tips + thoughts on FOOD to enhance your yoga practice

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by Christine Durant (Life yoga studio Director)

Spend any time in LIFE yoga + boutique and you will probably hear about what we are eating. Green juices, raw nori wraps, kale chips, and veggie stews are always being passed around the studio for everyone to taste, as is chocolate and other goodies!

So, eat to live or live to eat, but either way we all have to do it! And often our teachers are presented with the question of how can we eat to best support our yoga practice? This is a pretty tricky question for yogis in the modern world with everything possible under the sun available for easy purchase down the street at Whole Foods. 

Some tips are pretty simple, for instance it’s recommended to eat no less than 2 hours before and 2 hours after practice. You don’t want heavy food weighing you down (or coming back up!) during your practice. Therefore, if you are hungry and it’s close to class time try eating something like fruit, a homemade seed and nut bar, or kombucha. Try different pre-yoga snacks and see what gives you the energy to get through class. A bowl of chili and a beer probably isn’t going to be good yoga fuel minutes before class, but even healthy foods like a huge green smoothie might be too much in the stomach when you’re twisting and upside-down. Interestingly enough, after a sweaty class filled with a strong pranayama (breath work) practice you might think that you’ll be starving for a cheeseburger, but what you’ll probably want is something fresh and clean that makes you feel healthy and strong! Without realizing it, most yogis’ diets begin to change as they become more in tuned with what their body wants and needs.

But what about that tricky yoga nama, ahimsa. Ahimsa is all about not harming others, being kind, and living a life of compassion. Many yogis consider a carnivorous diet harmful to animals and therefore practice veganism (not eating or wearing or using anything from a living being). Taking another’s life for your eating enjoyment is not necessary to live and practice yoga, but there are those who believe that their body needs meat. Therefore, this is one of those times when yogis and yoginis must really listen to their bodies and their physicians and make the decision for themselves.

So, what kind of diet is right for you as a yogi? Gluten-free, vegan, raw, no sugar, or eat anything you want at any time all sound good to me. But, what I’m going to recommend to you is that you eat real food. Eat regularly, until you are full, and then stop. Eat healthful foods including fruits and vegetables and stay away from anything that comes in a package. Limit the consumption of animals products and then see how you feel on and off the mat!

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