Though it is ideal to do Yoga on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, most people have to squeeze their practice in whenever there is time. What to eat and when is crucial to success. Heavy meals should ideally be avoided or passed at least 3-4 hours before practising. Lighter meals can be consumed at least 2 hours before. So what exactly should you be eating before and after Yoga? Here are our tips.
BEFORE YOU PRACTISE
One of the most important things to remember is to drink at least ¼ litre of water 30 minutes before class. If you’re practising in the evening, make sure you drink 1.5 litres throughout the day prior to your class. Included in that, make sure you’re drinking that ¼ litre 30 minutes before your class. If it’s hard for you to drink that much water throughout the day, try adding fresh fruit for flavour or drinking fruit tea instead.
When it comes to food, you want to aim for snacks that are easy to digest and that will help you stay loose while you practise. Simple carbohydrates with small amounts of protein, fat or fibre will give you staying power and energy. It’s great to reach for fruit and nut butter or a smoothie at least an hour before your practice. A simple smoothie might be a banana blended with water and almond butter or milk and some protein powder with a dash of cinnamon for flavour. Easy-to-digest foods such as fruit are better than a small meal close to practising. A banana makes a great light snack. Avoid spicy, fatty and acidic foods that might upset your stomach. Giving yourself time to digest before you practise is important but you really have to listen to your body to determine the timing that works best for you.
AFTER YOU PRACTISE
After you practise you want to refuel within 30 to 60 minutes after class. Foods that are quickly absorbed and digested are best. Aim for a combination of lean protein and a small amount of carbs.
Just like knowing how much to drink before Yoga is important, it is again equally important to know how much to drink after class. You want to make sure you drink at least ½ litre of water around 30 minutes post Yoga class. If you happen to have a coconut tree in your garden (who doesn’t?!), it would be even better to drink the complete water of a coconut. The idea is to avoid dehydration and provide zinc and sodium to prevent the threat of cramps in the body.
Just like in your physical practice, your body is your best teacher. Think about how you feel after each meal or snack and you’ll start to get a sense of what foods work best for your body before and after your Yoga class.