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Summer, Sweating and Hydration

Hooray! Hot, sunny, summer weather is finally here. And it's an excellent time to do Bikram yoga, which will help you deal with the summer heat on a daily basis. But it's extra important to make sure you're well-hydrated -- your body is heating up and losing more water through sweat in the summer. Even before you get to class.
The fact that you need to drink plenty of water before & after a Bikram yoga class is probably not lost on anyone. Most people leave the class with clothes, hair & towel soaking wet. All this sweating is cleansing your body of toxins, but also means you're losing a lot of water. The human body is pretty much one big ol' water sack:
  •     Muscle consists of 75% water
  •     Brain consists of 90% of water
  •     Bone consists of 22% of water
  •     Blood consists of 83% water
Water does all kinds of good things like lubricate joints, protect organs, regulate body temperature, detoxify and help absorb nutrients. Dehydration sets in when you've lost 2% of your body weight. Effects of dehydration can include tiredness, headache, constipation, muscle cramps, irregular blood pressure, kidney problems and dry skin.
Many people lose a liter or more per class. Try weighing yourself before and after class -- you need to drink 20-24 oz (500 - 700 mL) to replace one pound of lost fluid. Many people tend not to drink enough throughout the day and chug back a few bottles within 1/2 an hour of class. This isn't really helping though, as your body needs more time to absorb this water so that you can sweat it out. Make sure you're drinking water steadily through the day; once you reach your late 30s recognition of thirst is somewhat delayed, so you might not realize that you need water. Sports drinks, coconut water and electrolyte supplements in water all work to replace salts, minerals and sugars -- all important to the function and communication of individual cells -- that you lose when you sweat. Electrolytes maintain hydration, blood PH and are critical for nerve and muscle function. While it's important to drink steadily through the day, some drinks won't do you any favors before your Bikram yoga class or preventing general dehydration on a hot, sunny day:
  • Coffee: While coffee isn't detrimental to your body before or after a workout, it's not the sort of drink you want to chug back to hydrate quickly.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol impairs your ability to recognize thirst, as well as interfering with motor control. Best not to hydrate with beer before or after class.
  • Juice and Soda Pop: These drinks contain lots of sugar, which means more for the body to process and a slower absorption of their fluids.
The best things to drink this summer are:
  • Water: This drink has no calories, no artificial colors or preservatives. It is totally effective for hydration. If you need to rehydrate quickly, add an electrolyte supplement, like EmergenC or Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, which is stevia sweetened.
  • Coconut water:  Coconut water is low on the glycemic index, so it won't dramatically affect your blood sugar, while fluid-replacement beverages like Powerade are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a high-glycemic-index sweetener that can spike blood sugar levels and promote body-fat storage.
  • Green Tea: This drinks packs a double punch of energizing caffeine and antioxygens. Look for sports drinks, like Vega Sport Preworkout Energizer, that are sugar-free or low in sugar.

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Bikram Yoga Etiquette

Our friends at Bikram Yoga Vancouver have a great post on some of the DOs and DON'Ts for the yoga studio. Whether you've just began your practice or are a seasoned pro, these tips help make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

  • Arrive on time: If you’re not sure when class begins, check the schedule online. Aim to be in the studio at least 15 minutes before your class starts.
  • Lock it up: Don’t bring your stuff with you into the yoga room. Cubbies are provided in both men’s and ladies’ change rooms.
  • Mind the line: Be mindful of the lineup that forms outside the room before a busy class. Cutting isn’t cool.
  • Yield to yogis: Give the last class some time (five minutes at least) to enjoy final savasana. When it’s time to enter the room, yield to those who are coming out of class.
  • Remove your shoes: Taking off your outside footwear isn’t just hygienic, it also shows respect for the place where you’ll be practising yoga.
  • Tread carefully: Try to walk around – not over/across – other people/mats in the yoga room.
  • Quiet in the yoga room: Not only is talking a no-no, you should enter and leave the hot room like a ghost – or a whisper. This includes unrolling your mat in relative silence (save that whipping trick for later) and doing the same when you’re packing up at the end of class. And no talking during class, of course! If you have a question for the teacher, try to wait until after class to ask.
  • Spit out your gum: Gum and yoga don’t really mix well. Imagine doing a backward bend with gum in your mouth: it could require the Heimlich.
  • Things that ring: Cellphones should be left in the changing room; there’s nothing more jarring than the sound of a phone ringing during savasana. If you absolutely need to have your phone with you in class, turn it to silent/vibrate and tell the teacher that you may need to take a call.
  • Watch yourself: If you wear a watch (though this should generally be left in your locker, as well), make sure it’s not programmed to beep on the hour (especially disconcerting in, say, a 7:45 p.m. class).
  • Make space: With Bikram Yoga growing in popularity, many of our classes are full. When setting up your mat, try to maximize your use of the space in the room. If you can, be sure to set up in such a way that the person behind you will be able to see him/herself in the mirror (staggered works well). During class, try to practice within the confines of your mat.
  • Have good scents: Odours of all kinds are especially noticeable in the hot room. Cologne, perfumes and scented lotions shouldn’t be worn to class. Also, the scent of certain spicy foods tends to leak back out through your pores when you sweat; best not to eat these before class. (Tip: In general eating a heavy meal 1.5 hours is not recommended. Bikram Yoga is best done on an empty stomach. If you need to eat something, stick to a light snack like fruit.)
  • Tissue issues: Tissue is provided in the yoga room, but please be sure to take any that you use with you when you leave. Also, a good place to store tissue during class is between your mat and towel; placing it on the floor could spread germs.
  • Stay in the room: If you have to leave, wait until there’s a break between postures. Also, let the teacher know where you’re going.
  • Shower in two: Please keep your shower to two minutes or less. This is particularly important after a busy class.
  • Let it go: This is the most important piece of Bikram Yoga etiquette. If someone breaks one of these rules, or does something that annoys, distracts or angers you, don’t let it steal your peace. If you do, you’re the one who’s losing out in the end.
Got any more points of yoga etiquette to share? Leave a comment below this post!
[original post HERE]

