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When (and What) Should I Eat Before Yoga?

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Updated April 16, 2014

Question: When (and What) Should I Eat Before Yoga?
Answer: It is usually recommended that you not eat anything heavy in the two hours before you plan to do yoga. If you have ever disregarded this advice, you will have discovered the reasoning behind this conventional wisdom. As you twist and forward bend, it's uncomfortable, and possibly even nauseating, to have too much in your belly. If you are hungry before class, try to give yourself at least half an hour and eat something light, like a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or a small bar.

Some traditions, particularly those that advocate early morning practice, like Ashtanga, advise that you do your asanas on a completely empty stomach (and after bathing and moving your bowels). 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 yoga, which, at least in the case of the later two, probably doesn't sound too appealing. As with most things yogic, you know your body best so you should decide which pre-yoga snack works for you.

After class, you can eat whenever you feel hungry, though you may notice that you're inclined to keep it light and healthy, which is one of the ways yoga can help you lose weight.

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