To get the most benefit from yoga, poses should be done on an empty stomach. Not only do poses work the outside of your body, but certain ones also work the inside, and if you are full or still trying to digest a big meal, you can’t do many of the poses properly.
What to Eat
The Yoga diet is different from other types of diets in that it is not centered on counting calories or quantity of food. Instead, it relies heavily on the quality of certain types of food in their natural form, such as:
- whole grains
- seasonal fruits
- dried fruits
As you look at the list, notice nothing on it is processed or refined. Everything is just as nature provides it. Also, the diets of yogis stress balance, and to achieve that goal in their eating, they eat select items from each food listed.
When to Eat
As noted, yoga is best performed on an empty stomach. If you eat a meal from the recommended items, make sure you do not eat later than 1 hour prior to your practice. That way what you ate has time to digest and will not interfere with your yoga experience. If you are eating a meal heavily laden with meats or other processed and refined foods (which you shouldn’t be in the first place), allow 3 to 4 hours before doing your yoga.
Eating Before Yoga
While not recommended, sometimes you have to have a little something to eat to carry you through the workout – especially if you are just coming from work and have not eaten in a while. A small serving of yogurt along with some fruits or vegetables a half-hour to an hour before class would give you the energy and stamina you need to get through your poses.
Eating After Yoga
If it takes you a while to drive home after your yoga class, bring some unsalted almonds and dried fruit with you to eat on the way home. For your evening meal, concentrate on eating healthy protein like eggs or fish along with some whole grains and vegetables.
Hydration is important. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and after your yoga class, but try to avoid drinking water just prior to your class. Doing yoga immediately after drinking 8 ounces of water can produce nausea in some students while others experience stomach cramps. Some yogis benefit from drinking a glass of organic juice after class to help replenish nutrients and electrolytes lost during the practice.
By eating smart and adhering to these timelines, you can get the most benefit and fulfilling experience from your yoga sessions.