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Video of the Month

Brandy Winfield (USA) - 2010 Womens Division Champion [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5YHFb8beeI&w=475&h=300]

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For the Beginners

10 Things People Won’t Tell You about Bikram Yoga by Julie {read original post  here} http://www.bikramyogacowichanvalley.com/images/610xc.jpg
  1. When you are in an upside down pose with sweat dripping from your forehead, that sweat will inevitability drip into your nose and therefore remind you what it was like to breathe in water as a child.
  2. Find some tight hot yoga shorts and just wear those. For the first few months of my practice, I wore underwear but it was disgusting. Just wear the shorts and you’ll be fine.
  3. In between your spinal postures, you are asked to “put your chin to your towel and look to the left/right.” If you look the wrong way, you set yourself up for an awkward staring contest between yourself and the yogi next to you.
  4. After a tough yoga class, it’s like you are drunk. Putting on sweat pants is difficult. You run into people (literally) in the dressing room. Your energy is drained… yet in a good way.
  5. If you do a 60-day challenge or practice often, your priority will be washing your yoga clothes only. Your other clothes will take a back seat until you realize you have no clean clothes and you’ve worn the same work pants 5-days in a row.
  6. Eventually, you will be able to predict what your Bikram teacher will say next. Each one has their own style and quotes about life. At first, this will be refreshing. After awhile, you will wish you could mute them. (However, there is nothing like the Bikram dialogue and it all has a purpose!).
  7. There is a nasty White Elephant in the room when you are doing Triangle Pose (Trikanasana). The fact that your sweaty feet can barely stay put. They slip all over the place and this bugs the living daylights out of me.
  8. Sometimes, you will have gas. This is annoying and highly correlated to what you ate that day. I can tell you this from experience.
  9. Contrary to popular assumptions about Bikram yoga, the room does not smell. Well, it has it’s own kind of smell but it’s not bad. It’s not body odor and people who practice Bikram typically take really good care of themselves. I’ve never been turned off by a bad scent.
  10. There will be days when you don’t want to practice. If you practice anyways, those may be the days you amaze yourself. I recall a class where I arrived sick-to-my-stomach. After the first Half-Moon series, I was feeling amazing and my stomach ache went away! This is the same with headaches and other pings of pain.

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Yoga Etiquette

Here is BYL's top 10 list of how to be a courteous yogi:

  1. Time it right: be on time for class; late arrivals are not permitted.
  2. Keep it simple: bring only your mat, towel and water into the hot room as space is very limited. All your belongings can be stored in the change rooms.
  3. Be techno-free: no cell phones in the hot room. You can have expected calls directed to the front desk where we can alert you in case of emergency.
  4. No water-asana, fan-asana and shower-asanas: Refrain from drinking water during the postures as it can be distracting to those still in the postures. Try and hold off until the second set is over. Fanning yourself and wiping away sweat constantly makes you exert more energy and will not cool you down.  Pouring water all over yourself leaves a "wet spot" for the next class.
  5. Know your spacing: Set your mat up accordingly so that you can see yourself in the mirror without blocking those around you.
  6. Silence is golden: Honor the silence in the room and refrain from talking in the hot room before, during, and especially after class.
  7. Take your time: Allow the previous class at least 10-15 minutes of savasana. There is no need to rush to your 'spot'.
  8. Keep it quick: If you have to leave the hot room, only enter and leave  in between the postures
  9. Spare the air: Refrain from wearing perfumes or scented oils to class.
  10. Wash, rinse, but don't repeat: Keep your post-yoga showers quick when others are waiting.

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