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Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘Hydration’

The Five Pillars of Water

 

Beyond the practice of sipping water throughout the day lies a realm of hydration that encompasses the entire body. Soak in water, nix the plastic single use bottles, and practice ancient yogic pranayama techniques that will leave you in tip top shape.


1. RIGHT NUTRITION: Sip Room Temperature Water And Warm Herbal Tea Throughout The Day


To stay hydrated, focus on assimilation rather than quantity. Drink water when you are thirsty and sip instead of chug. If you are drinking too much water at one time, you may find yourself dehydrated despite your efforts. Several trips to the restroom per hour suggest that you need to slow down. After all, our bodies can only assimilate about 2-3 cups of water per hour, or 200 ml (a little less than 1 cup) every 15 minutes.


Consuming too much water at one time causes the kidneys to overwork, placing unwanted stress on the body.


Help your body absorb water by adding chia seeds, fresh ginger, and/or a small pinch of sea salt to your water. Although too much salt in the diet is dehydrating, salt is actually essential to your body’s water absorption process. Learn more here: The Skinny on Salt


Once you are sipping instead of chugging, you can go deeper by considering our top Ayurvedic recommendations. Ayurvedic science recommends consuming only room temperature or warm beverages, which means that ice water can become an occasional indulgence rather than a regular practice. Ayurvedic practitioners also suggest consuming little or no water at mealtime. Drinking ice water and taking in too much liquid during mealtimes cools or dilutes our digestive fire (or Agni). Since so much of our health depends on healthy digestion, this is sage advice. That said, we know that leaving ice out of your beverage is not always possible… or desirable. To begin, consider applying the 70-30 rule. If 70% of the time, you are drinking room temperature water or warm tea, you are doing superb!


Last but not least, watch out for sugar and caffeine in your bevies!


If you are drinking coffee regularly, you may need to sip even more water throughout the day to make up for the dehydrating effects of caffeine. Sugar is another beast to contend with. The body converts sugar to stored fat and wreaks havoc on your insulin levels. If you find water difficult to drink, consider adding some fruit or sprigs of mint to your water to add flavor.


Here’s the summary: Drink room temperature water or tea throughout the day when you are thirsty. Pay attention to your current habits, especially around caffeine and sugar, and begin to replace old habits that no longer serve you in your life with new, healthier habits.


2. Right Movement: Flush Out The Toxins


Hydration is about balance in the body. If you are practicing yoga asanas and exercising regularly, you will help your body flush out toxins and prevent water retention.


Hydrating after yoga practice and exercise will help you to receive the full benefits of the practice. Yoga asana and exercise require adequate nutrition, including additional water post workout. Replenish your body with healthy foods and water post-movement and your body will thank you.


3. Right Relaxation: Sip and Soak Away Your Stress


As the days get longer and the weather warms up, we tend to spring into action, sometimes overextending ourselves. Taking time away from chaos and turning inwards to meditate and relax can help our bodies to absorb and assimilate the water and food we consume. Pay particular attention to relaxation during hot days and plan for sipping water or herbal tea all day long.


Consider booking some bodywork, soak in water, get some gentle exercise by taking a swim in cooling water, and head to bed early. The result? Increased energy and ojas, the Ayurvedic term for the vital essence that supports our immune systems, vitality, libido, and strength.


4. Right Breathing: Practice Sitali


Deep in the Himalayas, ancient sages observed and imitated the world around them in the noble attempt to master body, breath, and mind. They noticed the curve of a bird’s lower beak, a new green leaf uncurling, and the hiss of a cobra—and emulated those shapes and sounds in a practice called sitali (the cooling breath). In this pranayama, the inhalation is moistened as it passes through the curl of the tongue (alternately described as a bird’s beak and an uncurling leaf), so that you are “drinking” water-saturated air.


Sitali cools the body, adds moisture to the system, and soothes a pitta imbalance.


Besides building breath awareness, this practice is said to calm hunger and thirst and cultivate a love for solitude. Sitali also cools the body, adds moisture to the system, and, in the parlance of ayurveda, soothes a pitta imbalance, which is common in the summer months. In addition, this practice reduces fatigue, bad breath, fevers, and high blood pressure. Learn how to practice Sitali: Click Here

*Content taken from YogaInternational.com


5. Right Intention: Drink Filtered Tap Water


Did you know that the Pacific Garbage Patch and the Eastern Garbage Patch have doubled in size in the past decade? We have plastic islands out in the ocean twice the size of Texas that are made up of tiny pieces of plastic that look just like fish food (opposed to a solid mass of plastic). Animals mistake the plastic for food. Plus this toxic soup disturbs marine food webs and ecosystems. Here’s one simple thing you can do to make a difference: Nix the single-use plastic water bottles and replace these with an eco-friendly reusable water bottle. Fill the bottle with tap water and sip throughout the day to stay hydrated.


