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When To Do Yoga After Food

Plus What Foods To Avoid

July 20th, 2017| Erin O’Brien

Do you wonder what to eat before you practice yoga? After all, we are often twisting, strengthening, extending, and bending our bodies into many different shapes that have profound effects on our organs, including our stomach and digestive tract. This can lead us to avoid food before practice. However, we are often expending significant energy in class, which requires adequate nourishment. So what to do?

Deciding what to eat before yoga practice is highly personal. What works for someone else might not work for you. However, there are some general nutritional principles to consider.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Yoga

11 Most Commonly Asked Questions About YogaYoga Teacher 11 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Yoga

As a yoga teacher, I get asked a lot of questions from students. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions I get from students:

1.Why do we roll to the right after savasana at the end of class and some times roll to the left ? Is there some significance to this?


Traditionally in yoga you roll to the right during the day to honor the sun and roll to the left in the evening to honor the moon.

2. What is the right amount of time to wait after eating, before practicing yoga asana? And how long should I wait after practicing yoga before I can eat?


Two hours after you eat is generally when you have an empty stomach and its okay to practice yoga. If you are starving and want to practice but need some nourishment its fine to eat a banana or have a little juice to sustain you through the practice. Just no bean burritos before hitting the mat. After you practice I would wait 30 min for your body to reaclitmate and then eat. This way your body won’t go into food shock .

3. How often should I practice to have the best results?


When first starting out try going twice a week then after one month start going three times per week. If you add up to going 5-6 days a week make sure you always have at least one day off so your body can recouperate. Also if you are practicing yoga almost everyday its good idea to mix up the style

4. Do I have to be flexible?

Can You Do Yoga On A Full Stomach

While yes, it is generally safe to practice yoga on a full stomach, there are some reasons why it may not be the best idea for everyone.

First of all, eating a big meal before exercise can be hard on the body. Most people wouldnt consider going on a run after just consuming a large meal, and yoga shouldnt be approached differently. After eating a large meal, your body needs a bit of time to rest and digest. Most of your bodys energy reserves will be focused on the stomach and gut, and so there will not be much energy available for a workout.

Some foods only take a few hours to digest, but other foods, such as fatty, protein rich foods like meat or fish, may take up to eight hours before they even leave your stomach! This means that if you rush to yoga just after scarfing down a full portion of salmon and rice, you might find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed during the workout.

Sometimes, due to our busy lives and work schedules, the only time available to practice yoga might be during a lunch break or right after a meal. If that is the case, then you can rest assured that it is perfectly safe to still practice yoga. If you find yourself feeling a little nauseous in a class due to your full stomach, it is always fine to take a short break and lay on your back or in childs pose until you feel like joining back in. 

Vajrasana: A Unique Yoga Pose

Madhavi Kale BodkeComments

We all know that we should not do any exercise or Yoga immediately after having food. But there is one asana  which you can do after having food, and it will actually help your digestion! Vajrasana.

Vajrasana is a simple and very effective asana. It is the only asana which you can do after having your meal. This asana has a wide range of benefits from making your body internally strong to getting into the ultimate meditative state.

A Full Stomach Means A Less Effective Practice

Yoga meal

Having food in the stomach or intestines takes up space in the abdomen. This makes it harder to do poses like twists or forward bends where the abdomen compresses. And its heavier! Inversions like headstand or shoulderstand get harder with a heavy belly.

An empty stomach gives plenty of space for the abdominal walls to extend and contract within poses. Youll get a deeper stretch in spinal extension and a more intense twist. Your body will flow through Vinyasas more easily and lift lightly into those tricky inversions.

You can also feel nauseous or have to run to the restroom as a result of having food/drinks in the belly. Ive found myself thinking Uh oh when the teacher announces that its backbend day and I ate just before class. Its harder to concentrate when nature calls or the stomach is upset. On the other hand, we easily fall into the flow of class if our bodys needs are satisfied.

Eating before practice can be counterproductive for yogis who want to use the practice to lose weight. According to CureJoy, practicing on an empty stomach provides the body the chance to efficiently harness the energy from the energy reserves of the body such as fat. Burning fat rather than food will fast-forward weight loss.

So What Is The Best Time To Do Yoga For Weight Loss

It depends totally on your availability and will to perform yoga. Whatever time you choose, it is important you keep your mind calm, composed and relaxed to focus better on your inner self. The only time you should avoid it is immediately after meals. Rest for at least t 2 hours after having your food.

Making time for physical activity is the best way to motivate yourself for weight loss. Also, you need to remember, exercise constitutes to only 30% of the routine, so you need to fuel and nourish your workouts with calories in order to lose weight.

