Why You Shouldn’t Drink Water While Practicing Yoga

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Please click the text below to read what Sadhguru has to share with us about how to grow in our yoga practices.

Thanks again to Isha Foundation for educating those of us who are serious about your yoga.  Namaste.

Why You Shouldn’t Drink Water While Practicing Yoga.

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246 responses »

  1. I found this article very interesting because I always thought that drinking water was good for you no matter what. At the beginning of the semester, we were told not to drink water during class or our practices outside of the class, and I haven’t been and to be honest, it doesn’t feel like I need it while practicing and I feel a warmth in my body that feels very good.
    Another part that I found very interesting was the part where it says that sweating the waste water out is more purifying that taking a piss, and I didn’t really make sense to me because keeping that sweat on your body to me sounded very unhealthy. I did not know that sweat would be beneficial if it was rubbed back into your body.
    I am in general a very warm person and I usually get hot easily. Being in class I’ve noticed that it does not bother me that much. Also, the room where we practice is very warm and somehow I stop thinking about it once we start practicing, which is a step forward in order to become yoga, be part of the universe.

  2. I find that fairly interesting. That not going to the bathroom basically helps your practice because all the liquid in your body should come out physically; which is through the sweat from your body. This sounds correct simply because as you sweat down from your head, you’re able to tell your energy flow is going in the right direction. So, my question is, do we only drink warm water during the practice? In addition, I didn’t know the purification of the water, it is at a higher level that if you just went to the bathroom. And as the sweat remains on your body the aura and certain strengths for the body get stronger. To end off the note with building your own system in yoga, you should help keep your body calm and connected to oneself.

  3. After reading this, I understand how when you don’t have a desire for things such as water and food, it becomes easier for yoga to become not just a practice but apart of you. It didn’t make sense to me why you shouldn’t drink water while doing Yoga because to me I thought it was just a practice as when you work out. So I compared it to doing exercise and how people drink water during exercise so now I wonder if that’s bad? I understand why you shouldn’t eat food because it doesn’t help you focus on Yoga. Sometimes being too full will distract you and moving in Yoga will cause you to feel sick.

    I still don’t quite understand why drinking water is so bad for you during Yoga. But I understand that you shouldn’t go to the bathroom during Yoga because you should work out the water you do have in your system in the form of water, not pee for example. When you sweat it opens up your pores leaving you healthy and your body refreshed. The article states “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.” and I agree with this. I believe when you are putting work into something, it shows your work and effort when you are sweating. When we do asanas, it is like toweling your sweat away because you just lay down not doing anything. I now understand why this is one of our last positions in our class because we are restoring everything again back into the body to potentially do it again, if we choose.

    What I liked about this is when they said “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” because this can apply to anything that you do in life. When you put into practice getting higher things in life or accomplishing better and bigger things, it becomes a habit to reach that high and eventually achieve it.

  4. Reading this gave me an understanding of the concept of not drinking water during the practice which did not make sense to me at first because yoga is typically looked at as an exercise which typically you need to stay hydrated for. But no one knows the deeper meanings that come along with yoga. I thought it was very interesting that drinking cold water during a practice is very bad and has effects on the body such as becoming more susceptible to allergic conditions and mucus consumption. The interruption that cold water would have on the energy that is built into the body makes sense to cause these disruptions once you understand the purpose of yoga and have an understanding of the practice. The entire practice is worked to build energy in yourself and transport it all through the body to create a balance and that balance can be interrupted simply by hydrating. Another aspect that was very surprising to me from this article was the idea that you are supposed to sweat from your head it is better to release the water from your body through sweat than using the bathroom. I never knew of the idea to sweat from your body because during the practice my whole body feels warm because I do layer up to keep the energy inside even when I leave the class at the end of the session. The idea of rubbing the sweat back into the body was interesting to me because of the way it is looked at, the idea that the sweat has a specific prana that is beneficial to the body was interesting. I have noticed that I do not usually need water during our practices but I do realize that I started sweating more in class along with needing to eat a small breakfast in the morning before class because I start to get light headed.

