All hot yogis know the importance of hydration. You don’t sweat that much without feeling the need to have a drink. It’s reassuring to see that almost everyone that attends an Indee Hot Yoga class comes armed with plenty of water. BUT drinking water alone is not always ideal.
No-one is denying that hydration is critical to our overall health and wellbeing. Water makes up between 60 – 80% of our bodyweight, depending on our age, and drinking water helps with energy levels and brain function. It prevents overheating, headaches and migraines, and it can even help with weight loss.
But when you’re getting your sweat on during a hot yoga session hydration becomes not just important, but crucial to prevent dizziness, nausea, fatigue and muscle cramp – the infamous “yogi hangover”.
Water is great when you’re feeling thirsty - it’s free and has zero calories after all – and its only natural that you’d reach for a water bottle when you’ve been working hard on your mat sweating out all those toxins. But have you noticed that, as diligent as you are about keeping hydrated during the class, you still sometimes get a headache?
You cannot properly rehydrate with water alone. The main reason for this is electrolytes – or lack of them. When you’re exercising for up to 90 minutes in 40oC heat you’re not just sweating out toxins but also electrolytes. These are the minerals that carry electrical charges around our bodies that help you retain water and keep things like your muscles moving. So the electrolytes you lose during a hot yoga session need to be replaced – and quickly. A headache or muscle cramp is a sure sign that your body is deficient in electrolytes.
Fortunately there are plenty of things you can do to replace the lost electrolytes after a steamy hot yoga session.
- Coconut water is very popular now and readily available in most health food shops and large supermarkets. Coconut water is packed with electrolytes and is an excellent way to replace those lost from your body during hot yoga. Plus it’s all natural, free from added sugar and doesn't contain artificial ingredients or food colourings
- Eat something high in water: fruit and vegetables especially. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and starches as they are dehydrating
- Make your own healthy electrolyte-rich drink by adding a pinch of natural salt and pure lemon juice to filtered water, or follow this amazing recipe for a homemade electrolyte drink
- DO NOT use a sports drink since they are usually high in sugar, artificial colourings and all sorts of harmful additives
- Our bodies can take up to 45 minutes to process water, so I also recommend that you have a large electrolyte drink about an hour before the class. This will mean you won’t be starting the class feeling bloated or thirsty. Plus it will make a huge difference to your energy and stamina, giving you a better experience in the hot studio.
Yoga is all about taking care of our bodies and our wellbeing. This includes making sure you choose the right way to hydrate for you and your body. I hope I’ve been able to give you some useful tips.