Many people associate yoga with holistic wellness, and for good reason. Holistic forms of exercise, like yoga, are abundantly practiced across the globe because of their physical and spiritual benefits. In the U.S. alone, 36 million people practice yoga.
Compare that to 20.4 million practitioners in 2012, which is a 76% increase in only eight years. And with abundant videos and resources online on how to practice yoga, it’s likely that the number will continue to rise.
Yoga is more than our simplified, Western idea of a practice confined to a mat — it’s a way to live your life. Yoga has roots going back to ancient times; one of the first instances describing yoga as an ideology is from the third century BCE.
Ancient Yogis stuck to a very specific diet that they believed would lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Thousands of years later, people still follow this diet, or borrow from its basic principles.
The Yoga Diet
The basic tenets of the yogic diet are Ahimsa, Sattva, and Prana.
Ahimsa translates literally from Sanskrit to “absence of injury.” More generally, it refers to practicing non-violence towards others, towards yourself, and within your community. It manifests itself in the yogic diet as vegetarianism or veganism. That is, not doing harm to animals in order to sustain yourself.
Sattva means purity or goodness, and is one of the three gunas of Samkhya philosophy. One way you can practice sattva is to maintain a sattvic diet. A sattvic diet, according to Ayurveda, will help you keep a clear mind, which is best for yogis. In general, you want to stick to organic foods with mild spices, fresh vegetables, grains, legumes, and mildly sweet foods. You can consume some dairy products as long as they’re unpasteurized.
Prana is life force or energy, and you can find it in both living and inanimate objects. The foods that are said to contain the most amounts of prana are fresh fruits and vegetables. Once the produce is picked, it slowly loses its prana — that’s why eating fresh produce is important, so you can build up your prana levels.
Energy Bars for Yogis
It can be difficult to find an energy bar that works for a yogic diet, as many of them are over processed and contain dairy products. Tahoe Trail Bars are vegan energy bars made with plant based ingredients, you can easily incorporate these into a yogic diet.
Yogis, and athletes of all kinds, lean on Tahoe Trail Bars as delicious and reliable sources of energy to fuel their active lifestyles. Although you can eat them whenever the mood strikes, we highly recommend them as a pre-yoga snack.
The Perfect Pre-Yoga Snack
Having a pre-workout snack is important, because you need fuel to get you through your exercise routine. It’s about finding the balance between something that will satiate you and provide lasting energy, but avoiding rich foods that might upset your stomach or take too long to digest.
Some types of yoga (Ashtanga and Mysore) are meant to be practiced on an empty stomach. If you do prefer to have a light bite before a yoga class, Tahoe Trail Bars are easily digestible and will help you maintain a good yoga flow.
Made with slow burning carbs, these bars provide long-lasting fuel as opposed to a temporary sugar rush. Complex carbs (like those found in oats and quinoa) are at the top of the list when it comes to carbohydrates.
They’re healthier for you, and burn slower, meaning they keep you energized, and fuller, for longer. Your body turns carbs into glycogen, which it uses as energy. By fueling yourself with complex carbs, you’ll stay energized and fuller for longer, and you won’t be distracted from your yoga flow by hunger pangs or lagging energy.
Refueling after a Yoga Session
You’re going to feel very different after an intense ashtanga session than you would after some gentle, restorative yoga. If you feel your energy levels low, a snack or meal will re-energize you and help you recover.
Registered dietitian slash yoga teacher Kara Lydon tells Yoga Journal that you should eat a three to one ratio of carbs to protein after an intense class. The carbs will help you restore your depleted glycogen stores to what they were before the class, and the protein will help your body repair your sore muscles.
Finding the Right Energy Bar
Realistically, you can’t always be eating fresh fruits and veggies, especially when you’re on the go or away from your kitchen. With everyone leading such busy lives in this day and age, it’s imperative that you have a nutritious, plant-based portable snack option at your disposal.
Many energy bars contain added sugars and ingredients that we can’t even pronounce. Some of them are as unhealthy as, or unhealthier than, candy bars. Even if a snack bar company markets their products as “healthy,” it’s always smart to be wary and check the ingredient list.
In order to stick to a sattvic diet, try and avoid bars with preservatives and fillers (usually ingredients you can’t identify), and added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Tahoe Trail Bars are made with simple, whole (read: unprocessed) ingredients, and we never add any sugar.
Because yoga is such a holistic practice, many practitioners adapt their diets in order to fully reap the benefits of it. Our vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO energy bars, made with whole foods, are a perfect on-the-go accompaniment for any yogi.