  5. When focusing on yoga and more than anything the direct attention to our mind and body, it’s important that when we practice, we use our body’s to the fullest or uttermost. As my own yoga teacher has discussed within our class on the importance of not drinking water during yoga practice, this yoga further supported the reasoning behind that. During yoga and/or meditation, your methodically raising the ushna (in english that of heat) in your body, though with the addition of water, one’s ushna rather, would rappidly fall/descend and in-turn this will cause other different reactions. These reactions could be that of excess mucus and/or even allergic conditions; as well as if your practicing intense asanas and you instantaneously drink cold water (there’s a good chance you cold catch some kind of cold). While I was reading through the article, one thing I found fascinating personally was that of using the sweat of your body and utilizing it as a set element (prana – life force/vital principle). “When we rub the sweat back into the system, it will create a certain aura and strength for the body – a cacoon 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” (Sadhguru).

  6. I recall at the beginning of the sessions you recommended that we not eat or drink anything before class if we are not required to by a health professional. I assumed this was because we may grow uncomfortable or have to use the restroom during class and that would disrupt the process. Reading this article and the words of Sadhguru confirms part of this idea – using the bathroom will work out water in a way that could be detrimental to our health. The same goes for drinking water – it could cause a disruption in the body and could cause a cold, as Sadhguru says. Allowing our bodies to work their natural order during yoga is important and vital to becoming yoga – not just practicing it. This gives your words at the beginning of the semester much more meaning in my head and reminds me that the physical body is just as much a part of this process as the mind and spiritual parts.

    I find this particularly interesting because, at the beginning of the semester, I struggled with the idea of not eating prior to coming to class. However, as the semester has gone on I have found it easier to focus on my practice when I wait to eat or drink until after class. I have found that the practice goes along with fewer issues – such as feelings of needing to go to the bathroom or discomfort in positions where I am on my stomach. This is where I see what Sadhguru is describing with the compulsions. By not feeding the compulsions of my physical being I am better able to focus on a practice my yoga.

  7. In the article, Sadhguru explains the reasoning behind not drinking water while doing yoga. He says that drinking water during yoga can cause an individual to become more susceptible to allergic conditions, excess mucus, and a cold. He also discussed the issue of going to the bathroom while practicing yoga. As individuals progress during their yoga practices, they should be able to sweat from the top of the head in order to get rid of the “waste water” that would cause a person to have to go to the bathroom. Rubbing the sweat back into the body is also a method that can enhance the yoga experience and intensify ushna and pranic levels, as Sadhguru says in the article.

    I remember during our first class meetings that we were told that drinking water while practicing the yoga asanas will diminish the benefit of the ushna. I understood then why we shouldn’t drink water during class after being told that but reading the article helped to deepen my understanding of why it’s so important to avoid water. I did not know before reading the article that we should begin to sweat from the top of the head as our practice continues and that one of the benefits is that hot weather, cold weather, hunger, and thirst will affect us less. A quote by Sadhguru that intrigued me was “The idea is to reduce the compulsions gradually so that one day, if you sit, you become yoga – you are not just practicing yoga.” This quote caught my attention because it brought into simpler terms for me the focus of why a person should practice their yoga skills.

  8. Before this class I had never heard of the harm drinking water or going to the bathroom could do to you. Though I’ve never really had the desire to interrupt my practice for a drink or water or to use the restroom its is good to be conscious of the effects of what found such things can do. For me my practice is a very sacred moment in my day, and the fluidity of my routine has always been most important. When I am deep in my practice my thoughts are static and I am focused on my body and my inner warmth and how it gravitates around me. In the times where I have been interrupted mid practice by a circumstance, intrusive sound, or person it really throws my energy off. The disruption lingers for much much longer than it lasted and sometimes it feels even impossible to resume the session. With that understanding I can see the disruption and unbalance that consuming water can bring during practice. I recall last week you mentioned that it would “extinguish the heat you’ve created” and I can now understand this at a deeper level.

  9. The explanation provided in this article for why we should never drink water or take a break to go to the wash room is very sensible in my opinion. It makes sense that drinking cold water while participating in a practice focused on accumulating our inner energies and disciplining the mind, body and spirit would only hinder or even undo the work up to the intended end goal. As we practice yoga, we strive to reach a point where there is no distinction between us and the so called action since it is an immensely introspective and spiritual experience. If we were to simply get up in the middle of practicing an asana to grab water, we would lose most of that energy that had been built up along with disrupting our inward reflections leading to a loss of focus.

