“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” - Virginia Woolf
Whatever your lifestyle, how you do sport, or your tastes, eating well is really important when you do yoga. There are somewhere between 300,000 and 460,000 people in the UK practising yoga. Yoga has become a great way to unwind and get healthy by doing sun salutations and breathing exercises.
Whether it’s kundalini yoga, prenatal yoga, Nidra yoga, Ayurveda, dynamic yoga, or Iyengar yoga, there are plenty of different types of yoga you can do. Generally speaking, each style requires a certain level of physical fitness whether you’re doing muscle toning or dynamic meditation. Since this requires a lot of effort, you need to make sure you eat right before doing yoga.
So what kinds of food should you be eating when you do yoga? Is there a special diet to adhere to?
In this article, we're going to have a look at the philosophy of the yoga practice and how you need to do more than breathe and stretch to enjoy the benefits of yoga exercises, you also need to eat right! After all, what we eat and drink can affect whether we feel calm, out of breath (or prana) after exercising, and the teachings of yoga tell us that if you want to strengthen yourself physically, mentally, or spiritually, you have to treat your body right, even by choosing what you eat.
The Top 10 Recipes for Yoga
Before we go through our top 10 yoga recipes, it’s a good idea to talk about why you should do it. In fact, yoga can have a positive effect on your spine, mental wellbeing, and deep-breathing techniques. Yoga is a complete discipline that works on multiple aspects of your body, mind, and spirit all at once. It’s, therefore, hugely important that your body, mind, and spirit are well nourished.
To do this, you’ll need recipes that provide you with energy, fibre, protein, and vitamins, ensuring that your body works effectively during your yoga sessions.
What’s more stimulating than being in shape and being able to master yoga poses?
While there are plenty of different ways to look at yogic food, we’re going to look at ours in one of two ways: vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
For vegetarians, we’re thinking of:
- Cumin lentil soup
- Vegetable curry
- Roast sweet potatoes
- Aubergine balls
- Vegetable medleys
- Buckwheat bean salad
- Buckwheat noodle maki
Of course, you can season all of these as you feel fit. If you regularly practise yoga and eat right, there’s not much else you can do!
When it comes to non-vegetarian recipes, you should be thinking of:
- Fish Carpaccio
- Vegetable pasta with chicken
- Crumbled tuna bruschetta
In short, all these recipes are useful for when you practise yoga, recentre yourself, and open your chakras.
The Importance of Nourishment when Practising Yoga
Yoga is a well-rounded discipline that anyone can practise to improve their concentration, flexibility, and their body, mind, and spirit. Thus, what you eat is also very important as it plays an important role in bringing your body, mind, and spirit together.
Yoga is all about balance and you’ll see this in each yoga pose you do. You’ll also need to balance flavours, textures, and ingredients if you want to get the most out of your yoga diet. The latter is very important.
You should also measure what you plan to eat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or whatever. You can bring notions of eating and yoga together. In fact, tasting what your eating is an important part of mindfulness, concentration, and meditation. Yoga is an art, after all.
Aspiring yogis should carefully choose their food, whether they’re organic, fresh, local, or vegetarian ingredients. You can improve your physical condition, relax, and even detox through diet and through doing yoga.
What Is a Yoga Diet?
Does serenity, letting go, enjoying the now, and inner peace sound good to you?
A yoga diet may start with vegetarianism since non-violence and avoiding suffering are key parts of the mindset of yoga, a mindset which provides a lot of yogis with incredible discipline. This leads some yogis to opt for a raw food diet. By opting only for fresh, organic, and seasonal produce, you’re left with just raw food.
No cooking is allowed. You have to find food with the best possible taste in its purest form. It’s sort of borrowed from the idea of yoga with its serenity and living in the present.
This all goes with mindfulness because along with yoga poses, diet exists in the present, especially when developing flavours and tastes for helping improve your physical fitness.
Finally, there’s the paleo diet, which could also work with the mentality of yoga. This is about going back to our origins, to the palaeolithic age and only consuming exactly what we need, without the added preservatives commonly found in foods. While this diet may be a bit too extreme for some yogis, others will love it.
What Should You Eat Before and After a Yoga Session?
Whether you’re doing a beginners’ yoga lesson, working with a private yoga instructor or tutor, or practising on your own, yoga makes us break a sweat, reflect, meditate, and live. A yoga lesson isn’t always a walk in the park. You need to apprehend what’s coming up in a lesson, whatever time of the day, and prepare a dish that’s going to work with what you’re doing.
So what should you eat before and after a yoga session?
Before a session, you’ll need to build up the energy you’ll need during and after session while not eating anything too heavy. Prioritise food that’s rich in fibre and fruit for sugar that’ll be useful for during and after the session.
After a session, you should focus on proteins from white meat, vegetables that are packed with vitamins, such as green vegetables. The main thing is to stay hydrated throughout the day. You need to prepare your body for yoga and also allow it to regenerate once you’ve finished a session.
By changing your behaviour, you can eat like a real yogi and have a diet complete with vitamins, fibre, protein, and hydration. You can look after your body and the planet. Let’s not forget that food, like yoga, also brings together your body, mind, and spirit.
So are you ready for a sun salutation?
If you're interested in doing ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, or hatha yoga, for example, you should consider getting in touch with yoga teachers or tutors on Superprof. There are plenty of tutors who offer a free yoga class for the first hour so that you can see how you get on, practise a simple asana (yoga postures), and start healing your body and mind through a balanced routine of relaxation, peaceful meditative practices, controlled breathing (pranayama), and alignment. Additionally, with the tutors offering the first class for free, you can try out a multitude of different instructors before making your mind up.
The good thing about working with a private tutor or instructor is that they can tailor their entire course to you. During the first session, discuss why you want to do yoga, your diet, your lifestyle, and where and when you can do yoga. By doing this, your tutor can put together sessions with activities specific to you and even advise you on what you should be eating to go with what they'll have you doing.
Of course, before you change your diet, it's always a good idea to discuss this with your doctor or GP, especially if you have any medical conditions that could be negatively affected by a change in diet and lifestyle. The same goes for when you start doing yoga.
The benefits of yoga are numerous and your mind and body will thank you for gaining deeper spiritual wisdom and combining yoga and meditation. If you really have any questions about what you eat, a certain posture, or are just a beginner needing help picking out the right yoga mat, you can get all the answers from a good yoga teacher.
Are you ready to start improving your awareness, wellness, and happiness through yoga and diet?