We never drink enough water in a day! We all know it! And yet we never make an effort.
If you are anything like me, you probably realize very late in the day that you're actually parched and spend the rest of the evening gulping down water in an attempt to catch up! This is not the best way to get sufficient water intake, and I especially don't fancy getting wake-up calls from my bladder at 3 a.m.!
Cultivating "balance" is the core principle in Ayurveda. What this simply means is that the five elements "earth, water, fire, air, and space" must be in proper alignment in the body. Jal, or Water, the element is the constituent of protoplasm, blood, tears, saliva, digestive juices, sweat, urine, semen, cerebrospinal fluid, and fat. In simple terms, it is LIFE!
We, humans, are made up of 60% water. The skin, our largest organ, is made out of 63% water! So it just makes sense that our skin relies on water to look and feel good! Like a car runs on lubrication, our bodies run on water! Staying sufficiently hydrated keeps us energetic, flushes out toxins and gives you a dewy complexion.
“Water is cleansing.....River water is flowing, and it is pure because the water is constantly moving all impurities away. If we drink little by little all day long we are moving all those impurities from our bodies outside. All your systems get nourished.”
- Ayurvedic consultant Medha Garud of the Art of Living Retreat Centre
I hope by now you are diligently sipping on some water!!
Am I Dehydrated?
Now, if you sit and wonder why your skin is starting to look like unpolished leather, dull & grey or feels dry, itchy and fine lines are more prominent, your skin is most probably dehydrated!
Here are some signs of overall dehydration that you should watch out for. Listen to your body!
Dry skin, lips, hair, and eyes
Clogged pores that lead to acne and skin rashes
(3) Colour of Urine
Your pee is a dark yellow instead of a light yellow, almost clear
If you don't have bowel movements for more than a day or more
Little to no sweat
Solution? Keep Sufficiently Hydrated! The most important aspect of the Ayurvedic method of drinking water is to ensure that you are drinking water in a way that allows your body to effectively absorb it and use it efficiently
Here are some practical tips on drinking water regularly the Ayurveda Way!
(1) How To Drink Water
Sip Your Water, Do Not Chug. Aim to take a few small sips of water frequently throughout the day instead of chugging large volumes of water a few times throughout the day. Drinking small amounts of water frequently throughout the day maximizes hydration and accelerates the body’s detoxification process.
This method can increase your energy levels, improve the health of your skin, nails, and hair, combat premature aging, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and generally result in a greater overall sense of well-being.
(2) Timing is Important
Drink Before Your Meals. Try to avoid drinking water while having a meal. Instead, hydrate at least 30 minutes before eating or 2 hours after eating. This is important because drinking water can have the effect of dousing the digestive fire, "Agni" that builds up in our stomachs before a meal, which leads to stomach-aches and that bloated feeling some people may have after a meal
(3) Temperature of Water
Drink Lukewarm Water instead of Icy Cold Water. Yes, you heard us right. According to Ayurveda, ice water freezes the enzymes & fluids in your gut so your body can't properly digest food. This creates toxic buildup in your body. Lukewarm water, on the other hand, flushes the lymphatic system, helps soften hardened tissues, dilates, cleanses and hydrates deep tissues, and heals and repairs the digestive system.
(4) How Much Water is Enough Water? Do I Drink 8 glasses, 10 glasses, 12 glasses???
Listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty! When your body is thirsty it will start sending you signals. Look out for these signs:-
- Parched lips
- Dry Throat
- Sluggish Feeling
- At times Hunger
Take small sips of water throughout the day and you will automatically hit the right amount of water needed for your body!
(5) The Classic ......"Start Your Day With A Glass Of Water"
Ayurveda has always advocated the practice of drinking water first thing in the morning. This helps to detox and flush out toxins from the system before starting on the rest of your meals for the day
(6) Spruce Up Your Water To Increase Absorption
If you find drinking just plain water a challenge or just plain boring, here are some things you can add to spruce up your water and make it more detoxifying!
Add one thinly sliced lemon to a jug of water or squeeze some lemon juice to your glass of water. Drink it first thing in the morning. Lemon water aids in digestion helps you lose weight and keeps your skin blemish-free!
Add cucumber slices for a refreshing taste and extra flavor
Add thin slices of ginger. Helps to cleanse out the system, aids in digestion and settles your stomach
Add a touch of sweetness to your water without sugar. Aids indigestion
As you start making changes to your hydration habits, start looking out for signs of improvements in your body. You ought to see dramatic results within a few weeks. Your skin and lips are less dry. The health of your skin and hair will improve. Your hair starts to look glossy and your skin starts to clear up, your pores should start becoming less clogged, and you should be much less prone to acne or other skin issues.
You may also find that your digestion has improved, that you feel less drowsy after meals, and that you generally feel more energetic.
Happy hydrating, my thirsty friends!