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  • The element of Water: In Sanskrit Jala जल

    August 18, 2021 2 min read

    The element of Water: In Sanskrit Jala जल
    Over the past few weeks we have posted information about three of the elements: Akash (ether), Vayu (air) and Teja or Agni (Fire). The fourth element we will discuss today is Jala, water.

    Many of you are familiar with the Ayurvedic tip to refrain from drinking cold water. You may be surprised to learn that there are certain situations where the classical texts indicate recommendations for cold water.

      • Recommended in fainting, called murcha in Sanskrit.

      • Excessive heat vitiation of Pitta.

      • Alchohol consumption.

      • Giddiness.

      • Physical fatigue.

      • Vomitting.

    However, warm water is almost always recommended to clients, as it is light (laghu), digestive stimulating and alleviates all the three Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Check the Ashtanga Hridayam Sutrasthana 5:18 for further references regarding Jala.

    It is particularly important to avoid cold water in conditions of pratisyaya (cold), flatulence, aruchi (anorexia), hiccups and immediately after an oleation therapy (oil massage).

    But why is cold water avoided? Drinking cold or excessive amounts of water before or after a meal can suppress your digestive fire. Water intake after your meal can result in weight gain and should only be taken in small quantities during your meal. It is also recommended to avoid iced drinks and sparkling water while eating, as this also slows down the digestive process.

    So, how much warm water should you drink with your meals?

    Ayurveda recommends that 1/3 of the stomach capacity should be filled with water, 1/3 be filled with food solids, and 1/3 with air/ space. This ratio enables the food to churn.

    Think of it this way - imagine a pot of soup filled to the top. The quantity makes it difficult to stir your food and perhaps your food would start to boil over during the cooking process. The same is true for your stomach capacity!

    Simple tip: Keep your water jug outside the fridge and try drinking room temperature water instead of cold water.

    We hope you enjoyed learning more about Jala, the water element. Wishing you a great day!

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