Since starting an intensive yoga teacher training program, I've noticed lots of changes in my eating habits. Not only has my appetite changed considerably (either completely diminished or insatiable) but the size and timing of my meals are totally different than they were before the training, and continue to vary depending on the time of day that I practice. The biggest change for me is breakfast. In the past, my day did not begin until breakfast ended. Breakfast has been my signal for my body and brain to start working, my fuel to get going and the first thing I create. Since I started practicing yoga more intensely most mornings, I've had to forgo this ritualistic meal. Not only was there no time to prepare and consume food before leaving the house at 8 or 9 am (give me a break, I've only been out of college for six months!) but it is actually not a good idea to practice on a full stomach.
Why should you do yoga on an empty stomach? Just try to visualized food moving down the digestive track while attempting twists and inversions for a moment. Its like driving off the road and going backwards and in circles before proceeding to your destination. It takes a lot of energy to digest food-moving food through the system and assimilating nutrients. Moving through various poses and transitions take lots of energy too, and thusly compromises your body's capacity to absorb nutrients and depletes the amount of energy you have to expend on asanas. Kind of a loose-loose situation, if you ask me. Having an empty belly also allows for deeper breathing (literally more room for air) and a clearer mind. If you don't practice yoga in the morning, or MUST eat something when you wake up, make sure you allow one to two hours (depending on the speed of your metabolism) to digest before practicing.
All that said, there have been few days where I opted to attend a class in the evening and started my day with a gentle self-practice and meditation, followed by a nourishing breakfast. Below are some culinary creations I have been enjoying lately:
A sweet and grounding breakfast porridge comprised of:
1/2 cup brown rice
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup raisins
1 T sesame seeds
maple syrup (to taste)
A blueberry buckwheat pancake, based on this recipe