When You Should Eat Before Yoga

Article by Verywellfit

Bending and twisting into yoga poses can be uncomfortable—and even nauseating—with a big meal sloshing around in your belly (never mind the fact that it ups your chances of passing gas during your session). But that doesn’t mean you need to come to the mat with a completely empty stomach. You’ll want to go to class with a good amount of energy and without the distraction of hunger. 

As with most things yoga related, you know your body best and should let it lead the way. With just a little bit of planning, and some trial and error, you can figure out what’s best for you.

When to Eat Before Yoga Class

Eating something very light an hour before class works out well for most people, but your body may vary. 

If you’re hungry and running to a class straight from work or are on a tight schedule, eating a few quick mouthfuls of a little protein or light carbohydrates is better than eating nothing and not having the energy to get through the class. 

Afterward, it is fine to eat whatever you’d like. However, after paying attention to your body in class, you may feel like keeping it light and healthy. Yoga tends to inspire people to take better care of themselves and eat healthier, which is one of the ways yoga can help you lose weight.

Some traditions, particularly those that advocate early morning practice (like Ashtanga) advise that you do your asanas on a completely empty stomach. B.K.S. Iyengar, in his classic book Light on Yoga, writes that if this is difficult for you, you can have coffee, cocoa, or milk before your session.

What to Eat Before Class

Healthy plant-based nibbles are the ideal snack before yoga. Here are some things that are likely to sit well in your stomach and give you the energy to carry through your session.

  • Fruit plus protein: A piece of high-fiber fruit plus protein, like an apple with nut butter, is a good go-to. A bowl of berries with a little yogurt is another option.
  • Nuts: A handful of almonds or any of your favorite nuts will provide a good mix of protein and fat, with a tiny bit of carbohydrate to help power you through your time on the mat.
  • Sports bars: Any high-fiber, high-protein, and low-sugar bar you like can be a good choice. Some people find that eating only half a bar gives them the energy they need.
  • Grains: Small portions of oatmeal or other cooked grains may also be a good choice for maintaining energy without feeling too full for a workout.
 

It is also important to stay hydrated during yoga, so drinking 8 to 16 ounces of water about an hour before class is a must.

What Not to Eat Before Yoga

The deep twists and forward bends you do in yoga are likely to force out burps and farts, so it’s best to steer clear of things that induce gas.

  • Greasy or fried foods: You’ll want to avoid anything heavy before a yoga workout, so a burger and fries before class is probably a bad idea.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: While hard-boiled eggs are a convenient and complete protein, many people find they can give them sour burps, especially during yoga.
  • Garlicky foods: Some people can tolerate garlic-laced foods like hummus before yoga, but garlic burps aren’t pleasant for people around you.
  • Smoothies: While some people swear by pre-yoga smoothies, others find the excess liquid sloshes around in their stomach uncomfortably. This is particularly true during poses where there is pressure on your abdomen like Locust Pose. It may be better to save the smoothie for an after-class treat.

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Address
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