Let me tell you, I’ve read stories where people go camping, get lost, are without water, start to freak out, and do things they wouldn’t normally do. I often questioned the extent of that suffering until I had my own experience with it.
It was hot in August, 2012, when my husband, my niece, and I set out to hike Half Dome in Yosemite. (If you don’t know, this particular hike is extremely strenuous as you climb almost 9,000 feet of elevation over approximately 16 miles.) 8 hours into the hike, we had joyously summited the peak and were headed back down. First, my husband ran out of water, and then my niece ran out. Of course, I shared my water, but even with rationing, we were all out within an hour.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we had another 4-plus hours ahead of us to get down the mountain. We were stuck—hot, sweaty, and freaking out. We were hyper-focused on water and could think of nothing else. I can’t remember who started running first, but before I knew it, we were all running straight down the mountain. Once we got to water, we literally drank a couple liters each. Although we began to rehydrate, our bodies had already sent stress signals, so—in plain English—not one of us urinated for more than 24 hours afterward: our bodies held onto everything.
So why is hydration important if you practice Bikram Yoga? Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It helps transport nutrients to give you energy and keep you healthy. If you’re not hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. You may feel tired, or have muscle cramps, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, or other serious symptoms.
As the weather begins to heat up outside the yoga room, it is especially important to be aware of your water intake and to replace the electrolytes lost when you sweat during class. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other bodily fluids and affect how your body functions in diverse ways.
Common electrolytes include:
We have many products at the studio that contain electrolytes. To name a few:
While at teacher training, we were taught to add a squeeze of lemon, teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of sea salt to water to ensure you get enough electrolytes. I, personally, also like to drink magnesium powder at night before bed. (Plug for the Calm brand. Cherry flavor is fantastic!)
People have long thought the clearer your urine is, the more hydrated you are. If you take supplements or medicine, this won’t apply to you.
A safer indicator is to follow this formula as prescribed by The American College of Sports Medicine.
A couple of final tips: if you plan to practice early, drink plenty of water the night before. Have a nice tall glass of water with a squeeze of lemon in the morning before class. If you plan for your class to be towards the end of the day, limit your caffeine, and take extra steps to ensure you get enough water and electrolytes. Come to class with your body prepared to experience the best class possible!