Many practitioners of yoga and those who subscribe to the teachings of yogis will often find a clash between the more traditional mindfulness lessons of yoga and that of modern day habits – with such things like the regular drinking of alcohol seeming to be in opposition to the pure lifestyle found in yoga.
And while the teachings of this particular lifestyle say that one should learn to accept oneself and try their best to always be present in the moment, individuals with a particular liking to alcoholic drinks may wish to see whether their yogi idols also partake in similar activities.
In general, most yogis that subscribe to traditional texts and beliefs do not drink alcohol, though this is not to say that alcohol will always act as a direct obstacle to achieving the end goal of yoga and spirituality – that of reaching true self-awareness.
What do Yogic Texts Say About Alcohol?
An important point made by various traditional yogic texts is that of treating the body as a temple – with the practitioner of yogic beliefs needing to be mindful of the sort of foods and substances they put into their body.
This, clearly, excludes intoxicants such as alcohol and similar mind altering substances that may have a negative effect on one’s health and spirituality if consumed in excess or without the correct state of mind.
From a standpoint of self-actualization, alcohol may in fact be considered a hindrance to achieving the goals of yoga and its subsequent beliefs by taking an individual out of the moment, preventing them from experiencing the truest version of reality and their highest self by clouding the mind.
This may also be in addition to the fact that some individuals tend to consume alcohol in order to regulate their emotions and mental state, of which is the polar opposite of the mindfulness that is so pivotal to the theories and beliefs of many yogis and yogic texts.
What do Modern Yogis Believe about Drinking Alcohol?
Though there are doubtless some exceptions to this fact, the majority of true modern yogis do not drink alcohol or partake in other forms of mind altering substances – both due to their spiritual beliefs as well as the potential health ramifications of such acts.
This is not to say that ordinary yoga practitioners cannot partake in the drinking of alcoholic beverages, as yogis are generally considered at a point of elevated status due to the self-discipline and understanding they retain from years of experience and study – a far cry from the average yoga practitioner.
Is Drinking Alcohol in Line with Traditional Yogi Beliefs?
Considering the fact that traditional yoga stresses the importance of understanding the self and always retaining a connection with one’s own body and the universe itself, the mind-altering nature of alcohol automatically excludes it from being in line with the aforementioned beliefs.
The drinking of alcohol, apart from its ability to disrupt the practitioner’s sense of self, will also interrupt the connection between the prana and the body, as well as unbalance the various doshas that make up the Ayurvedic portion of yoga beliefs.
What Effects Does Drinking Alcohol Have on Yoga?
In the physical aspect of yoga, the drinking of alcohol can both unbalance the constitutions that make up an individual’s health and function, as well as interrupt the mind-body connection that is of such importance to yoga and its beliefs.
Spiritually and mentally, being under the influence of alcohol or a hangover while practicing yoga can entirely negate the benefits of doing so – preventing the practitioner from entering a state of true mindfulness, regardless of how relaxed and calm said alcohol makes them feel.
This is due to the fact that the individual’s full spectrum of emotions and cognitive abilities are diminished in such situations, as well as the fact that feeding ones addiction (if they are indeed addicted at all) will prevent them from reaching full self-realization by distracting them from reaching an understanding of the self.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Doing Yoga?
Popularized in the west by such concepts like beer yoga or the combination of wine and yoga for the purposes of relaxation, drinking alcohol while doing yoga may appear to be the perfect combination between tradition and modern pleasures.
However, while drinking alcohol as one is performing yoga is not exactly lethal, it may have certain health effects and risks that are better off left avoided, especially considering the fact that the benefits of drinking and exercise simultaneously are practically non-existent.
The first and most immediately obvious of these negative health effects is that alcohol requires a significant volume of water to be excreted from the body – thereby dehydrating the individual, of which will only worsen their cognitive impairment and decrease in bodily coordination.
This is all the more dangerous if performing yoga in a sauna or similarly high temperature environment wherein the individual must remain well hydrated, as the risk of heat stroke and similar side effects of dehydration are increased in such environments.
In concerns to the healing effects of yoga, alcohol has been noted to significantly decrease the secretion and serum levels of certain anabolic hormones that aid in the genesis of new bodily tissues, dampening or entirely preventing yoga from healing the practitioner’s body.
While the majority of highly experienced yoga practitioners – such as yogis – not partaking in the consumption of alcoholic beverages, it can be surmised that the variety of reasons behind such decisions are more than applicable to the average yoga practitioner.
And while the regular drinking of said alcoholic beverages can interrupt the spiritual and mental benefits imparted by the practice of yoga, having one or two occasional drinks should not have any significant impact on an individual and their lifestyle.
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