AFTER PRACTICE RITUALS
Practicing yoga brings many benefits, if you are a passionate practitioner, you probably have experienced its healing powers. Ever since I started practicing, I’ve heard many different suggestions about what to do after my practice, but I almost never got an explanation as to why I should take on these rituals.
“Don't drink liquids during or right after your practice”. “The liquids you have after practice should be warm or room temperature”. “Don't eat right after practice”. “Don't take a shower right after practice”.
What goes on after your Yoga practice and why the ritual suggestions?
Yoga works in different planes, it has a direct effect on your mind and body. These effects keep having an impact on you before, during and after your practice. This means that the practice of asana keeps interacting with your body even after you finish all the physical activity. This is why some teachers may suggest you take on some rituals.
When I talk about rituals, im not talking about anything spiritual or religious. A ritual simply provides a sense of routine that many of us crave in our lives in order to stay committed, grounded, and balanced. These rituals may provide you with enhanced benefits, taking your practice to a whole new level.
If you practice yoga, I think its better to explore and listen to your body to find out what works best for you. Here are some suggestions you can experiment with and a brief explanation as to why they could benefit you.
LIQUID DURING PRACTICE
When you are practicing yoga, you are creating inner fire that heats your body from the inside out. This fire assist your body to loosen up tight muscles, makes you sweat and helps detoxify every system in your body. When you drink liquids during practice, you are preventing this heat form happening and putting the internal fire out. Not only that, you interrupt your breathing and the flow of the sequence, which in turn will disrupt the moving meditation.
If you are feeling nauseous, overheated, or dizzy, definitely listen to your body and drink water if necessary.
LIQUID AFTER PRACTICE
While you practice, you are massaging your organs creating heat and energy. This internal massage will bring homeostasis or balance to your systems. After the practice, all organs, especially the ones that work in digestion, need to be given adequate rest to rejuvenate and to absorbe the energy created by yoga practice. Its best if you allow some time for this to happen before asking your systems to start working on digestion. Allow for at least 15 minutes after the asana practice before you drink any liquid. Your asana practice is finished the moment you begin Savasana (corps pose). After that time has elapsed, I suggest to drink warm tea or room temperature water.
FOOD AFTER PRACTICE
As I mentioned above, your organs need to be given some time to absorb the energy created during the practice before it starts working on digestion. When it comes to food, it is recommended to wait at least 30 minutes before ingesting any solids. After this time has elapsed, eat a healthy and light meal, avoiding heavy carbohydrates or greasy foods.
SHOWER AFTER PRACTICE
Yoga talks about cleanliness, but when it comes to your sweaty self after practice, the suggestion is to wait at least 30 minutes before taking a shower. This is because you actually want to let your body cool down and re-absorb some of the your lost essential minerals. This was very surprising and interesting concept to me, because my thoughts were “I want to get rid of all the toxins”. It turns out, you don’t only loose toxins, you also loose some essential minerals that come out of the body along with your sweat. If a shower or bath is taken immediately after yoga, these minerals will be lost.
These are just some practical advices that may give support to your yoga experience. The most important advice is to listen to your body, respect its peculiarity, limitations and to have confidence in your own sense of right and wrong.