Staying hydrated is an essential part of any physical fitness routine. Without proper hydration, the body does not respond effectively to physical activity. However, there is some disagreement among Yoga practitioners about drinking water during a Yoga session. The question is, “Should you drink water during Yoga?”
Most Yoga instructors advise their students not to drink water during the Yoga session. Most Yoga instructors base their recommendations on several factors.
- Distractions for other participants
- Breaks in concentration for the student
- Conflicts with principles of classical hatha yoga
The techniques of yoga are centuries old. Advances in medical and physiological understanding have influenced many yoga instructors to update some standard yoga practices. We’ll help you understand the reasoning, both traditional and modern, for recommendations about drinking during yoga sessions.
See also: How To Get Good at Yoga Faster?
Table of Contents
- 1 Maintaining Concentration – Avoiding Distractions
- 1.1 Creating the Proper Atmosphere – The Noise Problem
- 1.2 The Issue of Noise
- 1.3 On a More Personal Level – Enabling Distractions
- 1.4 Maintaining the Flow – Keeping with Traditional Yoga Concepts
- 1.5 Prana and Chakras – Creating Balance and Flow
- 1.6 Disturbing the Energy Flow – Water During Practice
- 1.7 The Traditional Mental Concepts of Yoga
- 2 When Should I Drink Water?
- 3 Water is Essential – At the Right Time
Maintaining Concentration – Avoiding Distractions
By and large, Yoga instructors agree that much of the benefit of practicing yoga accrues from the concentration required. This concentration makes the mental aspect of focusing the mind on the body as important as the physical activity.
Yoga instructors understand the need for concentration. However, many students have trouble with the concept. Distractions in the practice area can make it difficult for some students to maintain concentration. Drinking water during the yoga practice creates distractions on several levels.
Creating the Proper Atmosphere – The Noise Problem
At the core of yoga is creating a sense of peace and tranquility in the yoga studio. Many things affect that atmosphere. When creating a proper atmosphere for yoga, the instructor considers every sense that the student uses. To achieve the proper atmosphere means the yoga studio addresses
- The eye appeal of the studio to provide a calming and inviting atmosphere
- The smells and aromas of the studio
- The sounds that fill the yoga studio
The Issue of Noise
Everyone is familiar with the cacophony of a plastic water bottle as it empties. The noise is unmistakable. Most yoga instructors understand how distracting such noises can be during a yoga session. Eliminating plastic water bottles’ noise distractions is one reason most yoga instructors don’t recommend drinking during a yoga session.
On a More Personal Level – Enabling Distractions
Drinking during a yoga session sometimes is a cover for other distractions. Some yoga instructors believe that some of their yoga students use a water bottle as a distraction for their purposes. Yoga instructors observe that students will break for a drink during a particularly difficult part of the session.
Avoiding a difficult or uncomfortable part of the session for reasons of hydration seems to be common. A recommendation against drinking during yoga class helps eliminate this self-distracting action and focuses some students’ concentration.
However, hot yoga teachers should continue to encourage their students to drink water before or during hot yoga, according to a 2017 study by the International Journal of Yoga.
Maintaining the Flow – Keeping with Traditional Yoga Concepts
No matter which style of yoga you practice, there are basic tenets to which traditional yoga practitioners adhere. Many traditional yoga instructors point to yoga’s more subtle aspects as good reasons not to drink during a session.
At the heart of these traditional views is the Prana flow created during the yoga exercise. Yoga is not just physical exercise. The practice of yoga seeks to address all the processes in the body to bring them into harmony. One of these processes is the concept of energy in our body and how it flows and moves.
Prana and Chakras – Creating Balance and Flow
For serious yoga practitioners, there are seven chakras or energy centers in the body. Creating balance and flow between these chakras is a key component of traditional yoga. The seven chakras are related to seven points in the body.
