Why You Shouldn’t Drink Water While Practicing Yoga
Sadhguru looks at the importance of maintaining the right body conditions during hata yoga, and explains why we shouldn’t drink water during practice.
Class of HYS 2012 doing Angamardana - Why you shouldn't drink water while practicing yoga

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.

Login / to join the conversation1
3 years 8 months ago

I can understand why drinking cold water in excess before any physically draining activity could hinder you. However, I don't really agree with this completely because for me, personally, I would rather be hydrated before I do something physical. I find it difficult to concentrate if my mouth is dry when doing yoga exercises and think that scientifically this is somewhat inaccurate. If one drinks a little water at room temperature, I don't believe it would affect me that negatively. Maybe it's just personal preference, but I like to be and feel hydrated when I'm doing any physical activity for optimal performance.

3 years 8 months ago

If the sweat is "full of impurities" then why would we want to rub it back into our body?

4 years ago

This is incredulous! I've been practising the surya namaskar for months regularly and I always wondered why the perspiration is more on my head and forehead, than anywhere else. Those who go to the gym would know that the whole body perspires, but that's not the case after surya namaskar and asanas! How does Sadhguru know such minute details about yogasanas! Wow!:-D

3 years ago

நன்றி ஐயா

4 years ago

None of these claims is back up with any sort of scientific citation.

2 years 10 months ago

Yogic science is so much more advanced than current experimental science . so better study and experience yourself. By the time , you scientifically prove it may take life time of experiments may be.

4 years ago

Is it only for HATA YOGA practices ? or even for the Kriyas

4 years ago

This is because Science is ignorant on the subtle aspect of Prana and how to measure it.. It can measure and estimate only the material aspect of the universe.

4 years ago

You should be explicit when you make a statement: there may not be any citation from "modern science", but there is a hint of another science, the yogic science, in Sadhguru's elucidation. And why should everything be explained by means of logic? Can't we study something by experience; can't we study it intuitively? Modern science can do its own research on it. I have first-hand experience of what Sadhguru is saying. I will suggest you to learn and do the surya namaskar/yogasanas regularly for some months, and see it for yourself.

4 years ago

Can we have room temperature water after the complet 1 hour of power yoga class? after pranayam and shavasana?

4 years ago

Good question. Material sciences and yogic sciences are different. As long as the body is involved, physical is also involved in yoga. Heat is a form of energy, energy of doing and if it is going to be pick at your head, which part of the body will have to perspire ??. Modern sciences will fall inline with yoga as long as physical is involved, beyond that only they go separate paths. This must have scientific explanation for sure, citation is just workout of explanation in some institute, if not now it will be there later. Rest you have to experiment for yourselves.