What to Eat Before Yoga

By Laura Olinger
pre yoga practice smoothie
I found out pretty quickly during last summer’s Teacher Training that eating a big meal immediately before practice is not advisable. As delicious as the spinach and artichoke roll from neighboring Cafe Lou Lou is, it sat heavy in my stomach one practice. I felt lethargic, could taste the salt in my sweat, and had difficulty twisting with a full belly. I wasn’t able to practice at my full potential.

Choosing when and what to eat before practice can be a little tricky. Eat too much too close to class and you might find your asana resting in Child’s Pose with a stomach ache. Eat too little, and you won’t have enough energy to take yourself to your edge.

Though every body is different, I find eating a light meal or snack 30-60 minutes before I practice is best, depending on how hungry I am. Carbohydrates and healthy fats are the body’s fuel of choice, whereas protein is important afterward to help muscles grow stronger. Some good options include a slice of toast with nut butter, fresh or dried fruit, a little cheese, and crackers, or a granola bar.

My favorite way to fuel up is with a smoothie. I can get all the natural energy from the fruit, it goes down well, and, more importantly, stays down well. Below is the recipe for my favorite power-up smoothie. You can use fresh or frozen fruit. (Tip: Frozen fruit makes a frosty drink without watering it down!)

Power-Up Pre-Yoga Smoothie


  • 1 banana
  • 1 mango, sliced (or about 1 cup frozen)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or other milk of your choice, but this makes it taste tropical!)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite pre-yoga snacks?