Involve yoga as a part of your daily routine and yoga will never disappoint you in making your body look perfect. Practice to your own preference and according to your timings, to reap the best and most effective benefits in order to lose weight.

Cheers to getting the best results!

What To Drink Before You Practice

DO drink at least 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before class. If you are attending an evening class, try to drink half your body weight in water throughout the day prior to your class. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs, drink 60 ounces of water during the day. Make sure 8 ounces of that is within 30 minutes of your class. If morning yoga is your thing, try to drink 8-16 ounces before class. If its hard for you to drink that much water, try tea or adding fruit to your water to give it more flavor. I keep boxes of Yogi tea at my desk and drink that throughout the day.

DONT drink a lot of caffeine prior to class

If youve had a cup or two of coffee throughout the day, you will have some boosted energy that can assist in a successful yoga practice. However, coffee is dehydrating, and if hot yoga is your preference, you need to focus on hydrating your body. 

Is It Ok To Do Yoga After Dinner

Yoga poses after dinner are said to help one digest the food better, making it less heavy for the stomach. It empowers your bodys digestion and improves the health of your organs. Now if you perform such exercises post dinner, they can end up hampering your digestion process. So one therefore needs to be careful.

Simple Yoga Poses After Dinner That Can Boost Digestion

  • Priya Deesh
  • Yoga poses after dinner are said to help one digest food better
  • It empowers your bodys digestion and improves health
  • Gomukhasana or cow face pose is one such asana


  • You can do some hand rotations, stretching of fingers and arms, ankle rotation as well.
  • You can also do some swift basic movements of the neck, sit on a chair facing the wall and imagine that there is a ball between your chin and the chest and squeeze the ball as much as you can. This is to stretch the muscles of your back and the neck along the spine.
  • Another movement of the neck involves moving it in all the directions north, south, east and west, and stretch the muscles.

Yoga Asanas Post Dinner1. Gomukhasanaasana

on Dec 18, 2016 at 5:24pm PST

2. Vajraasana3. Ardha Chandraasana


The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

How Much Time After Eating Can You Do Yoga

For many of us, practicing yoga first thing after we awake might not be an option. As such, we might not be able to have a completely empty stomach at the time we go to perform our first pose. So what can we do to achieve the best yoga routine but not make ourselves feel sick from a full stomach? Most experts recommend eating no less than a half hour before you intend to workout.

Ideally, with any exercise it is best not to have a large amount of food in the stomach because the process of digestion requires a lot of energy. Blood will be diverted to the gut in order to supply it with necessary nutrients and oxygen, meaning less available nutrients and oxygen for the rest of our body, such as our muscles. 

When the body requires energy to be pulled away from the gut, such as to workout, it also hinders the absorption of nutrients from the food we just consumed. This means that even if we ate a perfectly healthy meal, we wont reap the full benefits of it.

If you cant practice on an empty stomach, or practicing on an empty stomach makes you feel weak or lacking in energy, eat a small portion of easily digestible food forty-five minutes to an hour before your practice. These foods should be high in carbohydrates for the best energy boost, such as fresh fruits, oatmeal, or a bagel.

How Long Should I Wait After Eating To Practice Yoga

Sri K. Patthabi Jois, founder of the Ashtanga Yoga lineage and B.K.S. Iyengar, founder of the Iyengar Yoga lineage would recommend waiting four hours after you eat to practice yoga. This ensures that the body has fully digested and can devote 100% of its resources to performing asana and pranayama. And, theres zero chance of a full belly inhibiting or muscular movement.

However, if youre like me and you have to eat more often to keep your energy up, its a smart idea to have a snack two hours before class. Protein-packed nuts, a bowl of fruit, or a glass of plant milk is a great option. Ive found myself feeling faint during class if I last ate more than four hours before, especially in longer classes.

Its best to space beverages to be 45 minutes before practice to give your body time to process & eliminate them before starting off. Moisture-packed fruits like watermelon and grapes, too. These are excellent choices to add in to our diet the night before class or during lunch when youre taking a night class to ensure that youre hydrated when on the mat.


The Diet Of Patanjali

Admittedly, extending your yoga practice to the dinner table is not an easy task, mostly because the classic yogic texts such as Patanjalis Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita dont list any specific foods for following a yogic diet. And even if they did, its highly unlikely that the foods prescribed in India thousands of years ago would be appropriate today for each and every one of us.

