Water in Class

Water in Class

Question: There seems to be a wide array of opinions on drinking water. Is doing waterless classes something to strive for, or is it more a personal thing? ?

Answer: Water consumption is a personal thing. For new students, remember MOST of them come in dehydrated to begin with! New students are struggling so hard. I never mention water except Party Time.

I never check what’s in their cup, so they could have coffee or booze in there!?

Anyone can set a goal of no water, but just when you think you’ve got it down, something will happen (like a fur ball in your throat) and you’ll need some water. Stay detached when teaching and taking and let students have their own experience.

Q: What should you say for “Party Time”? Some teachers say “Drink as much water as you need to throughout class, BUT smaller sips are better to not feel nauseous and dizzy…”

A: Remember there is only one official water break – after Eagle.

After Eagle, suggest that they drink some water and wipe the sweat if they want to. Other than that I don’t say anything about water in class. I teach people to drink when they are thirsty or feel the need; rest when they feel overwhelmed in any way; and listen to their body.

Q: I normally ask that students wait until after the first 3 postures and then drink between postures if possible, and not while people are balancing. But students at our studio tend to take a “mini water break” before Tree. Do I encourage them to move quickly & then wait for them?

Or do I continue with the start of Tadasana after the usual pause I have between postures? Or is this even an issue?

A: When you say you wait the usual length of time to start Tree Pose, how much time are we talking? Because the standing series is a warm up to the floor and the real yoga starts with the 2 minute Savasana, there is NO length of time between standing postures. It’s posture, posture, posture.

Those drinking water will miss out on some of the fun!! Just kidding. ?

Remember students drink water because they are thirsty or because they are avoiding the posture and some discomfort. Normal.

?Just keep going. It’s a non-issue.

?I’m curious about not drinking water while people are balancing. I don’t understand that. Like I said they are doing it for a reason and they are not thinking about other students when they go for the water.

?Bikram said if you can only meditate in a dark room with a candle you are not really meditating. Students should be able to handle it and balance while other students (and the teacher for that matter) are moving around. That is life.

Q: The usual time between postures is a small pause. But before Tree it is usually 20 seconds or so. ?

As for the water during a posture, I’m following TT recommendations. I’m also struggling with finding the balance between individual practice and group harmony. Sometimes I think students aren’t mindful of those around them.

A: 20 Seconds is too much time. Keep the flow going and remember two things:

?1) This isn’t TT?

2) Students practice the way they live…they are not all going to be fully aware. Give them time. Be patient.

Q: I have heard so many different instructions about drinking or not drinking water. What would Bikram allow & not allow? I know he says no water at Tree pose and then at Fixed Firm he says get into the set up first then have your water.

A: At Teacher Training Bikram probably told individuals to “have their water” more often than anyone else if he saw they needed it. The headquarters site says : “Bikram suggests the 1st water break take place after Eagle Pose, and then water as needed”?

Everyone has different physiology – this should be respected. Some people have low blood pressure, so they need to drink water to correct it. The teachers are training people to TAKE CARE of their bodies, and respect them, not treat them as unfortunate obstacles to overcome.

A: I think people have a lot of misconceptions about water including “digestion of water”. It is not digested. Ingesting water does not cool you down. What does work is SWEATING.

A lot can be lost in one session–even coming in well-hydrated may not be enough to prevent you from feeling like crap when you walk out.

A: At our studio the only rule is: “Breathe. Everything else is optional.” At a new studio, especially with people who are fighting to stay in the room, my feeling is that they can drink whenever they want. In a very short period of time, they figure out how to get their bodies and minds aligned.

A: Thank you all for chiming in. It’s all good. Bikram never makes a big deal about anyone drinking water.

He usually encourages it when he sees someone struggling.

?I agree that we teach yoga, not water drinking. I think most new students are so uncomfortable with the heat, they naturally reach for the water to have a break from postures. I never say anything about water except at party time I say “drink a little water if you want to”.

That’s it.

?For the record, I have never heard Bikram say not to drink water at Tree, and it’s other teachers at TT that say get into Fixed Firm and then drink. That is so strange to me because those same teachers scream about drinking water only between postures! ?

Be easy about it. Have respect for everyone’s journey and allow rather than resist…everything.

Please use this topic for further discussion about water in class.


Donita Bungy on October 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm.

I have been in studios that said nothing about water and others where if you glanced at your bottle they had your butt in a sling.

One funny story: I was practicing one day and there was a young girl in front of me (she was probably 10 or so…a bit too young, IMO, for a regular hot class) and she was too hot and a bit bored, so at first she just kind of flopped around a bit and did funny little things during postures. No biggie.

Then she started with the water bottle, clanking the ice around (kechunk, kechunk) and rattling the attached lid against the side of the bottle (clank, clank)…it was like the beginning of some Muppet song. Kechunk, clank, rattle, glug. Before I knew it I was OUT OF MY MIND with distraction and annoyance.

And then I had to just laugh. I was being SO ridiculous.

Water issues, wiping issues, they never bothered me again. She helped me to remember what a silly goose I was to care about her attempts to entertain herself and be comfortable in the room. My problem. Not hers:)


Dusty on October 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm.

Good story Barbara. It’s like when a baby is just starting to learn to walk and falls down. You don’t say get up you dummy!

No, you patiently encourage them to get up and try again.


Carie on October 30, 2013 at 10:53 pm.

At our TT Bikram and other teachers gave water break right before triangle. That’s what I have been doing. Should I continue with it?


Eldridge Vanderlip on November 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm.

Mariam – they did it that way at my training, too (Spring ’10) but most places I’ve taught at still just give one official water break, after eagle. I think it’s just one of those things that’s a little different at TT than at normal studios.


Gino on November 11, 2013 at 10:41 am.

Thanks Juliana, today at the class I did not give the break at triangle, the flow of the class was much better


Marg on November 27, 2013 at 2:30 am.

The one official water break is after Eagle Pose. Any other water drinking should be the student taking care of themselves and drinking water when they need or want to.


Sam Mcgaffee on November 29, 2013 at 4:55 am.

Got it, thank you.


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