What to Eat & Drink to Stay Hydrated for a Yoga Class
Hydration before and after a yoga class
It’s now common knowledge that we need around 8 glasses per day for proper hydration and functioning of the body. That amount can be insufficient if you are active and sweating; which is exactly what happens in a yoga class; especially if it’s Bikram. On a hot summer day. With a demanding teacher. #sweatalert
Drinking water during a yoga class might not be your best bet to stay well hydrated because the sips of water can cool the inner heat you are building in your practice, that will lead to clear energy. It can also disrupt your focus to get out of a pose to reach for your water bottle. But if you really feel parched, listen to your body and please drink.
Because drinking water during a yoga class is not recommended, we need strategies to stay hydrated before, during and after a hot yoga class.
1- Hydrate before your class
If you want to avoid that post-class dehydration headache, you should make sure you get to the studio super hydrated in the first place! If it’s summer and you are heading to a Bikram class, this is even more important. Being properly hydrated keeps away muscle cramping, dizziness and tiredness.
Don’t down a liter of water right before class though! You will feel full and uncomfortable. As it takes 45 minutes for your system to process water, make sure you drink well ahead. Sip at least 500 mL of water one hour before class.
2- Eat Hydrating Food
We shouldn’t rely solely on liquids to assure proper hydration! High water content food have to be part of our diets. Think lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, celery, watermelon, and the list goes on! Raw fruits and veggies are not only super hydrating, but are full of electrolytes like potassium and magnesium which are essential to prevent dehydration.
So for your next pre-class snack, gulp on a green smoothie, grab an apple or munch on delicious berries! Not only are fruits and vegetables the best vitamin boost you can get, they will get you much further than simply drinking water in order to stay hydrated.
Your body keeps its hydration because of electrolytes. It needs the right balance of electrolytes and water to function as it should. Yes, dehydration can be a result of not drinking enough water. But it can also be caused by electrolytes loss.
Drinking a lot of water on its own can dilute your electrolytes which is what may cause those muscle cramps in chair pose! So the more water you take, the more electrolytes you should take. Stay away from sport drinks, as they contain way too much sodium and sugar. We love coconut water not just because it tastes tropical, but because it is jam packed with essential electrolytes. Otherwise, get back to number 2 and eat your water AND your electrolytes.
4- Avoid Dehydrating Food
Those few wine glasses with your friends last night were surely fun, but probably not the best to fully enjoy your morning yoga class. Alcohol is really dehydrating and it’s best to avoid it. Same goes for caffeine. High protein foods require a lot of water in order to be digested and we don’t need to say that high salt or high sugar food are dehydrating as well. But we still said it, just to make sure.
Re-Hydration after your yoga class is just as important as pre-hydration, if that’s a word. Bring a water bottle with you and start drinking on your way home. How much you need to drink really depends on how much fluids you’ve lost. It all comes down to your effort, the temperature… and how much you were sweating. As a good rule of thumb, aim for 750 mL to 1L. It doesn’t have to be plain water though! Give it taste with lemon juice, cucumber or berries!