Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is water essential for Bikram Yoga?

Last night's Bikram Yoga class wasn't without its share of excitement. I had a feeling the class was going to be different, which was confirmed when I approached the studio and saw two huge utility trucks parked outside and several workmen tearing up the road in front. And then I read the sign on the door: "The studio has no water today due to a water main break. Classes are running as scheduled, but there's no drinking water, showers or toilet facilities." For a half second I considered using this as an excuse to skip out on class #28, but of course my bulldog determination wouldn't let me.

My biggest concerns were drinking water (I usually gulp 40 oz during class) and washing the makeup off my face (the idea of having my mascara pour down my face by the time we hit the balancing series didn't exactly appeal). Both concerns were quickly alleviated -- the teacher was handing out free bottled water and a fellow yogi offered me a cleansing cloth.

The absence of water didn't dissuade people from practicing -- the class was packed. And since the water had been off since the noon class, the odour in the studio was especially pungent by the time the 7 pm class rolled around. So no water and a packed and smelly room. Despite these less than ideal conditions, I had a great start to the class. And when the drilling began during standing separate leg stretching, I breathed through the distraction and focused on my practice.

Overall, class 28 was solid. The only downside was walking home after class feeling especially dirty and dehydrated.


  1. Good for you for not letting it prevent you from practicing. One time, in Boston, I forgot my wallet and water bottle... And ended up doing a class completely sans water. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I guess Mary Jarvis is right... We don't really need the water. We only think we do.

  2. Water is not essential. Our body can only absorb about 1/4 cup of water (or less) every 45 minutes. So, everything else is just sloshing in your belly. You will find the less water you drink -- preferably none at all -- the better your class is. You will find front side compressions easier, all of the spine strengthening easier, and you will not be bothered by that need to reach out and grab just a quick sip. Yes, there are those days where you are so exhausted, so hot, so bothered, that you grab for it anyway. But try. Always try.