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A blog about thriving and feeling awesome, by Brad Rourke

Ditching The Bottle

The form of yoga I practice — at least 3-4 times per week — is “Power Vinyasa Yoga.” This is typically practiced in a very hot room. Not Bikram-hot (105 degrees) . . . but almost. In a typical practice, the room will be between 95 and 98 degrees, with very high humidity.

This has opened up a new possibility for me when it comes to mindfulness and discipline. I’ve decided to ditch my water bottle, leaving it outside in the changing room instead of bringing it in to the studio area.

I have long understood, intellectually, that the water I drink during practice does me little good. If I am improperly hydrated when I show up for class, pounding a quart of water will not save me. Yet, I cling to that water bottle as if my life in that 90 minutes depended on it.

Before Ditching The Bottle

Before Ditching The Bottle

Over the last six months or so, I noticed something odd: I was drinking less and less during class. In fact, for a couple of years it has been a rule of mine that I do not drink until the final OM. (At which time I would guzzle as much as I could bear.) I found myself able to take or leave water at the end of class.

Then, one day, I was practicing next to my senior teacher, Patty Ivey, and she accidentally kicked my water bottle over. No big deal, it was closed tightly. I simply reset it in place. But I was in a certain frame of mind, and decided to treat it as an omen. (Not that I really believe in such things.)

So now, I leave my water bottle outside the studio, with my shoes. The result? A new feeling of invigoration.

Another benefit: An added commitment to saucha. This is a Sanskrit word that roughly means “tidiness” or “everything in its place.” I strive, in yoga class, to have a squared-away space. This is part of being a good yogi. Not only so that I do not infringe on the space others need for their practice (I know I get somewhat irritated when a neighbor’s towel is flopped on my mat), but again as a mindfulness discipline, as a form of reverence. By ditching the water, I have one less item to arrange next to my mat.

* * * * * * * * * *

Note that I am NOT remaining unhydrated in general. If you are considering this, do NOT take away from this that you need to quit drinking water! I drink plenty of water: at least 1.5 liters per day. I have just decided that part of my practice is now to get enough water BEFORE yoga so that I can get through even the most strenuous practice comfortably. This requires mindfulness in my daily actions. I need to make sure I am drinking enough throughout the day, and that I have gotten sufficient water prior to class.



3 Comments

  1. Angelique · January 21, 2013 Reply

    Like you, I find that if I’m not already hydrated before doing a sport, or even spending a long day walking around an art fair in the heat, drinking as I go won’t really let me catch up.

    What was interesting to me about this is that you have the ability to keep your water bottle right by your side. I’ve never done any kind of activity where this was possible. Even in my yoga classes, our personal items, including water bottles, were at the side of the room, and we took breaks during which we could get water. Since I’ve only taken two yoga classes, I don’t know if that’s typical. Certainly in dance classes you can’t have water bottles on the floor, because they would be flying everywhere!

    • bradrourke · January 21, 2013 Reply

      Most yoga practices I have been to allow personal items next to your mat — including water bottles. There are some teachers who are a bit “militant” about not drinking water (especially in some, though by no means most, Bikram studios). I am not down with the hardass stance — I prefer a gentle invitation to try a different path.

      I see the difficulty of a hot, sweaty practice to be an invitation to arrive already sufficiently hydrated.

  2. Rebecca · February 12, 2013 Reply

    Good for you! My ashtanga teacher explained that it’s good to keep the heat up inside. Drinking water during the practice “puts out the fire.” The water you drink before will the burn off in the practice, leaving you ready for more later. (She’s not militant about it, but I have come to not need it during the practice.)

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