What Should You Eat Before And After Yoga?

Written by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
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Do you perform yoga regularly? And if you do, are you aware of what food you should be taking before and after performing yoga? Guess what, what you eat prior to and post your yoga sessions plays a major role in determining your health!

So, would you like to know more about yoga and how a proper diet is related to it? Please read on!

Yoga And Diet:

To get the most benefits from yoga, it is necessary that you eat the right type of foods. Without a proper diet, your body will not be able to obtain the maximum benefits of yoga. It is important that you consume the right type and the right amount of food at the right time to reap the benefits.

Eating Before Yoga:

There has been considerable debate on this topic among health experts and practitioners of yoga. Traditionally, a majority of people feel that you should not eat food before practicing yoga postures because some yoga postures put pressure on the abdominal muscles.

However, for people leading hectic lives, adhering to this theory may not be possible. Those who come to yoga classes post office hours feel really hungry and focusing on the lessons becomes tough. Given the fact some yoga classes may last for 1 hour or more, putting up with hunger pangs can be quite taxing. When you are hungry, it becomes tough to focus on the body and mind, which is a prerequisite in yoga.

Things To Remember When You Eat Before Yoga:

There are a few important things that you should keep in mind if you cannot really avoid eating before practicing yoga postures.

  1. You need to eat quite some time before you get into yoga classes. The human body requires a few hours to digest food properly. The duration of digestion depends on the types of foods and beverages consumed.
  2. It is not advisable to have a heavy meal shortly before you leave for yoga sessions. Try to consume only light food that can be digested quickly and that does not take a toll on your metabolism.
  3. Try to eat in small quantities before practicing yoga.
  4. Limit yourself to eating only food items that have a low glycemic index and avoid foods that contain excess sugar in any form. Gorging on spicy and junk foods is a big NO. Also, steer clear from fizzy drinks if you wish to reap the many benefits of practicing yoga.
  5. Ideally, you should take food a couple of hours before doing yoga. However, in certain situations it may not be possible. Even then, try to eat at least an hour before practicing the poses.
  6. Do not take any food high in acidic content. This can lead to heartburn. For this, avoid drinking orange juice and coffee.
  7. If you drink plenty of juice or water, you may feel nauseous or have stomach cramps in yoga sessions. Therefore, drink small amounts of water to stay hydrated and evade these signs at the same time.
  8. If you have a yoga class in the morning, do not even think of boozing at a party the night before. Alcohol produces a dehydrating effect on the body. You may also be left with a hangover which is not the ideal thing before working out.

What To Eat Before Yoga:

1. Avocados:

A lot of yoga practitioners like Avocado, as it is. This fruit is replete with minerals like potassium and magnesium. This leads to proper functioning of muscles and cells in the human body. Besides, avocados are easy to digest and keep you full for quite some time. The healthy fat found in avocados helps reduce bad cholesterol.

2. Bananas:

Available all round the year, Bananas are cheap and rich in nutrients. The fruit is replete with potassium and this alone makes it an ideal pre-workout snack. The magnesium in it aids in thwarting bloating and muscle cramps. You can have it with salads or use it to make yummy smoothies.

3. Fruit Smoothies:

Smoothies made at home can be the ideal pre-workout food, and that holds true also for yoga practitioners. Smoothies provide adequate nutrition and hydrate the body at the same time. The good thing about them is that you can mix various types of fruits and do not have to stick to any single flavour always! You may use fruits like pineapple, apple, orange, melon, and kiwi, for example. Using fat-free yogurt will be a good idea to make healthy low-fat smoothies. It is better that you do not mix additional sugar while making smoothies. The natural sugar in fruits should suffice.

4. Apples:

Apples are alkaline fruits and help counter acidity developing in the stomach. They also contain natural sugars and lots of fiber. Eating apples also keeps your body hydrated. The vitamin C in Apple gives your body an energy boost which is ideal before a workout.

5. Yogurt:

Yogurt is delicious and can be eaten in a number of ways. You can have it alone or blend with fruits to make smoothies. Some people even take it with oats. Before going for a yoga session, simply take some low fat or zero fat yogurt. This will give you the energy you need!

6. Almonds:

Eating raw almonds can give you just the energy boost you need before yoga classes. You can try eating soaked almonds. Do not opt for the salted variety available in the market at any cost. Organic, raw almonds are the best option for you. Almonds contain vitamin E, magnesium and healthy fats.

7. Raisins:

Raisins taste great and offer you energy in the forms of natural sugars. You can munch on them before yoga. In fact, carrying them in a small pouch is simple and you may put the pouch in the gym bag.

8. Dried Fruit And Nut Bar:

You can munch on dried fruit and nut bars before going to the yoga class. Ensure the bar does not have a calorie count exceeding 300. It will offer you enough energy for the session.

