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 Boxed Water 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 a chaturanga and go straight to 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.