What should I eat before a yoga class?

SLIDESHOW

20 healthy 200-calorie snacks

Healthy snacks that are perfect for pregnancy. Though exercise is best done on an empty stomach, you should try to eat something light an hour or two before doing a yoga class. This will keep your energy levels up and your blood sugar levels on an even keel.
Yoga classes can be up to 90 minutes long, so you may feel hungry, or even dizzy or faint, during your class if you don’t have a snack beforehand. Pregnancy can make you feel hungry more often, so try not to go without food for long periods of time.
You may have a mid-morning, mid-afternoon or late-evening class. So there’ll be a mealtime somewhere around the corner. Take a bottle of water with you, and keep sipping from it during your class and throughout the rest of the day, so you don’t get dehydrated.
If you’re eating a main meal, wait about four hours before starting a yoga session. Performing some postures on a full stomach may make you feel uncomfortable. You may also feel sluggish, as your body uses its energy for digestion. Your body will have to fight for energy, as some will be diverted towards digestion and some towards the needs of your working muscles.
Try one of these snacks a couple of hours before a class:

  • a piece of wholemeal toast with spread
  • a boiled or poached egg on toast
  • a bowl of soup
  • a bowl of cereal
  • a glass of milk
  • a yoghurt
  • fruit salad
  • slices of melon
  • a small fruit smoothie

If you’re hungry 45 minutes to an hour before your class, try these:

  • a handful of nuts or dried fruit
  • a banana
  • a few sticks of carrot
  • a drink of milk
  • a yoghurt

Before a class, avoid foods that are:

  • processed or very spicy, salty or sweet
  • deep-fried or fast food
  • large meals
  • fizzy drinks

These foods aren’t easy to digest and may make you feel lethargic and uncomfortable. They may also cause heartburn, indigestion and stomach ache.
As a rule, the closer to your class, the smaller the snack should be. You could ask your midwife or your yoga instructor for more ideas about light meals.
Eating after a class is fine. You may want to take a snack with you to eat afterwards, though yoga teachers recommend that you wait about half an hour after yoga before eating a main meal. This is because some postures work on the digestive tract, and you could feel uncomfortable if you eat a large meal straight away.
Read more about a diet for a healthy pregnancy. Cameron J. 2009. Guidelines for teaching yoga to pregnant women. Yoga Scotland/Scottish Yoga Teachers’ Association. www.yogascotland.org.uk
NHS Choices. 2013.Exercise in pregnancy. NHS Choices, Live Well. www.nhs.uk
Wright M. 2010. Pregnancy and physical activity. Patient UK. www.patient.co.uk

Top 5 Pre-Yoga Meal Ideas From A Nutritionist

What do you eat before you practice? This question can actually become a little more convoluted than it would appear at first glance. Fueling your yoga practice properly can mean the difference between a blissed out experience, or feeling like you have a brick in your gut weighing you down during your asana.

Eating the wrong type, amount, or combination of foods before a practice can make you feel like running to the toilet – if you get my drift. To help you avoid and reverse peristalsis action, here are my top 5 pre-yoga snacks/meals:

1. Banana + almond butter + greens

This is an ideal combination to power you through a good sweaty Vinyasa practice. The banana is going to give you a quick hit of energy, due to its carbohydrate and B-vitamin content. The almond butter will slow the release of those sugars from the banana into your bloodstream, giving you some sustained energy so that you are not flying high during the first 30 minutes of your flow, only to crash 20 minutes before Savasana.

I have thrown the greens in there because I feel that the minerals they provide help to balance this meal so that you feel grounded and steady. Try to finish this meal at least 30 minutes before you hit the mat for best results.

2. Simple Smoothie

Smoothies are a very popular pre-workout meal, and for good reason. They are fast, ‘can’ be easy to digest and a great if you are on the go! The problem with smoothies is that it is really tempting to get a little heavy handed with the number of ingredients. It is easy to get into the mindset of ‘more is better’ with smoothies, leaving you with a hemp-chia-maca-cacao-almond milk – coconut – kale – banana – date- mango (you get the picture) smoothie.

