Select Page

Yoga and Food

Have you heard of a book by this title yet?  If not, surely one is in production (no, I’m not writing it;)

Of all the things that can be said on this topic — and there are SO MANY things to say on it — the yoga practitioner understands her body (on most days and times) well enough such that she knows how and when to nourish herself. In other words: a yoga practitioner knows WHAT and WHEN to eat.

Often times new students will ask me as the teacher what to eat and when to eat it. I know that, with experience, the student will learn his or her body better than I could ever know. However, as a baseline, I usually recommend not to have had a large meal within two hours of coming to class. And I ALWAYS suggest before coming to a morning vigorous class to have had a little something: some fruit juice or smoothie, a banana — something light.

As for coffee, I’ve heard that … well I don’t want to get into that right now: that’s political! 

My understanding of many styles of yoga and meditation is that they can be practiced on an empty stomach. The idea here is to wake up, practice yoga and meditation and then to eat.

What have you learned about your yoga practice and HOW, WHEN and WHAT to eat?


P.S. Why is food so much like sports? Everything is TRIPLE and DOUBLE!
Photos by  Dan Schwartzman

The Five Other Main Ideas of Hot Yoga

The five main ideas in class are Patience, Determination, Self-Control, Concentration and Faith: but there are many more core ideas that students hone through the practice.  What qualities have you been able to access and sharpen through your practice? For me, here are five other main ideas.

Listening. I like to joke the hardest parts about sweaty yoga are the laundry and the listening. Being a better listener allows a practitioner both to listen to the teacher — to move according to the instructions —  and ALSO to listen to his/her body and move according to ones own ability on any given day.  The residual benefits of listening are too numerous to list — use you listening in your relationship, your job — even your grocery shopping — and see how it enhances your …. —>> EFFECTIVENESS.

Effectiveness. I would define this quality as the ability to get what you want/make it happen in the world. This ofter requires leadership, listening and appropriate responsiveness.  How effective are you? Look at what you have — is it what you want? Don’t confuse this with equanimity (loosely defined here as having what you want and wanting what you have.). Just stick to that question — do you have what you want?  

Poise. Pressure under fire.  The ability to respond appropriately and thoughtfully.  To be present in the critical moment. Hot yoga is constantly training its practitioners to be prepared.

Courage. It takes courage to try something new — let alone waling into an 105 degree heated room and doing so.  I think of all the postures, triangle pose has taught me the most about courage.  

Commitment. When I think about commitment, I again think about triangle pose and I think about surfing on a big day.  In the critical moment, at the absolute peak there is a split second when I have to absolutely commit to the wave.  Even if I stand up, I have not necessarily committed as I may not have FAITH that I can make the drop.  Through the DETERMINATION that NO MATTER WHAT, I am dropping in, I make the commitment to the wave. Sometimes I’ll catch it. Sometimes I won’t.  But without the commitment, I wouldn’t even have a chance to begin with.

What other main ideas have you cultivated through your yoga practice?


Photo by Dan Schwartzman


If you've never been to Newport Folk Festival, it's a blast.  The music is great, the venue – Fort Adams State Park – is beautiful and the food is tasty and local.  There are no big soft drink advertisements as the festival does a great job of limiting the amount of commercial crap-o-la.  The only detractors I would say is that Newport is expensive, which requires advanced planning,  especially since camping is not allowed at Fort Adams.  We have camped in the past at Melville Ponds Campground about 15 miles away and the breakfast across the street at Cindy's Country Cafe makes the trip more than worth it (let alone the festival).

I just posted this ad on Craigslist and I post it here not to add attention to the ad — just to share that I am proud of it. The ad begins:

Attention Newport fans. Each year the festival is sold out faster and faster, excluding more and more music lovers.  This year, we have decided to save some money and forego our annual pilgrimage to Newport.  Here’s where you come in: need tickets?  We could sell our tickets and make a profit and we certainly could use the cash.  That said, we’d rather sell our tickets go to you. The music lover. The fan. The friendly festival goer.

