Water Is Life

Posted on in Healthy Living by Emily Rose Heard

Ayurveda for Vibrant Hydration


Summer is here—and the heat is on! We all know drinking water is one of the best ways to stay cool—but its benefits are endless. Water is essential to optimal wellness, giving you glowing skin, a healthy metabolism, and a clear mind. Yet the real secret is in knowing how to drink water. Even when it comes to something as wonderful as water, you can have too much of a good thing.

Ayurveda teaches us to balance the five elements (fire, water, earth, air, and space) and to honor the body’s unique needs—and to harmonize ourselves with the external world. Just like any living thing, our bodies need water in moderation. Too little and we experience drought. Too much causes flooding and stagnation. If you overwater a potted plant, the water will flow out and not be absorbed, or worse, the roots will be saturated and rot. We too are part of nature and can learn to heal ourselves by observing her ways.

Here are some tips to keep you vibrantly hydrated and feeling fresh.

Keep the fire burnin’. As we honor our body’s need for water we must also honor our digestive fire, or agni. Agni gets kindled in the morning and peaks at midday. Then it dwindles as the sun goes down. Agni’s job is to keep digestion strong, to assimilate and absorb nutrients and keep the body detoxing as needed. To support healthy digestion, start your day with warm water and notice the simple healing effect. This routine improves elimination and circulation and prepares you for the day’s first meal. If you need extra flavor add a squeeze of lemon to awaken your taste buds, support your liver, and give your digestion a kick.

Fire and ice. This one may be difficult to hear but the best way to assimilate water is at room temperature. Yes, even on a hot day your body will thank you and here’s why: The body runs at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit, so even on the hottest day the water you ingest at room temperature will still cool the body more effectively than cold water. When you drink cold water your body must expend precious energy to internally heat the water to achieve homeostasis. This internal heating process will actually make you feel warmer. Ice water slows our digestive fire and metabolism to make us feel less energetic. Ultimately ice water challenges our bodies to stay hydrated.

a glass of water on the palms

Water and food. Gulping down water at mealtimes dilutes your digestive juices and might leave you bloated and tired after a meal. Agni’s job is to process food internally so that you absorb nutrients optimally. Dousing the flames with water confuses your digestion and forces your body to work harder. During a meal try taking only a few sips here and there of water at room temperature—or even warm water. Notice how you feel.

Too much of a good thing? Ayurveda recommends drinking only about one cup of water per hour by continuously sipping throughout the day. This gradual method allows the body to hydrate and absorb the benefits without your needing to run to the bathroom, only to feel thirsty again right away. If you tend to chug water when you get thirsty or after a workout, notice how this small shift will leave you feeling more refreshed without the bloat. This gradual approach increases energy.

Go with the flow. Your body is composed of 60% water, which is constantly flowing like an internal river. Try feeling the rhythm and natural flow of the water in your body and nourish it by creating a regular stream of hydration. If you chug a 16 oz. bottle you will likely not feel sated, as most of it will go right through you in the bathroom. Instead you body will stress and you’re likely to quickly feel thirsty again. Think of your body like a maintained garden with drip irrigation sending a steady trickle to the plants’ roots. With a steady stream the body begins to trust that there is enough and begins to heal itself, nourishing the tissues and detoxifying. This approach helps eliminate dehydration headaches, dry skin, and indigestion. The mere routine of keeping a room-temperature water bottle nearby can serve as a reminder to continue this nourishing flow of natures’ simplest and most effective remedy.

Keep it fresh. If drinking plain water throughout the day sounds boring feel free to get creative. Adding sliced cucumber or citrus will jazz up the flavor and the electrolytes. Remember, even small changes can make a huge impact on your health, mood, and mindset. Sometimes the simplest shifts trigger the biggest breakthroughs.

Honoring your body’s most basic needs in a new way may seem simple, but the effects are far reaching. Notice how your skin begins to glow, how your energy feels more balanced, how your mood improves. It’s not just how much water you drink, but how you drink it. Drinking mindfully can teach you to listen to your body in a healthy new way. Listening to your body’s needs may well empower you to heal yourself with everything that goes inside it—intuitively.

Emily Rose Heard, MA, is an Ayurvedic practitioner specializing in mind-body wellness. She has a private practice in the Bay Area and offers online courses and coaching programs. Find her blog and free Ayurvedic Healing Masterclass at EmilyRoseHeard.com

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