Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bikram reflections: class without water

One of the instructors at my yoga studio talks about how it's been years since he's had water with him in a Bikram class. Today was actually my third class water-less. And by water-less, I mean that I brought water in (just in case), but didn't actually drink any.

Bikram legend has it that if you've come into class dehydrated, it's already too late to rehydrate yourself with just water. It's why proper hydration throughout the day prior to a class or the night before if you're taking it in the morning is so important.

The temperature and humidity conditions of a Bikram yoga room are such that you're supposed to sweat, and you're supposed to sweat a lot. If you're improperly hydrated, your body doesn't have enough water to generate an adequate amount of sweat -- your body's built in cooling system can't work the way it's supposed to.

What that all boils down to is: that water you're drinking during Bikram class is more for reassuring you mentally, not so much physiologically.

I've found that my practice without water is actually a bit easier -- instead of drinking, I take the full 20 seconds allotted to me for savasana and calm my mind. I don't think about whether or not I'm going to drink, which means I'm more able to focus on my practice.

Obviously, I'm not a professional and I'm not advocating that everyone should stop drinking water while in physically demanding conditions. What I am saying is that with proper hydration, and listening to your body, it is definitely possible to complete the full 90 minutes without water -- as long as you make sure to rehydrate after class :)

Anyone else practice Bikram without water? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I practice without water. I used to be fanatical about making sure my water was cold enough and that I had enough to last me through the entire class. However, it never really made a difference as far as having a hard or easy class. If I was going to have a hard class with or without water, it was hard. An easy class with water was the same as an easy class without water.

    I started practicing without water about three weeks ago because I felt as if it was always a distraction and that it didn't actually hydrate me during class. I have been practicing bikram consistently since October 2011.

    I make sure I hydrate well before and after class. However, I would not recommend this choice to anybody unless if they really want to forgo the water during class. I don't think that a true beginner should practice without water because he or she needs to get the breathing down and learn how to tolerate the discomfort and the dry feeling in the mouth. Practicing without water also gives me a sense of how I am doing with my daily food intake. Today's class was a bear because I ate quite a bit of food that was full of sodium and junk.