This may seem like a great idea, but in fact it is pretty tough on your digestion to process all of those ingredients at one time, especially if you are going to be engaging in physical activity shortly after. My suggestion is to stick with 3-4 ingredients or less in your smoothies, and make those ingredients count! I like a simple formula that goes something like this:

    • 1 Green thing (leafy greens, celery, cucumber, herbs etc.)
    • 1 Carbohydrate (Fruit is a great staple, but I have seen other things like oats used)
    • 1 Fat (1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tbsp of hemp seeds, 1 tbsp nut butter of ½-1 avocado all work)
    • 1 -2 cups liquid of choice (water, coconut water, almond milk, etc.)

After that, it can tend to get a little muddled. Stick with simple and you will feel your best. This formula will ensure a steady release of blood sugar, with no spikes or crashes. Try to finish your smoothie 20 minutes before your class.

3. Green Juice

Green juice is my favorite pre-yoga snack. A juice made from freshly pressed greens, and perhaps a little green apple or orange will not only leave you feeling light and ready to bend and twist, it will also give you a hit of energy because it will be oxygenating your cells!

While green juices don’t contain very many calories (calories are energy, not something to fear!) they do contain a plethora of vital nutrients. The chlorophyll in your green juice is going to help elevate the rate at which your cells receive oxygen and nutrients, and expel wastes — giving you a boost of energy. You can drink your juice all the way up to the start of your class and feel great.

4. Sprouted Toast and Avocado

If you are looking for something heavier to help you avoid hunger pangs during class that won’t digest like a brick, then this snack is for you. The complex carbohydrate content of the sprouted grain bread, paired with the fats in the avocado, will digest more slowly than any of the above-mentioned snacks.

This means that you are much less likely to have a grumbly stomach in Savasana if you tend to have a faster paced metabolism. Sprinkle a little salt or lemon juice on this snack and you will have a tasty treat that leaves you feeling ready to ‘Om.’ You may just want to finish this snack about 45 minutes before class.

5. Nothing!

Ok, before you freak out, hear me out. Technically speaking, it is very traditional to practice on an empty stomach. This is usually done if you are doing your practice first thing in the morning.

If you have never tried to practice without food in your belly, I do encourage you to give it a try! It does create an environment where there is more room in your abdominal cavity for deeper breathing, and you may even find that you have a deeper meditation after your practice.

Again, go slow with this one – if you know you are prone to blood sugar imbalance issues, this may not be the best option for you. But if you have generally stable blood sugar, give this a go!

What is your favorite snack before getting on the mat? Have you ever eaten something that you really wish you hadn’t before class? Tell me your stories!

What Should You Eat Before And After Yoga? Maanasi Radhakrishnan Hyderabd040-395603080 October 24, 2019

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!

How did you like this post? Tell us in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!

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Maanasi Radhakrishnan

I have been an ardent book lover since childhood. I have always had a penchant to writing, and enjoy simplifying the most complex of ho-hum subjects and making them interesting reads!When not writing, I also enjoy travelling, and particularly wish to trot the globe someday!

As you know, yoga involves movement, twisting, and turning. The last thing you want when you’re busy flowing through a new sequence is to experience a stomachache, bloating or gas (EEK!). But it’s really hard to fuel our bodies correctly. Sometimes we accidentally eat gassy veggies before class and other times we forget to drink an adequate amount of water.

As yoga instructors, many of our students ask what to eat, when to eat, and how to hydrate properly in order to enjoy a successful yoga workout.

We think this is a great question and hope we can show you some simple tricks to staying healthy and energized throughout your yoga practice. Especially in the heat of summer (hello 95 degrees, Grand Rapids – we feel you!), it can be tough to keep our body full of the nutrients we need to make it through intense work outs and hot yoga classes. So let’s use this summer season to practice being intentional about what we put in our bodies before and after yoga class.

Why is this so important? Glad you asked. When you have the right amount of food and water in your body, you’re able to build and tone your muscles. But when you fail to do so, your body finds itself in “preservation” mode, too busy trying to provide basic energy and unable to create new muscle.

6 Tips for Nourishing Your Body the Right Way

Time It Right: So, when’s the best time to eat before yoga class? Ideally, we ask you not to eat 2 hours prior to yoga. However, it doesn’t hurt to load up on a 200-300 calorie healthy snack an hour or so before class. This will keep your stomach from rumbling obnoxiously while also providing enough time for digestion.

