Yoga eating: when, how much, and what? - These are some of the most frequent questions beginners in Yoga ask. With time you will find your own answer - they may be different from recommendations. We are all different. Listen to your body. And to start with - keep in mind the following advises.
Eating before Yoga?
If you are going for a Yoga asana practice - it is recommended that you don't eat at least 2 (better 3) hours in advance. That greatly depends on the size of your meal. - It's OK to have a few grapes even 1 hour before practice. On the other hand, if your meal was very heavy - even 3 hours may not be enough.
If your practice pranayama (breathing techniques) - it is recommended not to eat at least 5-6 hours in advance. Well, this is for advanced pranayama practitioners. 2-3 hours of gap for short and not very intense pranayama practice is OK. (You will know the answer fast if you keeping awareness of your body.)
Drink instead. If you feel really hungry - drink tea with milk and some sugar. Drink by very small sips. You will satisfy your stomach and your hungry mind this way.
Bikram Yoga eating
This is a special case: Bikram Yoga is done in an overheated humid room. It is also quite intense. It is already quite challenging physically, and for your internal organs systems of your body (from heart to stomach). So, my personal recommendation, from my own experience - to practice Bikram Yoga in the morning, before breakfast (have a tea with milk, juice if you wish). I'm serious! :-) Really.
If you are - it's easier and faster to discipline your mind. You will make new habits in no time.
Eating after Yoga?
Sure! During good Yoga asanas (and pranayama) practice we massage our body so well - and importantly our internal organs too. They are toned, massaged, more blood supply provided to digestive system, it is activated well. Again - if you listen to your body - you will notice strong, healthy, natural appetite after a Yoga session. Your body is ready, your digestive system prepared. Eating after Yoga is probably the best!
What to eat? Vegetarian diet for Yoga?
I will not force you to try yet another diet. - Eat whatever you want. If you naturally switch from one diet to another (say, more light and nutritious vegetarian diet) - you will do it on your own, in a right time, comfortably. It's not the most important thing in the world. Changes will come when you are ready. Listen to yourself and be willing to change if you feel it's time. Mindfulness is the greatest gift you may choose to use!
Yoga eating: Summary
In general it is recommended to practice Yoga (asanas, pranayama and meditation) on empty or almost empty stomach. This is one reason more to favor morning practice if it is possible.
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