Have you ever noticed that when you leave a hot yoga class you’re a little… damp?
If you’ve spent some time in the hot room at Moksha Vancouver, you know that sweat is to hot yoga is like taxes come April – unavoidable.
At Moksha we keep our hot room to a balmy 35-ish degrees Celsius (give or take a few degrees, depending on how many bodies fill the room), and some other studios go as high as 40 degrees Celsius when offering hot yoga.
We’ve already been over the benefits of heat, but there’s one deterrent you can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore: the sweat! Depending on your personal constitution, there’s guaranteed to be anything from a sheen of sweat on your skin, to a puddle around your mat. And both are okay: sweating is a great way to detox, and when you’re working hard at a higher temperature it’s your body’s way of keeping you from overheating.
All of that being said, dehydration is probably one of the most important things to avoid in the hot room, and sweating certainly contributes to it.
When dehydrated, you may notices dizziness, naseau, and a general loss of energy. It takes most students a couple of classes to acclimatize to the heat of a Moksha room, but if you’ve been practicing for a while and still don’t feel quite right during class, try these tips for hydrating your hot yoga practice.
Turn up the volume
Most people need around 2 litres of water a day to replace the liquids we naturally lose; but when you throw in a 60-75 minute workout in a hot room, that amount will go way up.
Used to having just a few swigs of water between coffees during the day? You may want to consider bringing a 1 litre water bottle to work and refilling it at least 3 times throughout the day. Also, those after work drinks may have to go: alcohol is just as dehydrating as coffee due to its sugar content.
Other ways to up your water intake have everything to do with your diet. Fruit and veggies have a much higher water content than, say, grains and proteins, so be sure to fill at least half your plate ate every meal with them. Snack on fruit instead of a granola bar. And walk into your hot yoga class hydrated and ready to work hard.
Set a schedule
If you don’t deliberately drink water throughout the day, you might actually be used to the ill effects of dehydration.
This means your body won’t actually be able to tell you went to drink more water. Oftentimes we actually mistake thirst for hunger, as well, so basing your hydration on messages your body is sending could be a little counter-productive at first.
Instead, try setting a reminder in your phone to stop and drink a glass of water (or more) every hour. It may seem strange and even a bit uncomfortable at first, but as you gradually start to be more hydrated more regularly, you’ll be better able to judge when you haven’t had enough water in a day.
Electrolytes, electrolytes, electrolytes
When it comes to staying hydrated, water isn’t the whole story.
Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and others that are essential to absorbing water and hydrating the body. Drinking plain water when you sweat heavily every day will not replenish the body – you need to include these minerals to truly balance the body.
Sports drinks will do in a pinch, but often contain high levels of sugar and sodium. Coconut water is by far the best natural source of electrolytes – it gives the body everything it needs, with minimal processing. Emergen-C is also a high-quality option to replenish your electrolytes.
Show up hydrated
It takes our body 45 minutes to process water, so make sure you’re showing up for class hydrated – you won’t be able to catch up in the hot room while practicing. It’s also recommended that you consume your electrolytes before you practice – it will make a world of difference!
On the whole, hydration is important to our bodies regardless of whether we practice hot yoga. But if you want a strong practice, these tips are a huge part of getting there.