Hot Yoga in the Summer
Summer is in full swing in Carlsbad! Summer temperatures are rising, battling the temperature of our heated studio. But, if you’re like us, then there is no stopping you from the heated practice that you crave, which can be done safely with proper hydration. As class sizes are increasing with vacationers, we hope to spread awareness of the importance of hydration for a fun and safe, hot yoga experience!
A little about your body in response to hydration levels and thirst: water in the body can be lost through urination and sweat. Sweating is a very important cooling mechanism of our bodies in hot climates or during physical activity. This loss of water sends thirst signals to your brain. There are two mechanisms in the body that signal the feeling of thirst; inside or outside of the cells. As water in the body decreases, water is pulled from inside cells and thus causes cells to shrink. The resulting shrinkage is detected by brain receptors that send hormonal messages to induce drinking, and causes the sensation of thirst by way of the taste buds. When you feel the sensation of thirst, your body is already experiencing some degree of dehydration. Excessive water loss can lead to a more serious level of dehydration, which can affect brain function, gastrointestinal function, kidney function and more.
Proper hydration is critical for the body to control its temperature! Water loss through sweating on an average day, for the average adult can range from 0.3 liters per day to 2 liters per day. During times of activity or in the heat (or both in our case) the body looses up to 6 liters of water in a day! Wow!! If this loss of water is not replaced and sweating continues, the body looses electrolytes and as well as the amount of blood plasma and the body cannot properly offset it’s core temperature.
It’s important to remember that it’s not only that you are drinking liquids, but also what you drink. Taste buds can also communicate to the brain a craving for certain beverages or foods related to a “reward system.” Whether for the energy or sugary component of a drink, like soft drinks or coffee/tea, or the pleasure component, like alcoholic beverages, a similar signaling occurs. Although, these beverages can help stop the sense of dehydration before it starts, some can also have negative effects on the body like an increase of caloric intake or added sugar, for example.
Not only does the body need water but it also important to supplement drinks with additional salt when excessive sweating is experienced. In this case, when the taste buds might be craving salt, a good healthful option is coconut water! It has a high electrolyte content and is an isotonic beverage due to its balanced electrolytes like sodium and potassium that help restore losses of electrolytes through skin and urinary pathways.
Don’t let the summertime heat and humidity stop you from your regular heated practice, but be mindful of the signals from your body! For the best results, drink before your thirsty and before you come to class! Continuously drink fluids and electrolytes throughout the day. This will allow your body to properly and safely maintain its core temperature as well as improve your athletic performance during your heated practice. For your benefit, we keep a fully stocked refrigerator of not only water but coconut water as well!
Stay hydrated to stay safe on your mat this summer!
Popkin, Barry M., Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. “Water, Hydration and Health.” Nutr Rev 68 (2010): 439–458.