When it comes to doing any form of exercise, it can be difficult to know what foods to eat before and after you get moving. Sometimes we find ourselves peckish as we head out to a yoga class, and know we won’t make it through the sweat without a snack. However, it’s important we choose something that fills us up enough, but doesn’t leave us feeling nauseous or sluggish once we get moving.
A huge part of my yoga practice relates to the way I eat. My practice has made me far more mindful of the food I put into my body and the way I consume it. On the days I’ve booked in a particularly rigorous class to take, I make sure I’m eating three nutritious, sustaining meals that day. This usually consists of something fresh like fruit, with yogurt and granola for some healthy fats and proteins at breakfast. Then for lunch I eat some starchy carbs like potatoes, with lots of fresh vegetables and some protein like hummus or legumes. Usually I book a yoga class in the evening, so i’ll either have an early dinner, or something to eat afterwards. I normally keep my dinners quite simple so my body gets its time to unwind at night, so i’ll eat something like a lentil dhal with rice and vegetables. It’s nutritious, comforting and always makes me feel good when I eat it.
I try to avoid eating an hour before I practice, so that my body has time to digest before I get moving. If I find myself rushing and really need to eat with less time before practice, I normally eat something light like a piece of fruit so that the natural sugars give me a boost of energy. I’ll combine this with some form of protein source to keep by blood sugars balanced, fill me up more, and support my muscles. I usually grab something with oats in or a small handful of nuts. With all exercise, it’s really important to maintain a good level of high quality protein in your diet.
Yoga is also a great reminder for you to observe the way you eat. Food makes a wonderful way to take your practice with you when you step off of your mat. Remembering to take deep breaths between each mouthful of food, and to slowly, mindfully chew your food – so that you really take in its texture, flavour and the way it makes you feel.
My most important tips for yoga and eating are to stay mindful, stay full and stay aware. Eat the foods you love, be time conscious around your practice, and choose things which really make you feel nourished when you eat them.
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