In the realm of Ayurveda, the significance of water extends far beyond mere hydration. It encompasses not just the quality of water but also how it is stored, filtered, and consumed. This holistic approach to water consumption is rooted in ancient wisdom and can significantly impact our overall health and well-being.
The Healing Power of Earthen Pots
Ayurveda recognizes that the journey of nourishment doesn’t end with food; water plays an equally crucial role. Earthen pots, with their unique properties, have been used for centuries to store water. These pots possess air spaces that keep water fresh and cool for extended periods. The coolness of earthen pots not only quenches thirst but also aids in reducing acidity and addressing various skin problems. This natural freshness enhances vitality and strength, countering the acidic nature of the foods we consume. The alkalinity of clay maintains an adequate pH balance when interacting with acidic foods, thereby preventing digestive issues. Furthermore, clay pot water is known to boost metabolism, making it an excellent choice for those seeking overall well-being. Its gentle, throat-friendly temperature ensures that it doesn’t exacerbate conditions like colds and coughs
The art of water storage and Consumption
In Ayurveda, the importance of storing water properly cannot be overstated. Drinking running water is discouraged, as it doesn’t offer the benefits of stored water. Boiled and cooled water, in particular, is favored for its ease of digestion and does not increase stickiness(abhishyandi) in the body, and useful for individuals with pitta conditions.Boiled water when cooled down is filtered through cotton filter cloth.The cloth should be thick enough so that the sun rays do not penetrate the other side in this way pathogen count is reduced greatly and should be larger enough than the forepart of the vessel in which water is to be filtered. However, water that has been left overnight is considered less ideal, as it can increase the tridoshas in the body. Ayurveda recommends filling a matka (a traditional clay water pot) with filtered water in the morning and another in the evening to ensure a steady supply of clean, safe drinking water. Proper hygiene is crucial to prevent diseases, so regular cleaning and thorough drying of earthen pots are essential. Earthen pots may collect grime quickly so it is needed to always rinse and clean them before refilling them with fresh water.Make sure matka will be dried after cleaning and before filling fresh batch of water.Unwashed undried matka can cause germs stored in water which may lead to waterborne diseases. Also, unwashed matkas may have larvae growing inside which can infect drinking water and cause digestive problems and infections.Place matka in a well ventilated place so that air can help to keep the water cool. Keep the lid covered all time to prevent insects, bugs and any other contaminants from falling in stored water.
Filtration Techniques from Ayurvedic Texts
Ayurvedic texts offer a treasure trove of water purification methods. Yajurveda suggests purifying water by passing it through a natural filter of sunrays, while the use of kusha grass is also recommended for water purification. Sushrut Samhita provides insights into the purification process using flowers such as utpala, naga, champa, and patla. The Astanga Sangraha prescribes a multi-step approach, involving thick cloth filtration, heating by fire, exposure to sunlight, and purification using substances like parnimool, kamalnaal, seeds of nirmali, and gomedaka. Charak Samhita emphasizes the appetizing qualities of boiled water and its role in disintegrating kapha accumulation while maintaining balance for pitta and vata types.
The Sacred Addition of Ash to Water
One unique practice involves adding holy ash to drinking water. This ash contains not only minerals but also the vibrational energy of good health and purity of mind. These thought vibrations are believed to purify the water and enhance its qualities.
Embracing Earthly Elements
Ayurveda recognizes that clay and earthen pots are composed of one of the five fundamental elements, earth. This grounding and calming element, with its kapha-dominant and cold properties, provides protection against pitta and vata imbalances. Consequently, drinking water stored in earthen pots is particularly beneficial during the hot summer months, helping to balance dryness and heat in the body.
The Satvik Art of Hydration
Ayurveda also advocates for satvik (pure and balanced) ways of drinking water. This includes consuming water at room temperature or lukewarm, maintaining a gap of at least 30-45 minutes between meals and water consumption, and avoiding drinking water immediately before or after meals. Instead, fresh fruit juice after breakfast, buttermilk after lunch, and milk after dinner can be consumed to aid digestion. Drinking water while seated, in small sips rather than large volumes, and in response to genuine thirst are all part of the satvik approach to hydration.
In conclusion, the Ayurvedic approach to water extends far beyond mere sustenance. It encompasses the art of storing, purifying, and consuming water in ways that promote not only physical health but also mental and spiritual well-being. These ancient practices remind us that every sip of water can be a step towards holistic vitality and balance.
Dr. Mohita BAMS from Jain Roots Indore