If you’ve been practicing yoga for awhile now, you’ve probably realized that what you eat before yoga has a substantial impact on the quality of your practice. The right foods can fuel and elevate your body and mind for optimal performance and experience.
Follow these guidelines to help you decide when and what to eat before your next session.
When to Eat Before Yoga
First, it’s important to note that eating right before yoga isn’t a good idea. Practicing asanas right after eating will interfere with your digestion and can make your yoga experience uncomfortable or subpar.
To maximize your health and your practice, it’s advisable that you begin on an empty stomach or a near empty stomach. As a general rule of thumb, you want to wait at least an hour after eating before doing yoga, although this time frame depends on how large your previous meal was. For instance, if you follow Ayurvedic principles and eat your largest meal of the day at lunch, you’ll want to wait at least two hours before doing any exercise.
What to Eat Before Yoga
If you’re practicing before lunch or dinner, you might need a snack to sustain energy. You definitely don’t want to be held back by a lack of energy or be distracted by hunger. Choose foods that digest easily and give you balanced energy.
In general, the best foods for Yogis are ones that are Sattvic. These foods will promote good health, peace, and clarity of mind. Consider these Sattvic snack ideas as inspiration for what to eat before yoga:
- Fruit. An apple, a banana or a handful of blueberries makes a great snack before yoga. The carbohydrates in fruit will give you an energy lift. Keep in mind that according to food combining principles in Ayurveda, fruit should be eaten on its own for ideal digestion.
- Nuts and seeds. A handful of your favorite nuts will provide a good mix of protein and fat to help stave off hunger and power you through class.
- Vegetables and hummus. A light snack of carrots, cucumbers or celery with hummus is rich in nutrients and will satisfy hunger.
- Whole grains. Whole grains are fantastic sources of carbohydrates and protein. Protein-rich foods are a great idea if you’re going to be doing ashtanga yoga or any other high-intensity forms of practice.
- Spoonful of Chyawanprash. While Chyawanprash technically isn’t a “food,” it’s an ideal supplement to take before yoga. Chyawanprash is an herbal jam superfood that improves mental clarity, digestion, vitality and energy levels. Just one teaspoon immediately before practice strengthens connection of the body, mind and spirit, making it the perfect support for asanas and meditation. Learn more about the benefits of Chyawanprash for Yogis.
Lastly, when trying to decide what to eat before yoga, you’ll want to make sure that you match foods to your dosha type and the season. A diet high in Sattvic foods that pacify your dosha will be the best yoga food.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)