass of water?
According to Ayurveda, it is important to be aware of how we hydrate ourselves. This awareness, although minor in nature, can bring about life-changing effects. Imagine not rushing to the bathroom all the time, not getting headaches, not feeling bloated after meals and not getting breakouts on your face and skin. By paying attention to how we drink our water, these benefits and countless others can be easily achieved. The following suggestions are ancient Ayurvedic practices that increase the benefits of water from a health perspective.
Drink water right after you wake up in the morning
This is an ancient Ayurvedan practice called ‘Ushapan’ and is probably the first thing you should do after you wake up. You have just gone through some 6 to 8 hours without drinking any fluid, and starting your day with a glass-full of water (at least 500 mL) not only replenishes all the lost fluids in your body, but also helps your kidney cleanse out toxins that accumulated in your body during your sleep.
If you are on a diet, drinking water first thing in the morning is also the best and most natural way to increase your body’s metabolic rate. Preoccupying your digestive system with water can also help you lose weight as you will feel less hungry throughout the day. You can make this morning habit even more beneficial by charging your water using a copper vessel.
Drink water while sitting as much as possible
Sitting makes your muscles and mind more relaxed. Accordingly, drinking while in a relaxed state increases the efficiency of digestive processes. To help you relax, take deep breaths while sitting and start sipping your water.
Fluids that flow within your body become more balanced when you sit. When you drink water while standing, this balance becomes disrupted and the water you consume may not be fully absorbed by the stomach, which may lead to fluid accumulation in your joints which can cause arthritis. You will also help your kidney and digestive tract do their jobs unhampered, as the filtration and digestion processes are much more efficient while sitting.
Drink your water slowly
Our world has become very busy, and often we postpone hydration for as long as we can. Chugging a glass of water all at once has become a go-to time-saving habit. But did you know that full-glass chugging interferes with your internal organs in a way that can have adverse side effects on your body?
Chugging a large glass of water all at once can dilute your blood, which in turn may cause your kidney to process body fluids quicker than normal. This is very counterproductive, as most of the water you consumed so quickly will just be expelled again as urine, and will slow or reduce the effectiveness of your hydration process. Another potential consequence is hyponatremia, or water intoxication, although you need to consume gallons of water within a span of just a few hours for this consequence to materialize.
Keep in mind that you need to drink your water nice and slow – take small sips, swallow and breathe. Repeat this process until you feel that you are fully hydrated. Always follow this golden rule to keep yourself in a constant state of hydration and your body will thank you.
Drink warm or room temperature water
Grabbing an ice cold glass of water is tempting, but did you know that drinking warm water (or 'Gunguna') can have positive effects on the body? According to Ayurveda, warm water can promote the digestive “fire” which can make your metabolism a lot more efficient. It can also help improve your body’s circulation which in turn can help control your cholesterol levels and assist in keeping your arteries clean.
Given the fact that many of us take in at least three meals per day, our body’s digestive process is always at work. Bodily acids play a huge role in digesting food, and, whenever you drink cold water, the bile (i.e. acid secreted from your liver) becomes less effective. Moreover, drinking cold water can lead to an array of issues overtime, like constipation, bloating, and even weight gain.
Drink water only when you’re thirsty
According to Ayurveda, everyone is born unique, and this uniqueness can be found in almost everything. Drinking eight glasses of water each day is not a definitive rule given that everyone has their own unique need for water. Your need for hydration will not be the same as the person standing right next to you. Drinking either too much or too little can cause problems. Therefore, the only reliable signal that your body can produce to prompt hydration is the feeling of thirst itself.
Factors such as your physical activity levels and the type of climate in which you reside are important to take into consideration when determining how much water you need to drink daily. Understandably, those who live in hotter climates would require more frequent hydration than those who live in colder climates. Our own bodies cleverly tell us when we need hydration simply by giving us tell-tale signals. Dry lips, dry throat, sluggishness and hunger are just a few of the primary signs our body produces to indicate that it needs to be hydrated. Learn to stay connected with your body and pay attention to its hydration cues.
Know your dosha type
Knowing your dosha composition can also help you better understand when it is best to drink water in order to maximize its benefits, especially when it comes to syncing hydration with your meals. Drinking before, during or after a meal simply does not apply as a best practice for everyone. Knowing your dosha can be done by doing a self-test or by consulting an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner.
For those with a 'vata' dosha type, it is best to drink water no sooner than an hour after eating your meal, as this will permit your body to focus on digesting the food. As for 'pitta' types, which are prone to acidity, it is best to drink water in small sips while having your meal, as this will permit your body to better balance the acidic juices secreted in your stomach. And lastly, for 'kapha' types, it is best to drink water an hour before eating your meal; this is for you to avoid overeating, which may cause digestive and other issues.
Drink water stored in copper vessels
You may want to consider using a natural water purifier such as a copper vessel. Copper vessels can effectively alkalinize water, and it is just as easy as filling the copper container with water and storing it overnight. The water will safely and naturally absorb small amounts of copper from the vessel. The same principle applies to water that passes through rocks in a mineral-rich, natural mountain environment.
Tamra Jal, or copper-charged water, can help balance all three doshas. In addition, copper is a natural antibacterial agent which can help protect your body against free radicals. It also contains many antioxidants that can help improve your overall appearance and well-being. Ayurveda advises drinking copper-charged water first thing in the morning to maximize its benefits.
Each of us is comprised mostly of water, and we should not underestimate its importance in our daily lives. It is vital to hydrate properly, and, by following the above tips and using a Shantiva copper pitcher, you can ensure that the water you drink will be more effective at fulfilling its purpose. If you have not tried practicing the above Ayurvedic principles, today is the perfect time to start!