I’m always surprised, regardless of the volume of students I teach and communicate with daily, at the following statements:
- I forgot to eat
- I might not have enough energy for yoga tonight I have not had lunch / a snack / enough food
- I have not had breakfast
- Eleni, I ate too much, I’m feeling: nauseous / uncomfortable / please don’t make me do plank
- Eleni I tried / had too much spirulina / chia seeds / new protein powder in a smoothie and my bowels are too happy
Personally it has taken me a lot of trial and error in regards to what and how much too eat before I teach a yoga class, but this also applies to all forms of movement, running, swimming, dancing etc.
The fundamental rule is one that I practise and is what I was taught by my previous teachers: don’t eat at least two hours prior to a yoga class. The same goes for meditation and pranayama.
Why?? Because you are folding your body, twisting and inverting, even in down dog. The body’s digestive capabilities are hindered. So you are then most likely to feel very uncomfortable in the abdominal area, build up gas and may feel nauseous or even experience cramping.
It takes mindfulness in preparing and eating food, as well as timing.Listening to your body will help with over indulgence or under eating.
Our mind can sabotage us. So stop, take a few deep breaths and feel.
Place your hand on your abdomen.
What do you need?
Support your health journey.
If trying new foods, add the minimum of quantity suggested. For example, if you’re adding spirulina powder for a Green smoothie, if the recipe says a teaspoon, opt for half of that quantity and see how you feel! (especially for yogis with IBS).
If you’re going to change your foundations of eating (for example, become a vegetarian, vegan, raw food advocate), talk to people, or research associations such as Vegan Australia. They have a range of scheduled activities that will teach you what you need.
Ease yourself into it, and observe how your body responds. Do it with care and give your body time to adjust. Be kind with change and enjoy the transition.
And keep in mind that extreme eating plans are dangerous and can lead to eating disorders.
A variety of foods is a strong foundation for vitality and health. If you do not eat enough you have no energy. Food does not need to be complicated. It’s a blessing, so stop fighting with it!
And remember, what works for one yogi may not be suitable for you.
This will be the first of many blogs about food from me.