Here are a few tips based on Ayurveda on how to make the water that you are drinking more effective for your body.
Drink water while sitting instead of standing
Having a calm mind before drinking water is important because the circulation in the digestive system gets interrupted otherwise. When you are sitting, your body is calm as your muscles and the nervous system are more relaxed. Your kidneys too can act unimpeded. To calm yourself, you can try taking at least three deep belly breaths before you consume something. Also, drinking water standing up leads to less absorption by the stomach and more accumulation at the joints, resulting in retention of fluids, and consequently, arthritis.
Sip the water in cycles of breath-sip-breath
Do it this way, instead of gulping it all down in a single breath. Ayurveda classifies three doshas in our body- the vata dosha, the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha. Those with the first should have water at least an hour after a meal. Those with pitta problems can have small sips in between morsels to aid in the digestion process. While those having the latter should drink water right before the meal to fill up the empty space in order to prevent over-eating.
Drink it at room temperature at least
We should avoid drinking cold or chilled water as much as possible because not only does it expose you to the risk of catching a cold, it also interferes with your digestion. Cold water decreases blood supply to your organs and can lead to constipation. Continued usage would weaken the major organ systems and can lead to hemorrhage, kidney failure, etc. Drinking water that is slightly warm helps in proper digestion, aids in metabolism, helps in pain relief and decreases bloating. Warm water is also great at managing weight and cholesterol levels in the blood and helps in cleaning the arteries.
Drink water right after waking up
The term given to this practice is Upashan. It is an awesome method of detoxifying your body and flushing out the wastes that have accumulated over the night.
Drink water only when you are thirsty
Different people have different water requirements, and it is best to have water only when you are thirsty as too much water can also have adverse effects on your body. However, do not keep delaying once you have the urge to drink water.
Store the water in copper or silver containers
Consider having a water purifier at home to avoid drinking from plastic bottles. If you do, make sure you store it in copper or silver vessels to balance all the three doshas mentioned above. The reason is that these highly reactive metals positively charge the water. The antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties of these metals also help in boosting the immune system of the body, so much that it can even prevent cancer. Such water can remove free radicals from your body and help to cool the intestines.
Don’t drink a lot of water right before meals
This is subject to temperature and geographic conditions, but there should be a minimum gap of 1.5 hours between drinking water and having food. You should wait longer in the mountainous regions and shorter in the plains or hot areas.
According to Ayurveda, our stomach is roughly the size of four handfuls. The ideal amount of solids is two handfuls (50%) and that of water is one handful (25%). Another handful (25%) should be left empty for the process of digestion in which the gastric juices would mix with the food to form chyme. Drinking more than this amount of water not only messes with digestion but also spoils the pH balance in the stomach.
Observe your body signs
Sometimes, it may happen that your body is dehydrated without you knowing it. Feeling thirsty is not always a reliable sign and there may be deeper rooted problems. Here are some indicators that your body needing water:
- Dryness of lips, skin, eyes and hair.
- At times, acne resulting from clogged pores are indicative of dehydration, as well as skin rashes burns, and red eyes.
- Constipation lasting for more than a day.
- Decreased amount or absence of sweat.
- Darker urine, especially while urinating for the first time after waking up.
Alternatives to get hydrated
Adding certain substances to your drinking water can increase the absorption by your body:
- To a 32-ounce water container, add a teaspoon of some unrefined mineral salt like Celtic Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt or Utah’s Redmond Salt.
- The juice of one lemon.
- Some chia seeds which had been soaked for a few hours
- Slices of ginger
Remember, these tips are of preventive nature and you can follow them to improve your body. But you should always consult your physician in case of persisting problems.
Want to learn more about the Ayurvedic principles of drinking water and having a healthier lifestyle? Go on a weekend Ayurveda retreat and immerse yourself in this great ancient knowledge!
Read more by Kedy on The General Post.