- The Muladhara or root chakra, located at the base of the spine
- The Svadhisthana is typically associated with the pelvic region
- The Manipura chakra centers in the navel
- The Anahata associates with the heart
- The Vishuddha chakra sits near the base of the throat
- The Ajna or third eye is known as the command center and the typical location is between the eyebrows
- Sahasrara is the crown chakra and locates on the crown of the head.
Disturbing the Energy Flow – Water During Practice
Traditional yoga instructors believe that drinking water during a yoga session interferes with the creation of proper energy flow between the chakras. These traditionalists argue that drinking water during a session creates several detrimental situations.
- Energy creates heat in the body. This heat is the key to removing toxins from the system. Drinking water can cool this heat, making the yoga session less effective.
- Heat causes you to sweat, removing the toxins from your body naturally. Drinking cools the body and reduces the amount of sweat your produce. Less sweat means a less effective flush of your system.
- Part of the creation of the energy flow comes from the concentration required to practice yoga effectively. Stopping to drink the water interrupts the concentration and results in less energy flow.
The Traditional Mental Concepts of Yoga
Drinking during a yoga session is also believed by many traditionalists to retard the student’s psychological advancement. Some traditional yoga instructors question if the need to drink is a real physiological need or learned behavior. Some of the questions the traditional instructors encourage their students to ask themselves before drinking during a session include.
- Am I indulging in any other distracting activities during practice?
- Do I get bored during practice?
- Do I drink because I need water or because of habit?
- Did I need a break or an excuse to break the routine?
Maintaining the focus to achieve perfection is a large part of the yoga practice. Any distraction, even drinking water, that breaks that concentration detracts from the positive results.
When Should I Drink Water?
In general, yoga instructors are aware of their students’ need to stay well hydrated during an intense yoga session. To facilitate proper hydration, most yoga instructors recommend that their students.
- Drink plenty of water during the day and your normal activities
- Drink before your yoga class
- Drink after your yoga class
- Drink even more later
The Importance of Hydration for a Healthy Routine
Almost every health expert, nutritionist, and fitness instructors agree that we do not drink enough water. The importance of water to a healthy lifestyle is indisputable. Many people substitute water with:
- Fitness drinks
- Energy drinks
- Soft drinks
These other products that contain caffeine, artificial sweeteners or sugar, and other chemicals often cause more dehydration. Dehydration puts additional stress on your body and, in the yoga view, interferes with the energy flow between the chakras. Impaired energy flow leads to imbalance and even more problems.
To prevent dehydration, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) advises that males drink at least 101 ounces of water per day, a little under 13 cups. They also recommend that females drink at least 74 ounces, which is a bit over 9 cups.
Hydrate Well Before Yoga Class – Preparing the Body
You should put the water onboard in your body before your yoga class begins. It takes time for your body to absorb the water in your system and put it in the places needed. Taking on the water during yoga class doesn’t put the water where it needs to be.
Hydrating before class begins allows the body to have the water it will need to build the energy flows and heat. As you begin to sweat, your body will have systemic water in place to carry the toxins away.
Drink After Your Session – Replenishment Is Essential
Immediately after your session, drinking water will help your body replenish the systemic water supply. This additional water will ensure that the additional toxins your body excretes are washed away. The elimination of toxins helps reduce muscle fatigue and can prevent cramping.
Water is the best choice for satisfying your thirst. Additionally, without added sweeteners, coffee and tea are also healthy choices, according to Harvard experts.
Drink Even More Later
Continuing to drink reasonable amounts of water is essential to a good result from your yoga practice. An intense and concentrated effort during a yoga class will create energy and heat in your body that can last for several hours. The internal effect continues to remove toxins from your body. Extra water in the hours after your session is critical to best benefit from your yoga session.
Water is Essential – At the Right Time
Water is essential to your body, especially during an intense yoga session. However, the timing of getting that water into your system is as important as how you practice your yoga. Drinking at the wrong time can be disruptive for your classmates as well as for yourself. Putting water into your body at the wrong time can seriously disrupt the effects of your yoga practice.
The goal is to practice yoga to improve your life and health, make you happier and more productive, and create a sense of peace and well-being.