But while there is no prescribed menu for yogis, there is a yogic diet, says Gary Kraftsow, the founder of the American Viniyoga Institute. These are ingredients that enhance clarity and lightness, keeping the body light and nourished and the mind clear, he explains. In other words, a diet that offers your body a great basis for practiceor encourages the same effects as practicemakes for a great yogic diet.

In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee , fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In contrast, tamasic foods and rajasic foods can increase dullness or hyperactivity, respectively. But maintaining a diet that keeps your body light and your mind clear doesnt necessarily mean eating only sattvic foods. What is best for you and what in the end will best support your yoga practice is informed by your constitution and your current state , Kraftsow says. Both need to be considered, he adds.

What Sort Of Foods Are Good To Eat Before Yoga

7 Best Foods Before And After Yoga

If you have decided you do need to eat before your yoga class, there are certain foods that are better to consume than others in order to achieve the best energy levels and less risk of digestive discomfort. 

First, it is helpful to determine how much energy you plan to expend during your yoga class in order to determine how much of and what sort of things you should consider eating beforehand. If you are planning a longer, more intense endurance routine that may last an hour or longer, then you will expend more energy than if you are just planning on a quick twenty minute routine.

Remember, it is generally advised to wait at least a half hour after eating in order to give your body a chance to digest the food. The closer you are to starting your workout, the less quantity you should eat. Aim for eating no more than the size of your fist.

If you are several hours away from starting your yoga routine, consider a meal that is high in carbohydrates and eat to digest. This includes oatmeal, pasta, fruits, breads, and energy bars. Refined grains will give a quicker rise in blood sugar, which can be helpful for intense, short-term workouts, while whole grains will give a more steady glucose level more ideal for endurance workouts.

How Long Should You Not Eat Before Yoga

Attending yoga with a full belly could cause a major stomachache, gurgling, bloating and embarrassing gas. As a general rule, stop eating two hours before class. This will alleviate painful digestive problems. The last meal you eat prior to practicing should be a small portion of a meal made with whole foods.

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/4why Should You Perform It On An Empty Stomach

Pranayama produces a lot of energy, and it is important to concentrate this energy towards your breathing or yoga asana to reap maximum benefits. When you perform any exercise on a full stomach, it may be hard for you to stay focused and still for a while. Besides, all the energy produced during pranayama will be consumed to digest the food, instead of calming your mind and healing your body.

Benefits Of Yoga In The Afternoon

Practicing yoga in the afternoon before dinner can help you destress from a busy morning and also work up an appetite for your next meal. If you prefer to practice between mealtimes, be sure to wait about 23 hours after eating before you do yoga.

In addition, your muscles may be more warmed up later in the day compared to first thing in the morning, when you may feel stiffer. If your muscles are looser later in the day, it may be possible to work a little more on improving your flexibility compared to when you feel tight.

Doing yoga in the afternoon can often mean you get the best of both worlds. If this is when you have more energy, its a good time for a challenging, vigorous practice. But if you need to wind down toward the end of your workday, it can also be more .

What Are The Reasons For Practicing Yoga On An Empty Stomach

Some sources and yoga enthusiasts firmly believe that you should only practice yoga on an empty stomach, waiting at least four hours after eating anything. This often means practicing yoga first thing after you wake up, before you even have your morning coffee. Many dedicated yogis claim that this is the best and only way to properly practice yoga.

What is the logic behind this stance? First of all, there is a scientific reason some people support the idea of yoga only on an empty stomach. Digesting food requires a large amount of energy, especially right after you have just eaten. This means that most of your bodys energy supply is being shunted towards your digestive system. More energy towards your gut means less energy to maintain proper poses and stretches.

Another reason that some people recommend practicing yoga on an empty stomach is simply that it is more comfortable. Some yoga poses can be particularly complicated, involving fairly extreme twists in the torso or backbends that can easily result in discomfort if trying to work with a full stomach. Some positions require inversion, such as headstands, and this can cause acid reflux and discomfort if your stomach is full.

If your stomach is empty, it might be much easier and more comfortable for you to hold these poses. However, a completely empty stomach can also work against you in a workout if your body does not have enough energy to function properly.

