The Art of Drinking Water: 10 Ayurvedic Tips for a Happily Hydrated Body. ~ Julie Bernier

Via on Oct 30, 2013

Water cleanse

For more: 5 Myths about Drinking Water (NPR)

Again Ayurveda brings us indispensable guidelines for something we thought had no method: drinking water. Just like the rules for eating there’s a way to drink that helps your physical body thrive. It’s more than just glass to lips and chug.

With a teensy bit more awareness, the way in which you drink water can seriously be a life-changer. For me, it meant not having to race to pee all the time. For a friend who also heeded the advice it meant no more massive and uncomfortable post-meal burps. For another friend, drinking water the right way meant no longer feeling painfully full after eating a normal amount of food. And this all came with such simple, minor changes.

So, the Ayurvedic way to drink water:

1. First off, sit down to drink (just as you should sit down to eat).

2. Take sips, not full-glass chugs. Small sip, swallow, breathe. Repeat.

3. Sip water throughout the day. If you chug too much water at once your body doesn’t actually absorb all of it. Most of it will run right through you.

4. Drink at least room temperature water. Warm is even better. Cold and iced water literally douse the digestive fire.

5. Only sip a small amount of water with your meals. If you drink too much while you eat, your belly won’t have enough room for digestive action. Remember this rule: fill your stomach 50% with food, 25% with water, and leave 25% empty for the digestive juices and process.

6. For the same reason, don’t drink loads of water before or after your meals. Fill 50% with food, 25% with water, and leave 25% empty.

7. Drink when you’re thirsty. Thirst is a natural urge that should be heeded. It means your body needs water.

8. As far as how much, we’re all different sizes with varied diets and lifestyles. One set rule of eight glasses a day simply can not apply to everyone. Naturally, the miraculous human body has it’s own built-in measuring system: thirst. If you’re thirsty, drink water. When you listen to thirst cues and sip water throughout the day you’ll be drinking the right amount.

9. Your urine is a secondary confirmation to know if you’re amply hydrated. It should be fairly clear and straw colored. If it’s dark yellow you need to drink more.

10. Your lips are yet another indicator. If they’re dry you might be dehydrated.

The rules are so straightforward, perhaps even obvious or intuitive. But they might make a serious difference in the way you feel on a daily basis.

Whether it’s how to eat, how to drink, how to bathe, or the myriad of other natural behaviors that we’ve never given a second thought, the beautiful science of Ayurveda teaches us the ideal way to do each to feel our absolute best.


Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Bryonie Wise


About Julie Bernier

Julie helps people find wellness from the inside out. She's an Ayurvedic Wellness Educator, certified hatha yoga teacher, and a nature-loving gypsy. Julie explored yoga’s real roots while studying in India and teaching in the Himalayas, and strives to keep her yoga “old school.” Connect with Julie on her blog Mahi Mata, Instagram or Facebook.


Loved it? Leave a tip!

(We use super-secure PayPal - but don't worry - you don't need an account with PayPal.)

41 Responses to “The Art of Drinking Water: 10 Ayurvedic Tips for a Happily Hydrated Body. ~ Julie Bernier”

  1. Nick says:

    I always forget to sip and then I end up chugging to catch up because I feed dehydrated. Thanks for the tip on 25% water and %50 food. I'll try this method out this week and see if I notice any difference. Hopefully I won't be running to the bathroom all day!

  2. Infinite says:

    Thank you! Could you explain the action of what is in the bottle of water [in the picture]. Thanks.

    • This photo was actually chosen by Elephant Journal. It looks to be lime… and if you don't like the taste of water you could add some lime or lemon, which is helpful to digestion and cleansing.

      • An important note about lemon and lime- if you have acidity in the body (acid reflux for example), don't use lemon and lime in your water- it could aggravate the problem further.

        • Kolya Lynne says:

          Thank you for that important note. I was drinking lemon in my water and I have reflux. Will follow the rest of your article. That was very helpful, as I struggle how much to drink, methodology, etc. Thank you again.

  3. Shasha says:

    Lovely article. The book “the body’s many cries for water” gives more science on this too. X

  4. Sharon says:

    Thank you for this information. I will definitely begin "sipping" – I like the idea of gently filling the needs of my body rather than what I have been doing – that chugging thing with water.

  5. ValterV says:

    "Drink when you’re thirsty"

    Of course this is gold advice, but I've read several times that we need water even when we do not feel thirsty yet. When we DO feel thirsty, it means the body is already dehydrated.
    This means we better sip some water just out of habit, before thirst get in.

    I'm not sure that it's true, but it would have been nice if mentioned in the article.

    • Yes, that is true. Thirst is a sign that the body needs water. I agree with you, and hope that this pointer I mentioned conveyed doing both (listening to thirst cues and out of habit)- "When you listen to thirst cues and sip water throughout the day you’ll be drinking the right amount." Thanks for encouraging clarification.

  6. Krista says:

    First, I’d like to thank you for these tips. I’m a little confused on 1 of the tips. Aside from my coffee in the morning, I only drink water. I started drinking coffee in the morning & water for the rest of the day about 4 months ago, so I’m still learning about the best practices for water consumption. I’ve read that you should drink a glass of water before you eat. I’m wondering how or if it fits into the 50/25/25% rule.

  7. thiagodaluz7 says:

    Ugh, I'm so sad to find that I'm not drinking right. Or more accurately, to know how much I enjoy drinking wrong. I'm from Texas, so ice cold water and I have a history. I suppose it won't be so bad when we move and start getting used to that Calgary drinking water, though.

