There’s certainly a balance to maintaining a healthy amount of hydration before jumping into a yoga class. If you’re already feeling parched, that’s an easy sign that your body will need some sips before you head to class.
Brendon McDermott, an athletic trainer and assistant professor of kinesiology as the University of Arknasas, tells Shape that if you haven’t peed within the last few hours, you’re due for some water.
McDermott also mentions an algorithm we can use to figure out to replenish ourselves post-workout. From Shape:
First, weigh yourself (in kilograms, not pounds) before and after your exercise session, sans sweaty clothes. Then, take that difference in body weight and add to it how many liters of fluid was consumed during your workout. Finally, divide that number by the duration of the class (in hours) to get your sweat rate, which is also the recommended rate of consumption.
This comes in handy when you take a wide variety of yoga classes. After all, it’s more important that you’re well-hydrated for a 90-minute Bikram class than you would for sixty minutes of Yin. Especially considering the fact that when you’re in a Bikram class, you don’t want to be so hydrated that you feel as if you just ate a vegan mole burrito.
The best thing that you can do to prep for intense style yoga such as Bikram or hot Hatha is to maintain a steady hydration intake throughout the day. This way, you’ll get the nutrients you need without having to guzzle gallons of water before hitting the mat. (Repeat: do NOT do this!)
There are also ways to hydrate without water. Many foods, including some of your favorites, like strawberries, grapes, and potatoes, have enough water to contribute to fluid intake. If you want to stay hydrated throughout the day (and if you’re a hot yoga enthusiast, you do), you can do so by eating leafy greens, celery, pickles, yogurt, apples, oranges, broccoli, bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, legumes, salmon, chicken breast, and even ice cream.
One delicious shortcut to hydration is coconut water. It’s no wonder so many yoga studios stock up on this slightly sweet, potassium-rich beverage; coconut water is hydrating and delicious, making it an ideal choice for small sips before a yoga class.
Of course, if you’re not loosing a ton of sweat, you don’t need to be as strict with your water consumption. A cup of herbal tea, for instance, might be nice before an evening yin. There are even some classes that offer yin and tea tasting. (If you own a studio, this sounds like a great idea.)
Moral of the story? Hydration prior to a yoga class is important, but don’t overdo it by chugging a bottle before you bend into your buddha squat.