Pak Water: Ayurvedic Cooked Water

For those of you who have been with me for a while, we’ve had conversations about ice water and how hard it is to digest.  Take home point: ice water does not help you lose weight (that theory is that you use lots of energy bringing the water’s temperature up to body temperature where it can be digested, therefore you are using lots of calories).  What actually happens is: ice water chills your digestive system so your body has a harder time digesting the water (and any food you happen to also be eating).  Ice water also constricts and chills the bodily channels (including the GIT and we’ll see below why a healthy digestive system is so important).  What happens when we’re constricted and chilled?  We hold on to things (like fat and gunk).

Want an easy way to encourage your body to shed weight?  Drink warm water through the day.  It warms up your digestive system.  It softens the tissues to let go of excess/gunk.  It helps clear the channels of ama.

I’m going to take this one step further, because I believe we are going to begin to see Boiled (or cooked) Water become the new cool thing from Ayurveda (and yoga).  Cooked Water is something I learned about a few years ago on my Ayurvedic journey.  I have dubbed it Pak Water (pak meaning ‘cooked’, usually used in terms of the stomach: pakvashaya is the chamber of cooking).  Here’s the concepts behind boiling your water:

Let’s start with the obvious: boiling water helps to kill any possible pathogens in your water.  That might not be important in our first world environment, but it’s good to know.

Next what are the qualities of the water element in Ayurveda? The qualities of water are heavy and cold.

abstract art artistic autumn
Water is Heavy and Cold

Heavy and cold are both harder to digest than warm and light.  By boiling water, we add heat and we lighten the water by releasing the heavy qualities (if you want to get science-y, boiling releases the heavier gases from the water).

By lightening and warming the water, we make the water lighter and easier to digest.  This last piece is the most important as everything begins in the gut. Both the good things and the bad.  Whatever we digest becomes our tissues and the quality of our tissues supports the quality of our function all the way down until we get to supporting our basic immunity.  Take home point: If you can’t digest your food (for whatever reason: it’s not actually food or you are stressed out while eating it), you can’t make good tissues.  Unhealthy tissue = unhealthy function.  Unhealthy function = unWellness.  

How to boil your water?  It’s simple.  here are a few variations to get you started:  You don’t have to watch your boiling water, so set it on the stove and go about your morning routine until it’s ready.  If your morning routine is already complicated, keep it simple and stick with step one.

  1.  First thing every morning, put water into a pot and boil it for ten minutes.  Cover and drink through the day (bring to work in a thermos).  Feel free to add herbs and spices (think herbal tea).  It’s okay if it gets to room temperature; you’ve still retained the lighter, warmer qualities.
  2. Second option gets even more technical.  For Kapha imbalance, reduce your water by half or more.  For Pitta imbalance, boil then remove from heat.  For Vata imbalance, reduce by half.
  3. Vata and Kapha: boil for five minutes.  Pitta: boil for two minutes.
timelapse photography off water fountain
Boiling water creates lighter, warmer qualities

Yes, even how you take in water is important.  If you found this fascinating: visit the Kripalu Blog for more with Erin.  Happy Healthy Water.  BeeWell.

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