Have you wondered which foods are safe to eat before your yoga class? Have you wondered if any foods are safe to eat before twisting your abdominal muscles into a pretzel? Relax—not only is it a good idea to eat before taking a yoga class, it’s necessary to have some carbohydrates and nutrients in your body beforehand. If you don’t eat something before your class, you run the risk of dizziness, light-headedness, and cramping from dehydration or low blood sugar. Read below to figure out which foods will keep your stomach feeling light and unencumbered while still providing your body with enough water and keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Be sure to note the foods that are best suited to replenishing your body after your workout.
Bananas are a good food to eat before yoga because they offer a quick source of easy-to-digest carbohydrates that your body can convert to workout fuel without digestive distress. As many people know, bananas provide a great deal of potassium, which is essential during yoga in a hot studio (particularly the popular Bikram or “hot yoga” performed in studios heated to 105° F). Not only do you lose a great deal of water when you sweat, you lose minerals, including potassium, and the extra potassium in the bananas can save you from feeling nauseated, dizzy, or cramping, particularly during a Bikram class where there’s excess sweating.
Eating some watermelon before your yoga class can help you stay hydrated in a hot studio, and the sugar content can help keep you from getting light headed as the class wears on. The fruit is light enough not to bother your stomach by making it too full but can keep you from getting dizzy when doing poses that involve being turned on your head.
Raw almonds contain healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates for an energy boost before class that won’t weigh you down. Make sure to eat raw almonds and not salted ones, which can add to your dehydration.
Rehydrate in as many ways as possible after class, first with water, but also consider other sources when necessary. If you practice hot yoga or if you sweat excessively, consider a beverage with electrolytes like coconut water, or if this natural alternative is not available, then sport drinks are also sources.
Don’t eat whatever is closest to you. You might be ravenous right after class but resist the urge to grab the first thing you find and stuff it into your mouth. After yoga, you need to rehydrate yourself and put carbs back into your body as quickly as possible. The best foods for accomplishing this task are fruits or, better, a fruit salad, made with fruits with a high water content like watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe.
Eat a salad after yoga, especially if you can force yourself to eat one made with spinach or kale. These high-alkaline greens are rich in B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals and help to replenish nutritional stores that are drained during your workout.