    However, I had no clue that sweating was so important to the practice. After reading this article, however, it does make a little sense. Sweating is a natural way for the body to cool itself down that releases some toxins from the body. At the same time, it also may expel some needed materials that the fabric of our clothes soak up which also explains the importance of the dress code in class.

    For me, this rule has not been an issue when practicing yoga. I tend to not drink much water, which I should make a conscious effort to drink more of in all honesty, but sometimes my mind does wander to other topics like sleep or food. I think yoga has and will continue to help me discipline myself and be a happier and healthy individual.

  10. I understand what Sadhguru is saying when he states not to use the bathroom and/or drink water when practicing yoga. It is important to focus on achieving the maximum benefits of yoga. Furthermore, you are creating a environment where you need to focus and end all distractions, stoping mid-way through your practice, you lose all the progress you made. Thats why it is important to hydrate yourself before doing yoga, but also give your body time to digest all the water and/or food, so when it is time to practice you will be able to use your body to the fullest. In addition, I found it interesting that sweat from the head is energy to the body and rubbing sweat back into your body will generate a certain level of ushna.

    When I practice my Isha Kriya in my room drinking water is not a distraction for me, instead it is people. Before class I try to drink/eat least two hours before class, so my body can properly digest and I won’t have any restraints. I do not have the urge to drink water and/or use the bathroom, because I am in the moment and concentrated on achieving the full benefits of yoga.

    -Saida Blair

  11. It’s interesting that water can disrupt the whole body’s energy and ushna flow. We don’t often recognize that we are building inner heat within ourselves during yoga and all that progress immediately disappears because of drinking water or urinating. Yoga trains the body to its maximum potential to create the maximum benefit. Our body’s are detoxing all the extra waste while sweating, so we must train ourselves to not immediately react to our body’s physical compulsions.

    With my own experience, I’ve never felt the need to drink water during yoga because I’m often concentrating on something else. When I used to play in a soccer league, my coach would tell us to be careful drinking large amounts of water during our breaks because our body’s homeostasis will be off balance with the sudden rush of cold water, which would bring the body’s performance down and usually make the body cramp.

    -Melenie Warner

  12. Before I read this article, I always thought that water was an important factor with yoga because to keep hydrated and it is healthy. Also while growing up I believe it is taught that water tends to fix everything and tend to also help with every physical activity to boost energy. Personally, I tend to not drink a lot of water regularly as most people do only because I ever notice changes in my body with drinking a certain number of cups of water. Without this article, I would not have believed that water is bad when doing yoga it did not seem a big deal to take a break and drink water to feel a bit better. So in this article made me learn something new. And how yoga has its own system of work-out. For example, working out in the gym a person relies on the machines and water to keep exercising. But in yoga all there really is needed is your own body and its natural energies and resources.
    It said that drinking water causes, “allergic conditions, excess mucus and such things.” Because if water goes into the body it would mess up the balance of the asanas and, the article claims that the only water that should be present during yoga is in the form of sweat. I understand while going to class and based on this article that water during yoga can cause negative side effects and disrupt the body.

  13. I had been advised to not drink water during or shortly before yoga class. Previously, I thought the reason was to not cause a disturbance in the class when someone left to use the restroom or that breaking out of a position to take a sip of water would ruin any concentration built up beforehand. After attending the yoga classes and reading this article, it does make more sense that it would disrupt the ushna that the body is building up. If the body is attempting to direct energy in the right direction and the heat that is built up goes to the head, then cold would naturally cool the head and redirect the heat and disrupt the energy flow. However, I still think that it is a little bit extreme to “become yoga” and somehow go “beyond” our natural compulsions. I still believe that if I were to somehow achieve the higher plane of thought, living, or universal awareness, it will likely not be in this lifetime.
    I only drink enough water in the morning to take my medication, so I would not know from personal experience if drinking water during yoga practice would cause those negative effects such as allergies or colds. I also drink water after class after I have “grounded” myself back to my body and need to hydrate myself.

  14. Before reading this article, the idea of not drinking water during any form of physical activity sounded like a horrible idea to me. After reading this article, I do believe that avoiding cold water during asanas can cause the ushna to rapidly fall. This can lead to illness and sickness, things that I (and probably everyone) try to avoid. I definitely will avoid doing this in our Wednesday classes.

