Sunday, October 5, 2008

In Response to Robyn's Questions

My dear friend Robyn had some interesting questions a few posts ago:

"You said in yesterdays blog that they wanted you to reduce your water intake. Why? won't that lead to dehydration in those conditions. Please explain. Are people adjusting to the heat and extreme lengths of the sessions? Is everybody still participating or have some quit. Just questions your writing bring to mind."

In regards to water:
About 60% of the human body is comprised of water, and we all know that we can survive only a few days without water.  Consumption, however, can be a tricky thing.  Don't drink enough, you get dehydrated, and your muscles cramp up; drink too much and you wash all the electrolytes out of your body and have worse problems. 

On average, the human body should consume about 1.5 litres of water in total each day.  That's a little less than a half a gallon.  At each 90-minute yoga practice, I have been drinking more than that.  There is a risk that I'm drinking too much water and that I will flush electrolytes (and I was warned by the nurse that I'm doing just that), but I have adopted the habit of drinking pedialyte after each class.  Here's another problem with too much water consumption during class:  Your body can only process so much water in 90 minutes.  By drinking too much, you are just loading up your belly and risking injury and perhaps regurgitation in forward bending poses.  The key is to hydrate throughout the day so that when you get into the studio, you don't need so much water.  

Also, water temperature is important.  According to the instructors here and just confirmed on the internet (yeah, I know, but it was from Outdoor magazine and fairly reliable), the body absorbs water best when it is cool, but not icy temperature.  This makes sense as the body would have to work to bring the temp of cold water up to meet body temp and process it.   In this heat and humidity, it's important to not tax the body any more than necessary, and although icy cold water feels and tastes GREAT, it's better to have only cool water in the studio.  
Do I do that?  No, not yet, but I'm working toward it.   

Student Population
We have lost a few participants, for a variety of reasons.  One person was not healthy enough to stay and they are very serious about making sure you are reasonably healthy.  Lots of people here are getting the shits, and the number of people cramping has gone down but there's still some each week, but if a person has some kind of condition that puts them at serious risk, they are pulled out.  We are being coached extensively to take responsibility for our bodies, work hard but do not overdo it.  At this stage, people (including me) are starting to get very achy and are at risk of pulling/tearing muscles and/or tendons/cartilage.  I have made the decision to really take it easy in morning classes and to push in the afternoons only when I feel truly strong.  I had been taking motrin after morning class, but I've stopped that, because it inhibits the pain sensation in the afternoon and can lead to over stretching.  

We've also lost a few people due to stupid actions.  I won't go into detail, but this is a Fairmont hotel and certain protocol is appropriate, and some people apparently feel privileged and it cost them their training.  

Others yet are frustrated with the bootcamp-like process.  They have not and will not leave, but they do resent some messages and some of the rules.  For me, I remember that there is more to this than just hatha yoga -- it's about rebuilding our bodies, minds and souls from the cellular level.  And the results can be remarkable.  Don't think this is a cult -- it's a proven process (hundreds maybe thousands of years old in India), that allows us to gain an amazing strength.

More on that later.  I have to shower and get some food.  It's Sunday, and today for sure I'm going to get a massage and work on my dialogue.

Love to all.   And thanks for your support and messages.  It's such an honor to have your kind words and good feelings.  


Duffy Pratt said...

One other point about drinking water: it takes about 20 minutes before you start to absorb any water that you drink. That means there is basically no reason at all to be drinking water in class after the first hour or so.

The main thing, however, is that many many people drink water, and ice water especially for comfort rather than out of need. As one of my favorite teachers likes to say: Life itself consists in getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

It sounds like you are doing great.

One other comment: yoga teaching may have been going on for thousands of years, but Bikram's innovation is in figuring out how to teach it to more people than just the one on one, guru/student relationship. As a result, his studios and the teacher training is actually quite a new process.

Christian said...

Yes you are right about absorption and such, but the real deal about drinking in class is the distraction (and having a stomach full of water for the floor series, which suck too).

The goal is to drink only at appropriate times, after eagle, at the end of the standing series (or before triangle is Bikram is teaching), then at fixed firm, and after the last breathing. Other times the goal is to be still and keep focusing.

I know how hard that is there, the heat the humidity, but that's the goal. Chilled water instead of icy water is hard there as well, especially when you are practicing next to people with ice buckets.

Keep working on it. But no matter what you are doing remember to just keep trying and be kind to yourself. Classes at training aren't like classes at home. When you get home you can reconstruct your practice.

Mel said...

You rock Lucy, keep that smile on your face, adn the glow in your eye. Thank you for letting me into your life. I am very much enjoying sharing this rollarcoaster ride with you. Buckle up baby, week 4 is here.
Luv Melissa

Mel said...

You rock Lucy, keep that smile on your face, adn the glow in your eye. Thank you for letting me into your life. I am very much enjoying sharing this rollarcoaster ride with you. Buckle up baby, week 4 is here.
Luv Melissa