Eating and Drinking Before and During a Class

Yoga is based on ancient Indian traditions.  Yogic traditions describe the effects that yoga has on our energy systems.  They also tell of a how consumption of any sort during a yoga practice disrupts these systems and the positive effects of the practice.

You should never eat during a class or your personal practice.  Classes are only 1 and half hours duration so, as long as you have eaten a meal within the last four hours, or a light snack within the last 2 hours, there is no need to replenish your energy levels during a class.  Yoga’s approach to eating before class in many ways is no different from our western attitudes towards eating during physical exertion –you should not begin a yoga class on a full stomach.

To experience the full benefits of a yoga class it is advisable not to eat prior to a class later than:

  • 2 hours for a light snack (a piece of fruit)
  • 4 hours for a meal (breakfast or lunch).


Not drinking during a class or your personal practice however, clashes with our western opinions on hydration during physical activity.  However, from a yoga point of view you should not drink during a class and here's why.

The need to drink during a class is considered more an indicator of a fault deficiency somewhere else.  Here I am referring to the common mistake of breathing through your mouth, or not drinking enough fluids during the rest of the day.

Breathing through the mouth dries the mouth, which triggers the desire to drink.  Breathing through the nose does not trigger this response, no matter how hard you might breath through the nose.

If you’re breathing through your nose and you still have the desire to drink then I would suggest that you need to drink more fluids during the rest of your day.  And I don’t mean that you should drink 2 litres just before a yoga class, rather you should be consuming extra fluids through out the whole day.

Find out more how breathing through the nose differs from breathing through the mouth here.