“Hydration – the quality or state of being hydrated
especially: the condition of having adequate fluid in the body tissues” – Merriam-Webster dictionary
There’s a lot of confusion around what being ‘hydrated’ means. Depending on who you ask, 8 cups of water a day can feel pretty unattainable. That advice doesn’t even consider how active you are, how much you’re sweating, or your body size.
At Mountain Yoga, we consider ourselves professional sweaters. We literally sweat as part of our jobs. So staying hydrated is key for our well-being.
Sweating is essential for the human body to regulate itself- it’s how the body keeps itself cool. Studies show that sweat is an effective way to eliminate toxic elements from the body, and it’s one of the best ways to boost endorphins and give your skin a healthy glow. But what about maintaining internal hydration after sweating?
Start with H20
The best advice I’ve found is this: try to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces every day. So, someone who weighs 160 lbs. should be drinking at least 80 oz. of water every day (+/- some for exercise). We recommend keeping your water bottle on hand and keeping track of how many you drink. Try to find a system that works for you to monitor how much you’re drinking every day. Chances are that if you’re only drinking when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
On days that you’re sweating a lot from being outside or exercising (especially hot yoga), it is a good idea to supplement electrolytes. Electrolytes such as calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium have key roles in the body. Muscle weakness, muscle cramping, fatigue, irritability, and headaches are just some of the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance.
Make sure to choose an electrolyte supplement that has no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, and stay away from high fructose corn syrup! You can add lemon or lime to your water and sea salt for a quick homemade solution.
Some of our favorite electrolyte supplements include LMNT, Nooma, and MixHERS. We keep them stocked at the studio, so just let us know if you’re looking for a recommendation!
When is the best time to drink water for yoga?
You might drink water while you’re doing some other forms of exercise, but many practices of yoga discourage drinking water while practicing yoga. In Yoga and Ayurveda, it is thought that a sip of water during practice disrupts the body’s energy and concentration. It is, therefore, better to drink water before and after yoga instead of during. Ultimately, if you are thirsty during yoga, you should take a sip of water. But try not to use water as a distraction, or drink too much. You don’t want to get a bellyache right before laying down on your stomach (seriously, floor bow does not feel good with a belly full of water!).
Ultimately, a yoga practice can be used to reduce compulsions and become more comfortable with discomfort. When we lean into resisting the urge to drink water or go to the bathroom, we become better at dealing with the discomforts of life such as hunger, thirst, or the weather. We can begin to identify whether these are true needs, or if we are drinking water just to make ourselves feel better or take ourselves out of discomfort.
After yoga, feel free to drink your favorite tea, water, or electrolyte-enhanced water to replenish the body and get ready for your next practice!