    • Haha yes the move will be a good way to ease into warmer water! I am living in cold Vancouver and found that restaurants happily serve hot or ice free water to customers.

  8. Robert says:

    It is my understending that fresh lemon or lime has an alkalizing effect on the body.

    • Kristen says:

      I’ve read the same. Lemon is very alkalinizing from what I have dead in several areas.

    • Yes I've heard the same and it would be a good thing to use in your water occasionally, unless there is acidity in the body. Interestingly Ayurveda says that too much alkaline foods/beverages cause early aging, but this is something I need to look into more, and certainly wouldn't come from the occasional lemon/lime water!

  9. Deb Denis says:

    This is the first I heard drinking room temp water. I have read it is good to drink cold water because it kicks your metabolism into gear to heat up the water in your system. There are so many words of advice when it comes to water.

    • Agreed, when it comes to drinking water and anything about diet there are so many differing opinions. The beauty of Ayurveda is that it is thousands of years old, tried and tested, and personally that gives me great confidence in the system. Ayurveda believes cold water would actually slow down metabolism, because it's dousing the digestive "fire".

  10. Juniferyogini says:

    Good info on lemons and ph balance here:

  11. Amanda says:

    Number 5: should really eat with food as it dilutes the food down through your digestive tract, moves it to quickly so not all the goodness is digested. Water is better to be drank 30 minutes before food and 1 and a half hours after food.

    Number 7: unfortunately, a lot of us have lost our thirst signals or Mis place them. Drink water when you think your hungry. Drink water especially more if you’ve had a coffee. Coffee dehydrates us so much and then we go so past thirsty we loose our signal, because we enter out hind brain living also known as fight or flight, in this state, we are to busy staying alive to think ( frontal cortex is switched off so we can’t think fully, just react), so we just have to remember we are thirsty rather than wait for a sign.

    Thank you for posting up such and important reminder that we are human and made of 80% water and not yet evolutionised to 80% coffee or juice.

  12. misha says:

    how about fizzy water for those who dislike plain water? water nauseates me and its only the carbonated that i can tolerate..any suggestions?

    • It is best not to have too many carbonated beverages. Perhaps you could transition to filtered water, alternating fizzy with filtered and slowly cutting back, or even mixing 1/2 fizzy with 1/2 filtered.

  13. Anant says:

    Julie – wonderful article. I recently read up about ayurveda and how one should have water.

    I would like to add that water is the first thing one should have early in the morning after waking up. Again, one is expected to sit down and have it slowly – one gulp at a time. The unutilized saliva (alkaline, it is produced all through the night) should neutralize the excess acidity in the tummy.

    • Great advice! I recommend warm to hot water in the morning. From an Ayurvedic perspective, this stimulates the bowels as well as the digestive fire- or agni- preparing your stomach for its first meal of the day.

  14. Hair Masking says:

    Drink baptize if you anticipate your hungry. Drink baptize abnormally added if you’ve had a coffee. Coffee dehydrates us so abundant and again we go so accomplished agog we apart our signal, because we access out afterwards academician active aswell accepted as action or flight, in this state, we are to active blockage animate to anticipate ( aboveboard case is switched off so we can’t anticipate fully, just react), so we just accept to bethink we are agog rather than delay for a sign.

  15. Angela says:

    Thirst is not necessarily a sign of dehydration. It may be a symptom of many other issues from hunger to illness (both physical and mental). The other points are certainly valid but be aware even if thirst is a sign of dehydration it means you were never consuming enough with to begin. It is a signal to change your drinking habits rather than it be the sign to start drink water.

  16. Salem Adnan says:

    Thanks for your nice topic and information lady .. but unfortunately our leader and prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has informed us with such an advice 1400 years ago :)

  17. Nermeen says:

    More than 1400 years ago we learned the same art for drinking water from Prophet Muhammad: 1) Start with mentioning the name of God, 2) Sit while drinking, 3) Use your right hand, 4) Drink in sips of odd number 3 or 5 or 7… etc. and never chug the water, 5) Thank God. He recommended drinking water at room temperature and forbid drinking water after meals until the food is digested completely. When you drink while eating then make one third for your food, one third for your drink and one third for your breath! Never eat till you’re full! The reason I mention this is that your art of drinking reminded me so much of his words. Many thanks.

    • Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

    • Ayurveda has been in existence for more than 5000 years. My wife is Islam, and I realised how many similarities between Ayurveda and Mohammad's sunnah that I found, one of it is this drinking sunnah. Unani, is the traditional Arabic medicine system and scholars believe it to be a mixture between Ayurveda and Greek medicine systems. Its wonderful to see how many times things can be transformed and presented by intelligent people over thousands of years. So I guess that's the reason why there's many similarities. cmiiw.

  18. Madhusudan Das says:

    One ayurvedic doctor gave me this dietary guideline (among others), "Drink your solid food, chew your liquids," meaning, of course, chew very well and mindfully, and, as you said, sip, sip, sip–no chugging.

  19. Dear Julie Bernier,
    Thanks for sharing this information, this water drinking tipis is very important for any human body. Also I've following many rules before reading this article.

  20. Zoe Condon says:

    It's always my pleasure to read this type of stuff.I am very much interested in these types of topics from childhood and it's my habit to read this.

  21. Shuvo says:

    It’s first time for me landing on your blog. I’ve been reading your post recently and I’m so enjoying it.

  22. Ashley says:

    Thanks for posting, this is wonderful! I usually drink enough water but I usually down it. Leanr somethin new everyday!

  23. anastzns says:

    Could you please tell the scientific reason to sitting while drinking water??? And please also comment on second point…

Leave a Reply