You don’t really need it. Really. In the hot room your bottle of water is just a distraction. We all know that sense of longing, when all you can think about is feeling its coolness between your lips, just for one beautiful second. But the truth is, unless you have an underlying health condition (which you've told the teacher about before class) you don’t need it. What you actually need is to breathe. And here’s why…
Breath is your priority
Taking in oxygen in as controlled and even a manner as possible is the key to everything in a Bikram Yoga class. Forget how supple you are, or how experienced, or how much will-power you think you have. If you don’t breathe, even the best intended yogi will suffer. And every time you take a drink you hold your breath, think about it, you’re actually making what is already a challenge even harder.
Taking water just ruins all your hard work. As soon as you put something cool into your body you’re undoing everything you’ve just achieved. The aim in the warm up series is, surprise surprise, to warm your body up. So why sabotage your valiant efforts?
But there are two water breaks in class?
When we take a sip between Eagle and Standing Head to Knee, it should be just that, a sip, only to moisten your mouth. It should be the same after Tree. The guys who glug water like there’s no tomorrow when they hit the floor are really only giving themselves another problem to deal with – a full stomach. And remember a water bottle is for drinking and not for showering.
Sick to the stomach
A stomach full of liquid sloshing around in a Bikram class is sure fire way to make yourself feel horrible! It’s just what you don’t need when you’re compressing it in Wind Removing pose and then lying on in Cobra. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to absorb and digestion uses up lots of energy, the kind of energy you need to get through class. If you’re not convinced trying taking a big glug right before Camel. Need we say more?
Learn to focus
It’s a little known fact that more water bottles than people topple over in Eagle. As soon as that right leg lifts up high over the left, then bang, it's like dominoes as everyone rushes to stand them up again. We try to encourage students to practice mindfulness and that includes being aware of fellow students. Shifting a bottle from one side of the mat to the other, knocking it over in postures, or picking it up and down to drink whilst people are trying to balance can be a distraction for you and the those around you.
The trick to all this is to get into class hydrated. Your aim is to develop good habits both in and out of the studio. Put your water bottle in a sensible place before the class starts, learn to be disciplined in between postures and most of all get into the habit of drinking lots of water every day of the week, not just in a panic before class. And always replace fluids after class, two litres of water if you can. You’ll feel the benefits outside of the yoga room as well as in it.
Finally, just remember all our teachers have your best interests at heart, the water rule isn't there because we want to make your class harder for you, really and truly it’s there to make the experience as easy as possible!