Ask Helen

May 2013

The fountain of  yoga…..

Dear H,
I am confused about hydration.
How much should I be drinking before class?
Thank you, F

Dear F,
This is an incredibly important question, because hydration is key to Bikram Yoga! And life, for that matter.
The key to hydration lies in water & salt…. Yes, salt.
Hydration isn’t about guzzling a litre of water right before class starts. Having a belly full of water is likely to make class feel even more challenging. Ideally, we should all be drinking at least 2 litres of pure water every day. That’s why all BYC teachers advise you to sip small amounts of water during class and to do your main hydrating throughout the day.
And of course, water alone does not equal hydration. We also require the right balance of electrolytes, which can be found in rock salt, sea salt or Himalayan salt.
When you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. To help you do this, you could perhaps add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your water (with a squeeze of lemon juice for taste).  Coconut water, Emergen-C or Nuun, all sold at BYC reception, also do the job nicely.
Why do we not sell or advice you to drink cold water in class? Just think, you are doing all this work to try to warm yourself up. If you hit your stomach with a blast of cold/ice water your body gets confused… Hot? Cold? Whats happening?
Room-temperature water is easier for your body to assimilate than cold water. Our bodies have to use valuable energy to warm the water to absorb it, so, drink room temperature water and, instead, use all your energy for your postures!
Water really is the stuff of life: it transports nutrients, hormones and other important molecules to where they are needed in the body. Did you know that we are 75% water and that the human brain is 85 % water (explains a lot of post Bikram happenings, if you ask me!). Medical research has found that when our bodies are dehydrated over a long time, it can develop symptoms of diseases such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, migraine and many others. If we drank enough water daily, according to the experts, many cases of these debilitating diseases could be prevented or even cured!  Water for thought, huh!?

April 2013

Question

Dear Helen,

I am Training to run the London Marathon this year and recently heard about Bikram Yoga from a friend.  I was wondering if you thought this was something i could take up during my training of if i should leave it for the time being – one challenge at a time?
K

Response

Dear K,

I really admire anyone who challenges themselves physically and mentally to run marathons. I believe you have to have a great passion for the sport because it is so tough. Obviously there are great fitness benefits from training for a marathon but also the body gets quite a pounding resulting in injuries such as strains, sprains and stress fractures and inflammation of muscles and tendons etc….

The yoga can greatly help by safely strengthening and stretching your muscles, re-aligning muscles, ligaments and tendons.  For example runners can get Achilles Tendinitis, Bikram yoga has great stretches for the calf muscles which helps with this problem.

Also the yoga will help by improving lung capacitiy with the breathing exercises.

Other marathon runners have said that the Bikram Yoga has improved their endurance, concentration, recovery heart rate, breathing, and that they suffer less injuries.
I hope this has helped to entice you to try Bikram Yoga.
Warmest Regards
Helen

March 2013

Question
Hi Helen,
I’m expecting a baby in June this year but will be having a planned C-section.
I’m really missing my yoga sessions at BYC and am keen to return for both my physical and emotional well being.
How soon after a C-section delivery would it be ok to return if all goes well with the op and recovery?
Many thanks,
A

Response

Hello A,
Congratulations!
I myself have had a C-Section.
I found taking Arnica before and after the operation to be very helpful.
If all goes well, there is nothing to stop you coming back to the yoga 8 weeks after your C-section, obviously with the okay from your doctor.
For the first few classes it is best not to do the sit ups until you have gained a little more muscle strength.
The practice and heat is so good for speeding up the healing process of scar tissue. So simply, yes, come back after 8 weeks and get back in the lovely hot room.
Also if you are planning to breast feed some of the belly down postures are modified but you can talk with us when you come in.
We all wish you the best and look forward to seeing you soon.
Helen