    I wonder though, if this applies to all forms of yoga, During the summer, when it is already very hot I tend to do hot yoga almost everyday. I do think that if I did not drink during these classes, I would probably pass out or have negative consequences. I also generally do not drink enough water, so one of the reasons I started attending these classes is becoming so thirsty and drinking so much water really made me feel much more hydrated. I wonder if it’s different for hot yoga, but now I will have to really consider if I am reaping in the benefits when I drink so much water during my Bikram Yoga classes. – Anneliese Treitmeier-McCarthy

    • Try to drink your water all day long and bump it up when doing Bikram. You should let your Tapas burn away all you don’t need during your Bikram practice as well, OM

  15. This post was very interesting and insightful, I would think drinking water while practicing yoga would only bring benefits but I was wrong. I really appreciate post like these, I gained much knowledge about yoga and rising the ushna in the body. It is very interesting to know that water actually disrupts the body and mind, by drinking water you unbalance and to fully get all the benefits of yoga you have to embody it and feel connected with it. I n a biological sense this makes complete sense, the body is trying to warm up and the water can disrupt this. I also remember hearing that one should not eat before practicing yoga and know I can grasp a better understanding of this, having food in your system can disrupt the body because the body might be busy digesting or performing other activities. Using the bathroom during yoga practice can also decrease the ushna of the body, its better to sweat because the body is not being disrupted. I never really thought about how important sweating can be, instead of urinating and drinking water the body can replenish its self by sweating. The energy we harvest while practicing yoga should be conserved and used in good manner and to help do so I will take into consideration this post!

  16. I found this article very interesting. Before I read this, I thought the reason that we don’t drink water while we do yoga, is the same reason you don’t want to drink too much water while in the middle of an intense work out, it can cause stomach cramp and can slow you down. However, I was surprised to see that was not it. In the article one of the first things they discuss is, the ushna which is roughly translated into body temperature. When we practice yoga we generate heat, as described in the article, when we drink water the ushna drops and therefore you loose some of the body heat necessary to practice efficiently. This can also lead to sickness because of the rapid fall. They also speak about not going to the bathroom. For this I thought not going to the bathroom was purely about not interrupting the asanas, but they talk about how the water in your body should be worked out through sweat. I found it interesting that the sweat should come from the top of your head, this can be helpful for practice because it kind of gives you an idea of if your doing it correctly by the way in which the sweat starts. The article say the bulk of the sweating should happen from the top of the head.The article also mentions rubbing the sweat back into you body rather than wiping it off. They compared it to a cocoon, as if you’re wrapping yourself with energy.
    I liked near the end of the article where they talk about compulsions. I think this ties in a bit with being self aware and being able to control that desire to want to do certain things. If you can rid yourself of those compulsions, then you can completely emerge yourself in the practice.I like the part where they said “the idea is to reduce compulsions gradually so that one day,if you sit, you become yoga.”

  17. This article made me think about a lot of things I took for granted growing up. I’ve never totally understood, nor do I now, the mechanisms that led heat to be considered a cleansing thing in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual practices. Perhaps it is for similar reasons that fevers are meant to excise bacterial or viral infections.

    When I think about it, the idea of cooling down the body at the end of a practice is even mirrored in a typical South Indian meal… Many of the dishes are spicy and served hot but, instead of drinking a lot of water or milk during the meal to counterbalance the spiciness, almost every meal is followed by a serving of rice and yogurt. As a child I only wanted to eat the rice and yogurt, and my family was often concerned that I was going to get sick from only eating the cooling dish. I also have many memories of my father eating rasam (hot, spicy soup) when he had a cold, similar to how chicken noodle soup is an American staple for people feeling under the weather.

    I never realized, until now, what a huge role the dichotomy of hot and cold plays in Indian conceptions of health. I used to make fun of my dad for proselytizing the virtue of sweating, but I see now that that view is a lot more informed by cultural background than quirkiness. That being said, I don’t think that is the *only* motivation for arguing that walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes is a full workout if you sweat in a sauna for 30 minutes afterwards…

  18. This article was rather enlightening as a true yogi might say. While there were many things I was not aware of before reading, there were two things that truly struck my interest. The first was the idea that going to the bathroom and relieving yourself during a session, will actually conflict with your ability to become yoga. Thinking about this idea for a moment, I have practiced yoga for quite some time and have just come to the realization now that I have never had to excuse myself for a trip to the ladies room during a session. In fact, I don’t recall ever feeling the need to drink water or replenish myself either. I wonder if this is because I was reaching my fullest potential in the class- if so, kudos to me!

