To get the most out of your yoga practice, you should show up ready, willing, and with the proper intentions. Furthermore, to get optimal performance from your body and mind while in positions, there are a few things that you should avoid before you begin.
Luckily, the most important things to avoid are all relatively simple, and once you’ve recognized the pitfalls involved with said activities, you will be better able to avoid them altogether.
It’s a simple way to improve the progress of your sessions. What should you not do before yoga? In this article, we will tell you just that.
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Table of Contents
1- Avoid Eating 2 – 3 Hours Before Yoga
During yoga, we stretch, extend, and manipulating not just our extremities but our internal organs as well. You will have a bad time if you think you can manipulate your internal organs with a belly full of a cheeseburger and fries.
I am not saying that you avoid food altogether before you begin your practice, as you might start later in the day. After work, per se. To keep things simple, it is best practice to avoid eating for two to three hours leading up to your yoga practice. This gives your body enough time to handle the most labor-intensive part of digestion.
However, our bodies are all different, and our needs do vary from person to person. To give it our best on the mat, we still need energy, and if you are absolutely ravenous when you begin your positions, your body simply won’t have the energy to perform. A light snack 30 minutes before the session can be just what we need to get through the exercise.
If you find that you need a snack before yoga, go for it. Listen to your body’s needs. It can save you some struggle in the long run.
Look for snacks that have a good balance of healthy carbs and protein. Watch out for high-fat and high-fiber foods and sugar, as those can cause bloating, cramping, pain, and flatulence.
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2- Don’t Drink Too Much Water
Some drinks cause more problems than if you were to eat a meal before you begin your stretching. It is a very uncomfortable feeling indeed to perform a downward dog with a sloshing stomach. Anytime you get even the slightest bit of inversion during a move, it can cause discomfort or worse. Here’s what you should avoid before your practice.
About 30 minutes before yoga, you should aim to drink 8 ounces of water. Enough so that your body is hydrated, but not so much that you’re going to feel it sloshing in your stomach or filling up your bladder before class is over.
According to the American Heart Association, keeping your body hydrated will help your work efficiently. Remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
Though you may get the urge to chug water as your body sweats and your muscles start to get to work, you should try your best to wait until the end.
Too much water in the stomach during the exercises can cause painful bloating, discomfort, and nausea. If you’re working hard, you could experience an involuntary act of vomiting. No one wants that.
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3- Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Your morning coffee or tea should not cause a problem unless your practice occurs first thing in the morning. In that case, it is wise to drink your daily dram of caffeine after you’ve finished. While caffeine can boost energy and improve your focus, it can be counterproductive to your yoga practice.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it can cause dehydration. A dehydrated body is at a higher risk for injury, strains, and pulled muscles. Dehydration can also cause nausea, fatigue, and an increased chance of fainting in the case of hot yoga.
Caffeine will also raise heart rate and muscle tension, making poses more difficult to maintain and an additional risk of injury. Finally, caffeine can make you need to use the bathroom more frequently. Just another reason to wait until your yoga is done for the day before you have that venti iced chai.
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4- Avoid Alcohol During Yoga – And The Night Before
It is a no-brainer that you should avoid drinking alcohol before class, but you might not realize that drinking it the night before can also affect your performance the next day. Alcohol is a potent diuretic and dehydrates the body much more than caffeine.
It also causes stomach irritation, electrolyte imbalances, inflammation, lower blood sugar, and disrupts sleep. These effects can all carry over into the next day, so by imbibing the night before, you could affect your yoga performance the next day.
You may also be aware of a new type of yoga event gaining popularity in recent years. Poses-N-Pints, Or Wine Down Yoga, to name a couple.
These events occur at bars, breweries, and wineries. Drinks are served after practice and sometimes before or during. It is a fun idea on the surface, but I would suggest keeping the process of yoga and alcohol separate.
See also: 27 Powerful Yoga Poses for Immune System
5- Don’t Apply Fragrance Before Yoga Practice
You may be self-conscious about your body’s natural smells when you go into a class with others. Though this is a conscious and kind thought, it is best to avoid perfumes, colognes, and other heavy fragrances before you go to class.
Firstly, those around you are unlikely to smell your body odor, so relax. Secondly, most of us would rather smell a bit of sweat than the cloying fragrance of Eau de Toilette. Once it warms up, your body can elevate those fragrances even further.
For many people, perfumes can be highly irritating to the senses, making it harder to concentrate and get into the flow of yoga. For others, they might be straight-up allergic, and by spraying yourself down with cologne, you’ve ruined their practice. They might have to leave.
Think of your yoga practice as hard work. You’re supposed to sweat. It’s ok to get a bit of body odor. No one can blame you for that.
A 2016 study suggested that applying fragrance may play an essential role in changing cognition, mood, and social behavior.
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6- Don’t Skip The Bathroom
For most of us, it might never happen. But, as we all know, nature always calls on her terms. It is a good rule of thumb to give yourself a window of time before your scheduled yoga time for whatever might come up. It is best practice to use the bathroom before beginning your work, even if it is not an emergency.
Halfway through a hot yoga session, something that was not an emergency can quickly become one, especially during an inversion. So, this is a double-sided piece of advice. Don’t put yourself in a position where you are rushing to get to class.
Give yourself the grace of having a window of time to take care of business before yoga class. Even if your class is first thing in the morning, getting up a bit earlier could save you some embarrassing heartbreak at some point.
See also: 25 Best Yoga Exercises To Lose Weight Faster And Look Gorgeous [With Videos]
Choosing the Right Routine Before Yoga Practice
I hope that these pieces of wisdom will help you in the progression of your yoga journey. When you’ve built a routine and learned what works and what doesn’t, it goes a long way toward improving your strength in yoga and your health in life.
Being mindful of what you put into your body is one of the simplest things you can do to improve the quality of output you get from the practice. Do you have a favorite few things you do before yoga practice – or a few things you always stay away from before you hit the mat? Share with us in the comments below!