The Yoga of Water

spring water

A deeply attuned yoga school teaches that the water we drink to sustain a strong and energetically powerful body should be like the earth and of the earth, and not an antiseptic experience in a plastic bottle.

Article By Lea Kraemer and Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya

Water flows in the chant of the aapa sukta mantra of the Rig Veda, considered one of the oldest texts on earth, read and handed down uninterrupted for over a thousand generations. When  setting off for an ocean voyage, starting any water-based ceremony, or beginning a river-based event, a prayer to water is cast into the skies for protection from the menacing effects of water. At the same time, water is essential for health and for life. We emphasize drinking clean water daily to prevent ailments. While it is a travesty that nearly half of humans do not have access to safe drinking water, the scary fact is that today's technology has been destroying pure water in order to label it "clean."

In teachings about water by modern masters of yoga, we are warned that drinking distilled water is deleterious for the body because it leaches minerals out of the body. Long-term consumption of predominantly distilled water is a slow poison, promoting a painful death. The process of distillation rids the solution of all minerals, and double distilation leaves a chemically pure H2O. Just kill them instead, the teacher says, rather than feeding them lethal, deceptively-labeled-clean water.

Similarly, extracts of herbs while they look beautiful in colorful little bottles, are only that part of a whole system that a human decided was valuable, extracted and separated from its original life-giving state. The wholeness of an herb with wisdom and magic beyond what a human decided to bottle is suddenly destroyed because the wholeness that defined authentic purity is discarded.  Today, extracts are legally permitted as ingredients in foods and dietary supplements, substituting the original structure for a concentrate of the "good stuff."

Just as the wholeness of the herb is not represented in the extract, modern thinking that goes into creating a bottle of water is imbalanced. Whether placed in plastic or glass that has been cleansed and often steriliized with chemical antiseptic for a certification of clean, the maker claims the water is void of all other contaminants, promoting self-protection, seeing H2O as pure and not understanding that water is precious because of its rich mineral bio-energy.

When we observe water coming from a stream or brook, we can witness that pure means a wholeness defined by its connection to nature in all its complexity. Water is pure with its minute quantities of minerals chelated during its natural flow in the wild, harmonizing for our system because we imbibe the same water that the ecosystem drinks. The earth's placement of a mineral in 1 ppb (parts-per-billion) or 1 ppm (parts-per-million) is the exactly right ratio and suspended structure for that drop of water.

Spring water makes the body happy. In ancient Chinese medicine as well as in ancient Indian medicine and native American medicine, it is understood that water imprints everything. Water is all around us and within us, but also subtle and beyond our five-sense perception.

Pure water is powerfully reactive and links us to everything. It is able to imprint everything around us. It is much better in our own bodies when it is complex as part of its purity, filled with minerals we cannot yet calculate using modern science. The nutrients of the spring and the mountain, in balance with the larger ecosystem, permeate the water and are joyfully received by our bodies.

bottled water
Water packaged in plastic bottles is often separated from its original life-giving state

Because 60-70% of our body is made of water, so we must take time to learn about healthy water now, in the 21st century. A deeply attuned yoga school teaches that the water we drink to sustain a strong and energetically powerful body should be like the earth and of the earth, and not an antiseptic experience in a plastic bottle.

Recently, a friend's son had pain in his belly and his urine turned brown. He was taken from school to the emergency room. After seven hours he was diagnosed with kidney stones, told to drink more water, but never counseled with a deeper understanding of what went wrong with his young body's water balance. An epidemic of teenagers are getting kidney stones and not waking up to an understanding of the body demanding that you treat it better and pay attention to its signals. When the body is deeply dehydrated, it changes the outflow of urine, creates a deep fatigue, and muddles the perceptions. Those who have chronically stopped listening to their bodies often stop craving water when they need it, and instead desire the poisons in preservative- and sugar-laden foods.

Unfortunately, many young people are not drinking pure water, because they are being offered soda and carbonated cold drinks. They are also eating too much, and staying largely immobile for their age. When they do eat, they are not connecting to the idea of nourishment or sense of strength or vitality. They eat to satisfy what tempts them in the moment, and those fun foods usually contain subtoxic levels of preservatives. The common misconception about energy today focuses on calories and is not connected to a sense of vitality from within.

But the most dangerous secret is that even when people are drinking bottled water or "pure drinking water" they are getting RO water, made by reverse osmosis. RO water depletes the water of all minerals. Because the industry recently discovered this water was slowly lethal, they simply quietly fortified it with chemically-pure minerals, which never integrates back into the water. Something similar happened with refined wheat flour in the 1940s, which is why so many people today have gut diseases from eating refined gluten devoid of the pure components of whole wheat berries. People using RO water from centralized water purifiers encounter fungal infections and unusual hair loss, bone demineralization, and skin diseases. This is known in communities where RO water was installed a decade ago. The engineers on those facilities quietly bring their own water from home.

To begin rehydrating the body, opt for lemon water if clean pure water is not yet palatable to you. Store it in a clean copper pitcher. Eat cucumbers and whole fruits, not fruit juice. If you need tea or beer, instead adopt fresh kombucha. Have green tea instead of alcohol, both of which are astringent.

To learn more about real water, watch your dog. Smart nature-bred dogs mistrust stagnant water, strongly preferring fresh running water from a stream, hose or fountain. This fascinating and sacred principle of Ayurveda values ganga-ambu (ganga=flowing, water=ambu, S.) because moving water aligns the electrical force during its natural quality of fluidity. Animals seem to understand this.

Kidneys, representing the svadhisthana chakra and balanced, creative joy, become insulted and toxic when someone ignores their own harmony and becomes fixated on bitter, afflictive emotions. Maybe this is why there is a rise of teenagers with kidney stones: it is an age group that seems to be vulnerable to losing the innocent awe in life too soon. Some teenagers handle stress by becoming sly, unimpressed and critical of everything they see. True joys of family relationships and clean intimacy of friendships is rare. Discovery of true wisdom in nature by watching animals, trees, plants and clouds is also rare.

When our aura expands, good water is needed. Lemon water, cucumber water, water blessed by the Sun, are all excellent sources of Prana. The biorhythm of our electrical bodies is most nourished by the quality of water that is most like a mountain stream.

Yoga is the embodied practice of yoking the mind and body, synchronizing the self with the inner environment, but it also includes a healthy relationship with the outer ecosystem, an essential connection to the very source of life.

The yoga of water is the practice of taking in water like a prayer, as a blessing. If then we practice, our breath flows like water and when we chant, the sound is moist and sweet.