When I was 15, I learned what it meant to be dehydrated. We were at a school event - an overnight sports marathon affectionately termed the 'Marafun' - and my hands ballooned to the size of ski-gloves. Now, if you saw my hands to begin with, you'd know they're rather small, perhaps even freakishly small. So I was absolutely terrified. Embarrassed as I was, I got up the nerve to ask our supervising teacher what was wrong. She asked if I had been drinking any liquids - I shook my head as I was having far too much fun to take a water break. She took me over to the teacher's staff room and handed me a large glass of water.
"Drink it." She said.
I obliged. After polishing off the glass, she refilled it and again ordered me to drink it. A bit confused, I did as I was told.
After I was filled to the brim, she explained that it being 3am, and me being immersed in activity and not replenishing my fluids, I was simply dehydrated. At 15 I didn't really get it. I didn't understand why I needed to drink water when I wasn't even thirsty. It wasn't until I started doing Moksha yoga that I fully understood the amazingness that is water.
On my first Moksha experience, having only tried Bikram a few times prior, I was quite naive to the process. I showed up to the class with my water bottle and my mat. Within the first 5 minutes I became extremely light headed and had to sit out for a better part of the rest of the class. Realizing it was my blood pressure I made it my personal mission to drink a large quantity of water during the days I'd be doing Moksha. And it helped. I was able to curtail my light-headed spells, and I was actually sweating. Never before in my athletic life had I sweat as much as I did in a one hour Moksha class. Some will argue that it's the crazy heat, but I've gotten to know my body fairly well over the years. The days that I'm fully hydrated and the days that I've slacked on my water intake; there's a HUGE and very noticeable difference. I was so excited about this observation, that I went out and bought a skidless yoga towel to soak up my sweat!
Side note: Isn't it weird that a blue towel with orange trim can make walk with a bit more bounce in your step as you walk through the studio doors. Dorky as it is...
I challenge anyone who reads this to drink the recommended amount of water a day (click here for an easy conversion calculator based on your activity level and weight) for a week straight and see the difference in your body. Your skin is a little less dry and a little more clear, your hair a bit shinier, your sweat a little less salty. You'll feel a bit more energized, and your recovery time after a work-out will seriously lessen! If these aren't reasons to up your water intake... I'm not quite sure what is!
So find a vehicle (my Om Water Bottle has been my best friend for the past few months), decide if you like your beverage plain and cold, room temp with a kick, or whatever other combination. My personal favourite is plain ol' filtered tap water, slightly chilled, sometimes with sliced cucumbers and sometimes with sliced strawberries. Love.
And next time you're feeling a bit drained raise your glass of aqua and remember that we are what we drink!