What to eat for yoga?
Question 1: Hi I have been practicing ashtanga yoga 3-4 times a week for about 4 month. I prefer to practice in the mornings, and I have found it hard to eat to much before practice. My question is if you could give me some advise on how to eat before and after practice, both to get energy for the practice, and to recover afterwards. I would prefer to eat vegetarian or raw food.
Answer 1: Hi! Eating for yoga can be a tricky thing, especially if you have an athletic practice like Ashtanga. Obviously you want to have energy, but if you eat too much or too soon before the practice, you might upset your stomach. Traditional yogis usually have tea and then practice on an empty stomach and eat immediately afterwards. I personally feel weak when I do this, so I like to eat a handful of nuts and dried fruit if I'm practicing first thing in the morning and don't have time for a full meal. Otherwise, I generally eat a full meal at least an hour and a half before practicing. I follow the GAPS diet, as I'm trying to heal my stomach after longterm antibiotic use for Lyme disease, and I can't say for sure what to eat to make yourself feel great since we are all different. Just listen to your body, and experiment with what makes you feel your best. As for recovering from a challenging practice, I would definitely be sure to drink lots to rehydrate.
Pain in the Feet from Yoga?
Question 2: I've been practicing yoga for about 8 months now and have noticed that I have pain in the balls of my feet when I do a standing series (mainly in crescent lunge or warrior poses). Its gotten to the point that I can't stay in a pose because of the pain. Is there anything I can do to ease it?
Answer 2: I'm sorry to hear you're experiencing discomfort. What is the quality of the discomfort? If it's cramping up or a tightness, you may want to double check your foundation and where the weight is distributed, as shown above. Focusing on the feet is also another way to deepen your practice because it requires the student to hone in on subtleties. A tiny movement or shift in weight on the feet can impact the entire practice. If, however, you're feeling any kind of sharp pain then my advice would be to see a doctor. I hope this is helpful!!
Yoga for Cross-training
Question 3: How do I combine yoga with other trainings like running?
Answer 3: Yoga can be a great compliment to your fitness routine. The trick, I think, is to figure out what part of the body is the most taxed in the sport you do and then look to see what yoga poses could help. For example, runners typically have tight hamstrings, low back issues, and tight traps. I created a yoga sequence for after a run keeping these areas in mind, and you might find that helpful. Additionally, runners generally could use some ankle strengthening, so eagle pose and any balancing pose is really great for them. I also have a yoga sequence specifically for feet that is good for strengthening the little muscles in the feet (definitely a plus for runners). Hope these help!