Proper hydration is one of the most important aspects of healthy physical activity; especially for those who practice Bikram Yoga. Drinking the right amount of fluids before, during and after every Bikram Yoga class is vital to providing your body the fluids it needs to perform properly.
The overall goal is to minimize dehydration without over-drinking. Adequate hydration varies among individuals. Practical ways to monitor hydration are:
Daily body weight
The color of the “first morning’s urine” void after awakening is an overall indicator of hydration status. The darker your urine is, the more dehydrated you are.
Daily body weight
Daily monitoring of body weight (obtained after the “first morning’s urine) is useful for monitoring daily fluid balance because totally body water changes little under normal conditions.
Change in body weight before and after Bikram is used to estimate sweat loss.
The most obvious way to avoid dehydration is to always have water on hand. Drink around 20 ounces of water two to three hours prior to a Bikram yoga session. Drink about 10 ounces of water 20 minutes before the session. Have a large bottle of water with you at the yoga session to get hydration during the rigorous workout and after. During your class, try to take a drink every 20 minutes.
Hydration can come from other fluids besides water as well. Sports drinks are very popular among athletes because they replenish electrolytes that are lost during excessive sweating, but these drinks do have sugar and calories in them. Sports drinks are mostly beneficial during hardcore workouts that last at least one hour. Natural fruit juices are good as well, but often have high calories and sometimes added sugar. Your best option besides water may be coconut water. Coconut water has triple the potassium when compared to your average sports drink (up to 560mg). In addition, coconut water contains magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and riboflavin while providing you with minimal calories and sugar. Drink any of these prior to a Bikram yoga workout, but stick to water directly before and during the session.
A 2% decrease of water in the body has the ability to impact your yoga performance. Therefore, staying hydrated is fundamentally important for a successful approach to Bikram yoga. So remember, always keep a water bottle at hand and happy hydrating!
Laurie Taunton MS R.D.
Laurie Taunton is a Registered Dietitian with her Master’s of Science in Sports Nutrition. She has been working as a clinical dietitian at Winthrop University Hospital for the last 6 years. In addition, she is a guest lecturer for undergraduate classes at C.W. Post. Laurie practices what she preaches by living an active and healthy lifestyle. Laurie enjoys many activities such as soccer, running, weight lifting, spinning and most recently Bikram Yoga. Laurie started Bikram Yoga in February of 2011 and hasn’t looked back. She has completed half marathons, tough mudders and summer series running events which have all taken a toll on her legs and knees. Since taking Bikram yoga, not only has Laurie experienced mental clarity, weight loss, and flexibility but it has strengthened her legs and knees. In essence, this has helped her achieve a deeper stretch to help her muscles recover and complete long runs with less aches and pains. Every month she researches and writes nutrition articles with up to date information for our yoga students. These articles provide each one of us with healthy information to improve our yoga practice. It’s important to realize it’s not only what we do inside the yoga room, but also the nutrition we put in our bodies as well that can help improve our postures, breathing, and achieve optimal results of all our hard work.