TIP! Bring some apple slices and peanut butter with you to work so you can munch on them before heading to class or grab an orange. Oranges are 87% water content and are loaded with vitamin C. They’re perfect for adding some quick hydration.

Avoid Fatty Foods: You probably already know this one, but before any workout, you should stay away from fatty or greasy foods (Duh). Focus instead on foods with fast-acting carbohydrates or lean protein. Your body can use this energy immediately to provide the boost you need.

TIP! Carrots and hummus is a light, easy snack that will give you the energy and nutrients you need. Save the tofu burger & fries for a once-in-a-while thing (and not before you hit class). Although I must admit, I am a bit of a french fry addict!! I do stick to eating them after class (pinky swear).

Bring an Eco-Friendly Water Bottle: At Yoga Fever, we strongly encourage you to bring an environmentally friendly water bottle to each and every class. We also sell Essentia H2O with electrolytes at the studio in the event you forgot to pack one along. Bring water into the studio with you and remember to drink it whenever necessary (even during the class). We won’t always remind you to hydrate so be conscious of your intake before, during and after.

TIP! When your instructor offers the opportunity to skip chaturanga and go straight to a downward dog, use the extra time to hydrate if needed. Listen to your body – it’ll tell you when the time is right.

Snack Smart before AM Class: It’s hard enough to drag your sleepy a** to an early morning yoga class (we get it), let alone trying to throw in eating properly before the crack of dawn. We recommend eating as lightly as possible before class, then consuming a solid breakfast afterward.

TIP! For your sunrise yoga session, opt for half a cup of oatmeal, half an avocado, or a small handful of avocados. A cup of tea works well, also.

Befriend your Blender: Oh how I heart my blender!! Some of the best pre-workout snacks are healthy, protein smoothies. These fruit and veggie-filled drinks are all the rage these days, so it won’t take you long to google a recipe you like. If you head to yoga straight from school or work, mix it up in the morning and keep it in the fridge during the day.

TIP! Hydration is super important before yoga, so try adding ingredients like green tea, oranges, pineapple, or mango. The antioxidants will also prevent muscle soreness.

Hydrate and Replenish: The first thing you’ll want to do after rolling up your mat is to drink some H20 and maybe even add some electrolytes to your water. Electrolytes help you replenish the much-needed nutrients, sodium and minerals your body lost during your sweat sesh. We keep Emergen-C electrolytes at the studio for our staff to sip on between classes. You can purchase it at Costco or any local pharmacy. Whatever you do, just be mindful to keep your water bottle near you for at least an hour after class, although your body may crave extra water for the rest of the day.

TIP! You can also add in some other, naturally-hydrating drinks like fruit juice or coconut water. Even foods like cucumber, watermelon, and pineapple (all chilled) are a great post-hot yoga treat.

Remember, these are only suggestions. There are certainly additional food items you can add to the list. And it’s important to note that everyone’s body is different. Listen to yours to decipher which foods it can digest well and which are better left for an off-day. And after hot yoga, stock up on your lean protein by eating yogurt, drinking low-fat milk, or snacking on turkey and hardboiled eggs. We’ve also heard chocolate milk is a great way to rehydrate after extra muscle building (who knew?).

Most importantly, remember that these tips are designed to help you focus on your practice. We want our yogis to be fully invested in each hot yoga session, not worried about becoming dehydrated or depleting their adrenals.

STAY HYDRATED GRAND RAPIDS.

mindbodygreen

It feels like it’s 130F, sweat is stinging your eyes, you’re itching for a sliver of cool air… It’s common for thoughts like these cross our minds if we’re struggling through a session of Bikram Yoga. Fear not, however. Whilst it’s natural to have tough days interspersed with those of the less dramatic variety, it is through experience that yogis learn what not to do in the heated room.

As a Bikram yoga practitioner, I have collected a list of top ten don’ts that will help the first time yogi through to regular practitioner.

1. Do not… Wear baggy clothes

Unless you want to be annoyed by sweat drenched voluminous sweatpants all throughout class – as I had experienced 8 years ago – wear form fitting clothing. Think: cropped tights, shorts, tank tops, sports bras. Religious reasons may not allow for this, which is understandable. In such a situation, maintain a mindful meditative practice as best possible – this is key to eliminating excess energy spent on apparel distractions.

