What you eat is an important ingredient for a yummy yoga practice. Here are a few food tips to help fuel your yoga.Photo by Melissa Ryan — Kinisha Correia is a freelance writer and blogger. She is a contributing writer to a number of publications, and is a regular columnist for the Miami Herald, highlighting local initiatives focused on building social welfare in any capacity. Her blog, Prana Writes, showcases change-making people and projects around the globe doing uplifting work in the areas of yoga, wellness, eco-living, the arts, conscious travel, and ethical fashion. Kinisha credits yoga for altering the course of her life, and dedicates much of work to sharing yoga’s positivity.
Start Your Day Right for YogaYour morning meal not only positively impacts your alertness and vivacity throughout the entire day but can also dictate the quality of your yoga practice, no matter what time you get on your mat. According to Sharon Feanny, a leading yoga teacher in Jamaica who offers high vitality eating and detox programs, “High vitality foods give you energy rather than sapping it, so a superfood breakfast sets the tone for an energized day.” Sharon's latest breakfast obsession—Vanilla Cocoa Coconut Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding—is jam-packed with superfoods for mental and physical stamina. Here's her recipe:
- Fill a 16oz mason jar with 1/2 cup chia seeds.
- Add 1 cup of almond milk, 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pure vanilla. Stir everything together and store covered in your fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours so chia seeds can soak.
- Stir well before serving and add a little water or coconut water if too thick.
- Top with 2 tbs raw cacao nibs, 2 tbs shredded coconut and fruit and nuts of choice
- Stir everything together and enjoy!
- The pudding can last 4–5 days in the fridge and is great for breakfast or for a sweet dessert treat.
Snacking Before & After Yoga PracticeSnacks can be our heroes, saving us from lethargic, unfocused yoga practices. Sometimes a healthy pre-yoga snack is just what we need for a strong practice, while a post-yoga snack may hit the spot to assist our bodies and minds in fully digesting the benefits of our practice. New York-based Nutrition Expert Arielle Haspel of BeWellwithArielle.com, who stars in healthy cooking shows on Glamour.com and Healthination.com, and creates healthy recipes and hosts cooking classes and corporate wellness events, recommends quality high-carb-low-protein snacks before class and protein-rich-low-carb snacks after class. Unprocessed carbs before practice release slowly into the blood stream, helping create sustained energy and mental focus while staving off hunger pangs. Though carbs also help repair muscles after yoga, high-quality proteins are optimal for building and repairing muscle fibers and easing soreness. If you're practicing first thing in the morning, something light, like a cup of tea, piece of fruit or green juice, consumed 20 minutes or so before, will amp up your insides just enough to fuel your practice, which can followed by a heavier breakfast. If your yoga practice is in the afternoon or evening, Arielle suggests having snacks at least 45 minutes prior, giving your body adequate time to assimilate before you begin moving and bending. Arielle's high-carb-low-protein pre-yoga snack suggestions include:
- A brown rice cake with almond butter and drizzle of honey;
- An apple with a few cashews; oatmeal with almond milk, cinnamon and chia seeds;
- A smoothie made with almond milk, coconut water, berries, spirulina; and a bar made with dates and nuts.
- A brown rice cake with 2 pasture-raised eggs, coconut oil and sprinkle of sea salt; trail mix made with pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts;
- A smoothie made with almond milk, coconut water, almond butter, dates, raw cacao powder, hemp seeds or hemp protein;
- A bar made with seeds and nuts or brown rice protein, hemp protein or pea protein.