Hot yoga, involves performing yoga poses in a heated room, typically maintained at temperatures of 95-105°F (35-40°C) with a humidity of 40-60%. While this intense environment can certainly help in improving flexibility, flushing out toxins, and promoting weight loss, it also significantly increases the risk of dehydration.
Here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated during your hot yoga sessions:
1. Start Hydrated
Begin your day with a decent intake of water. It’s recommended that men take at least 3.7 liters of fluids per day, and women have at least 2.7 liters. So make sure to drink every hour in the lead-up to your yoga session; this gives your body an adequate hydration base before you even set foot into the heat of the studio.
2. Electrolyte Balance is Key
Sweating not only leads to loss of water, but also essential electrolytes. Consider drinking an electrolyte-infused drink before and after the class; coconut water is a natural option that contains key minerals like potassium, magnesium, and sodium.
3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol can have diuretic effects, leading to increased urine production; if you’re planning to attend a hot yoga session, it’s wise, therefore, to limit (or skip entirely) these beverages beforehand – sorry, we don’t make the rules! As much fun as hot, tipsy yoga might be, it’s not recommended!
4. Watch Your Diet
Some foods, such as watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries, are water-rich and can therefore help in hydration. Ideally, integrate these into your diet regularly, and especially on hot yoga days. Conversely, also aim to reduce your intake of salty foods, as they can contribute considerably to dehydration.
5. Listen to Your Body
If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or excessively fatigued during your hot yoga class, these might be signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion. Don’t push yourself too hard; it’s perfectly okay to take a break, sit down, or even step outside the room for a few minutes to pause, steady yourself, and go for another stab at it. Equally, if the sensations persist, it’s best to bow out, rehydrate, and, of course, seek the advice of a doctor asap.
6. Dress Appropriately
As much as you inevitably love your ballgowns and ski gear, they aren’t appropriate attire for doing a spot of hot yoga – which is a shame, because (obviously) you would look fabulous. Instead, wearing yoga clothes that are light and breathable helps your skin to evaporate sweat more efficiently, thus cooling down your body more effectively; ultimately, the key is to avoid wearing any heavy or non-breathable fabrics (or salopettes).
7. Rehydrate Post-Session
Once your session wraps up, guzzle at least 16-32 ounces of water; the exact amount can vary based on your body weight and how much you sweat, but it’s crucial to replenish lost fluids in accordance with your specific needs.
8. Practice Regularly
The more you practice hot yoga, the better your body will get at expertly regulating its temperature and hydration levels; that said, even seasoned practitioners should remain vigilant and prioritize hydration. – it’s all too easy to overlook when you’re busy trying to hold the handstand scorpion pose you’ve been working on.
9. Check the Colour of Your Urine
A simple way to check your hydration level is by looking at the colour of your urine – perhaps not the most delightful of pastimes, but such a clear indicator of hydration! If it’s a light pale-yellow, you’re likely well-hydrated; dark yellow or amber, meanwhile, suggests your body is a tad parched.
10. Consult with Your Instructor
If it’s your first time or you’re feeling particularly challenged or intimidated by the heat, chat with your instructor about it; they can offer advice tailored to you, and may also suggest handy modifications or poses to help you acclimate to the heat.
Hot yoga offers up numerous health benefits, but the heat and humidity can make dehydration a real concern. It’s essential to remember that hydration isn’t just about drinking water during the class – it starts hours before and continues hours after; it’s a lifestyle!
Written by Jinky Oblianda