9. Berries:

The berries are replete with vitamins and antioxidants. They are also rich in fiber. You can chew berries like strawberry and blueberry. The natural sugar content in the fruits will keep you energized.

10. Oatmeal:

Eating a bowl of oatmeal before you leave for your yoga class is a prudent idea. It is easy to digest and rich in fibers. If necessary, you can put in a spoon of yogurt in the bowl or drop a small amount of honey to add to the taste.

What To Eat After Yoga:

After you return from your yoga classes, it is quite natural that you will be rather hungry. Practicing all those postures and the journey back home will make you crave for food. However, do not gorge on any snack you fancy to appease your taste buds. After practicing yoga, you need to take the right kind of foods. Do not throw away the advantages obtained from yoga by splurging on a fat-laden sandwich or burger!

1. Water:

While you will need to eat after practicing yoga, it is even more important to provide hydration to the body. You need to drink plenty of water. Plain water is the best option for this. However, for a variation, you may drink coconut water sometimes. It is also okay to add a few drops of lemon to the water for a shot of vitamin C!

2. Fresh Fruit Juice:

You can enjoy a large glass of fresh fruit juice after returning from the yoga classes. It is okay to try different fruits each day for a variety. Do not use additional sugar and rely on the natural sugar in the fruits. For better taste, drop in a few ice cubes in the glass before drinking. It will be far better than drinking OTC fruit juices that contain artificial flavors and excess amounts of sugar.

3. Homemade Vegetable Soup:

You have burnt a lot of calories at the yoga session and it is necessary that you offer the body with plenty of nutrients with calories. For a nutritious after yoga dish hardly anything comes close to homemade vegetable soup. You can use carrots, celery, spinach or cabbages to make such soups. Pour in your favourite vegetables and add black pepper and ginger for flavour. Making soups at home is better than buying them readymade, ready to heat products sold in stores which often contain excess amounts of sodium.

4. Tuna:

You need to offer your body energy giving foods. Fish like tuna is a worthy example. You can make tuna sandwiches or eat other tuna dishes after yoga sessions for proper protein intake.

5. Toast With Banana And Almond Butter:

This is ideal when you need a good dose of nutrition without taking extra calories. Use whole grain toast and bake them lightly in the toaster or microwave. Spread a liberal amount of almond butter on the toast and top with banana slices. You get protein, healthy fats and fiber in this snack.

6. Green Tea:

Green tea has numerous health benefits and it is better than many other beverages you can drink. However, it is ideal after you return from yoga sessions. Yoga enhances blood circulation and the antioxidants present in green tea get circulated throughout the body. The combination of yoga and green tea also acts as a great stress buster.

7. Whole-Grain Toast With Scrambled Egg Whites:

If you practice yoga in the daytime, this can be an excellent and fitting post workout snack. Egg whites contain protein and no cholesterol. The whole-grain breads contain complex carbohydrates and that will ensure you stay energized for a long time. You may also throw in salads with it.

8. Fresh Vegetable Salad:

You can gorge on a bowl of salad made of fresh vegetables after returning from yoga classes. You can use dark leafy vegetables and using organic vegetables is the best option. Use pepper powder or cilantro, chopped on top or pour a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to add to the taste.

What Pregnant Women Should Eat Before Yoga:

Yoga is great for people from all age groups, including pregnant women. However, pregnancy can be a critical stage and certain physiological developments need to be watched with care. While yoga can help prenatal women deal with the blues of pregnancy, they also need to think of their overall health needs.

During pregnancy, it is natural to have sudden hunger pangs and you actually need to eat both for you and your baby. It is important that you do not go for yoga classes on an empty stomach. Do not let yourself be subjected to dehydration either.

Below listed are a few foods prenatal women should eat before going for yoga sessions:

  • Turkey sandwich with tomato and whole grain bread.
  • Hard boiled eggs.
  • Plain oatmeal.

Yoga, like you all know, is a great form of exercise that can calm both the body and mind. This form of exercise has been linked with myriad health benefits and has been practiced since age memorial. Yes, yoga does ask of you to control your diet and to avoid junk food, but that is a small price to pay for feeling fresh and energized.

These simple tips can go a long way in helping you reap the best benefits of a yoga session. While different forms of yoga may call for slight variation in the diet consumed, the above guide acts as a simple yet effective diet plan for all of you who wish to practice yoga on a regular basis. The key is to eat light, and curb the tendency to binge, lest you will not reap anything from spending hours in a room with crossed legs!

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Ramona Sinha
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze with 11 years of experience in writing and editing. She has authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She graduated from the University of Calcutta, West Bengal, and did her post-graduation from the University of Kalyani, West Bengal.

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