Drinking a specific amount of water in dawn in the early morning is called Ushapan in ayurveda. Ushapan is a Rasayana Therapy in ayurveda, which plays a very important role in preventive ayurveda.
Drinking water in the morning can prevent and help to manage abdominal disorders including constipation, malabsorption and piles. It also helps with urinary disorders and blood disorders. It is also beneficial in diseases of upper parts of the body including head, nose, ear and throat. It is highly useful in the prevention and treatment of skin diseases.
There are mainly three types of vessels are used for keeping water overnight for Ushapan.
- Golden Vessel.
- Earthen Pot.
- Copper Pot.
Thin people and people with Vata body type and Pitta body type should drink water kept in a golden vessel. If you cannot afford a golden vessel, then you can drink water kept in the earthen pot overnight.
Overweight or obese people or people with Kapha body type should drink water kept in a copper vessel overnight.
Alternatively, you can drink warm water. Warm water and water kept in a copper vessel also help to reduce weight in addition to other benefits.
How much water should I drink in Ushapan?
The amount of water varies person-to-person. It depends on how much water you can hold in 8 Anjali.
Anjali is a Sanskrit word, which means concavity formed by adjoining both hands. 8 Anjali means the amount of water that you can measure 8 times in the concavity formed by adjoining both hands. For example, if you can hold 100 ml water in 1 Anjali, then your drinkable water recommendation is 800 ml.
So, you have to measure the water quantity suitable for your body yourself. The water that you can hold in 8 Anjali, you should drink in the morning.
Right Time for Ushapan
When should I drink water in the morning?
Ushapaan consists of two words – Usha and Paan. Usha means dawn and Paan means taking or drinking. It occurs just a few minutes before sunrise when light becomes visible all around, but the sun does not appear in the sky yet. This is a perfect time.
Ayurveda recommends waking up in Brahma Muhurta, which is around 96 minutes before sunrise. Usha means dawn, which is nearly just before sunrise. So, there is around 60 minutes gap between the time of Brahma Muhurta and Dawn.
There is no specification mentioned in ayurveda literature that you should drink water before or after cleaning teeth and tongue. Morning saliva has some healing properties if it is applied externally on the skin lesion.
The flow of saliva reduces significantly during sleep, which allows microbial growth in the mouth. This process also results in bad breath in the morning. However, lysozyme, an enzyme, present in saliva prevents microbial overgrowth. But bacterial growth due to the diminished flow of saliva during sleep still causes bad breath in the morning. (Ref)
When you follow Dinacharya, you can see, most of the morning activities get completed until dawn if you wake up in Brahma Muhurta. So, if we follow the definition of Ushapan, then you should drink water after all morning cleaning activities. So, my opinion is you should drink water after cleaning your teeth and tongue.
Still, it’s your personal decision when you want to drink water in the morning. You can also drink water before bowel evacuation or after cleaning your teeth and tongue. I personally drink water after cleaning my teeth.
Drinking water in the morning prevents and cures almost all diseases. Especially, it is helpful in piles, Grahani disease (irritable bowel syndrome), fever, obesity, diseases of organs located in the upper part of the body (above the neck). It helps in diseases of the ear. It improves longevity. It is also useful in urinary disorders and blood disorders.
Cleanses Stomach and Intestine
Ushapan cleanses the stomach and intestine. Water enema cleans the colon and large intestine. Enema has no reach to the stomach and small intestine. For detoxifying stomach and small intestine, Ushapan is the best technique. It removes the undigested or poorly digested food particles from the walls of the small intestine and improves nutrients absorption and digestion of food that you eat in the following meal.
Because the undigested food particles are the main cause of constipation, indigestion and acid peptic disorders. So, Ushapan benefits in the prevention and treatment of these diseases.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
In ayurveda, Ushapan is recommended for Grahani Rog, which is correlated with irritable bowel syndrome. In Grahani Rog, Ama Dosha is the main cause. Ama dosha is formed due to undigested or poorly digested food particles. As we discussed earlier, it removes undigested food particles from the walls of the small intestine, so it ultimately eliminates the cause of irritable bowel syndrome. Thus, it helps in the management and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
During Ushapan, if you drink water kept in a copper pot, it aids in reducing weight. Copper charged water has additional properties that reduce Kapha Dosha in the body, which induces fat loss.
Cleanses Kidneys and Urinary Bladder
Ushapan benefits in cleansing the kidneys and urinary bladder. If you suffer from kidney stone or debris in the urinary bladder, its cleansing effects are very beneficial for removing the stone from the kidney and debris from the urinary bladder. It also prevents frequent urinary infections (UTIs).
Ushapan is not suitable for all people. It has a few contraindications.
When should I not drink water in the morning?
- A person who undergoes for Oleation Therapy should not drink water in the morning.
- You should not drink water after eating oily and fatty foods.
- If you have any chest injuries, you should avoid drinking water in large amount in the morning.
- During Panchakarma: while undergoing any of panchakarma procedure, drinking water in the morning is contraindicated.
- Excessive Hiccup: if you are suffering from excessive hiccup, you should not drink water in the morning.
- Loss of appetite due to any Kapha and Vata Disorders.
- If you suffer from abdominal heaviness or stiffness in the abdomen or distension of the abdomen, then you should also not drink water in the morning.
- Nighantu Ratnakar, Chapter: Rasayana