The Yoga Diet- Nutritional Wisdom For Yogis
This Article was written by Ashleigh Mythen - Passionate Naturopath, Podcaster and An Avocado lover. Head to her website https://www.ashleighmythen.com/ to listen to her podcasts, learn through her Webinars or have help on a 1-on-1 consult. Reach out to her on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. Check out her Instagram here or her Facebook here.
4 Ways Nutrition Can Help You Practice Yoga
My first introduction to yoga was during high school with Yoga Tv; a television show that aired Monday to Friday yoga classes at 6 am.
I can’t remember what drew me to practising it for the first time, as I don’t remember anyone else around me influencing this decision. But I do remember that it was this network that began my lifelong love affair with yoga.
Years later when I studied Naturopathy, I started to understand the power of having a good diet as a foundation for health. I also learned about the varying effects that nutrition can have on the body.
I also started to notice positive changes in the way I practised yoga.
So, Here are 4 ways that Nutrition helped me to practice yoga:
1- Helps to keep your mind strong and clear:
“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
You’re sitting in a yoga class, but you’re struggling to focus on what the teacher’s saying (as you’ve barely eaten the whole day) replacing your meals with double-shot lattes and maybe a choc chip cookie from that local café.
This was me before I was a Naturopath, I was a hairdresser working 12-hour shifts with no breaks in between. And I would often wonder why I struggled to stop fidgeting in a yoga class.
Yoga is a movement meditation, and as a lot of yogis will tell you; yoga isn’t about whether you can flip yourself into a pretzel; in fact, it’s more about what’s going on in the inside, literally.
Your body will perform better if it receives the proper nutrients that feed the pathways to help it function. It’ll also help improve your mood by equipping your brain with the requirements to help it do its job and as a result help it stay focused and calm.
2- It strengthens the body:
Good protein plays quite an important role in creating the building blocks for every cell of your body. Eating good sources of protein can help these building blocks to stay strong.
There is a big misconception that meat is the only way to get protein, but this is inaccurate. If you feed yourself with a wide variety of whole grains and legumes like brown rice, chickpeas, lentils, etc. You will be getting enough protein. But remember just eating protein is just one part of the nutrition package. I like to encourage people to have a wide variety of whole foods that support all the processes in the body as it works as an ecosystem supporting us therefore, we must support it accordingly. A little bit of everything is better than a lot of one thing. As one of my favourite quotes go:
“Everything in moderation including moderation” – Oscar Wilde
3- You won’t be as sore the next day:
Nutrients such as ‘Magnesium’ can help your muscles to recover the next day. And where do we get our magnesium from?
Magnesium is rich in nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens like spinach and even in cacao! So, if you’re not getting enough magnesium chances are your body won’t be able to recover as fast, which means you’ll also probably be less inclined to keep doing yoga, especially if your sore.
4- Give you more energy:
Having enough fuel can greatly impact the body, it can impact the amount of output energy you (and just like your car) would have.
If you want to be able to keep up the momentum with the even craziest of asanas, then I recommend fuelling up with the right foods. Although it’s not good to exercise and twist after you’ve had a big meal – You can grab some handful of nuts or a protein ball or even a smoothie – but it’s not what you do before or even after a yoga practice, it’s what you do every. Damn. Day. That will impact the energy you have.
The vitamin, particularly necessary for energy are your B vitamins – B vitamins are in practically everything! In saying that I find that in today’s modern world we’re burning through a lot more because of extra stresses and pressures that the modern world provides. So, if you are eating all the right things but still feeling fatigued then consider adding a B complex to your supplement routine.
It’s also important to mention that there could be other things going on that’s making you feel fatigued so make sure to see a health practitioner if it continues to be an issue.
A good healthy diet can help you function well in the world. It can also affect how you show up on the mat.
If you don’t know what ‘good nutrition is’
I like to KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid!
So, ask yourself what your great grandparents would recognise as food – keeping a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins… then taking note between these things and how they make you feel. This is the best and surest way to find out what works for you.
Because when you get all lycra up in your new rainbow yoga pants you want to make sure you don’t just ‘show’ up but show up in a way that will be beneficial for your whole body inside and out.
This Article was written by Ashleigh Mythen - Passionate Naturopath, Podcaster and An Avocado lover. Head to her website https://www.ashleighmythen.com/ to listen to her podcasts, learn through her Webinars or have help on a 1-on-1 consult. Reach out to her on Ashleigh@itcantbethatfrigginhard.com to find out more.
Helms, E et al. 2019 ‘Towards a Sustainable Nutrition Paradigm in Physique Sport: A Narrative review’, viewed 25 May 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6681103/
Zhang, Y et al. 2017 ‘Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?’, viewed 25 May 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622706/
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Oseicki, H 2010, ‘The Nutrient Bible’, Eighth edition, Australia.