and this is what you do not do

I was made an example of in yoga class last week – and not because my downward dog is so impressive.

My favorite instructor teaches a sixty minute class (which, because I’m not a super-strong yogi,1 I vastly prefer to the ninety minute classes) at 6 pm on Wednesdays. The small problem here is that, every other day of the week, I work out at 4 pm, and therefore I have my post-workout snack around 5:15 or 5:30. My body is used to having a snack at that time, and so it wants to have a snack before yoga starts.

Last week, I munched on a Luna bar while I waited for class to start and then, because I didn’t see any trash cans in that corner of the gym, tucked the wrapper under my towel when we went into the studio. Fast-forward about thirty-five minutes, and I’m sweating in a three-legged dog while our instructor, this fabulously nutty woman who sometimes breezes into class wearing this huge, outrageous floppy hat, walks around the room. She tapped me on the back and whispered, “Did you eat that before class?” I acknowledged that I had and apologized for bringing the wrapper into the studio.

“It’s okay,” she told me. “That just reminds me I should bring something up with everyone.”

Oh no. That sounded ominous.

We shifted to rest in child’s pose, and she began telling us that we shouldn’t eat for at least two hours before we practice yoga. It wasn’t just that we shouldn’t do it, she told us, it was that it was one of the basic principles of yoga not to do it. I was mortified. I felt only marginally better when she also (gently) reprimanded the students who had brought water bottles into the studio.

I was also slightly indignant. I mean, it was a Luna bar. It wasn’t as though I had eaten a Subway sandwich or something. Regardless, I made a point of not eating before class last night.

This was unquestionably the wrong decision. It was impossible for me to concentrate on my breathing or the poses because I kept thinking about when I would get to go home and have dinner. I bolted out of there when class was over, and I didn’t even make it all the way home. I had to stop at the Duane Reade on my way to the subway so I could buy a cup of grapes.

Consider my lesson learned: one shouldn’t eat before yoga, but one shouldn’t not eat before yoga either. It looks like I’m going to be having a 4 pm snack on Wednesdays from now on.


1 Yet! I’m not a super-strong yogi yet, but someday I will be!

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2 responses to “and this is what you do not do

  1. What is the rationale for not eating? That doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, it’s food, which we use for energy to do things, LIKE YOGA. Also, why shouldn’t you drink water? All of this kind of blows my mind.

    I say eat your Luna bar. Just do it outside the studio.

    • I know, right? She claims that it disrupts our pranic energy if our bodies have to worry about digesting … but she seems to have forgotten it disrupts our focus if we have to worry about starving!

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