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How to fuel for yoga

The gist:

Time your pre-yoga meal strategically to get the most out of your practice.

Expert insight:

It’s more difficult to move into certain poses if you eat too close to class. “Twists, backbends, and folds all put pressure on your abdomen,” says Krystina Rosania, New York City-based assistant manager of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. If you’re full from a meal, it can hinder your movement.

Anytime you bring your legs close to your stomach (as you do in Humble Warrior and Crow poses), your digestive organs get compressed. If your body is still processing a too-recent meal, that food will get pushed through more quickly, which can make you gassy, adds Kristina Erikson, a yoga instructor at Equinox locations in New York City.

The bottom line:

Give yourself two hours to digest a full meal pre-yoga, Rosania says. For snacks, 45 to 60 minutes should be enough. Aim for foods that won’t leave you feeling heavy or sluggish, such as half a banana or a handful of almonds.