Everyone keeps talking about it, there are all sorts of theories and suggestions about maintaining it, everyone around here is constantly thinking about it, and it somehow seems to work differently for everybody. I'm not talking about some esoteric, philosophical topic like life, yoga, or human relationships. This is a far more basic and immediate (for me) concern: Electrolytes.
Ok, the basics as I understand them, for the uninitiated. You sweat way more than usual, you lose essential ions (salts) like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium in greater quantities and faster speed than you are used to, and your body starts shutting down. Unless you manage to replace them in the appropriate quantities at the correct speed. That is where things get tricky. Doing double hot yoga classes every day results in a staggering amount of sweat (one trainee calculated that he loses 10 lbs of water through sweat during one class... maybe a slight exaggeration but even if it's 5 lbs, that's still insane!). And it is key to replace fluids not only in the form of water, but also water charged with the electrolytes that are lost. Also important is to not overdo the proportion of electrolyte replacers to water or you will be the lucky recipient of stomach cramps and other unpleasantness.
Sooooooooooo last week I was diligently using my Ultima brand electrolyte replacer powder during every class to combat this demon, but ended up with stomach cramps and a crash/burn on Friday anyway. Too much digesting going on I think and an unpleasant, manufactured taste to boot. So decided to switch to a mixture of lemon, sea salt and honey to keep myself in balance. I thought things were going well (back issues aside, of course) until yesterday and today (Wednesday and Thursday) when I absolutely could not keep my eyes open. I was a zombie, wanted to sleep every second of the day, couldn't function, could barely move, and essentially felt like I would not be able to get through one more class. Out of desperation I took a couple of electrolyte replacers in pill form right before afternoon class today and dragged myself down to the "torture chamber" without any idea how I was going to make it through.
Then the magic happened.
Little by little, even before class started, I began to perk up. I was able to hold conversations again (this had been totally beyond me for most of the day), was able to look around and note my surroundings (also a superhuman feat during the previous 24 hours) and get a little bit excited about class. Then I proceeded to have the best possible class I could, despite having to sit out or not go too deep in the forward bending or front-side pulling postures (thanks to my stupid back). It was amazing!!! And during this class I realized that my sweat for the last few days hasn't tasted salty while it dripped into my face for 90 minutes. I can only presume that I was so low in salts that I was sweating pure (or mostly pure) water. This despite drinking multiple liters of sea salt-infused water. No wonder I felt like reheated crap for the last two days!
The energy that came back to me continued after class, into the evening, and during and after lecture tonight. I am back to myself, perfectly fine, and re-inspired about being here. I had no idea how bad I was feeling until I started coming out of the stupor. It is scary to be in that place, everything seems dark and hopeless, your mood is completely shot, and it feels like you can't possibly move your body any more. Electrolytes. Arg.
In conclusion, many thanks to John from my home studio in Northampton for hipping me to the tablet electrolytes. They truly saved me today. Now if only I could calm down and get some sleep. The positive side of being so lethargic was that I was able to sleep like a rock at any moment of the day. Now I'm back up again with this crazy energy! Well, at least I have a loyal readership I can entertain while I sit with my insomnia.