YOur yoga class just ended, and your stomach is rumbling. You may find this surprising: yoga doesn’t always seem like the most strenuous exercise, so why does it increase appetite? No shame here, just curiosity.

If you have ever experienced this, you are not alone. Several Quora and Reddit users have asked the same question.

The truth is, hunger is a complex process. Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, co-host of Nail Your Nutrition says, “Hunger levels vary based on the length and intensity of the workout, what you ate before, how much you ate before, your workout yesterday, etc. Podcasts and Bucket Lists Tami’s CEO. “Hunger can be very individual, but you should never ignore it, especially after a workout when your body is in a catabolic state.”

Three Reasons Why Yoga Can Make You Hungry

If your stomach is confusing you during Savasana, a few things can be to blame.

1. Yoga poses require fuel, aka calories

You’re probably expending more energy on the mat than you realize. “It’s not the same thing as holding a pose for ‘no move’ time, which puts stress on muscles and joints and requires significant strength,” explains Susan Bowerman, RD, CSSD, FAND, senior director of global nutrition education and training at Herbalife. nutrition “Sweating isn’t the only indication that the body is working hard or needs fuel, and you’re working harder than you think.”

He adds that some people don’t want to eat too much (or too much protein) before a workout, so they’ll feel hungry afterward because their body wants to fuel.

2. Yoga helps you become more in tune with your body

Part of what makes yoga different from other forms of exercise is that it is a mind-body practice. This means, in part, that it brings more awareness to how you feel and what your body needs. “In fact, compared to an intense cardio session or HIIT workout, where adrenaline and hormone releases can suppress your appetite, you may be more in tune with your appetite after a yoga session,” says Schlichter.

3. Yoga can stimulate your digestive system

Here’s a fun fact: Yoga doesn’t just stretch your arms, legs, and back. “Even gentle yoga, such as restorative or yin yoga, can stretch and stimulate your digestive system, which moves food through your digestive system and makes room for your next meal,” says Randi Sprintis, MS, an Ashtanga yoga instructor. “So, even slow-paced yoga can make you feel hungry.” As your body feels more awake, so does your digestive system.

What to eat before and after yoga

It’s hard to enjoy yoga—or the time afterward, which is hopefully relaxing—when you’re hungry. So how can you best fuel your body?

Before yoga

Shortly before you hit the mat, Schlichter recommends eating a small carb-based snack, such as a piece of fruit, crackers, peanut butter on toast, or a glass of juice, for a quick energy boost. If you’re eating more before class, add some protein.

“A good rule of thumb is to try to eat at least an hour or two before class, and stick to foods that are easily digested,” advises Sprintis.

Post Yoga

“After yoga class, you want to shoot for foods that can restore your energy, rehydrate your body, and help you feel satisfied,” Sprintis says.

Eating after exercise helps your body in multiple ways. “The combination of carbohydrates and protein can help restore glycogen stores, raise your blood sugar, and prevent muscle breakdown, all of which will help your body recover faster for future workouts,” says Schlichter. If you’re not eating right after class, she suggests having a smoothie, Greek yogurt with fruit, or something like cheese and crackers as a snack. “While a post-workout snack may not be necessary for everyone after a yoga practice, be aware that the absence of hunger doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat something,” she adds.

Additionally, Bowerman notes the importance of hydration (which certain foods can help too!). “The most important thing is to rehydrate, because many yoga studios are quite warm and you can lose a lot of fluids during a session, even if you drink water,” she says. “Later, you can replace fluids and carbohydrates with foods like fresh fruit (especially juicy watermelon), soups, or smoothies.”

The bottom line is: respecting your body is just as important off the mat. “Remember that yoga is about being on your own path and not judging yourself or others, especially about food choices,” says Sprintis. “Listen to your body and find a balance that works for you.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.