The Essentials of Summertime Practices – Week I: 8 Tips for Hydration!

In the month of July, we will write weekly about a different aspect of yogic practices during the Pitta season, the summertime, for optimal wellbeing of  body, mind and spirit. . The fun-filled days of summer are fueled by the summer heat and strategy to manage overall health needs specific seasonal attention.  This first week we will focus on hydration!

Our bodies are compromised of almost 80% water so when the temperature gets hot and we tend to perspire more, it is imperative to drink enough liquids! Our skin is our largest organ, and an elimination organ at that.  If we are not well hydrated, then there is a buildup of toxins in the body which can increase the pitta dosha to excess, causing both acute and chronic symptoms of dehydration:  diminished drainage of the lymph, decreased appetite, increased chance of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular events, buildup of toxins on the surface of the skin, like acne and rash, nausea, and increased susceptibility to headaches.  The number one choice for hydration is water, though other things with high saturation of electrolytes, like coconut water and melons are very hydrating.  As the majority of our body is water, it is stored both inside and outside cells to dissolve nutrients, carry waste, regulate body temperature, send brain messages, and lubricate all our moving parts. Thus, proper body functioning requires sufficient water intake.  Proper body function lends itself to emotional stability, an overall “feeling good,” and emotional stability has many mind-body effects, to include an enhancement of immunity.  On a daily basis, hydration is lostthrough breathing, perspiration (even if you don’t work out), urine, and bowel movements. Exposure to heat only enhances that.  Thus, striving for perfect healthmust include replenishing the body not only with ample water, but with specific strategy to maximize on hydration, especially in the summertime.

Here are 8 tips to practice preventative Ayurvedic Pitta strategy that you might enjoy practicing yoga and meditation outside in nature:

1.    Drink half the weight of your body in ounces, every day.  To increase the absorbtion of water, put something in the water, fresh fruit of veggies to infuse the water, or even a drop of essential oil (in a gallon of water and keep refilling a reusable glass water bottle this all day). Our favorite choices are:  lemon, lime, orange, peppermint, and ginger.

2.    Also to increase absorbtion, make it a point to sip water throughout the day rather than to gulp down a large amount.  Gulping down a large amount only goes right through you, making you have to go to the bathroom within 20 minutes or so, and has no hydrating or detoxyifing effect. On the other hand, sipping small amounts throughtout the day enhances hydration.

3.    In your daily routine, your Dinacharya, drink room temperature or luke-warmwater immediately upon waking (8 to 16 oz to flush the body, drink a glass between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner, a glass of water just before a meal while sipping a little during the mealtimes,   and anther glass before bedtime Ideally to counter constipation. 

4.    Drink a glass of water before exercise, sip water during exercise, and another glass after exercise, especially if exercising, and practicing yoga outside. 

5.     During a meal only consume 25% of the volume that the stomach takes in with a liquid, and 50% of the intake is food, while the remaining 25% allows for the digestive juices and the digestive process.   Push away from the meal when the body is not completely full, to allow for ideal digestion and to keep from overeating.

6.    Drink lukewarm or room temperature water with meals instead of ice water. Cold water will keep digestive juices from doing their job and constrict blood vessels so that the toxic buildup does not drain through the lymph, another cleansing system of the body.                                        

7.    Drink while sitting down, to allow the body and mind to focus on the digestive process.    

8.    Keep in mind that chapped lips, dry skin, eyes and hair, inflammation, acne, dark urine color, constipation, lack of perspiration, and your body’s thirst mechanism are all messages from your body that you need to drink more. Yogis are always learning to listen to the body. 

Keeping all of these ideas in mind will help steer you to listening to your body as you develop your routine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Stay tuned as we continue in July with more Pitta Summertime Ayurvedic tips. And, to learn more of how aromatherapy and yoga enhance each other, join our two-week online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, a fun, interactive learning experience. This is a course for new and seasoned students alike, and Yoga Alliance registered teachers receive 10 hours of CEC. Sign up at