Have you ever had that pesky headache that just doesn’t seem to go away after yoga class?
Headaches are especially common when you first start practicing hot yoga and the good news is there are easy ways to prevent getting headaches in the first place. They are simply a warning sign that you need to adjust a few things in your diet and before you know it you’ll be on your way!
My #1 tip for combatting headaches is to invest in sole (pronounced sol-lay), which is a specific Himalayan Sea Salt Crystal Stones that dissolves in water. This is different than himalayan sea salt you would buy at Whole Foods, sole creates a saline “gatorade” that you can add to your water before and after your yoga practice. It replenishes 84 naturally occurring minerals that can be depleted during hot yoga. THIS IS A GAME CHANGER! You can read more about sole in detail HERE and purchase it HERE.
Regardless of what type of yoga you practice, it’s important to make sure you’re drinking water before class. I recommend drinking water throughout the day so you’re not trying to quickly hydrate before you head to the studio. A full belly of water makes for a hard and unpleasant yoga class!
Yes, there is such a thing! For those of you who practice hot yoga it’s tempting to drink so much liquid that you’ve inadvertently depleted all of your salts, minerals and electrolytes in your body. If you have crystal clear urine and are going to the bathroom several times an hour, you may be over-hydrated. The good news is the longer you practice yoga, the less water you’ll need.
Eat (real) salt
Chances are you’re sweating a lot in class and you’ll need more salt in your diet than you used to. Fret not, salt isn’t as bad as we once thought, real salt is quite good for you, especially if you’re sweating as much as I do! Not all salt is created equal, most conventional table salt is missing key minerals and often has added chemicals. Real salt however has a variety of natural minerals that will help keep you feeling vital and strong. I recommend reading this guest post from Lauren Brinkac about how to find good, real salt.
Speaking of minerals, in addition to salt there are a lot of great foods that can replenish your body’s minerals. I’ve written about some of these super foods including: sardines, real salt, papayas, and wheat germ (<— love this stuff!).
Try having a cup of green tea before class. There’s enough caffeine in green tea to ward off your headache and will give you a little boost of energy! Watch out for pesky chemical flavorings lurking in teas, for a good brand, I like Numi Organic Tea Jasmine Green.
Go light on coffee
Drinking too much coffee (for me that’s more than one cup in the morning) makes for a hot, tough class. If I drink too much coffee and take class, that can spur a headache, so try to cut back on the coffee or switch to black or green tea.
Skip traditional sports drinks which are chock full of sugar and chemical additives. Instead you can make your own electrolyte replacement drink. One of the easiest recipes is simply adding the following to your water: fresh lemon, a teaspoon of sole (depending on how big your water bottle is), and a pinch of sugar (or honey if you prefer). You can also squeeze oranges, grapefruits or limes into your water bottle to give it an extra kick!
Give it time
The longer you practice, the less headaches you will experience (I never get headaches anymore). Your body is undergoing numerous changes the first year of your yoga practice. Naturally you’ll crave different foods, find out your ideal hydration and balance out your body’s pH. The sweating in class is an excellent for of detox and naturally, you’ll have some side effects like headaches. The longer you practice, the easier your class will become.