The human body is primarily made up of water - in fact, about 70%. Where does all this water reside? While much of it is in our blood, most of it forms our tissues such as the organs, brain and bones.
Our body needs to be properly hydrated to provide nourishment, lubricate joints, eliminate waste, and a host of other functions. Most people are surprised to learn that they really aren’t sufficiently “topped up” on a daily basis. That’s right - it’s possible you might not be consuming enough to get you through the day!
Just like being in a drought, when you have insufficient water, the body’s environment becomes seriously stressed. Our nervous system’s “fight or flight” response kicks in and we begin producing stress chemicals to try and alleviate the situation. To keep our cell structures healthy we need to minimize the exposure of sending these urgent messages. When excessive amounts of these chemicals are produced over long periods of time, chronic disease is often the end result. To avoid exposing your body to any kinds of dehydration-related stresses, consider this: just because you’re not feeling thirsty, doesn’t mean that you’re hydrated.
While we’re at it, why not consider this thought-provoking scenario? What if doctors wrote prescriptions for water? After all, the remedy is sound; Water has proven to help treat allergies, asthma, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, chronic fatigue, colitis, lower back pain and neck pain, - and best of all, anyone can afford it! Simply put, regularly drinking enough water reduces our exposure to many illnesses and discomforts.
So, how much water should you drink? One common guideline is eight 250ml glasses a day. While this could be your routine, you could still be dehydrated. Truth is, the real answer is deeply individual. Your body shape, geographic location and activity level all have an influence. Throw in consideration of your personal levels of electrolytes, minerals and tissue salts as well and it becomes apparent that our hydration needs are very personal and can even change daily.
Just like there are no shortcuts in life, hydration takes time. You can try to flood the body with water, but it will still take 6 – 24 hours for your body to find normal hydration levels. The more off-balance you are, the longer it takes, and only so much can be accommodated at once. Drinking numerous small sips consistently throughout your day is the best strategy.
As someone on the path of yoga, bring added hydration awareness into your routine! Consider your personal chemistry and listen to your body. Proper hydration is a personal practice that requires only a little effort and is a fundamental piece of your holistic wellbeing. Drink up, explore and notice what you absorb.
For some thought provoking experiments about water visit: http://www.life-enthusiast.com/twilight/research_emoto.htm
By Céleste Needham
yoga teacher & curiously inspired