How Soon After Eating Can I Can Do Yoga


If you practice in the morning:

  • Have a glass of room-temperature or warm milk 15-30 minutes before practice. Milk temporarily buffers stomach acid, so it can be good to tide you through your practice. However, once the milk is digested your stomach will produce even more acid, so if you are in the habit of drinking milk, make sure you eat a nice alkaline breakfast after your yoga. 
  • Have a cup of milky coffee or tea 15-30 minutes before practice. Yoga guru BKS Iyengar began all of his days like this, and, well, he’s going on 96 so it must work for him! Coffee also helps to empty your bowels which is another recommendation for before you start practicing asana or pranayama.
  • Have a small piece of fruit about 15 to 30 minutes before practice. It should be something light, like a peach or an orange, not a banana, and if possible, something fresh, not tinned.  I prefer solid fruit to fruit juice because with solid fruit you get fibre as well as just liquid and sugar, but then, that’s just me!
  • You don’t have to wait too long after practice, even an intense practice, to head straight to a nice big breakfast. Wait about 15 or 20 minutes and then tuck in!

If you practice in the middle of the day:If you practice in the evening:

Evening Yoga For Weight Loss

While exercising in the night could be a big no for people who come back home after a long day of work. But performing yoga in the evening might be a good option to release stress from the body but with caution. Make sure you perform yoga before dinner time and the digestive system does not permit you to do so. During the evening, the body has more adrenaline rush and produces more which makes you sleepless, so avoid performing yoga right before bed time. If you wish to get a deep sleep, you must meditate and focus on your breathing and mind few hours before bed time, to completely rest your body. It is a great time to burn calories and lose some pounds.

Advantages of Evening Yoga

  • You feel more relaxed and warmer in the evening, allowing you to perform even the intensive postures.
  • You are more energetic in the evening sometimes, as compared to early morning when you might feel lousy.
  • It helps you digest the food completely you have been eating since morning and throughout the day.

Disadvantages of Evening Yoga

  • Performing an intensive routine of yoga in the evening can disrupt your sleeping pattern and it might make you feel more energized and difficult to sleep deeply.
  • As yoga charges up you mind and body, you might feel hyperactive late in the evening, which makes you think about other things rather than focusing on your mind and breathing.

How to Improve Evening Yoga for Weight Loss?

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After burning a lot of calories during your yoga practice, you need to provide your system with enough nutrition in the form of carbohydrates. Choose a healthful vegetarian or chicken broth soup as a post-yoga dinner. These soups can be made with carrots, celery, spinach, or cabbage.

Salads and Smoothies

After your yoga practice, you may have a nutritious dinner. Enjoy a bowl of fresh fruit or vegetable salads, a Greek yoghurt parfait with fruits, different sorts of nuts, and oats, tofu, or a smoothie with berries, bananas, and peppermint. If smoothies are too light for you and you want food that is more filling, try wholegrain bread with bananas and peanut butter spread or porridge with fruit and almonds.

Meat and Paneer

Coconut Water

Foods to Avoid

Yoga Poses For Digestion After Eating A Meal

What Should You Eat Before And After Yoga?

Its easy to overlook our digestive systems but by bringing yoga into our day-to-day lives, we can ease our digestive function and calm the body, says Charlene Lim

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Before we get into the details of the digestive system, lets start by taking a moment for this breathing exercise. Wherever you are, take a 3-minute pause.

Inhale deeply, thinking about expanding your breath all the way across the base of your ribcage.

Then, as if in slow motion, draw your breath up, imagining it touching each rung of your ribcage all the way to the collarbone.

Slowly, matching the duration of your long, languid inhale, exhale as slowly and purposefully. Repeat for 3 minutes. Then let the breath settle to a natural rhythm for a few moments.

Foods & Beverages To Avoid Before Yoga

  • Avoid heavy, oily, greasy, fried foods, and big portions of meat up to six hours before class.  Theyre tougher to digest and tend to sit in the intestine longer. They can also make you feel tired the opposite of what you want when youre diving into practice.
  • Raw vegetables like celery, cauliflower, and beans are high in complex carbohydrates. They can give you gas or bloating when uncooked because theyre difficult to digest.
  • Large amounts of raw greens like spinach or kale have a similar effect. Breaking these foods down by boiling, sautéing, or steaming makes them perfectly light, nutritious before-yoga foods.
  • Processed foods are a no-go before yoga. They often have lots of simple or high-glycemic carbs that cause blood sugar to crash. Otherwise, they contain large amounts of sodium or processed sugars. Theyre hard on the digestive system & unlikely to give the sustained energy required for yoga. Watch out for sugar alcohols on the labels of your favorite energy bar theyre a huge cause of bloating!
  • Spicy foods are a major culprit of lack of focus during practice. They cause heartburn, especially tough in any class with inversions. Spicy foods also contribute to energy in the body; in Ayurveda, this energy is fiery, passionate, aggressive, and unfocused! Rajasic energy raises the heart rate, makes you sweat more, and makes the mind jump around rather than focusing on the breath or the teacher.



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