Top 5 nutrition tips to maximise your yogi-flow

18.10.17 Learn Blog SumoSalad

Do you know how much nutrition affects your yoga practice? A lot! In fact, nutrition is the number one thing that will influence the rate of recovery and how fast you can progress (besides being on the matt every day, of course).

Imaging trying to twist your way Revolved Chair Pose with a belly full of pizza, or trying to catch your balance in Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon) during a sugar crash? Bye-bye zen feeling and hello indigestion.

You might be wondering what you can do to fast track your yoga practice. Although you’ll hear some yoga instructors tout a raw food or juice diet to fast-track your yoga practice, the diet followed by the traditional yoga practitioners is quite the opposite. Although the foods that were thousands of years ago when yoga was first developed would be neither available nor practical to eat in today’s society, there are a few guiding principles that the majority of yogis will agree on when it comes to food:

Eat close to 100% whole, unprocessed foods, and organic where possible

Nutrition that supports yoga the best is free from chemicals, preservatives and processing. Our top 10 recommendations include:

  1. Dark Leafy Greens like kale, collards, mustard greens, and spinach are brimming with vitamins C, E and K, iron, fibre and calcium, and so much more. Packed full of nutrients while light and easy to digest. Try any of SumoSalad’s dishes with spinach as a base, Chicken Kaleslaw, Grains and Greens or Green Goddess, which both contain spinach and kale
  2. Raw cacao: Raw cacao is packed with antioxidants to fight disease, flavonoids to reduce the risk of heart disease, and magnesium to support emotional health. Try Cocoa in Sumo’s new chia pods.
  3. Quinoa: Yogis need their protein for energy and concentration and the super grain quinoa is one way to get it. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, iron for healthy blood, vitamin B2 to help with energy production in cells, and magnesium for blood sugar control. Try any of Sumo grain bowls which have quinoa and brown rice as a base, or the brekkie bowls which use quinoa as a base.
  4. Porridge: Porridge is high in fibre, low on the glycemic index scale and has been found to help lower cholesterol. On top of that, yogis with the Ayurvedic constitution vata (more on that below) can benefit even more from porridge’s warming qualities, especially when made with cinnamon or cardamom. It’s also easy on the digestive system and since it’s slow-burning, it’s great for sustained energy.
  5. Berries: Berries are high in disease-fighting antioxidants (shown by their bright colours skins) and they’re a wonderful addition to your smoothie or porridge. Since they’re also high in fibre, berries can help keep hunger at bay and keep everything moving. The natural sugar in berries will help you get through your practice without crashing like high-sugar snacks can do. Try berries in the SumoSalad brekkie bowls for an energising post-yoga breakfast.
  6. Lentils: They’re often called the fountain of youth for their anti-aging benefits. Lentils also have more folate than any other plant food. They’re also loaded with iron and protein to keep you energized throughout a demanding yoga practice. SumoSalad’s lentil and tabbouleh salad when you need to feel a bit more grounded and your practice need a little boost.
  7. Tofu: Yogis love their vegetarian diets, and tofu is a great source of protein for muscle and joint repair. Tofu is a complete protein because it supplies the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own. For every 100g of tofu, this low-fat, low-sugar soy product provides 17.19 g of protein.
  8. Nut butters: Whether you fancy peanuts or prefer almonds, nut butters are a great way to satisfy hunger, boost your energy, and keep you powered up until it’s time for Savasana. Nut butters are super high in protein and contain the good fats to keep you healthy.
  9. Fresh fruit: Aside from being refreshing, delicious, and constantly changing with the seasons, fresh fruits are high in fibre, antioxidants and more. They’re good for your health and they are a great way to satisfy hunger during the day. Thanks to their natural sugar content, fresh fruit provides a boost of energy without the crash of refined sugars.
  10. Lemon and Apple cider vinegar: Start your day with a big glass of water – either warm or tap – with a tablespoon or so of ACV and lemon. It will kick start your digestive system, help to alkalize the body, help promote good bacteria in your gut, which helps control the development and spread of disease. If you’re a fan of Power yogathat really works the muscles, warm lemon water can also help keep the joints and muscles healthy.

Eat as little rajastic food as possible (caffeine, refined sugar, trans fat, alcohol):
In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic are the most life-supporting. These include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In contrast, tamasic foods (such as onions, meat, and garlic) and rajasic foods (such as coffee, alcohol, processed foods, refined sugars, hot peppers, and salt) can increase dullness or hyperactivity. It is said that when our diets are made of predominantly rajasic our prana, or energy is withdrawn, body’s resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind filled with emotions, such as anger, jealousy and greed.

But maintaining a diet that keeps your body light and your mind clear doesn’t necessarily mean eating only sattvic foods. What is best for you and what in the end will best support your yoga practice is informed by your constitution or dosha.

Practice ahimsa – concept of non-harming: 

Ahimsa is the first of the five yamas, which are the ethical, moral and societal guidelines for yogis. Ahimsa is the practice of non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical to the mental and emotional.

A question a lot of people often ask is; ‘Do I have to be vegetarian or vegan while practicing yoga?’ While Ahimsa advises not harming another living thing, which suggests we shouldn’t eat animals, balance and common sense is important. If cutting out meat from your diet causes harm to your physical and mental being, then it’s important to consider what works best. Look at ways to make small changes that support yourself in Ahisma like buying organic food, support environmentally friendly companies and going vegan or vegetarian at least a couple of days a week. Whatever you decide to do with your diet, you should focus on practicing self-love in all that you do.

Eat for your dosha:

Ayurveda says we’re made up of three different ‘body types’ that correspond to both physical and personality traits, known as doshas. These are: vata, pitta and kapha, each of which represent two of the five universal elements (a combination of ether, air, fire, water, earth). According to Ayurvedic we each contain varying proportions of each dosha, but generally one is dominant. Our naturally dominant dosha will be strongest when we are in our most healthy, balanced state.

When our doshas become aggravated or imbalanced, our health and mental state is challenged, so identifying your dominant dosha, any imbalances you have, and then tyring to correct these is the secret to a great mind-body balance.

Practice mindfulness and calmness when eating and preparing food

Mindful eating is multifaceted and involves being aware of the whole nourishment process – from food preparation, consumption, choosing the most nutritious foods, acknowledging food preferences nonjudgmentally and honouring physical hunger and satiety cues.

Ayuvedic principles say it’s not just about what we eat, but also how we eat the food, how the food is prepared, the mood we are in when we prepare the food and how we are feeling when we eat the food. If we are eating in a distressed state, on the move or standing up, our body’s ability to digest the food is compromised, along with our ability to extract nutrients we need from the food. Similarly, if the food is being prepared by a person who is distressed, it’s said some of these emotions are imparted onto the food.

Key takeaway? Make sure you always allow time to eat in a relaxed environment and dissociate food from anything negative.

Want to win ticket’s to Flow After Dark in Sydney on October 24th? Tell us how you flex in your yoga practice, why you deserve to go the event, and you could be downward-dogging with the gang from Flow Athletic! Enter via email to editor@sumosalad.com.



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