Drink this.

» Posted by on Feb 13, 2011 in Health, Yoga | 2 comments

I went online recently to see if I could find some data to back up something I’d read some time back: that drinking room temperature water during exercise is better than drinking cold water because your body absorbs it better.

Here’s one of the first things I found after Googling “yoga drinking water”: A Yoga Journal article entitled “Hold the H2O: Why some yoga teachers caution against drinking water in class.” Rodney Yee, a legendary and impressive yoga teacher, says in this article that the obvious reason a yoga student should avoid drinking water during class is “visual and aural distraction.” In other words, a notable reason not to drink water in class is because you might disturb the class with swallowing, sipping, opening and closing a bottle, and taking a quick run to the restroom.

Um, what? Don’t drink water in class because it’s too noisy to do so? Because you might bother someone with your basic human need? This could possibly be filed under “examples of yoga taking itself way too seriously.” I thought to myself: if you’re going to tell students not to drink water during a yoga class, you have GOT to have a more legitimate reason than that.

Well, the article does go on to suggest that drinking water in class can disturb the pranic flow in your body. “Prana,” if you’re not sure, is a word to describe your life force. It’s referred to in other disciplines as “chi,” or “subtle energy” or “subtle body.” The idea is that in yoga, you’re engaging not only your physical body, but the subtle energies of your body as well — the pranic flow. So, this article says, drinking water before and after class is okay, but during class it can extinguish that subtle energy that you’re trying to stimulate and strengthen during your practice. This explanation makes a little more sense to me, but I still think that in reality, to the regular practitioner, it’s still a somewhat abstract concept.

Then Yee says, when you drink water in class, “there is also the problem of mental distraction, because whenever one feels uncomfortable, instead of simply observing that feeling, one tends to want to get rid of it.” Once again, I have to say, I don’t think that’s a good enough reason. Yoga means “union,” a union of your mind and body, and the way I understand it, a union is the joining of equal forces, not the mastery of one over the other. If you’re thirsty, I don’t think you’re making big spiritual strides to just ignore it. If you’re thirsty, your body is telling your mind, “Hey, gimme water.” Your mind has no business ignoring that; instead, your mind should quickly say, “Yes, body, I care about you. Water coming right up.”

Meanwhile, I realize my quest was sidetracked by having to dispute the logic of hydration, so back to my original intent. I was trying to find out whether cold or tepid water is better for your body during demanding physical activity. Turns out there’s some debate on this, which is what I expected. This is a pretty nice article that gives a few points of view: http://www.bewellbuzz.com/general/cold-or-warm-water-whats-better/

These are some of my findings — as well as some of my opinions. I encourage you to always listen to what your body and mind need. The wonderful thing about yoga is that it turns your attention to yourself, and allows much room for self discovery.

I’d love to hear some ideas and opinions on this one.

— Jennifer

Emerald Yoga Studio, 15 Columbia Road, Pembroke, MA 02360. 781-826-9624. www.emeraldyoga.com

Got something to say? Comment below, or submit your own blog post to jennifer@emeraldyoga.com


  1. I don’t know about tepid vs. cold but I would not make it through one of Jennifer’s classes without water. Deb

    • it worked quite a bit for me. i’ll drink more water trouughhot the day and it’ll make me eat less since i’m full of water. i also drink a lot of water while i’m eating so i don’t over eat. but don’t drink TOO much water cause it can be bad for you. 6-8 full glasses a day is good for me. i also work out and eat some kind of protein after wards. i don’t drink protein shakes. i believe in going all natural. but eating protein bars, granola bars, or fruits trouughhot the day help keep my metabolism up as well.good luck!

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