This spring I gave a workshop at the Yoga Journal Live Conference in New York City called, “Eating for your Practice: Mind, Body and Soul.” Since today is International Yoga Day, I wanted to share a few tips on eating for your practice. As much as yoga is a spiritual practice, it can also be pretty athletic. Choosing the right foods can really help give your body the fuel it needs to feed your asana practice.
Although the yoga tradition advises practicing on an empty stomach, if you know you’re going to have a vigorous asana session, a piece of fruit beforehand can help give you a bit of extra energy without weighing you down. Before a workout, easily digestible carbohydrates are best.
To get the most out of your practice (in a physical sense – although it’s of course not all about that!), you’ll want to have a balanced meal complete with lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates (veggies, whole grains, beans, etc.) which help replace glycogen stores. Protein after your workouts help to repair your muscles after all their hard work. High antioxidant foods like berries, nuts, oranges and even green tea can help to reduce inflammation that is often caused by workouts and also assist in recovery.
If you practice any sort of heated yoga, make sure that you’re not only drinking water, but replacing electrolytes that are lost when during sweating. For very vigorous hot yoga classes, you should bring a water bottle with you. Remember, thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated, so make sure you sip on water throughout the day. Following class, sodium and potassium are especially important to replace. Sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, strawberries, and dates are all great potassium sources. Here are a few ideas for making electrolyte replacement drinks at home!
Shauna MS RD