Here’s the over-arching water wisdom that seems to permeate our consciousness: Drink water. Plenty of it. Any which way. Of course there’s validity to these sentiments, as we need water to stay hydrated and healthy. Our bodies—which medical experts say are made up of about 60 percent water—rely on this vital substance to maintain all of its bodily functions. But the element that too often gets lost is the importance of how we drink our water. According to Ayurveda, drinking water mindfully and intentionally can have a substantial impact on our wellbeing. These four ancient self-care tips unveil the wider truths behind this belief of ayurvedic principles.
1: Temperature Is Key
Hydrating ourselves often conjures up the image of a tall glass with plenty of ice and crisp, cold water. The opposite, however, is touted in Ayurveda. Hot or warm water more effectively hydrates our bodies as our tissues more readily absorbs it. Rather than working to heat up the cold liquid, warm or hot water is ready to work its magic, flushing out toxins and excess ama, aiding in essential lymphatic flow, and quenching our organs. The practice of drinking hot water also helps to stimulate healthy digestion and soften hardened foods, while cold water has been shown to hinder this process. “Ice cold water is poison to the system and hot water is nectar,” writes Dr. Vasant Lad. (Ayurvedic Tip: Always freshly boil water to heat it up rather than use the microwave.)
2: It Must Be a Morning Priority
Upon waking, after scraping your tongue and oil pulling, drink a glass of hot or warm water. This self-care practice, known as Ushapan, will help to rid any excess ama that has built up overnight, get the digestion into gear, and hydrate the body after a long period of fasting. For additional minerals and vitamins, add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
3: Sipping Surpasses Gulping
It is beneficial to sip water rather than to gulp it. Chugging water can sometimes dilute the vital stomach acids. It is particularly beneficial to sip water while eating as it “becomes a nectar that aids in digestion,” writes Lad.
4: Vessels Matter
Copper is a revered element in Ayurveda. It can help to restore healthy lymphatic function. It also aids in alleviating excess kapha and accumulated fats. Therefore Ayurveda touts drinking water that has been positively charged in a pure copper vessel. This doesn’t have to be all the day’s water. Just one daily glass of this can be beneficial. (Studies show that charging or storing water in pure copper can also help to ward off bacteria.)