It's best not to eat before yoga, but staying mindful can be pretty challenging when all you can think about is your growling belly. So what would a smart, modern yogi do when they're rushing from work to a 7pm class to ensure that dinner is not the only thing they're thinking of during the entire class?
First of all, definitely say no to overly processed empty-calorie snacks such as chips, cupcakes, cheesy crackers, and pizza. Besides not being very kind to your waist, most processed foods are very difficult to digest so your body will need to direct a major portion of your blood to your stomach, therefore decreasing blood circulation everywhere else. This will result in lack of balance, focus, and strength during class. To make things worse, inversions and twists will probably be uncomfortable and hard to do if you're stomach is full.
Secondly, plan ahead. It is difficult to be mindful with snacks when you are starving and rushing (pretty bad combo in general) so always carry a snack in your bag. I usually have enough for myself and for a hungry friend in need.
Finally, keep it light and healthy. Below are some of my favorite pre- and post-yoga snacks. They're great not only because they're natural and healthy but because they're in line with the major Ayurvedic principles. Your diet should promote Ojas, which creates a calm, peaceful mind and nourishes the body. The best way to build Ojas is to have a Sattvic diet. The Bhagavad Gita describes the sattvic diet as “promoting life, virtue, strength, health, happiness and satisfaction.” Sattvic foods are “savory, smooth, firm and pleasant to the stomach.”