Words: Yogi Maharaj Dr Malik
For centuries, ancient yogis have understood the unique and distinct properties of living near water and practicing yoga and spiritual disciplines in such environments. Remote locations with water have been sought after not only for privacy but also for the numerous benefits they provide to yogis. The prevalence of water in an environment offers an ideal opportunity to significantly improve health. According to yogic thought, we are not merely mechanical bodies but encompass other states as well, including the mind and spirit/soul. Throughout the centuries, yogis have placed immense importance on exploring how the environment impacts a person’s spiritual practice. Deep meditative states performed in the natural world have given rise to profound ideas, supported by a wealth of data that remains accessible even today.
Ayurveda, the sister branch of Yoga, which deals with medicinal knowledge from the Indian subcontinent, also emphasises the impact of both the external and internal environment on health and well-being. We are considered to be composed of several distinct layers, not just a singular being. Our existence is characterised by constant change and transformation. Yogic teachings focus on the everchanging nature of humanity. Through the integration of techniques designed to work with the mind, body, and spirit, we have the ability to literally alter our being. In this century, academic institutions have conducted various types of research to verify or refute ideas documented in ancient spiritual texts, including yogic and other spiritual texts like the Vedas.
“Yogic teachings focus on the ever-changing nature of humanity. Through the integration of techniques designed to work with the mind, body, and spirit, we have the ability to literally alter our being”.
THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE
It is not surprising to practitioners, not only in the yoga traditions but also in other spiritual and mystical traditions such as the Jewish Kabbalists, Orthodox Christians, Islamic Sufis, Lamas, and Priests of various practices, that there are universal laws that exist and cannot be broken or changed, leading to definite results. Knowledge of these matters enhances our interaction with the multiple worlds around us. It’s important to note that according to Yoga, we do not live in just one world, but rather, there are other dimensions of existential reality.
One example of a modern scientific analysis of this concept is the emergence of Quantum Physics and the acceptance of parallel universes existing alongside our conventional perception of reality. This knowledge has existed for thousands of years, and many practitioners accept that such advanced technology and related knowledge were available to certain ancient civilisations. However, in some cases, the misuse of such knowledge led to the downfall of those civilisations as they were unable to use the technology ethically, resulting in self-destruction.
Now let’s focus on the specific topic of why, over the centuries, yogis have chosen to live near water. When referring to water, I am encompassing the various forms in which it exists in our environment, such as the sea, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, streams, brooks, ponds, canals, and oceans.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WATER AND HEALTH
Ancient yogis recognised a correlation between living near water and experiencing significant improvements in health and well-being. This lifestyle choice not only supported their spiritual journey but also enhanced their siddhis (superpowers). Maintaining good health and a peaceful state of mind are prerequisites for progressing on the spiritual path, and vice versa. This means that even if one’s health is poor and their mind is unsettled, the practice of yoga can reverse or alleviate those symptoms, preparing them for the possibility of embarking on a spiritual journey. The seed of potentiality exists within each individual and can awaken, sprout, and grow when nurtured using yogic methodology. As mentioned earlier, we are not merely individuals; we are everchanging entities experiencing constant transformation with every passing moment. While we often categorise life into stages like birth, adulthood, old age, and death, yogic philosophy recognises the existence of numerous in-between stages. Recent scientific research aligns with this understanding of human development. Our ability to change is not limited to physical growth; it extends to our thoughts and consciousness as well. By simply altering our thoughts, we have the power to redefine who we are. Our physical bodies, too, are in a constant state of flux. We are not fixed beings but rather dynamic organisms in which millions of processes occur every second. These processes are carried out by our cells, the building blocks of our bodies.
WATER AND CELLULAR HEALTH
Remarkably, we have approximately 60 trillion live cells within us, an astounding figure to contemplate. Each cell is unique and functions as an individual entity. These cells not only communicate with one another but also possess the remarkable ability to communicate with entities from other dimensions—a topic best explored separately. Each cell possesses multiple properties and abilities, making it a dynamic entity capable of influencing our lives. When we think of cell death, it is essential to note that cells do not die automatically. They can survive for a few weeks even after the process of death as we commonly understand it. For cells to thrive, they require regular charging. Our bodies have two generators responsible for producing electricity: the heart and the brain. The upper part of the head, known as the Atrium, serves as an electricity generator. This electrical charge plays a crucial role in the survival and optimal functioning of cells, allowing them to complete their tasks before being replaced by new, fresh cells. While cells die and are destroyed regularly, they are continuously replenished. Every day, hour, minute, and second, new cells are generated to replace the old ones. This process occurs tirelessly, even during our sleep, as our cells work ceaselessly 24 hours a day. Within our brain, we possess approximately 10 billion brain cells, commonly known as “brain cells.” In addition to these, we also have about a billion other types of cells known as Glia cells. Although ongoing research seeks to uncover their precise functions, their abundance makes it improbable that they serve no purpose at all.
