Ayurveda Day 91: Water You Talking About?

Sorry for the day late blog – I’ll make up for it with a couple more this week.

Today I’d like to talk a bit about water and the urinary system.

As the heat increases and we move towards summer, it’s extra important to remember to stay hydrated. It’s no surprise to most of us that we are mostly made of water – The amount varies from 50%-70%! That’s a fair amount. But where is it all stored? You probably notice when you urinate, that a pretty comparable amount of fluid comes out that went in. So how are we even storing any?

The total amount of water in our bodies is located in three main areas:

– two-thirds in our cells

– one-third in the tissues and space between cells

– of the remaining one third, one-ninth is in our blood.

Our urinary system is what’s responsible for filtering the blood and reabsorbing the liquid. You see, our body takes our blood, and sends it on a journey!

First, the blood goes from the heart down an artery. From there, it will go to the glomerulus, which helps to filter the blood. These filters in the kidney are so small that red blood cells actually have to pass through single file! Amazing!

As the blood becomes purified, there are capillaries and veins that surround these tubes, and the now filtered liquids get reabsorbed by the body. It’s like our own little detoxifying filtration system! In fact, 90% of the plasma that passes through is reabsorbed! So what happens when have a problem with our absorption, or with our filtration?

In Ayurveda, we look at most fluids of the body as rasa. That rasa is everything from lymph, plasma, mucous, water, tears, etc… Typically kapha’s have more as they contain the water element. Vata’s and pitta’s can get depleted more easily (vata being drying and pitta being heating).

So during these summer months, it is especially important for the vata’s and pitta’s to stay cool and hydrated!

If however you are like me and have vata/pitta type imbalances, you may find you can drink and drink and drink water and you won’t be hydrated. Your skin will still be dry, you’ll still be thirsty; it’s like a cruel joke!

The problem isn’t in the input or the output here – it’s with the absorption (samana vayu, a subdosha of vata).

So we need to support the body in absorbing!

Try taking demulcent teas in place of water -licorice and marshmallow are some great tasting choices.

Also, anything with potassium or minerals will be more beneficial. This is why coconut water is so refreshing in the heat. You could even put a few drops of coconut oil in your water! Also, making the body more alkaline will help in absorption as well. Dipanas (herbs that increase our agni), will help if we take them with our meals – ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves…all good vata choices. Fennel, coriander, peppermint, chamomile…great for pitta/kapha.

So this summer if you are feeling really hot, dehydrated, or thirsty all the time, try taking some of those easy ayurvedic treatments. And don’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy the sun! Vitamin D is your friend, and you get it best from Mr. Sun himself.

With gratitude,

S

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