Nizha Periaswamy

My students and I had a small talk during our yoga session recently. The topic was about how much water to consume in order to keep us healthy, and water intake between yoga sessions.

Is 8 glasses, or 2 litres of water a day, sufficient, or do individuals require different amounts of water due to various internal and external factors, including gender, body type, environment, and lifestyle?

Well, the answer is rather subjective.

According to renowned yoga instructor Rachel Markowitz, in an article in, one should only drink when thirsty.

"Thirst is a signal that your body is headed towards dehydration.

"People who exercise frequently, or live in hot, dry or high-altitude environments generally need more water. Drinking in proportion to one's body size is also recommended as men are likely to need more water than women."

Water is a balancing, cooling and calming force, which is essential in maintaining our health and longevity.

In yoga, water is a balancing element to "fire."

It is not advisable to not drink too much water before, during and after a yoga session. Consuming large amounts would cause interference to one's energy.

According to yogi, and author, Sadhguru, practising yoga systematically raises the "ushna" (heat) in the body, and drinking water will cause the heat to rapidly fall, which in turn will cause various other reactions.

"You will become more susceptible to allergic conditions, excess mucus and so on. If you are performing intense asanas and you suddenly drink cold water, you may catch a cold immediately. So never drink water when doing asanas, and never go to the bathroom during practise as one should rid of the fluid in the form of sweat."

It is advisable for one to drink water at least 30 minutes before, and after a yoga class, to avoid dehydration.

Generally, thirstiness during a yoga session can be eased by taking deep breaths. If the feeling persists, one can take a few sips of warm water.

Consider your body as your teacher - it will let you know what it needs the most.

If you experience light-headedness, headaches or dry skin and lips during practice, slightly increase your water intake. The same goes if you don't break a sweat, get cramps or muscle stiffness.

This is because, water helps the muscles contract, absorb nutrients and remove waste. Hydration lubricates the joints and sufficient water will lessen muscle fatigue and muscle cramps, making one feel better overall.

At the end of the day, if your body tells you it needs water, drink - but do it with caution and in moderation.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Sakthi School of Yoga