ELECTROLYTES AND THEIR IMPORTANCE
The electrical activity in cells is measured in cycles. This electric current can be quantified using electroencephalography (EEG), a technique developed by German expert Rd. Hans Berger. EEG measures three types of brain waves: Alpha Waves, Beta Waves, and Theta Waves. Alpha Waves, with a frequency of 8 to 13 cycles per second, are the most commonly emitted brain waves. Beta Waves are faster, emitting 24 to 25 cycles per second. During deep sleep, Theta Waves are present, with a frequency of 3 cycles per second. Meditation has been found to induce Theta Waves, resulting in reduced electricity usage and conservation of energy during this state of deep relaxation. Unlike other cell types, brain cells are generally not replaceable. Once a brain cell dies or is destroyed, it is lost, and there is no natural replacement. We begin to lose brain cells around the age of 20, resulting in a gradual decrease in brain power of approximately one gram per year. In Yoga, the practice of pranayama is advocated, as outlined by Patanjali, the Father of Yoga, and mentioned in other classical Yogic texts. Pranayama primarily focuses on breathing techniques and plays a crucial role in maintaining brain health. Through the practice of Pranayama, we can charge our brain cells and ensure their continued activity and vitality, reducing the risk of premature cell death. In Yoga, great attention is given to Pranayama exercises to maintain the health of our body and keep our brain cells regularly charged. Additionally, yogis prefer to consume organic food obtained from natural resources, recognising the importance of a balanced and nourishing diet.
BENEFITS OF LIVING NEAR WATER
As yogis age, many seek out places to live near water, such as waterfalls or secluded locations off the grid. One of the reasons for this choice is the beneficial interaction between fresh air and water, which generates floating electrons that are absorbed by the body. Living in such an environment allows the floating electrons to charge the brain cells. Living near water environments that contain salt and minerals offers numerous benefits. Water with salt and other minerals has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which cleanse and detoxify the mind and body. Taking a walk by the sea, for example, can provide tangible benefits. Practicing Pranayama exercises in a saline environment enhances the effects on the mind and body. Salt water also aids in healing wounds, burns, cuts, and sores. Water from natural sources, such as springs, brooks, and mountains, is imbued with special properties and energising minerals that positively impact mental and physical health. Breathing in the charge released by water in the air through Pranayama exercises helps improve the necessary functions of the mind and body. Ancient yogic texts describe a purification exercise called neti, where a specially designed pot filled with saline water is used to cleanse the nasal passages. This practice, along with mixing salt in the water, has been shown to help manage conditions like asthma and chronic respiratory issues. Drinking and breathing in saline water and living near water sources provide an array of health benefits. Salt baths have been used for centuries, from ancient Greek spas to the healing properties of the Dead Sea. Different types of salt can be used to lower blood pressure, improve electrolyte balance, and regulate internal heart functions. One crucial benefit known to ancient yogis for thousands of years is that the body’s cells benefit tremendously from breathing in and drinking salt water. It regulates metabolism, provides nourishment to trillions of cells, and contributes to overall wellness. Yogis have designed Pranayama techniques to naturally and safely inhale minerals as water evaporates from natural sources.
This practice helps maintain the balance of electrolytes within cells and enhances cell function. While plain water is vital for life, excessive consumption can have negative effects on the body. Drinking excess plain water interferes with the activity of internal cells, as it can carry away essential minerals and nutrients necessary for their optimal functioning. Yogis have emphasised the importance of balancing electrolytes in the body, as excess consumption of water dilutes sodium and can lead to kidney problems, brain cell damage, bloating, and chronic conditions. Living near water and practicing Pranayama allow yogis to safely and effectively benefit from inhaling saline water, absorbing its minerals and properties. Water from different sources, such as springs and rivers, carries its own unique properties that contribute to mental and physical health. Breathing in saline water releases minerals in the air, which can be inhaled and absorbed into the mind and body at a cellular level. This significantly improves overall wellness, reducing anxiety, stress, and ageing. Breathing the air around water bodies, such as the sea or ocean, helps improve the respiratory tract’s mucous lining and provides relief for chronic respiratory conditions.
Modern scientific research confirms the crucial role electrolytes play in cell activities and overall health. Electrolytes, which carry electrical charges, are essential for various bodily functions, including muscle activity, digestion, and heart function. Imbalances in electrolyte levels can lead to muscle cramps, spasms, digestive issues, anxiety, and other ailments. Living near water environments also enhances the health of the immune system, improves energy levels, and promotes more restful sleep. Ancient yogis were aware of the electrical conductivity of electrolytes and their role in cellular energy production. Furthermore, practicing Pranayama exercises in such environments provide a holistic approach to well-being, incorporating the beneficial properties of water, minerals, and electrolytes. Living near water truly offers a transformative experience for those on the spiritual path.
Yogi Maharaj Dr. Malik is the Founder and Editor (since 2003) of YOGA Magazine and is a recognised international expert and an authority on the subject of Yoga. He started his training under the guidance of Yogis from the Himalayan region at the age of six and also received instructions from Sufis, Lamas and Sadhus. He is an accredited Yoga teacher specialising in Kundalini, Hatha and Laya Yoga