While there is more to yoga than just exercise, it is still a physical practice and requires your body to be well-hydrated. Water is needed to lubricate our body’s joints and also help the mind function. Without proper hydration, you will not get the most out of your practice. Unfortunately, some yoga studios have rules about drinking water during class, so staying hydrated may feel impossible. Let us talk about how water affects your
body & mind, your yoga practice, as well as some helpful tips to ensure you stay hydrated.
How Does Water Affect Our Body and Mind?
Before discussing how drinking water can impact your yoga practice, it is important to note how water affects the body:
- Brain Function: Water helps our brains produce important hormones and neurotransmitters. Water increases our blood circulation, which helps our brain flush out toxins and dead cells. The more water we drink, the better our mood, the deeper our sleep, and the better our focus.
- Muscles: We notice the way water affects our joints and muscles, too. Our muscles need enough water to contract and relax.
- Bones: Our bones need water to stay lubricated. When you drink enough water, you will experience less fatigue (both mental and physical) and have fewer cramps.
- Detoxify: Water allows our bodies to take in essential nutrients and flush out waste.
- Heart Healthy: When we drink water, we increase the amount of blood circulating in our bodies. Increased circulation is wonderful for the heart and also the brain.
- Dehydration symptoms include fatigue, dry skin, brittle hair, chapped lips, lack of focus, dark urine, stiffness of the body, cramping, and constipation.
Water and Yoga
During yoga, we push our body’s limits, holding challenging poses and increasing blood flow. In most classes, we sweat, especially when we hold a pose for long periods or perform sun salutations to warm up the body.
Combine movement with a class full of students, and you are sure to sweat. Without drinking enough water, you may feel ill during and after your practice. Drink enough water and you will be able to relax deeper into each pose and leave class feeling refreshed. Research has shown that if we lose 2% of our body’s weight in water, our performance is negatively affected by up to 25%. This decrease can lead to stiffness, inability to perform poses correctly, lack of focus, and sometimes injury. The best way to ensure this does not happen is to stay hydrated.
Ways to Stay Hydrated for Yoga
To ensure you are well hydrated before, during, and after class, consider these tips:
- Drink water throughout the day, even if you are not attending an exercise class.
- Drink a few glasses of water during the hour leading up to class.
- If your studio allows it, bring water to class and take a drink during breaks or any time you feel thirsty.
- Drink more water once the class is done.
- If you hate the taste of water, try infusing it with fruit.
- Eat a diet with nutritious fruits and vegetables with high water content.
Combine your yoga practice with the health benefits of being well hydrated, and your body is sure to thrive.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, eat nutritious foods, bring a bottle of water with you to your yoga class to take small sips, and refuel your body with water after your yoga session. You are sure to notice positive changes in your body, mind, and yoga practice.