Are you ready to get your yoga and nutrition game on point? Look no further! Here’s a guide on what to eat before and after a yoga sesh to fuel your body and mind.
How to eat an Ayurvedic diet as a yogi
The practice of Ayurveda is closely linked with the values of modern yogis, and many try to adopt the principles in part or in whole.
Every felt like you just don’t like a set of foods that upset your stomach, especially before working out? There’s a tie-in to Ayurveda there. According to Yoga Journal, “rajasic foods (such as coffee, hot peppers, and salt) can increase dullness or hyperactivity, respectively.”
The yoga diet is centered around the principles of Ahimsa, Sattva, and Prana.
Ahimsa, which means “non-violence” in Sanskrit, involves causing no harm to others, yourself, or your community. In the context of the yogic diet, this often translates to following a vegetarian or vegan diet in order to avoid causing harm to animals.
Sattva, which means “purity” or “goodness,” is one of the three gunas in Samkhya philosophy. Practicing sattva in the diet involves consuming foods that are pure and nourishing, such as organic produce with mild spices, fresh vegetables, grains, legumes, and mildly sweet foods. You can also include some dairy products as long as they are unpasteurized.
Prana is the life force or energy found in both living and non-living things. According to traditional beliefs, the foods that contain the most prana are fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s important to eat fresh produce to maintain high levels of prana, as it gradually decreases as produce is picked.
What you should consider eating before yoga:
- Eat something light and easily digestible about an hour or two before hitting the mat.
- A banana is a classic pre-yoga snack. It’s packed with potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps, and has a good amount of carbs for energy. Plus, it’s portable and easy to eat on the go. Just make sure to give yourself enough time for it to digest before starting your practice. Typically a banana digests fairly quick, so you can eat one closer to 30-45 min before a class if you’re in a crunch.
- If you’re feeling a little hungrier, try a small bowl of oatmeal with some sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey. Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that will give you sustained energy, and the almonds add a nice crunch and some protein. We love Picky Bars’ chocolate beet oats for this.
- For a savory option, try a rice cake with hummus and veggies. The rice cake will provide some complex carbs, and the hummus and veggies will give you a boost of plant-based protein and fiber.
Foods to eat after yoga:
- It’s important to replenish your body after a sweaty yoga session, so make sure to have a snack or meal within an hour or two after class.
- If you’re in a rush, a protein smoothie is a quick and easy option. Try blending some silken tofu, frozen berries, and a banana with some plant-based milk and a scoop of protein powder. The tofu will provide some protein to help repair and rebuild muscle, and the fruit will give you a dose of antioxidants and natural sweetness.
- For a more substantial meal, try a bowl of quinoa and roasted vegetables. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, and the roasted vegetables will give you a boost of vitamins and minerals. Top it off with a drizzle of tahini for some healthy fats.
- If you’re in the mood for something a little more indulgent, treat yourself to a veggie-packed sushi roll. Just make sure to go for brown rice and opt for avocado, cucumber, and other vegetables as fillings to keep it on the healthier side.
But wait, there’s more! Here are a few extra tips for maximizing the benefits of your yoga practice:
- Stay hydrated! Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after class to help flush out toxins and keep your muscles happy.
- Try to avoid heavy, greasy, or overly spicy foods right before a yoga class. These types of foods can be hard to digest and may cause discomfort during your practice.
- Listen to your body. Everyone is different, so pay attention to how different foods make you feel before and after yoga. If a certain snack doesn’t sit well with you, try something else.
So there you have it! By following these simple guidelines and listening to your body, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, balanced yoga practice. Namaste.
- Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Potassium: Why it’s important. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/potassium/art-20045246
- Healthline. (2019, January 17). Quinoa nutrition: Benefits, drawbacks, and how to cook it. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/quinoa-nutrition
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (n.d.). Plant-based protein. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition