Yoga plays an important role in detoxification. It cleanses impurities and restores balance to both body and mind. It’s vital that you supply your body with proper nutrients before and after yoga.
When you do yoga first thing in the morning, practice on an empty stomach. Or you can take liquid nutrients such as a high-quality greens powder, a protein powder drink, or something small/light without too much fat/protein to slow digestion. I like to have a greens powder drink before an early morning practice and a protein smoothie after. If the class is later in the morning, I drink a smoothie before yoga.
When doing yoga later in the day, eat full meals two to four hours before your practice—the time varies from person to person, based on speed of digestion and the percent of fat/protein/fiber in the food—so that your practice does not interfere with the digestive process. Have a small snack with a little protein, such as a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts, 30 to 60 minutes before yoga to give you a steady source of fuel.
Replace electrolytes and water within 30 minutes after your practice. You may want to add some glutamine to help repair and rebuild muscles.
Within an hour after yoga, have a good source of protein along with vegetables to replace vital minerals, rebuild muscle and stoke the metabolic fire.
If your practice lasts for two hours or more, I recommend putting some high-quality electrolytes in your water bottle. Make sure your electrolyte replacement has plenty of calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as some sodium and a little bit of natural sugar. If you sweat a lot during yoga, make sure you get plenty of these minerals after practice.
Tiffany Cruikshank, LAc, MAOM, E-RYT 500, combines more than two decades of yoga practice and study in holistic medicine with more than 10 years of working with patients. This post is excerpted from her book, Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life: A 30-Day Program to Detoxify and Replenish Body and Mind.