    The second topic that really interested me was the whole idea of massaging the sweat back into your body when practicing without clothing. I do not often practice in the nude however, if I did, I never once in a million years would’ve thought to embrace the sweat on my body. More often than not I am in a tee-shirt and light pant and sweat will form as the session becomes more intense.

    In these cases I normally wick the sweat away using the corner of my shirt, back of my hand, etc. Yet, after reading I am definitely going to change this habit and instead begin to focus the beads of swear back into my body for spiritual nourishment.

  19. When practicing yoga you are systematically raising your Ushna, also known as heat or warmth. Like stoking a fire within. If you are to drink cold water during or after your practice you will end up smother this Ushna, it will fall rapidly and cause you to become more susceptible to allergenic conditions and excess mucus, and may even possible catch a cold immediately if drank after intense asanas. You should also not use the rest room while doing your practice, it is best to work out whatever waste water is within your body through sweat. If the asanas are done, the sweat should be coming from the top of your head, this shows that your energy is being directed accordingly and will happen naturally. If it is coming from anywhere else on your body this is due to the environments weather conditions. If too much heat is built up during your practice it is best to slow down, never use cold water to reduce the heat. When you are sweating the waste water out is is a much more pure form of removing it from your body than going to the bathroom. If you are bare while practicing and sweating, you should rub the sweat back into your body; there is a certain level of prana held within the sweat and this is something you don’t want to lose. This prana will create an aura and strength for the body, creating a cocoon of your own energy; Kavacha. Yoga is about using the body to its maximum benefit. If asanas and rubbing your sweat are done regularly you will obtain a certain level of usher and your pranic intensity will be generated. Allowing you to withstand physical compulsions of the body such as weather being too hot/cold, or being hungry or thirty; you will not be liberated completely from these things but they will not bother you as much. These differ from person to person but, the idea is to slowly grow beyond these physical compulsions, reducing them so much so much so that one day when you practice yoga, you become yoga, you no longer are just practicing it. To become yoga means, your level of perception is such that there is no distinction between you and the universe. In order to reach this level of perception you have to build your system in such a way that it can handle this as a reality. Otherwise, if you are to perceive something that is too intense for your system to handle, you might blow a fuss. It’s very important to build your practice in a way that higher ways of being and doing will come naturally to your life. In doing so you must climb higher allowing yourself to exist in a place where higher dimensions are with you, rather than ask for them to come downward to you while in a space where you are not ready.
    I also found a short article in one of my yoga journal magazines posing the question, How cold should my drinking water be after practicing on a hot day? It mentions internal heat that is built within and that it is better to drink warmer liquids after strenuous exercise. This fire we build within helps govern the function of our mind, organ, tissues, and especially digestion. Saying that cold water will smother the agni, diminishing the digestive systems abilities. It goes on to say that your dosa determines how your body digests food and water so each individual requires something different. Kapha should drink warm water 20-40 minutes after practicing, Data should drink lukewarm or warm water 15-30 min after, and Pitta should drink room-temperature water 15-30 minutes afterward.
    This is really interesting and something I did not know of. I found the sweating especially interesting, I’ve done some yoga practices that have caused me to begin sweating so intensely, but it came from my chest and head. I also wonder if it’s okay to drink hot tea after practicing yoga?

  20. This article is very interesting because after being told not to drink water, I questioned what is bad about drinking water. I’ve always been told that hydration is key and that being hydrated while exercising is good. I now know that there is so much value in not drinking water during the practice or using the bathroom. I find it so informative that in holding down the urge to drink or to use the bathroom can benefit me and build a resistance to colds and other ailments. It makes complete sense now when reading this that it builds stamina. It allows your body to work through its own functions and to grow into its own natural energies. That’s amazing.

  21. It makes sense that you should not drink water while practicing yoga. the sudden temperature drop in our core could be harmful and almost act as a sort of “shock” to pull you out of mind. if the end goal is to not feel the separation between you and the universe, than anything that might pull you to quickly in one direction will defiantly set you back from your goal. You almost don’t want to be woken up from this “practice.” instead like we do in class, gradually come out of it. so by having the sweat in our clothes I could see how this would allow use to feel the universe around use.

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