Our readers often ask us how long after eating should I wait before performing yoga? In this article, we will talk about this in detail.
I have heard people saying that you cannot run or swim with a full stomach; otherwise, you will suffer from cramps, pain in the stomach or even nauseous. What about yoga?
Yoga involves many strenuous exercises, twisting and bending of different parts of the body, which can put a lot of strain on the stomach.
If a person does yoga exercises just after eating, they may have nausea, vomiting, cramps, and might feel more sleepy while doing body relaxation asanas like Shavasana.
You will not feel active enough to practice your yoga postures properly. So yoga instructors would always advise you to practice yoga early in the morning and on an empty stomach. However, those with diabetes or low blood pressure can have light snacks an hour before practicing yoga.
However, everyone can’t practice yoga early in the morning and you cannot remain on an empty stomach throughout the day to practice yoga, either. So then the question arises, “you should wait how long after eating can I do yoga?”
Ideally you should wait for at least 4 hours before doing yoga. However, there is no hard and fast rule and mostly depends upon which asana you want to practice. You can practice a few asanas even just after your meal like Vajrasana, which will help in the digestion of food. Similarly, you don’t need to keep a lot of time gap for performing nasal cleaning technique, popularly called Neti.
Again, if you are doing light yoga exercises or Vipassana or Antar Mauna, you need to eat two hours before doing yoga. But if you want to do strenuous asanas and back bends, then it is best to wait for three to four hours before you perform yoga. Same hold true for breathing exercises like Pranayama, for which an empty stomach is preferred.
For practicing something even more intense like sankhaprakshalana, in which you purify your entire digestive system with saltwater, you would need to keep a gap of 12 hours before you practice this.
Why Should You Practice Yoga On an Empty Stomach?
Most yogis say that the best time to do yoga is early morning, just after your daily ablutions. But have you ever thought about what is the logic behind this?
Well, there is a scientific reason behind this idea. You require a lot of energy to digest food, especially right after having your meal.
It indicates that your body will direct most of its energy towards the digestive system. So if you do yoga postures immediately after a meal, your body will not be able to provide enough energy for you to perform yoga.
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Secondly, you will feel discomfort if you practice yoga just after having a meal. To start with, you can’t do Pranayama if your food has not been digested properly. There are also some strenuous asanas like Headstands (or Shirshasana) and Wheel Pose (or Chakrasana), which can cause acid reflux and severe discomfort. Your body will not be in the mood to do yoga on a full stomach.
So, it’s best to do it on an empty stomach. You will feel relaxed and energetic. An empty stomach is only possible in the early morning, which is the best time to practice yoga postures.
However, if you are have low blood pressure or suffer from diabetes insipidus, you can have a light snack just one hour before practicing yoga. We would strongly advice that you reach out to your medical advisor if you feel dizzy or faintish while practicing yoga.
What Type Of Food Is Good To Eat Before Doing Yoga?
There are some dietary products that are not only easy to digest but also give you a lot of energy to practice different yoga postures. If you are going to practice yoga an hour after your food, you can take some fresh fruits or a little bit of yogurt.
But if you are going to practice yoga after 4-5 hours, you can take a full meal that includes bread, pasta, and oatmeal.
Refined grains can increase the blood sugar level quickly, which will be helpful for you while doing yoga exercises for a short period. But if you want to do yoga exercises for a long time, then you should try to eat whole grains.
You should also drink plenty of water, which is necessary for digestion, helps remove toxins from your body and keeps you hydrated for your practice, especially ones like Hot Yoga, where you are expected to burn a lot of calories.
What Type Of Food Should You Avoid Before Doing Yoga?
Foods that are a rich source of fiber and fat needs to be avoided before doing yoga.
High fiber content foods like beans, and popcorn they take a long time to digest, which could become a problem while practicing yoga. The energy of your body will divert in digesting food rather than helping you to work out.
As a result, you may have vomiting or a slight headache. Again, high fiber foods can cause gas which may result in bloating. Consequently, you may face an embarrassing situation in your yoga class.
High-fat food like red meat or any fried food like potato chips will take a long time to digest. So it’s better to avoid it before doing yoga.
You need to avoid coffee before practicing yoga. You may feel energetic instantly because it contains caffeine, which can stimulate your nervous system, but in actuality, it will not fuel your muscles. It may cause dehydration which can cause a slight headache. So, it’s best to avoid it.
You might like to read: Can You Do Yoga Without An Instructor?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I do yoga after eating?
Yes, you can do yoga after eating, but you will feel dizzy, nauseous or might even vomit. So, it’s best to avoid yoga just after eating. If you have taken a heavy meal, you need to do yoga after 3-4 hours, and if you have taken a light meal, you can practice yoga exercises after 1-2 hours.
2. Can you do yoga on a full stomach?
If you attend your yoga class with a full stomach, then you may have a stomach ache, bloating, dizziness, or could even vomit. So, it’s best to avoid eating a heavy meal before going to a yoga class. Maintain a minimum gap of two hours before your yoga class and ideally a 4-hour gap
3. Can we eat before doing yoga?
You can have a light meal or fruits or snacks one to two hours before heading to your yoga class. But avoid taking a heavy meal. Filling up your stomach right before your practice, would make you feel bloated and not at all comfortable for doing yoga.
Yoga has immense health benefits. So, we all should do yoga every day to be fit physically and mentally. Our timing of eating and type of meals play a vital role while doing yoga exercises.
It’s best to practice yoga in the early morning with an empty stomach. But it is not always possible to do so. in that case, you can take a light meal like a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables if you want to go to your yoga class just after one to two hours. They are easily digestible and give you energy while practicing yoga postures without causing heaviness in the stomach. But if you have taken a heavy meal, you need to go to yoga class after at least four hours.
I hope this article has helped you know about the food you need to eat before heading to your yoga class and the time you need to take your meal. Please don’t forget to share your suggestions for this article in the comment section. I would love to read your suggestions in the comment section.