2. Do not… Drink too much water before and during class

Proper hydration is sometimes the difference between a hard and not-so-tough Bikram session. Ensure you’ve digested enough water before getting to class – this means consistently sipping on over the Mayo Clinic recommended 8-9 glasses per day. Chugging a bottle of water right before class will only give you an uncomfortably full stomach, and drinking too much during class will inevitably make most of the floor series harder, especially in poses that require you to engage or lay on the belly.

3. Do not… Eat before class

The general rule is not to eat within 3 hours before class, but if you’re famished, eat something light and bland like Saltine crackers; a couple should curb the hunger pangs. Personally, I don’t recommend nuts, chocolate, soy lattes, flavoured crisps, or sushi, to be eaten within the two hours before practice. I’ve tried it and regretted it.

4. Stop… The fidget

Bikram yoga aims to reign in your focus, and fidgeting is an easy way to break this meditation. Transitioning between the poses cultivates patience and calm; try and make a conscious effort not to fix your hair, drink water when you don’t need it, wipe the sweat, and adjust your mat and towel. Letting go of being ‘bothered’ by the details will do the mind wonders. I got into the habit of drinking water before a certain pose and am now working on breaking it. It was simply a fidget.

5. Do not… Wipe the sweat

Sweating in a hot room is unavoidable – it’s the body’s natural air conditioner. Wiping off sweat will only disrupt your practice and encourage more sweat production for the body to cool down. Allow the sweat to drip onto your towel, and over time you will become more aware of how perspiring is the body’s way of helping you maintain a temperature that will get you through the 90 minutes.

6. Do not… Breathe through the mouth

Breathe only through your nose. Breathing through your mouth will stimulate the fight-or-flight response which means unnecessary feelings of stress, fear, anxiety. If you need to take a knee or lie down – definitely do this if you feel dizzy – make sure to take deep breaths to a count of 4 – in, and a count of 4 – out. You’ll calm down quicker for the oxygen being inhaled, and the carbon dioxide and toxins being exhaled. An added benefit: you’ll notice poses like Triangle and Full Locust Pose becoming easier to maintain.

7. Do not… Sit in the front row if you’re new

Bikram yoga is a beginner’s series and the teacher leads the class through dialogue. This means that postures are learned by listening to the words and looking to other practitioners for guidance; the teacher doesn’t demonstrate. If you’re unfamiliar with the poses, sit towards the middle/back of the room (the side with no mirror) so that you can have a good view of the entire class. This way you’ll be able to look forward and learn by example.

8. Do not… Talk in class

Meditation is a vital part of the Bikram series; mind over matter helps you pay attention to poses and quiets the internal chatter. Apart from the teacher’s dialogue, it is etiquette to leave the talking to your neighbor and deep breathing for outside the room. Instead of the chit-chat or heavy sighing, focus on something that will get you through the practice like staring at a spot on the ceiling during the floor series, focusing on the point between your eyes in the front mirror, repeating a mantra when you’re distracted– these should assist in cultivating a mindful practice.

9. Do not… Push too hard

The room is heated in the vicinity of 105F (depending on where you practice), so it is easy to think that you’re more limber and flexi-bendy than you really are. In your first few classes of Bikram Yoga, pace yourself and don’t stretch like crazy – you’re still figuring out your limits. Otherwise, you could be setting yourself up for injury. Remember: there is no rush – you have your whole life to do yoga. Some yogis around you may have been practicing for years, which is why they’re able to easily get into a pose. Listen to the dialogue; work on Part A before you move forward to Part B and C.

10. Do not… Run out of class as soon as final breathing is over

Try and stay in the room, on your back, with eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Running out straight after the final breathing means you haven’t fully completed the series. Besides, you need time to cool down and compose yourself. A teacher a West Coast studio told us that Bikram has been known to say that if you don’t relax for 2 minutes after final breathing, it’s like taking a poop and not wiping your butt.

If you’ve ever left hot yoga thinking, “I did NOT eat the right thing before that class!” you are certainly not alone.

When I was a new yogi, I experimented with different food combinations as well as when I ate before class for probably a solid two months. It took that long before I figured out what worked for me. (Then I went to Teacher Training and I had to figure it all out again but that’s another story!)

Lately at my studio, I’ve been hearing from many students who are doing awesome in class, but they’re still struggling to figure out when to eat, what to eat, and how much to eat.

