What to Eat to Enhance Your Yoga

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We all know that sweating it out in yoga class is a great way to relieve stress and build strength, but what you might not know is that yoga’s sister practice—Ayurveda—could take your yoga to the next level. Lesser known outside of India, Ayurveda extends beyond the mat into every aspect of daily life, including mindfulness, meditation, cleanses and food.

In this practice, each person has a unique make up of different constitutions, or doshas, which are linked to the elements. These are vata (air and ether), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (earth and water). Listening to your body and determining its imbalances is key, and then, specific yoga postures can help you regain that balance.

Our VIP Wellness Partner Try the World rounded up some tips to help you get started on your Ayurvedic journey. These nutritional suggestions, combined with your time on the mat, should have you on your way to enlightenment in no time!

 

1. Eat colorful, tasty meals
Make each meal a rainbow of color. Deep blue, purple, red, green and orange foods are especially high in antioxidants and immunity-boosting nutrients that can enhance your health. Plus, since we eat with all the senses—colorful, beautiful food is extra appealing. We love this colorful quinoa salad and this acai smoothie.

 

 

2. Experiment with new flavors
Give yourself a break from the norm and try new, healthy foods from other cultures. An excited palate is a happy palate! Try snacking on unique foods, like sriracha banana chips or wasabi popcorn from the Try The World Fabletics Snack Box, or just cooking a familiar ingredient in a new way.

 

 

3. Try to incorporate the six Ayurvedic tastes
Corresponding to doshas and helping to maintain your body’s natural balance, sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent flavors should be incorporated into each meal.

Sweet foods include wheat, rice (try this Jasberry rice for extra variety), dairy, cereals, dates and licorice root. Try Yakgwa Honey Cookies, made with wheat and honey, for a sweet (but not overly so) taste.

Citrus, pickled foods and wine are all sour foods. Yuzu Gummy Candies deliver the sour taste using an exotic citrus.

Salty foods include olives, Himalayan salt and tamari. For a nice salty, briny snack, try Oloves’ black pitted olives with chili and garlic.

Pungent foods include hot spices, lemongrass, garlic and mustard. We recommend Darling Sweet’s Bird’s Eye Chili Toffee for that spicy kick in snack form.

Raw green veggies, most herbal teas and turmeric are considered bitter foods. Jica Chips are a fun way to incorporate a bitter food—jicama—into your diet.

Astringent foods include green grapes, green beans, alfalfa sprouts and okra. Apples are also astringent, and Frutaformas’ Crunchy Apple Rings are a great snackable example.

 

 

4. Strengthen your digestion
There are a number of ways to strengthen your digestion, but most important is to eat in a mindful way. Pay attention to the food you are eating, what your body is telling you and only eat when you’re hungry. Keep snacks with you so you can eat in moderation, at a moderate pace.

5. Emphasize cooked veggies and lighter meats
Be kind to your body. Take it easy and avoid heavy meats or raw veggies which are harder to digest. Ayurveda emphasizes the path of least resistance; give your body the space to function with effortless ease without weighing it down with heavy, hard-to-digest meals. For a fun and delicious example, try this spicy corn chaat or this cucumber and radish salad.

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