Happy Newport Folk Fest — hope you enjoy the festival!  I may follow up later on about some of the best tips and approaches to Newport.


I just got off the phone with customer service.  I’ve worked in customer service.  It’s hard work — often times tedious and thankless.  So I am not knocking customer service reps. I’ve been there. For years. I know what it’s like to field those always-empty and often-angry calls.

So, it's coming from a place of empathy when I say: it seems to me that most people DO NOT WANT TO DO THEIR JOB.  They don’t want to do their job because they don’t want to do the  work and they’d rather be doing something else. Ask your grocery checker, nurse, customer service rep or any other shift worker how they’re day is going… many times at the end of the shift you’ll get an answer like “getting there” or “another day in paradise.”

Customer service, I can’t blame you for this: I don’t want to do the work either. That’s right, I DON’T WANT TO WORK. 

Pause here a moment.  When I say “I don’t want to work,” what do you think?  If I heard someone say that I would think “that person is laaazzzzy.”  Or entitled. Or something along these lines.

Honestly, do you want to work?  OK, yes, there are parts of your job that you like. That’s why you chose it in the first place. I’m not talking about those parts. I like those parts of my job – and past jobs – too. I’m talking about the parts you don’t want to do. The tasks you put off. The tasks you resent and loathe. Most jobs consist entirely of these parts that are heartlessly, gut-wrenchingly boring, frustrating, stressful and worse.

Now, do you want to work at these jobs and tasks?  

Ok, mayyyyyybe still some of the time, right? I get it. We all have to work because we all have to make money. (Except for those who don’t have to work because they have already have money … And, still, some of these folks — in fact often these people are the ones who work the most — but that’s another post another time.)

So, when you are at your job, I encourage you: Do your job!  That’s what you are being paid to do.  Try to do it to the best of your ability. Try to do it with the least resistance. Aspire to be excellent at what you do. It will improve your business, your workplace, your customer’s day and, with this attitude, you will improve your LIFE! 

What is the task you are putting off?


To create a thriving and lasting practice, here's the top 5 to make it happen:
Priority: You must prioritize your practice. There are always tasks to get done and other distractions. They will get in the way if you do not put your practice first.
Consistency: A regular practice requires consistency. You know consistency, not consistency like pancake batter. Consistency like every day. Same time. Same place.
Sustainability: Your practice must be improving your overall health and well being. Sure, some days you have less energy, strength or flexibility. But overall you are feeling healthy and getting healthier. You are like balsamic vinegar, wine and cheese. Delicious! (And getting better with age;)
Intensity Variation: Some days you practice very intensely. Some days require more rest. Some days the meditation is very concentrated. Other days it is not. Practice non reactivity as you practice intensity variation and mind will get the benefits regardless of the intensity or outcome.
5 ? What do you think ?
Photo by Dan Schwartzman taken in Shelburne Falls, Ma


First off, I do not feel like an authority on the topic of addiction and I have no intention of pretending to be one. Folks who are going through addiction are going through a serious matter and require compassionate help and in most cases — I believe — quality treatment.

In the past, I had a student coming into class after drinking alcohol. I’ve also experienced this wth a student using marijuana.

As a yoga teacher, my goal above all is to help. As a person who has a tendency to judge people, it is absolutely imperative that, no matter the course of action I take as a teacher, that the student’s well being is of the utmost concern and the student is in a space free of judgement.

I believe deeply in the healing and transformative nature of yoga and I am resolute that these students in particular are the ones most in need of yoga!

So, how do we help a student who is showing signs of an addiction?

On the one hand, the student is clearly in the right place for transformative change. On the other hand, there is clearly a problem that the student has which could get worse if not addressed. Lastly there is the chance that a student may be more prone to injury while under the influence of an intoxicant which is a danger to the student and, honestly, potentially the studio.

I think I’ll just open it up here to you: what do you do under these circumstances?