Second piece of advice in my Summer Recovery Series: DRINK UP. If it seems asinine to remind you to do something that your body does by instinct: think about your yesterday. How many glasses of water did you drink between 8:00 am and noon? How many between noon and 8:00 pm? Most of us had a few sips when we brushed our teeth in the morning, then moved into coffee, then into tea, then into iced coffee, then… the list goes on.
If you truly want to recover well from your yoga practice (especially if you are sweating it out in the Ashtanga room, where tradition asks us not to drink water during the practice to keep the internal agni (fire) and tapas (zeal) alive) then you need to pay attention to the liquids re-hydrating your muscles and tendons.
3 drinks for your Yoga Recovery
1. Water. That seems pretty simple. The Mayo Clinic suggests an adequate intake of 2.2 to 3 liters a day of fluids for healthy, active adults. You can always follow the 8×8 rule (8 glasses of 8 ounces) because it is easy to remember. Drinking water, which flushes the toxins from your system, drastically decreases muscle soreness by moving the lactic acid out of your muscles. In addition, remember that the connective tissue that covers your muscles, called fascia, tightens into a more dense weave of tissue when it is dehydrated.
If you honestly want your hamstrings to feel good the next day, make sure you drink water before and after your yoga practice. Ideally, we would all practice in the morning and then have the entire day to re-hydrate. (And remember to offer Gratitude for every drink of water… there are too many families living in poverty who do not have access to clean water! If you don’t know much about this crisis, check out water.org or Outreach International and share a few pennies with the 800 million people who need a drink.)
2. Coconut water. Coconut water has all the important electrolytes that your body sweats out during intense breathing and movement. Most of us DO NOT need sports drinks: these have a huge amount of sugar and other additives that may as well be poison. Not really, but pretty close. And if your yoga practice is a part of your overall ‘get fit and toned’ plan, then adding these extra empty calories into your diet is counterproductive. Coconut water, on the other hand, is tasty, low in calories, and has no added sugars. It is high in electrolytes like potassium, which is the key point. I buy ZICO because it was started by a Peace Corps volunteer, both the bottles and lids are recyclable, and it’s yummy. According to their site, the biggest bragging point for coconut water as a recovery drink is the naturally high concentration of potassium. “[Potassium is] an electrolyte (one of five that naturally occur in coconut water, including magnesium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus) that helps promote hydration and is needed for muscle contraction and function. One bottle of ZICO contains as much potassium as a banana.” It’s a phenomenal choice for recovery– lactose-free, fat-free, refreshing and easy. (**NOTE: Stick to the original flavor. The chocolate and pineapple flavors are not appetizing. Read: super disgusting.)
3. DIY Lemon Recovery Drink. My favorite trick is to make my own batch of a tasty sports recovery drink from whole-food ingredients. It’s SUPER easy, and you can adjust the flavor by tweaking the recipe.
- 1 tsp Table salt
- 1 Lemon
- Honey to taste
- Quick boil 16 oz of water
- Add 1 tsp of table salt (for the added electrolytes) and stir until dissolved
- Squeeze in lemon juice
- Squeeze in honey and stir until dissolved
- Store in fridge until it’s refreshingly cold, and drink for a few days!
It’s EASY and delicious and natural. (And doesn’t require any packaging that fills up your recycle bin!)
Ok, try them out. Let me know which suggestion is your favorite or send me the recipe of your favorite recovery drink.