Nutrition and yoga are interlinked, yet their connection is often forgotten. Together, they work to balance your mind and body, supporting your physical and emotional wellbeing. Hunger can result in mood swings and low blood sugar, whilst eating the wrong foods can make you feel uncomfortable and sluggish. Therefore, choosing the right foods before and after your practice is key to decrease recovery times and make the most out of the class.
It is not recommended to eat a meal at least 2 hours before your first class. This gives the stomach enough time to digest your food, avoiding unwanted stomach upsets. The foods you eat before a class should be familiar to you to prevent discomfort. It is also important to hydrate well throughout the day with water, especially if you are attending an intense flow, or one of our warm or hot classes.
Before a class:
If the practice is starting 1-2 hours after waking up, a light snack is recommended, such as a small piece of fruit.
- Simple carbohydrates:
- Bananas or apple with peanut butter or hummus with carrots and crackers.
- Avocado toast.
- These snacks also provide fibre to stabilise your blood sugar levels and small amounts of protein.
- Fruits -> contains little fat, making them a light snack to eat without making you feel heavy.
- Fruit contains carbohydrates and natural sugar to provide some energy during the class.
- Dates, raisins, apricots, peaches are all suitable as snacks before class.
- Make sure that you are staying hydrated with water throughout the morning and the day before class to prevent feeling faint, especially if practising hot classes.
- Balance is key:
- After a vigorous practice, such as a flow or warm/hot yoga class both carbohydrates and protein stores need to be replenished.
- Foods containing carbohydrates are digested by the body and stored as glucose for be used for fuel, during exercise these stores are depleted and need to be built back up.
- When muscle is damaged during exercise, protein is needed to be consumed to repair any muscle damage.
- Post-yoga snacks: Greek yoghurt with fruit and nuts, brown rice/quinoa with veggies, tofu and legumes, banana (source of sodium and potassium to restore lost electrolytes).
- High fat foods takes a long time to digest fats so a large fatty meal is not recommended and can contribute to a sluggish feeling.
- Caffeine - caffeine dehydrates the body and has been shown to have a negative effect on flexibility and due to being a stimulant can cause agitation and irritability which does not help during meditation or more relaxed classes, such as Yin. It can also cause acid reflux which can cause unpleasant symptoms during bends and twists.
- Hydrate well throughout the day with water.
- Eat well balanced meals - > light snack before early morning, such as fruit helps to provide some energy during class. Eat a light meal 2-3 hours before later in the day practice.
- Avoid heavy meals high in fat for at least 3 hours prior to a heavy practice and caffeine.
- Experiment with foods to test your stomach sensitivity -> hydrating foods (watermelon, cucumber), avocado toast, nuts and seeds, fruits, yoghurt.
Written by Emily Somers and published on Friday 18th August 2023 at 11:15