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Yoga Tree teacher Kumiko Koba and student Satoko Yoshikawa appeared in videos for Yoga Works.


Common Wisdom for the Practice of Yoga
2013.10.01 - BLOG

~ To eat or not to eat ~
According to tradition, students should practice yoga on an empty stomach. Well, okay. Sounds like sage advice for the safe practice of pranayama, twists and deep backbends. But how empty does your stomach need to be for seated hip-opening postures, yin, or restorative yoga?

I’ve met many wise teachers over the years and never heard the same answer to this question twice.
It is also said that you should avoid drinking water during asana practice and not eat immediately afterward. On hot days or during an intense practice some students find this advice more difficult to follow. What’s wrong with drinking water when you’re hot?

Hatha yoga wisdom has accumulated over hundreds of years. But how much of it applies to the modern world, and to your practice in particular, may not be obvious. Science changes. To be sure, our understanding of the human body has evolved over the past 500 years.

So, when you hear a yoga teacher say that the reason yogis twist to the right side first is to follow the natural pattern of the digestive system, are you hearing truth born from experience, a scientific fact, or the parroting of an anachronism?
At Yoga Tree, we encourage students to treat yoga traditions with great respect and, at the same time, to question it all.
Every yoga practice should start with a chant and end with savasana. Why?

At the end of savasana, you should roll to the right side. Really? What happens if you roll to the left on Tuesdays?
Yoga asks its practitioners to seek the truth inside themselves. So, unsurprisingly, the best candidate to answer how empty your stomach should be to practice yoga is…you. If you’re unsure, practice more. Ask your yoga teacher and question the answer you get. And study. Ayurveda, for instance, can give you insights into your constitution and hence point the way toward wise dietary choices you might make.

If all this sounds like a lot of time and effort required to understand yourself and your body through self-practice, well, you’re right. That’s yoga. The practice of a lifetime.