A common question that many yoga teachers hear from new students is – Should one practice yoga on an empty stomach or after having a meal? There is a lot of debate in the yoga community regarding this question. Yoga experts are here to despell this confusion once and for all.
Let us start by finding the answer to why practicing yoga on an empty stomach is a good idea.
Why Practice Yoga On An Empty Stomach?
Given below is why practicing yoga on an empty stomach is a good idea.
1. Full Stomach = Less Effective Yoga Practice
Food in stomach or intestines takes up space in the abdomen. Now if you want to practice yoga asanas like twists or forward bends it is not possible as the abomen is heavy. Moreover, if you want to practice advanced-level yoga exercises like headstand or shouldestand then never do it on a full stomach.
On the other hand, an empty stomach leaves space for the abdomen walls to expand and contract during yoga practice. In other words, you are able to pull off challenging yoga asanas without experiencing any discomfort. The 200 hour yoga teacher training will teach you everything about why practicing yoga on an empty stomach is a good decision.
2. Body Needs Energy to Digest Food
Yoga experts agree to the fact that practicing yoga on an empty stomach is a wise decision. A general principle is to have a gap of at least 1 to 2 hours between the last meal and exercise. The digestion process takes a lot of energy which your body needs during the yoga practice.
Food in the digestive tract makes the body send energy to tissues to help them process food and move it through the gastrointestinal system. This energy also helps the body absorb nutrients from the food. Doing yoga takes away this energy from the digestion process. In other words, your body would not get enough time to absorb the nutrients from the digested food. In the end it will make you feel bloated and gassy during the yoga practice.
Now, let us take a look at the second part of the equation – Should you practice yoga on a full stomach?
Should You Practice Yoga On a Full Stomach?
Yoga experts do not recommend that you practice yoga on a full stomach.
Firstly, having a big meal right before exercise will be hard on your body. You would not prefer to go on a run after having a heavy meal, yoga is no different. Your body needs energy to digest the food. During this time most of your body’s resources are focused on the stomach and gut. You would not have too much energy for yoga practice.
Some foods take little time to digest while others like those rich in protein and fats can take up to eight hours. If you rush in to a yoga practice at such a time it will only end up making you feel nauseaous and dizzy.
Secondly, due to a hectic lifestyle, the only time you get to practice yoga might be during or after lunch. In such a situation you should know which foods will help you make the most of a yoga practice and which would not.
That said, let us take a look at what types of food you should eat and avoid before going for a yoga session.
Food for Yoga
There are certain food items which help you practice yoga without feeling dizzy and nauseous. But, there are some that do not help.
First, let’s first check what food items you should eat before a yoga practice.
Foods to Eat
1. Fruit & Protein
Consume a high-fiber fruit like Apple. Combine it with protein-rich nut butter. You can also eat a bowl of berries with some yogurt before going to the yoga practice.
Throw in a handful of almonds or your favorite nuts for a healthy dose of protein and fat. Consume a bit of carbohydrate to provide body with the power to practice yoga.
Consume a light meal of oatmeal or other cooked grains.These provide your body a steady flow of energy for yoga practice.
Let us now check out what foods you should avoid with yoga.
Foods to Avoid
1. Fried Foods
Avoid anything that make your stomach feel empty before the yoga practice. The yoga experts at the 200 hour yoga teacher training recommend that you avoid burger and fries.
2. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Although hard-boiled eggs offer convenience and offer a good dose of protein, these are not recommended when you have a yoga practice within the next few minutes.
3. Food with Garlic
Make sure not to consume garlic-based foods like hummus before a yoga class. Releasing garlic burps during a yoga session is not something to impress other practitioners with.
Consuming the right type of food has a bigger impact on how comfortably you practice yoga. Join the 200 hour yoga teacher training to learn the importance of right diet before a yoga practice.
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