by Zen Yogini Kyra

While it’s not usually advisable to be in a state of digestion while practicing yoga, if we are distracted by our stomach growling it can take away from our ability to focus and enjoy the practice. Personally, if it’s been too long since I had some sustenance, I find it useful to have little healthy snacks before yoga, along with a tall glass of water to keep hydrated.

It’s best to avoid extremely high-fiber options, or other foods such as cheese, meat, and bread, which can be difficult to digest. This helps to minimize any abdominal discomfort and the digestive energy your body must expend during yoga. Anything quite saucy, oily, or spicy should also be avoided. I personally stay away from wheat in particular as it can create a bloated “wheat belly” feeling that is not ideal when you’re doing downward dogs.

Here are a few of my favorite balanced yet easy-to-digest, easy-to-transport healthy snacks before yoga:

If you just have to snack and run:

Avocado – yes, just avocado. It’s filling yet packed with nutrients such as magnesium and potassium which are critical for proper cell and muscle function as well as instrumental in keeping you hydrated.

Banana – it’s full of simple sugars that are easy to digest, as well as potassium (see above) and Vitamin C.

Almonds – a handful of these superstars keep you feeling nourished yet not full, and they have tons of nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and often-overlooked Vitamin E.

6-8 dried dates or apricots and a glass of almond or rice-coconut milk

Dried cranberries or raisins mixed with a few nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds for a little dash of protein

If you have 5-10 minutes to prepare:

Tahini Dip and crackers – take a few tablespoons of tahini, mix well with the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper, and small dash of cayenne pepper, if you like. Dip with low-salt spelt or rice crackers. (While these do have a little spice and acid content in the lemon, I find the combination is balancing and easy to digest.)

Avocado-banana smoothie: blend a few slices of avocado, half a banana, and your choice of either coconut milk/water, yogurt/kefir, or almond milk/rice milk, with a tablespoon of cacao powder and a teaspoon of hemp seeds together for a light but filling smoothie to power through the practice.

If you can plan ahead the night before, and then have 5-10 minutes before class:

Apple/Asian Pear and nut-honey – soak a few teaspoons of flaxseeds and almonds in water for a few hours or overnight to activate their enzymes, making them even easier to digest and more nutrient-available. With a blender, mix a few tablespoons of honey, the soaked nuts and flaxseeds in their water, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a little almond milk, coconut milk, or coconut water for a slightly thick but even consistency. Dip with slices of half a medium apple or asian pear.

Actually, this is a delicious dessert anytime – enjoy!

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