NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV. If you are reading this, I assume you are pretty good at taking care of yourself. If you have specific questions about hydration, ask your doctor, yoga instructor, or both. I am simply relating what happened to me tonight, and how I normally hydrate.
It's just past 10:30PM. Took the 6:30 class then stayed to fulfill my work-study obligations.
How was my class?
Dry, very dry.
You see, I got so wrapped up in running errands, going to visit my Dad, and do household chores that I did not hydrate properly. Normally, I try to get 3-5 liters of water/Gatorade/Powerade/mineral water per day. I try very hard to get 2-3 liters down before class, and 1-2 after (when I am taking afternoon/evening classes). Today, I got a grand total of one liter of water in before class. One.
I got through the Standing Series ok (I did kick out in Standing Head to Knee for the fourth straight class!!), but as soon as we got to Cobra, it was game over. I couldn't lift myself up far, nor could I hold the pose. I felt really weak. My fingers cramped. I gulped water time and again just to stay in the room. Needless to say, I laid out most of the floor series. My 40oz HydroFlask was empty when class ended -- just a few small ice cubes left. When I got back to the changing room, my 32oz Powerade was gone in seconds.I refilled my flask and drank half of that before returning to the hot room to start cleaning. As I type, I've got a 24oz glass of ice water laced with four Emergen-C packets, and it's almost empty.
All of this made me think that, in reality, I've been a bit lax about hydration this entire week. I'm on vacation, so I'm not on my normal routine. This is good in that there have been no trips to the donut shop to OD on sugar and carbs. This is bad in that I buy a gallon of water every day at work and try to get through three quarters of it before I leave.The rest goes into my flask with lots of ice. I also get a quart of Gatorade/Powerade that I drink one or two hours before class for extra electrolytes, and a liter of mineral water for after class. When hydrated, I rarely get through half my flask during class. When not.... well, nights like this happen.
So, is a gallon of fluid per day enough for me?
Yes. And no,
The month of May was one of the wettest ever around here (17-20 inches of rain). This meant there was not a lot of sun, and temperatures were moderate. So, a gallon of fluid was just fine. This month, temperatures are closer to normal -- mid 90s -- with loads of humidity due to all the rain. So, I need to increase my intake even more. Now, I also enjoy my morning coffee as well as my iced tea (unsweetened). Both of those drinks dehydrate you, as does your favorite beer, wine, or distilled spirit.
Of course, there is also the matter of this little 100 day challenge (today is Day 72). I firmly believe I am sweating more in class now than I was on Day 1. How do I know? Well, I now take a shower towel into the room so that when class is over, I can wrap my soaked, dripping grey towel in it, and get it to the laundry bin without leaving a trail of sweat that people have to walk through. So, I have to keep the fluids coming just to keep up.
The sum total of all this?
I must keep a closer eye on my hydration levels as summer arrives and I continue my challenge.
Don't forget, you can eat your fluids, too. Water loaded vegetables like cucumbers help. Also, chia seeds swell up to 3-4 times normal when placed in water. I have been experimenting with chia seeds lately. I mix them with almond milk, vanilla, and a touch of honey, let it set overnight, and eat it for breakfast topped with some nuts or fruit. Good stuff! I've heard about Himalayan salt and how great it is for maintaining the levels of trace minerals needed to assist with hydration. That will be my next experiment.
So, want a simple tip to improve your yoga practice and general health?
Drink your water and maintain your electrolyte levels.
Now if you will excuse me, I'm thirsty again.