The thermostat at a Bikram yoga studio is set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit to increase the intensity of the workout and promote flushing of toxins through sweat. When you sweat, your body releases a great deal of water along with minerals that are commonly referred to as electrolytes. Healthy recovery from a Bikram session requires ample hydration and consumption of food and drink that contain the important minerals lost during class.
Maintaining proper hydration is a prerequisite for keeping your electrolytes in balance after a strenuous Bikram session. Drink at least 6 to 8 cups of water two hours before Bikram to avoid dehydration during class. After class is over, drink as much water as it takes to rehydrate your body to the same weight as before the class; this may require consumption of 8 or more cups. To maximize your electrolyte intake, you should avoid purified water that does not contain minerals in favor of filtered tap water or mineral-rich bottled water.
Sodium is among the most important electrolytes to replenish after your yoga center. Maintaining an appropriate level of sodium in your body is crucial for keeping a proper ionic balance at the cellular level. Sports drinks are a good source of sodium, although they also contain potentially undesirable substances such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Alternates to commercial sports drinks include sugar-free electrolyte-rich drink mixes, juices such as apple juice and celery juice, and coconut water.
Potassium helps facilitate electrical communication between your nerves and muscles. It also helps transport nutrients and wastes through the body at the cellular level. You can easily replenish your body's potassium levels by eating fruits and vegetables after class. Bananas, oranges, grapes, berries and grapefruits are all good fruit source of potassium. Vegetable sources include leafy greens such as spinach and root vegetables such as potatoes and turnips.
Magnesium is a third electrolyte that may need replenishment after a strenuous, sweaty Bikram yoga session. Although sweat contains little magnesium compared to sodium and potassium, magnesium replenishment can help you avoid excessive fatigue and muscle weakness after your class. Nuts, soy products, beans and whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium. Certain fruits and vegetables such as bananas, apricots and avocados also have a high magnesium content.
Dan Howard is a sports and fitness aficionado who holds a master's degree in psychology. Howard's postgraduate research on the brain and learning has appeared in several academic books and peer-reviewed psychology journals.