Hydration! Super important for all yogis, and is an essential part of a yogi’s routine to properly nourish and fuel the body. Hydration is key to progress in your practice staying hydrated helps in maintaining your performance during yoga practice but also as well for maintaining your mood and recovery from exercise2. The following tips are focused on Bikram yogis but are also applicable and high relevant to all types of yoga classes, especially where you are going to work up a sweat.
Start the session hydrated! Technically referred to as Euhydration (hydration), where your body is in its natural balance1. This differs for everyone, but the UK governments recommendations in the Eatwell Guide suggest 6-8 glasses3. This includes Water, lower fat milk, sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee. There is often debate over the affects of coffee before exercise. Caffeine is a stimulant and can also have a diuretic affect at rest. However studies have shown that having one cup of coffee before exercise will not induce diuresis during exercise and can also be consumed in small amounts post exercise2. Alcohol is not considered a good pre workout drink, it won’t hydrate you and it has a diuretic effect so it will make you pee!
During a Bikram class it is good to take some water to sip on when appropriate and necessary. The first 20 minutes of class, it is advised that you do not touch your water, as you are focusing on warming up the body. Teachers, will always queue you as to the appropriate time to take a sip in Bikram. Sugary or caffeinated drinks are not allowed, but electrolytes are helpful for some people during class.
After class please rehydrate! Did you not see that puddle on the floor? Let alone all the steam on the mirrors. Everyone sweats in Bikram, even if you don’t see it in your skin, it may have evaporated into the air. A study of regular hot yoga practitioners found that women participants lost on average 0.7 litres of sweat per hour and the men lost an average of 2 litres a hour1. You may not realize exactly how much you are loosing when you’re focusing on the asana, but loosing nearly a litre of fluid is quiet a lot! So do make sure to have some fluids readily available after class. Fluid losses are variable and fluid requirements are different for each individual. It is best to consume up to 150% of fluid losses after exercise2. So if you loose one litre of sweat, that’s 1.5 litres within the first 4 hours after class. If you are an older practitioner pay particular attention to your bodies natural thirst queues as well as any symptoms of dehydration (headache, nausea, dizziness)2.
When rehydrating there are a variety of options. However drinking only water and a diet low in salt can put you at increased risk for symptoms of Hyponatremia. This is a state of low blood sodium concentration, meaning you may have enough water in you but not enough electrolytes. Symptoms include muscular twitching, weakness, Dizziness, nausea, progressively painful headache swelling of your hands or feet, confusion, weight gain2. This is not usually a problem as most of us consume enough salt in our diet daily to help replenish our sodium levels. However Sodium sweat losses vary between individuals, and can also be replaced with electrolyte rich fluids, to help you rehydrate appropriately maintaining your electrolyte levels2. A great and popular option, essentially nature’s own rehydration formula, is coconut water. It’s rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin C and riboflavin (Vitamin B2)4. (We stock GoCoco! Stop by the reception to purchase a bottle the next time you practice). Milk, Tea, Coffee and fruit juice all count towards your daily fluid intake, although government recommendations limit fruit juice consumption to 150ml a day, as they are high in sugar.
The best thing to do is to figure out for yourself a hydration routine that works for you and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you after your next class. This is what yoga is all about right? Listening to and respecting the needs and abilities of our body. If you have any medication or health conditions that you think affect your hydration status, you should talk to your GP about your physical activity routine.
Hope these tips help! Please share your stories with us or if you have a favourite rehydration solution. We want to hear from you!
(1) Campbell, S, et al. “Fluid Intake and Sweat Rate During Hot Yoga Participation.” International Journal Of Exercise Science, vol. 10, no. 5, 2017, pp. 721–733. (2) Brendon P. McDermott, Scott A. Anderson, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Douglas J. Casa, Samuel N. Cheuvront, Larry Cooper, W. Larry Kenney, Francis G. O’Connor, and William O. Roberts (2017) National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Fluid Replacement for the Physically Active. Journal of Athletic Training: September 2017, Vol. 52, No. 9, pp. 877-895 (3) “Eatwell Guide.” 2016, www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide. (4) “Go Coco For Sport.” Go CoCo, 2017, www.gococodrinks.com/gococo-for-sport.