When & What to Eat Before & After Yoga Class

Wondering when is the best time to eat before or after yoga class? Below are some tips for when and what to eat for the best yoga experience…

To get the most benefits from yoga, most poses should be done on an empty stomach. Not only does yoga exercise the outside of your body, but certain poses also stimulate the inside, and if you are full or still trying to digest a big meal, you can’t do many of the poses properly or comfortably.

Many yogis also prefer to consume a “yoga diet.” Unlike other types of diets, this way of eating is not centered around counting calories or quantity of food. Instead, a yoga diet focuses heavily on fresh, healthy, whole foods in their natural form, such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Limited consumption of sustainably raised meats and dairy – or avoidance of these foods altogether
  • Honey and dried fruits instead of processed sugars

As you look at this list, notice that nothing on it is highly processed or refined. Yogic diets are typically sourced from nature, and eaten in a form closer to what nature provides. Many yogis also stress the concept of balance in their diet, consuming a balanced amount of foods from each food group.

When to Eat

As noted above, yoga is best performed on an empty stomach. If you eat a meal from the recommended items, make sure you do not eat closer than 1 hour prior to your yoga practice. That way what you ate has time to digest and will not interfere with your yoga experience. If you are eating a heavy meal of meats or other processed and refined foods (which you hopefully are not), allow 3 to 4 hours before doing yoga.

Eating Before Yoga

While not recommended, sometimes you have to have a little something to eat to carry you through the workout – especially if you are just coming from work and have not eaten in a while. A small serving of yogurt along with some fruits or vegetables a ½ hour to an hour before class would give you the energy and stamina you need to get through your poses.

Eating After Yoga

If you won’t be home for a while after yoga class, you may want to bring some nuts and fresh or dried fruit with you to eat on the way home. For your evening meal, enjoy a light meal of healthy protein like eggs or fish along with some whole grains and plenty of vegetables.

Hydration is important. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and after your yoga class, but try to avoid drinking a lot of water just prior to your class. Doing yoga immediately after drinking 8 ounces of water can produce nausea in some students while others experience stomach cramps. Some yogis benefit from drinking a glass of organic juice after class to help replenish nutrients and electrolytes lost during the practice.

By eating smart and adhering to the timelines in this article, you can get the most health benefits and fulfilling experience from each of your yoga classes.


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