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Most advice about yogic nutrition focuses on what you shouldn’t eat—specifically, that it’s a bad idea to practice yoga on a full stomach because that could interfere with your being able to twist, bend, and invert freely. But what about after class? Vigorous practices, such as vinyasa flow, Ashtanga, Power, and Bikram, require postyoga nutrition in order to recharge energy stores and repair all those little stretching-induced muscle tears.
“There is a window in which the body needs something to recuperate and repair,” says dietitian Jennifer Workman, who is the author of the Ayurveda-based nutritional book called Stop Your Cravings: Satisfy Your Tastes Without Sacrificing Your Health. “Different people have different digestive capacities and different needs,” she explains.
Some yogis with strong digestive fires might be ravenous directly after class and ready to eat. If that’s the case, Workman says to go for it. Just make sure that your snack contains a balance of protein and carbohydrates, which your body will break down into amino acids to help repair muscle tissue and give you energy. “If a person doesn’t tend to have as strong digestive fires, a protein shake or soup is good,” she says. “They’re light, and the protein is in an easily digestible form.”
Your blood sugar can plummet after a vigorous class, regardless of your digestive capacities. The Interna-tional Society of Sports Nutrition recommends consuming carbohydrates (1 gram per 2.2 pounds of body weight) and protein (1 g per 4.4 pounds) within 30 minutes of intense exercise. So after yoga, try noshing on something like a big bowl of oatmeal with milk and nuts to get a balance of carbs and protein.