Yoga may significantly improve our health and wellness. But it's not always as easy as it looks.
There are times when we're on our mats trying to let go of thoughts and focus on our alignment, but the racing thoughts won't go away, and our muscles keep aching.
Even the most experienced yogis struggle with this from time to time.
So, what can we do to reduce the physical discomfort, calm nagging thoughts, and improve the quality of our yoga session? Some supplements for yoga might just be the answer to those ‘off days’. (Which we all have).
Here we'll look at yoga supplements and what they can potentially do to help you make the most of your daily practice.
A good yogi supplement should be:
- Natural and safe
- Beneficial for the body and mind
Why Should You Take a Yoga Supplement?
Why should you consider taking a yogi supplement? There are many benefits that come with taking certain supplements.
Advantages of a good yoga supplement include:
1. Covers the basic nutrient needs.
Being deficient in micronutrients is no joke. It can lead to various problems, including chronic fatigue, brain fog, brittle bones and low mood. Due to soil depletion, it's now harder than ever to get our vitamins and minerals from food alone. A good quality supplement will help you cover any nutrient gaps that creep in.
2. Boosts physical energy and aids with recovery.
When you have more energy, you'll naturally be more motivated to stick to your goals. Certain supplements help reduce inflammation in our body, which in turn helps our muscles recover quicker.
3. Enhances sleep.
Yoga supplements naturally soothe your body and mind by stimulating the release of calming neurotransmitters, helping you fall into deep sleep. The benefits of having consistent good sleep will spill over into other areas of your life - including your yoga practice.
4. Improves mood.
High cortisol levels keep you in a stressed state, making it hard to stay in the present moment. Supplements for yoga could help reduce stress levels and improve your mental well-being for a happier, healthier headspace.
Admittedly supplements aren’t for everyone and you always should have a good level of base nutrition too!
Supplements for Daily Yoga Wellness
Protecting your body on the inside is just as important as caring for it from the outside. And the following five supplements can help you with both.
Incorporated into a healthy diet, a multivitamin can bring a wealth of benefits to a yogi's lifestyle.
For one, it acts on free radicals, which are unstable molecules that do damage to your body over time.
A good multivitamin supplement will supply you with antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E, which keep free radicals at bay.
In addition, multivitamins provide a whole range of other nutrients that are essential for a yogi's wellness. These include hormone-regulating zinc, mood-elevating magnesium, and immune-boosting vitamin A.
Interesting fact: For every apple grown in 1914, you'd have to eat 26 apples today to get the same nutrition! Not to mention that our nutrient requirements change as we age. Putting an emphasis on getting enough vitamins and minerals is key to maintaining high energy levels and optimal health.
Scooping some whey protein is a simple way to ensure you're getting enough of this essential macronutrient every day. If you're a vegan, a plant-based protein is an even better option! Pea and rice protein are some of the cleanest sources of B vitamins, while also being free of gluten and dairy.
The additional benefit of a protein supplement is that it will help you recover from your training. When you do intense yoga, you cause microtears in your muscle fibers. Protein helps to speed up this recovery process and makes your muscles stronger so that over time that same exercise won't feel as challenging.
These days we see turmeric everywhere, from Starbucks lattes to superfood supplements. Long before its surge in popularity worldwide, turmeric has been traditionally used Asia and traditional medicine to help with asthma, abdominal pain, and strains and sprains.
Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, has also been documented to show antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Yoga and green tea both have similar benefits. Combined, they only further enhance each other's effects. Whether you take a green tea has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce muscle damage after exercise.
In addition to helping the body recover faster, green tea also contains L-Theanine. This is an amino acid has been shown to promote a calm and focused headspace.
There's a good reason why cannabidol (CBD) is becoming more and more popular among yogis.
Extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD impacts the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. Although the ECA is still being studied, it has be shown to play a role in regulating sleep, mood, memory and more.
Although CBD isn't psychoactive, like its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it's effective at helping you relax. CBD has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety by reducing muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and problems in concentration.
CBD can also support healthy muscles and joints - just like yoga. It binds to endocannabinoid receptors in your body, turning them 'on' and 'off' depending on what's needed to achieve homeostasis.
Benefits of Proper Nutrition on Yoga
Although many of us don't realize it, diet is an essential part of yoga. A lot of the recommendations for what yogis should eat come from niyamas and yamas, which are essentially yoga's "do's and don'ts" written by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.
Yogis are especially aware that a poor diet can lead to the development of various ailments, including high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers and heart disease.
Sticking to a healthy and well-balanced diet, in turn, improves health and helps reduce the risk of various diseases.
By contrast, a diet that doesn't agree well with your body can leave you feeling unmotivated, with no energy or desire to stay on track with your goals.
Using Yogic Awareness as a Guide to Food Choices
In general, a whole-foods, plant-based diet is generally seen as best for yogis. But much like people aren't the same, neither are their food choices. Finding the right foods for you is all about trial and error.
Yoga encourages us to develop a deep awareness and study ourselves to find out which foods our body likes the most.
Some foods might taste good, but if you feel sluggish and lethargic afterwards, you have trouble sleeping, or you get distracted in meditation more than usual, it could be that your body isn't agreeing with this particular food.
If you haven't already, try starting a food diary where you'll write down what you eat and how you feel later on. Self-study or yogic observance is one of the most important aspects of yoga.
If your yoga practice seems to be negatively affected by a particular food, try eliminating it for several days or so to see if it makes a difference. You can try reintroducing that food again and then tune into how you feel afterward.
If your symptoms reduce after removing a particular food, only to come back after the reintroduction, that's a good indication that it's probably not the best choice. When you make such discoveries for yourself you'll be motivated to stick to a healthier diet than if you just hear that advice from someone else.
Ideally, we should strive to get all the health benefits from a good diet, sunshine, fresh air and yoga.
But in today's world with polluted air, constant stress and nutrient-deprived foods, even the healthiest of yogis can benefit from taking natural supplements.