Recently, we were contacted by a student who said he was experiencing long-lasting headaches after class.

After responding to the email, it seemed like a good topic to bring to the blog. Certainly, he is not alone in this. Here’s our correspondence:

Good morning, Kari!

I’ve been getting some pretty long-lasting headaches after class, which generally lasts the rest of the day. I’ve tried drinking a lot of water in the hours leading up to class, I drink a Nalgene-full of water (sometimes with an electrolyte tablet-like Nuun) during class, and I’ll drink the rest of the day, but nothing seems to completely fix the headaches.

I can occasionally get them to go away after a 60-minute class, but I’ve been unsuccessful after 75 and 90-minute classes (the 90-minute class really killed my head). I was wondering if you had any tips for dealing with or avoiding these headaches.

What are 3 ways to manage headaches after yoga?

  1. One thing we always tell hot yogis is to assure you salt your food.You say that you take an electrolyte tablet sometimes, but see what happens if you get consistent with it. Perhaps a tablet each day plus paying attention to the minerals you’re ingesting with meals. See if more attention to this over time could adjust something.
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  3. The 3 C’s: Next time you urinate look for 3 qualities in your pee, clean (smelling), clear (color), copious (lots of it). Check for the 3 C’s of clean, clear, and copious and monitor your urine for a few days. See if there is consistency here.
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  5. There may be certain things you can do during practice to pull back before a headache gets triggered. I get a headache when I “go hard” or over push it during times of intensity. If you begin to notice your breath is losing control, stop, pull back, and rest. Next time your face begins to feel hot, try resting and getting your breath back. There may be some points of return that help you scale back before the headache is triggered. Learning to care for yourself in moments of intensity is the practice of yoga. Notice what happens and become curious about yourself. Begin to more closely monitor if certain poses might make you lightheaded and how you might reapproach with ease.

If you are someone who experiences regular headaches, it’s also a good idea to consult your doctor. Yoga teachers are not doctors. We give suggestions where we can, but ultimately, it’s up to you to keep yourself safe before, during, and after your hot yoga practice.

What products do you recommend for electrolyte enhancement:

yogaRIOT has recently started carrying Cure Hydration products. Cure Hydration is an electrolyte enhancement product that contains coconut water and Himalayan Sea Salt.

It comes in three different flavors and has zero added sugar. They are more on the salty side, but they are delicious! If you’re interested in trying Cure Hydration, pick one up at the beverage counter at the studio next time you attend class.