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The practice of yoga doesn’t have to stop at the end of a physical exercise session. For many, yoga is a spiritual practice and not just exercise; it can be a way to better align with the world around us.

A true yogic diet is based around the concept of Ahimsa, which means that no conscious living being should ever come to harm. Therefore, in its truest form, a yogic diet is vegan.

Bernard McGowan, a qualified personal trainer and nutritional therapist, believes that one of the best ways to heal and balance the body and mind is through proper nutrition that supports physical exercise.

Why Nutrition Is Important

As with any exercise, eating a balanced diet full of nutritious food is key to success when practicing yoga. Nutritious food heals the body and help us to reach optimal energy levels. When you support your physical activity with proper nutrients, you will notice a significant improvement in your performance.

Eating Before Yoga

Yoga consists of various poses, or asanas, which can often involve bending in positions that can put a lot of pressure on the stomach and intestines. This can cause discomfort if you have eaten too close to your yoga session.

Eating around 45 minutes to an hour before a yoga workout gives the body enough time to digest and avoid discomfort. To best fuel a workout without running the risk of bloating or discomfort ruining performance, consider foods such as fruits and low-fat yoghurts that provide sustained energy release for long time periods.

Best Foods for Yoga

In terms of nourishment, everyone’s needs are different. However, when planning an active lifestyle, the best foods are ones that offer a sustained release of energy over the course of the day.

Fruits such as bananas are rich in potassium, which interacts with sodium in the body to maintain hydration. Bananas can also help to prevent cramps and bloating. Like bananas, prunes are loaded with potassium and are a great way to get optimal energy on the go. Aside from fruits, almonds, oatmeal and even dark chocolate can have overall health benefits.

Using plenty of herbs and spices that have been shown to promote healing is another staple of many yogic diets. Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, sage and anise – to name just a few – can help with digestion, improve your mood and encourage healing.