Yoga basics

What do you eat before yoga class so you’re not too full but have enough energy?

Ask a Yogi Series

You’ve followed them on Facebook. You might even take their classes in person once in awhile if they travel to or live in your city. But how well do you know our YogaGlo teachers? We’ve created a new series, Ask a Yogi, so you can learn more about them by asking questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

From favorite poses and tips for beginners to deeper questions about how their practice has changed their worldview, our teachers will collectively answer a new question each week. If you have a questions that you’d like to “Ask a Yogi”, let us know in the comments or email us at and we’ll add your question to the list. Today’s Ask a Yogi question is:

What to eat before yoga class?

  • Elena Brower: Green juice. Dark chocolate. Either, preferably both.
  • Kathryn Budig: I try to give myself at least an hour of not eating before practicing, but if it’s early in the AM I’ll have a Purebar or a bit of almond/peanut butter to keep me going until I can have a full meal.
  • Tiffany Cruikshank: Depends on when I’m practicing, being on the road a lot I’ve learned to let go of my rigid attachment to practicing at a certain time and just make sure I get it in, like a dose of a much needed medicine. Like many women my blood sugar is sensitive so it’s a perfect balance before class of having some fuel and not feeling weighted down. My digestion is pretty strong now after many years in holistic health so my body process things pretty quickly.  If I’m practicing in the early morning I will just have some greens powder & water, if it’s late morning I will add a little protein powder and make a smoothie. If I’m practicing later in the day I just make sure to keep full meals an hour or two away from my practice (but I don’t usually eat really big meals) and then take a small snack 30mins or so before practice to keep my blood sugar up (usually a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts). That works well for me but everyone’s digestion & blood sugar are a little different so its important you find the right balance for you.
  • Steven Espinosa: I definitely need to put a little something in my stomach before yoga class. Otherwise, I can get light headed sometimes. So for me, I found eating something soft like a small piece of toast (I’m gluten free so not wheat based) or a few bites of a protein bar gives me just enough but not too much so that I feel too full and get all “burpy” in class.
  • Marc Holzman: I try to leave at least 2 hours before practicing (and I am a morning practitioner). Here is a little mixture I whip together – it makes a small portion but it’s nutritious, satisfying, and light enough even an hour before: ½ banana mashed up, 1 TBSP goat yogurt (or soy if you are vegan/dairy-free), little lemon juice, 1 TSP flax or hemp oil, 1 TSP of ground seeds/nuts mixture I put in grinder (pumpkin/flax/sesame/sunflower… whatever you want in the mélange) mix it all together and enjoy.
  • Amy Ippoliti: I have two strategies, depending on how hungry I am! If I am ravenous and I know I will pass out if I try to practice for 90 minutes, I’ll nosh on a handful of soaked almonds, macadamias or brazil nuts. A small cup of a protein smoothie is even better if I have time to make it. If I just want to stave off hunger that might occur while in practice, I’ll eat a piece of fruit like half a grapefruit or some plain veggies – something that will digest easily and make sure there is a plan for food right after practice!
  • Tara Judelle: I like to not eat at least an hour before a yoga class. If I had my choice of what to eat it before that, it would involve quinoa, kale and tempeh. If I’m in a pinch I usually reach for a handful of almonds.
  • Kia Miller: I try not to eat at all before yoga class, and mostly practice in the morning when my stomach is empty. I will drink a cup of my favorite Oolong tea beforehand or sip a herbal tea. My favorite go-to snack before teaching class is a smoothie, preferably with home-made almond milk, Spirulina and any other brain food like E3 LIVE, Maca, sometimes Cacao and often a raw protein powder. Failing that, if I am on the road I will reach for a banana or a treat like the coconut KEEN-WAH bar!
  • Christina Sell: It depends on the kind of yoga I am doing. If it is a hot yoga class, I drink some juice and make sure that I have a Gatorade nearby throughout the practice. I find that bananas are also great before a practice. Also I like a Larabars or dates. I also like a piece or two of dark choocolate! But the real thing is that each person needs to find what works best for them because everyone has a different digestion process.
  • Stephanie Snyder: I dont really think about that very much, I make sure Im well nourished in general so I stay pretty even. If I find Im hungry just before teaching then I will make a shake/smoothie and that usually does the trick without weighing me down.
  • Jo Tastula: I mostly practice and teach early in the morning, so I don’t eat anything before class. But I will have a cup of tea.  Right now it’s a green tea chai made with fresh almond coconut milk. If I’m really hungry I’ll have half a banana.
  • Felicia Tomasko: I find that the question of what to eat before yoga varies dramatically with each individual. And from the perspective of Ayurveda, can vary dramatically among people with different body types. For example, as I am a person with a generous proportion of the earthy kapha dosha, I actually find I need to fast for at least two hours before practicing, and an hour before teaching (aside from easy-to-digest liquids). If I eat too close to my time on the mat, I feel heavy, weighed down, sometimes even off. Other people I know will experience the sensation of an energy crash if they don’t eat before they practice. Therefore, my first piece of advice is to pay attention to yourself and observe what works for you: what allows you to experience just the right amount of sustained energy and stamina without feeling full and weighed down? If you don’t eat, does it have disastrous results? And if you do it, does it work for you, or does it backfire. There’s no hard and fast rule. If you’re going to eat, I’d say keep it easy to digest. I like some protein drinks and often make my own with a vegan protein powder and some essential fatty acid oil blends. I love veggie/avocado/cucumber rolls because they’re light and satisfying without being oily or hard to digest. For a quick fix, I’ll have a piece of fruit, something like watermelon, melon, or berries. And I do keep bars on hand, but I read ingredients carefully as I don’t want to eat a lot of processed soy as I find it can just sit in the stomach. I love coconut water and aloe vera juice blends, and I especially love chia seed drinks for a quick source of energy that doesn’t weigh down the body. (Native Americans would use chia seeds for energy on long runs or treks through the mountains.)
  • Harshada Wagner: Strong Black Tea with Oat Milk – or otherwise Chai from the little Pakistani place next door to the studio.

Ask a Yogi

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