Are you looking forward to summer? Being a little less scheduled? Maybe you’ve planned a camping trip, or a vacation abroad. And you’ll probably want to enjoy a fourth of July picnic, and some visits to the beach or the pool. Ayurveda has some great suggestions for keeping you well in summer.
Ayurveda, the healing Science of Life from ancient India, teaches us to follow the rhythms of nature. Its understanding about life is that nature around us, and nature within us, all function in the same way. So when we synchronize our routines with nature’s rhythms we tend to feel better. Our bodies function better, we have more energy, we feel “in flow”.
A little background
Ayurveda recognizes three subtle energies that fluctuate throughout nature’s rhythms. They each have their own properties, bringing certain qualities to the time of day, the season, or to someone’s physiology and psychology.
These energies are Vata - which is cold, light, mobile, dry - Pitta – which is hot, sharp, penetrating, mobile – and Kapha – which is cool, heavy, damp, and stable. As one of these energies dominates, we want to balance their qualities by applying opposing qualities. One of Ayurveda’s basic tenets is that “like increases like”, and “opposites balance”. Think of a fiery, temperamental and intense person you know, and how much a spicy meal with red wine will make this person even more irritable and overheated? Wouldn’t you want to tell them to go cool down? To go outside in the cool air and take a breath, or to go for a cooling swim in the ocean? That would be a good example of “opposites balance”.
Summer is Pitta Season
The focus of this article is on Pitta, since the summer is Pitta season, when the energy of fire is strong. And when the energy of fire is strong around us, it also is strong in us. Pitta’s qualities are that it is hot, sharp, penetrating, and dispersive and can easily cause overheating, faintness, headaches, skin rashes, diarrhea, irritation, and reactivity. You might recognize some of these from summers past. Following are some tips for keeping cool, so that you can enjoy the pleasures of summer.
By Simone de Winter
Owner of Marin Ayurveda
For many centuries ayurveda has maintained a healthy relationship with copper. It is among the most important metals present in the ayurvedic understanding of the human constitution and ayurvedic applications involving copper include potable water storage, trace mineral supplementation, and building yantras for focused intention.
Copper has been a part of human history for thousands of years, perhaps longer than any other metal. Historical evidence indicates that copper was the first metal to be used meaningfully by ancient people about 8,000 years ago and it was the first purified metal about 5,000 years ago.
The similarly ancient roots of ayurveda also reach back several thousand years and as such, ayurveda's applications involving copper are some of the first examples of preventative natural health practices, and might be the very first example of supplementing the human diet with trace minerals.
So what are the beneficial properties of copper that have been a part of ayurveda for so many years? The most widely recognized and most important of these properties is that copper is naturally hygienic. Modern science refers to this property as the - oligodynamic effect - the naturally toxic effect of some metals on bacteria.
Simply stated, germs are quickly denatured when they contact a surface made from copper, silver, and a number of other metals. Copper's potential for this effect is very strong and these deadly results on bacteria extend as far as the most resilient bacteria such as MRSA - drug-resistant staph. Disease-causing bacteria which now survive many of the traditional antibiotic treatments that doctors use to eliminate them are efficiently destroyed by a simple contact with a copper surface.
More than water safety, copper provides additional benefits that are found in relationship that ayurveda has with copper. Copper is a necessary ingredient in all life - not only in human beings but in plants, animals and microorganisms. It is involved in many important processes throughout the body. Using a copper vessel to store drinking water provides a small supplement of dietary copper as trace amounts of copper are picked up naturally by the water stored in the copper container.
Ayurveda identifies copper as an important contributor to the health of our skin, hair, digestive processes, and in our body's healing capacity. An ayurvedic practitioner might see poor hair or skin as a signal of a deficiency in copper, and ayurveda might recommend copper for anemia, skin conditions, or gastritis.
Likewise, copper is recognized by modern science as an important mineral in countless bodily functions. It is a strong anti-inflammatory which assists in recovery from injuries. It helps keep our hair and skin healthy, it helps the nervous system transmit sensory information, it is important in reducing fat storage by efficiently converting food into usable energy. The similarities between ancient and modern understanding of copper's role in human health are indeed remarkable, and just one of many examples of ayurveda's ancient wisdom being corroborated by modern science.
There is nothing complicated about incorporating a copper drinking vessel into your life. Large copper vases are traditionally used in India to store quantities of potable water for groups or families, and then poured into smaller containers for meals and individual use. Some people use a simple copper cup or a 'kalash", a miniature vase.
Copper vessels have come a long way over many years. The traditional copper jug, or kalash, is still a common container for storing large amounts of potable water. Copper cups, and more recently copper mugs, have gained popularity in homes and in restaurants. Copper water bottles like https://coppervedics.com - CopperVedics have adopted a more modern design and can keep water inside without leaking, making them suitable for personal drinking water containers outside the home.
Filling a copper container before sleeping and drinking the water the next morning is the most simple and straightforward way to incorporate a copper water vessel into your daily routine. The water tastes fresh and clean, not metallic, and provides a healthy supplementation of copper in your daily diet.
Nathan Platt came across copper water bottles at an ayurvedic seminar during his time traveling through India. The concept of using copper to create a water bottle was as fascinating as it was foreign. His interest in the ayurvedic benefits of using copper to store potable drinking water inspired him to create CopperVedics, a line of water bottles with aesthetics and mobility in mind.