Our Fav Water Bottles:

 

Hydrate The Ayurvedic Way

Want to create a healthy body and glowing skin?


Look no further. Hydrating the Ayurvedic way can help you achieve your optimal wellness.  


By now you’ve probably heard the recommendation to drink eight glasses of water per day. But the reality of hydration is more complex. After all, each of us has a unique constitutional makeup, with diverse needs. We each have different habits that may dehydrate our bodies. Plus, there are quick and easy tips to help your body to absorb water and stay hydrated you won’t want to miss.


Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, looks at the human body as a whole system, affected by seasonality and our environment. Moreover, Ayurveda sees the physical body as both a cause and effect of a person’s energy, state of mind, emotional health, and spirit. 


Ayurvedic practitioners approach health and wellness topics from a holistic perspective. 


According to Ayurvedic science, the physical body and everything that interacts with the body is made up of a unique balance of the five great elements (water, fire, air, earth, and ether or space). Each person’s elemental constitution affects all aspects of their multidimensional being. 

A person’s original constitution is called Prakriti.This is the inherent elemental makeup of a person determined at conception, akin to eye color or height. A person’s Prakriti is described as having a specific balance of three doshas: Vata (Air), Pitta (Fire) and Kapha (Earth). Each of us is made up of each of the doshas, our Prakriti reflects our individual formula, as unique as our fingerprint. 



So how does this work? If you have a Pitta predominant dosha, for example, you have a lot of fire in your body relative to earth and air. You tend to digest and metabolize food quickly. And your body may run hot. Additionally, you may be prone to rashes or acne. With so much heat running through, a “hot” temper and a quick intellect may define aspects of your personality. 


If you are curious about your personal Ayurvedic constitution, check out this online quiz. Plus you can learn more about the doshas and your Prakriti in our Five Pillars’ article, Intro to Ayurveda. And, if you want a professional assessment, consider working with an Ayurvedic practitioner.


So how does your constitution relate to hydration?


Discovering your Ayurvedic dosha can help you to better understand your body’s tendencies. Even without turning to Ayurveda, you probably know if you experience water retention on the one hand or if you tend to become dehydrated easily on the other hand. A person who tends to retain water may need to balance their body with exercise, foods, and drinks that act as healthy diuretics, while the person who tends to be dehydrated may benefit from learning about the body’s water absorption process. The goal of discovering the doshas is creating deeper self-awareness and, in this case, discover a balanced approach to hydration and its impact on your overall health and wellbeing.


When you understand your own constitution and personal tendencies, you can begin to create healthy hydration habits that benefit your body. 


Vata: People with predominant Vata constitutions have a tendency toward dehydration and need plenty of water and tea throughout the day. Since the qualities of Vata are cool, dry and rough, sip warm liquids and add hydrating oils to the skin each morning create balance.


Suggested bevies to pacify Vata? Add some fresh ginger to your water. Sip water with chia seeds to help with absorption. To increase flavor, add sliced strawberries or raspberries.


Pitta: People with predominant Pitta constitutions run hot, tending to sweat and metabolize nutrition quickly, thus losing liquids at a rapid rate. To stay in balance, consume room temperature liquids and cooling foods, especially during the hot Spring and Summer months. Also, when overheating, cool the entire body with dips into water and cold showers.

Suggested bevies to pacify Pitta? Sip on cooling cucumber and watermelon water or juice. Add a few sprigs of mint and lemon to your water to enhance flavor and soothe digestion.


Kapha: People with predominant Kapha constitutions tend to retain water and metabolize nutrition slowly. Qualities of Kapha are cool, smooth, soft, slow, and stable. To increase digestive fire and stay in balance, consume warm liquids and add heating spices such as ginger and a dash of cayenne to create a spice water to sip all day long. When the body retains water, yoga asana, exercise, and saunas can help water to move through your body.


Suggested bevies to pacify Kapha? Enjoy some steaming decaf chai, add ginger, lemon, and a splash of cayenne to your water, and sip on warm tea throughout the day.



