What causes so many people to feel nausea after yoga? I will explain a number of different reasons people experience nausea after yoga and what you can do.
What causes people to feel nausea after yoga? Any number of things can cause this. In most cases, it’s to do with food or hydration. You may have eaten too much or too little. However, poses and the type of yoga you’re doing can also cause you to feel nauseous.
Anytime you do strenuous activity, you can experience nausea. Even though yoga is not as intense as running, it’s still a powerful exercise, and you can feel nauseous after your yoga practice. Let’s dive in.
1. Eating More Food Than Necessary
The most important thing you can do to avoid feeling nauseous after yoga is to avoid overeating. It would be best if you planned to eat a light meal high in simple carbohydrates and protein.
2. Failure To Eat Enough Food
It’s common for people to experience nausea on an empty stomach, and when you add an intense workout on top of that, you’re increasing your risk. For some people, doing yoga on an empty stomach works fine, but other people need to have a little bit of food on their stomachs.
By eating a small amount of the right types of food before practicing yoga, you can help prevent your blood glucose levels from dropping. When you work out, your body consumes lots of glucose, and if you don’t have enough in your blood, you can experience other side effects as well. These can include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty concentrating
3. Eating The Wrong Food
Healthy fats such as avocado are popular pre-yoga foods. While healthy fats are good for you, we recommend avoiding foods with high levels of saturated fat before working out.
Foods high in saturated fat take longer to digest. So even if you eat high-fat foods three hours before your yoga session, you may experience nausea and even indigestion.
The best foods to eat before yoga are simple carbohydrates and lean proteins. These foods will give you the energy you need to power through your session without leaving you feeling sluggish.
Here are some excellent examples of foods to eat before yoga.
- Nut butter on a slice of bread
- Low-fat Greek yogurt with a banana mashed into it
- Cheese and turkey roll-up
- Protein bar
4. Eating Immediately Before Your Yoga Practice
If you eat a full meal before any exercise, you’re prone to having an upset stomach. When you’re exercising, your body redirects blood from your digestive system directly into your muscles. Essentially, exercise causes digestion to pause.
Once you’re finished exercising, your food still has to digest. It’s best to eat between two and three hours before your session to avoid nausea. If it’s not a huge meal, that’s even better.
In addition to nausea, dehydration can cause muscle weakness, dizziness, and headaches. When doing hot yoga, it’s common to become dehydrated if you don’t hydrate properly before your session. However, you can experience dehydration from other yoga practices, too.
When the body becomes dehydrated, it reacts in a number of ways. In addition to nausea, you can also experience heat stroke, dizziness, headaches, and muscle cramps.
6. Drinking Too Much Water
Although it’s important to drink water so that you don’t get dehydrated during your yoga session, it’s also possible to drink too much water. Drinking too much water dilutes the electrolyte levels in your body.
Electrolytes serve many functions in the body, including balancing your pH levels, keeping you properly hydrated, and regulating muscle contractions. When you saturate your body with water, your electrolyte levels are lower, and these bodily functions are affected.
Specifically, sodium is one specific electrolyte that helps your body’s nerves and muscles properly function. When you drink too much water, you shed sodium in your urine and sweat, and this can cause you to feel nauseous.
7. Hot Yoga
For hot yoga, the room is heated higher than normal. This causes yoga practitioners to sweat more, and they can easily become dehydrated.
Before hot yoga, be sure to drink about 0.17 and 0.24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight. Drink your water a few hours before your yoga session. You might find our guide on what to eat before hot yoga helpful.
8. Forgetting To Breathe Properly
Who forgets to breathe? Is that something that really happens? Absolutely.
While yoga is centered around the body’s breath, you can still forget to breathe correctly. For example, if you’re doing core exercises or fast-paced flows, you may catch yourself holding your breath.
When you hold your breath too much, your heart may find it difficult to produce sufficient oxygenated blood, which is important for your brain. When you feel dizzy, it sometimes causes nausea.
9. Release Of Body Toxins
Although there is no scientific evidence of yoga specifically helping the body to eliminate toxins, this is a very well-perpetuated myth, so there could be a placebo effect at play, which means that many yogis see feeling unwell after yoga as a sign of being cleansed.
The body removes toxins through a detoxification process, which yoga, being active, and staying hydrated might naturally help to support, but these are not the reason why these processes are happening in the first place. The fact is our liver and kidneys are always working to process toxic compounds and remove them via urine or stools. Very few toxins are excreted via sweat.
10. Poor Ventilation
In rare cases, you may be practicing yoga in a room or building with poor or inadequate ventilation. If you’re doing hot yoga or Bikram yoga, it’s especially important to ensure that the room is well-ventilated. When you exercise, your body releases more carbon dioxide, and you need more fresh air to breathe in, so your yoga studio should do its best to ensure there’s proper ventilation.