Sadhguru looks at the importance of maintaining the right body conditions during hata yoga, and explains why we shouldn’t drink water during practice.

Read in Hindi: योग करते समय पानी क्यों नहीं पीना चाहिए?

Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. You said we should not drink water or use the restroom during the practices – why not?

Sadhguru: When you practice yoga, you are systematically raising the ushna in the body. If you drink cold water, the ushna will rapidly fall, and this will cause various other reactions. You will become more susceptible to allergic conditions, excess mucus and such things. If you are doing intense asanas and you suddenly drink cold water, you may catch a cold immediately. So never drink water when you are doing asanas. And never go to the bathroom during practice time because you should work out the water in the form of sweat.

The idea is to reduce the compulsions gradually so that one day, if you sit, you become yoga – you are not just practicing yoga.

Slowly, as you practice, as your yoga takes shape within you, if you do any asana, the sweat must pour out from the top of your head – not all over the body. The rest of the body may sweat according to weather conditions, but the main sweating should happen from your head. That means you are directing your energy in the right direction, and the asanas will naturally do that. Ultimately, you want to become a fountain head of something else, so you first practice with waste water. If you keep working up your ushna, it will naturally take the waste water upward. If your system gets too hot, slow it down with a little bit of shavasana, but never reduce the heat with cold water. You should sweat it out rather than going to the bathroom because the level of purification is much higher when the waste water comes out as sweat.

During practice, if you are dripping with sweat, usually your clothes will soak it up. But if you are bare-bodied, always rub the sweat back into the body because there is a certain element of prana in the sweat, which we do not want to lose. When we rub the sweat back into the system, it will create a certain aura and strength for the body – a cocoon of your own energy – which is also known as kavacha. We do not want to flush this down the drain. Yoga is about using the body to its maximum benefit. If you do asanas regularly and you rub back your sweat into the system, you will generate a certain level of ushna and pranic intensity. Hot weather, cold weather, hunger, thirst – it is not that you are completely free from it all – but these will not bother you as much.

The idea is to slowly grow beyond your physical compulsions. Whether it is food, drink, bathroom, or whatever else, the level of a particular compulsion is different from person to person but the physical is a series of compulsions. The idea is to reduce the compulsions gradually so that one day, if you sit, you become yoga – you are not just practicing yoga. To become yoga means that your level of perception is such that there is no distinction between you and the universe. You have to build your system in such a way that it can take that. Otherwise, if by accident someone perceives something very intense and their system is not ready for it, their fuse will blow out. Many people who have done whacky yoga through books or whatever else have lost their minds. It is very important that you build your system in such a way that the higher ways of living and doing things will naturally come to you. For that to happen, you have to climb high enough. Do not sit here and ask for higher dimensions to come down to you. If they come down, it will not be good for you. You have to climb to a place where higher dimensions are with you.

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt of Sadhguru’s talk given to participants of the Isha Hata Yoga Teacher’s Training Program. Isha Hata Yoga offers 21-day Hata Yoga programs, and 21-week Hata Yoga Teacher Training Programs. For more information, please visit www.ishahatayoga.com

This article is based on an excerpt from the June 2014 issue of Forest Flower. Print subscriptions are available.