“Make sure you drink lots of water.” I’m sure most of you have heard this at Yoga Fever as you’re rolling up your mat and packing to leave class. In fact, you hear this tip frequently, whether you’re training for a race, practicing yoga in heated rooms, or simply maintaining a healthy life.
The statement itself sounds simple enough, but I often notice dehydrated students in our hot yoga classes. Recognizing this problem up a list of other questions: What is the best way to hydrate? How do you know if you’ve had enough water? What are the key signs to look out for to avoid dehydration?
Tiredness, dizziness, cramped muscles, or no sweat - even in our incredibly hot room - are a few symptoms of dehydration. For yoga newbies, it’s totally acceptable to require a few classes for your body to acclimate to the heat, but continued struggle can be a sign of not enough water.
We’ve talked before about the best tips and tricks to nourish your body before a hot yoga class, but I want to focus on the critical importance of hydration.
Prepping for Your Hot Yoga Class
Enter the hot yoga studio already properly hydrated. It’s simply too hard to do it once you’re already in the room, as it takes your body about 45 minutes to process water. Hydration before yoga is essential to avoiding stiffness and cramping. Ideally, the bottle you bring will simply be for refreshment.
Then, make absolutely sure that you hydrate after class. I know many of you lead busy lives and are running off to the next thing after class, but don’t ditch that water bottle! Nutritionists recommend drinking at least 20 ounces of water after class to replace the fluids you burned off during class.
Sneaky Tips to Getting the Right Hydration for Hot Yoga
When practicing hot yoga, you simply cannot hydrate properly with water alone; you need the right balance of water and electrolytes. However, I advise against the many sports drinks out there, as they often have too much sodium and sugar. Coconut water, though, cannot be beat! With five key electrolytes, along with vitamins and potassium, it’s an ideal alternative. In fact, coconut water is so similar to blood plasma that it can be used as intravenous fluid in emergency transfusions - crazy, right?
Eat your water. The right foods can help you stay hydrated. Fruits and vegetables - especially lettuce, broccoli, grapefruit, cucumber, and watermelon - will increase your metabolism.
Spike your drink. Sometimes water needs a little boost of flavor. If you’re growing tired of your water intake, enhance your water with a kick of flavor - whether it’s a natural remedy like cucumbers, oranges, or lemons or a flavored powder.
I want to challenge each of you to embark on your own personal hydration challenge. Sip on water all day, even when you don’t feel thirsty. Fill your reusable bottle as soon as you finish it. Slowly drink a bottle of water over the course of the hour leading up to yoga class. And drink another in the 30 minutes after class. Stock up on produce high in water volume. Give it a week and see how your yoga practice is transformed!