ॐ See you on the mat ॐ



*images taken from:

jeevalifestyle.com

realfoodwholelife.com

lifehack.org

shareably.net

drtayade.com

TeaSource Chai Spice Blend | Chai Tea

mapi.com

The Skinny on Salt

Little by little, the chef adds salt until they find the perfect balance of savory, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami. Salt seasons our favorite dishes and creates delicious flavors when we cook. 


Understanding the world of salt can help you create satisfying meals and a healthy body. 


By now you’ve probably heard the advice to watch your salt intake. After all, too much salt in your diet causes water retention and raises your blood pressure. Increased blood pressure may strain essential organs in your body, creating a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. 


Learning about the perils of certain substances can cause us to react in extreme ways, cutting out entire food groups or nutrients. But our bodies depend on some salt to survive, so we cannot take an all or nothing approach. Like most things, there is a middle ground to discover.


Image taken from https://www.etsy.com/market/himalayan_salt


Salt is a mineral made up of the elements sodium + chlorine. When we get just enough salt, the sodium helps to regulate water balance helping us stay hydrated, supporting digestion, and keeping our blood pressure in a healthy range, supporting the circulatory system. So when it comes to salt, too much or too little causes problems. If you exercise vigorously, attend hot yoga classes, or take saunas or steam baths regularly, consider adding a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon to your water for a hydrating sugar-free sports drink.


Salt, alongside sugar, is added to many packaged foods to boost flavor. And most of us are consuming much more salt (and sugar) than we need when we eat processed and packaged foods. To stay healthy, eating whole, unprocessed foods and taking time to cook balanced meals may be the ticket for longevity and a healthy life. 


Building some knowledge around salt is key. How much can we consume? Is it important to purchase idolized salt? And, what type of salt should we be using?



How much can we consume? 

Healthy individuals need 1,500-2,000 mg of sodium per day to keep the body in prime shape… only 3/4 – 1 teaspoon! People diagnosed with high blood pressure or congestive heart failure are often prescribed a low-salt diet by their physicians to prevent further complications.


Since the daily quota is so small, choosing the type of salt is important. And becoming aware of sodium added to packaged and processed foods can be eye opening. Moving toward real foods and away from packaged foods will prevent the water retention and blood pressure changes that occur with excess salt.


Is it important to purchase idolized salt?

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “We can get iodine naturally by eating saltwater fish and seafood, kelp and other sea vegetables as well as vegetables grown in soils that contain iodine. Dairy products also provide iodine if the animals graze on plants growing in iodine-rich soils. However, don’t depend on processed foods that are high in sodium for iodine – the salt they contain is not iodized. Many Americans are iodine deficient so it’s a good idea to use iodized salt.”


What type of salt should we be using?

Not all salt is created equal. Table salt is stripped of minerals and contaminants and then mixed with aluminum compounds that have anti-caking properties. Sea Salt, on the other hand, comes in refined and unrefined varieties without additives. You can go to the grocery store and see pink Himalayan salts, sea salt from different places around the world, kosher salt, and table salt. There are so many varieties of salt, it may feel overwhelming. To help you sift through all of these incredible choices, here is a quick overview of your healthy options, created by Dr. Andrew Weil in his article Sizing Up Salt?


Kosher salt: This coarse-textured salt dissolves quickly and can be used for any kind of cooking. Kosher salt is not “kosher” in the sense that other foods may be – the name comes from the fact that it is used for drawing the blood out of meat, a step in the koshering process. 

Sea salt: Natural sea salt comes from evaporated seawater and is harvested all over the world. Depending on where they come from, commercial brands of sea salt usually contain a variety of trace minerals that may influence the taste and color of the product. Raw sea salt is often grayish-white, sometimes pink or orange. Sea salt can be fine or coarse in texture and comes as crystals and flakes. 

Fleur de Sel: Another prized salt. Fleur del sel means “flowers of salt” in French and is so-called because the crystals look like lacy snowflakes. Fleur de sel is white because the salt crystals don’t come in contact with the clay beds in which seawater concentrates. It is harvested from the surface of the water where it forms when winds are calm and the weather is warm.

Many other types of salt are available, including pink salt from Peru and the Himalayas, red salt from Hawaii, black volcanic salt – all with distinctive trace minerals – as well as smoked and other flavored salts. 

Read more: Click here

 

Our Choice?

Although the nutrient value is the same, we prefer sea salt over table salt for regular cooking because it contains fewer additives and offers trace minerals retained from the natural harvesting process. Plus Himalayan, black volcanic salts, or Flour de Sel can be mixed into special dishes or offered as a beautiful display of seasoning options at the dinner table.