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Why not drink water during the practice?

Surprising as it may seem at first, it is not good to drink water during our practice. Though in some traditions water is taken, it is contrary to the practice of ashtanga yoga. Why?

Ashtanga practice builds up a powerful internal fire. This is the heat that purifies and transforms our body. With the bandhas engaged, energy is sealed into the core of the body, unable to dissipate through the energetic floor formed by mula bandha and uddiyana bandha in the pelvis or through the energetic ceiling formed by a subtle jalandhara bandha in the throat. Ujjayi breathing builds up heat, and the energetic container formed by the bandhas intensifies it. Some heat releases in the form of sweat. But most of the heat remains in our core, breaking down the density of the physical body. Since drinking water is cooling, drinking during practice works directly against this heating mechanism. It undermines one of the primary objectives of this practice.

Also, drinking water breaks the integrity of the practice, as it is impossible to drink and continue ujjayi breathing at the same time.  Ashtanga practice is one seamless flow. Establishing an unbroken rhythm of ujjayi breathing, from first sun salutation to final savasana, is a great challenge. But everyone should be working towards that goal. Stopping to drink water is totally counterproductive.

Obviously, it is vital for health and a strong yoga practice to have a well-hydrated body. Pure water is essential to our entire being.  Drink plenty of water during the day! But refrain from drinking during your practice.

Om Shanti

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