I first learned to love water inside a hot and sticky Bikram studio. For anyone who isn’t aware of Bikram, it is a hot yoga practiced in a room with temperatures of 105 degrees F (41 degrees C!)
As a beginner to Bikram, my body wasn’t used to the heat, humidity and intense series of traditional postures. In class, when the heat became unbearable, my first instinct was to drink as much cold water, in as little time possible. I was shocked when my teacher would tell us instead, to drink water as if it were hot tea - small, savoring sips and only a few times per class.
There were two reasons for this. First, was to teach us the importance of the breath. Instead of placing our hands on our hips or slumping when we felt overheated, train yourself to calm your heartbeat and emotions with each inhalation and exhalation. Focus on a slow and steady breathe, and stand absolutely still in one place on your mat. Second, to drink water before class and incorporate it into our lifestyles, so your body is naturally prepared for the heat. Water takes a full 45 minutes to absorb in the body. This means if I drank water during a 90-minute class, most likely I wouldn’t feel the effects until after leaving the studio.
Water is not only extremely beneficial to the body, but necessary. I found that water is similar to yoga. The more I taste it, the more I want…
- Drinking water helps maintain the balance of bodily fluids. It works to transport nutrients and oxygen into cells, creating healthier organs. Water is also known to help regulate metabolism, which is why you will often read that water helps with weight loss.
- Water is a natural detoxifier as it helps your kidneys to function properly, keeping a healthy flow through your digestive track.
- Water helps to energize our muscles and moisturize our joints. This was key for my Bikram class, and relevant for any other type of exercise. You should drink water before, during and after you work out, to keep the body hydrated after a good sweat session.
- Hydration results in radiant skin, and keeps a healthy glow year round. Your body will look and feel more energized with an adequate intake of H2O, allowing you to make the most of each and every day.
With the summer temperatures rising, now is the perfect time to introduce more water into your diet so it can become a part of your lifestyle. Create a personal water challenge – cleanse and boost your body’s organs the most natural way possible by drinking ten (or more!) 8 oz. glasses of water a day.
Here’s how to easily incorporate more water into your day…
- Invest in a portable water container. Two of my favorite brands - Klean Kanteen, for a BPA-free sleek metal bottle, which donates 1% of all sales for the planet or Nalgene, a copolyester plastic bottle, which is extremely durable and guaranteed for a lifetime. Both bottles come in different sizes, shapes, colors and are dishwasher safe. Learn to love your bottle, as it’s your new best friend! With your new investment you will save money on buying bottled water and most importantly reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing less plastic. Bring your bottle with you wherever your day takes you: on your commute, next to you while you work, and out around town on errands
- Substitute water for other pre-made drinks (soda, canned fruit juice, ice teas). Although there are many more ‘healthy’ options on shelves these days, most of the time if it is packaged, there will be some type of preservatives and sugar to keep the flavors. It is always healthier to stick with natural water, or homemade juice so you know exactly what you are putting into your body.
- Introduce more water-based foods into your diet. Fresh vegetables and fruits contain loads of natural vitamins, antioxidants and water. There are a few superstars in these food groups to look out for: watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupes, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce and eggplant to name a few. Incorporate more ‘sponge foods’ into your cooking, such as beans, whole grain pastas and rice. They absorb the water as they cook and soak, often doubling (or tripling!) their size due to the extra water content.
- Spice up your water the organic way! If you are someone who doesn’t find water to be appetizing, then get creative in the kitchen! It is important to make diet and lifestyle changes accessible and relevant to your bodies needs.
A great alternative to plain tap water are homemade infusions with natural flavors:
- Add a sprig of your fresh herb of choice: peppermint, spearmint, or basil.
- Cucumber, mint + lemon (optional: ginger) for a refreshing option
- Add a slice of lime and/or your fresh berries of choice: blue, straw, raz or all three!
- Boil tap water and add your herbal tea of choice (herbal is decaffeinated - caffeine dehydrates us!) with fresh cut ginger and a dash of honey.
- Or attempt my favorite fusion, the famous ‘limonana’ of India: a fresh non-alcoholic mojito. Combine mint, loads of lime slices, honey, ice and sparkling water to sip a refreshing, hydrating, tropical drink from home!
Create exciting new ways to enjoy more water in your daily routine for overall health and well-being. Sometimes it really is the pleasures in life!
LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here