So frustrating, right?!

It’s like you do everything correctly: hydrate, pack your yoga bag, get to class, have strong mental focus, but the food choices just aren’t sitting well.

While I’m not a nutritionist, I’ve had almost 12 years of experience figuring out what works for me (and what doesn’t) when it comes to food and my yoga practice.

Here are 5 healthy meal/snack ideas that might work for you too!

A few basic guidelines to remember:

  • I am not a nutritionist – that’s the big disclaimer of this post! If you have specific dietary needs, talking to a professional nutritionist might not be a bad idea!
  • Try not to eat anything at least 2 hours before class. This will vary slightly from person to person, but 2 hours is generally a good rule of thumb. The simple reason being you don’t want anything sitting too heavy in your belly as you work through the postures.
  • Foods high in water (think watermelon, cucumbers) are great because they’re hydrating as well.
  • It’s quite common to crave healthy foods once you’ve gotten into a routine with your yoga practice. Your body craves what will serve it best, and healthy food will do just that.

Alright, here are my suggestions for pre-yoga fuel. These are foods that I currently have on rotation, and I eat them because they agree with my digestive system and give me energy to have strong classes.

Oatmeal with Raisins & Cinnamon

I just take half a cup of oatmeal, mix with a cup of water, add about a quarter cup of raisins and microwave for 2 minutes. Microwaving the raisins makes them plump up a little bit and just taste yummier. Once it comes out of the microwave, I sprinkle on a little cinnamon, stir, and voila! Sometimes I’ll add a handful of walnuts, but it works just as well without. I’ll usually eat this about two hours before taking a morning Bikram Yoga class, and it’s just the right amount of food to get me through class feeling great.

Turkey & Cheese Rollups

Deli turkey, thinly sliced cheddar cheese, rolled up. That’s it! This is a great snack before an afternoon class, and I’ll usually eat 3 of them. Protein, salt, fat … yum! If you have time, you can get fancy and spread on some hummus and wrap the turkey and cheese around a slice of cucumber. Delish.

Avocado Toast

I’ll toast 2 pieces of Ezekial bread, spread a little butter on, then smear half an avocado on each piece (so one whole avocado in total). You can sprinkle some garlic salt and black pepper for extra flavor, and this ends up being quite the hearty little meal. A whole avocado is actually quite filling, so this is one option that goes a long way. I personally love Avocado Toast anytime of day, so this works well two hours before a morning, afternoon, or evening class.

Yogurt with Banana & Almonds

I’ll often have this for breakfast, and the protein from the yogurt and almonds mixed with the carbs from the banana sits really well for me. I use Whole Milk PLAIN yogurt (so it doesn’t contain all that added sugar). Sometimes I’ll drizzle a little Maple Syrup on top, but it’s not necessary because bananas are so sweet. This particular combination of yogurt and bananas was actually what ended up working really well for me at Teacher Training when I had two take 2 classes a day for 9 weeks. Yikes! I personally can eat a small-ish bowl of this about an hour before yoga class and still be ok for my practice.

Sweet Potatoes and Scrambled Eggs

I recently posted about how to bake the perfect sweet potato, and since getting this technique down pat, I always like to have a few baked sweet potatoes on hand. Scranbled eggs, of course, whip up really quickly, and are an awesome source of protein. Depending on how many eggs you make, this combo can produce quite a bit of food. I usually eat this if I’m planning to practice and then teach the very next class since I’ll need something pretty substantial to keep me going. For the scrambled eggs, I just use a little bit of butter in the pan to keep them from sticking, and I’ll sprinkle on a little salt and pepper once they’re done.

The five suggestions above are healthy, affordable, and easy to make. You don’t have to spend hours prepping and cooking in the kitchen, and you can make all of these things while simultaneously getting three different breakfasts ready for each one of your kids. Oh wait … is that just me?! 😉

In all seriousness though, when I eat something that tastes good and is good for me, it helps me have such a great yoga practice. And that is always really satisfying 😊

Of course you’ll want to remember to refuel after yoga class, and that starts with hydration. This right here is my favorite post-yoga drink!

What’s your favorite pre-yoga snack or meal? Do any of these suggestions seem like they’d work for you?

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Eating before bikram yoga

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