We’ve all been advised not to eat before your yoga class – or at least finish your last meal two hours before you start exercising. If you’ve ever made the mistake of digging into a giant sandwich an hour before class, you know why. The only thing worse than coming full class is getting hungry. What can a yogi do? It is important to find the balance between proper energy and blood sugar levels without being completely full or hungry.
When to eat before yoga
Eating light before a workout can strengthen the body, which is especially important in physically demanding classes. If you’re going to a physically demanding class and don’t want to go hungry during class, try having a light snack an hour before class. After that, pay attention to how your body feels during the class. Listen to your body to find out what works best for you.
If you feel hungry before your yoga session, eat a pre-yoga snack that is nutritious and easy to digest. Eating a small portion is better than nothing to eat and not having the energy to get through class.
What to Eat Before Yoga
- Choose whole foods. When possible, choose fresh foods instead of packaged or processed snacks. While protein or energy bars can be quick and easy, it’s difficult to keep track of where the ingredients are from, and the packaging often goes straight to the trash. Instead of snapping up that “meal substitute”, visit the main section of your grocery store for a mix of traces. These mixes of fruits, nuts, and even dark chocolate (an energy-saving food itself) are great when you’re in a hurry. You can also keep most of the nuts, fruits, or cereal in your pocket for easy access to food throughout the day.
- Make a smoothie. Smoothies are infinitely adjustable and mixing some nutrient and vitamin-rich ingredients like avocado, coconut milk, almond milk, coconut water, leafy greens, hemp seeds, and / or fresh fruits and vegetables can give you a boost without making you feel stuffed. If you don’t like smoothies, try some green juice. Many markets now offer fresh smoothies and juices for on the go.
- Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Bananas, avocados, and dates (high in potassium and other minerals like magnesium) will give you the energy you need without feeling too full. These foods also help maintain proper organ function and lower the risk of illness and injury. According to the National Institute of Health, potassium is vital for nerve-muscle communication and helps regulate muscle function. Nuts like almonds and cashews also contain large amounts of minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron, as well as vitamins E and K. Try eating a handful of almonds or nut butters.
What not to eat before yoga
- Oily or fried foods. These are notoriously difficult to digest. Fatty fried foods can cause gas and gas, and make you feel uncomfortable and full.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods. Rice, pasta, pretzels, and bagels are high in carbohydrates, which promote inflammation and are difficult to digest.
- Raw vegetables. While raw vegetables are good for you, they should be avoided before yoga because their high fiber content can lead to gas, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Dairy. Consuming too much dairy products can lead to diarrhea, gas, and gas.
- Acid foods. Citrus fruits and sour vegetables can irritate the lining of the stomach and cause stomach upset for some yogis.
Practice conscious healthy eating
Learn some principles of Ayurvedic and Yogic eating. Ayurveda is an Indian medical system that takes a holistic approach to health and nutrition. Whether or not you know your dosha, the predominant energy in your body, learning some basic Ayurvedic diet principles can be instructive for your yoga practice and help build balance in the body.
Ultimately, if you eat consciously and pay attention to the types of foods you eat, you can find out which foods are best for you before practicing yoga. Keeping these simple guidelines in mind will help you choose your snack wisely before class.
If one day you just can’t help but indulge yourself with that sandwich before class, avoid certain yoga poses like inversions and deep forward and backward bends, as these can worsen heartburn if practiced too soon after eating. Instead, choose supine asanas, such as those practiced in recovery classes, as they can aid digestion and soothe upset stomach.
Do you usually sneak in for a snack before class? What is your experience (good or bad!) With eating before yoga?