For top athletic performance, you need to keep your body performance ready. And this goes for anyone who has to show up and deliver. How you nourish yourself is paramount to having sustained high energy in performance as well as optimum health. Here are 7 tips on nutrition from the ancient science of yoga that will help to keep your body and mind in top condition.

  1. Fill the stomach half with food, one quarter with water, and leave it a quarter empty.
  2. Eat food that is easy to assimilate. Too much rich, heavy food slows the body and brain way down. That being said, I used to have pancakes or pasta with light sauce three or four hours before I performed as a dancer because it worked for me. Find what works for your body. Eat something you like, that digests easily and that gives you steady energy during performance.
  3. Eat food that is in season and fresh from your area because it is more packed with nutrition. If you eat frozen or packaged food, at least buy food with no preservatives so your body can better absorb the nutrients.
  4. Attitude affects your digestion and how your body assimilates food. To get the full benefit of your meals, prepare them yourself. Put your own good energy and thoughts into your food. The cook at the restaurant may have had a fight while he made your meal. You will be eating his thoughts! A happy cook creates a meal that digests easily and benefits body and mind. Think positive thoughts while you prepare and eat your food. Listen to music that makes you happy, have fun and friendly discussions while you prepare your meal and eat it. All this good energy goes into your body and into your mind through the food you prepare and eat. When you are calm, calmness pervades your food. Make time in your schedule for food preparation. Cooking can be a lot of fun when you take time to enjoy it. If you take this time to cook, make a big batch and freeze portions for when you know you will be busy in the days ahead.
  5. Create a harmonious atmosphere to enjoy your meal. Sit quietly in a place where you can focus on the meal. If you eat with others, eat with people who are ready to join you. Turn off the TV, silence your cellular devices while you eat. Focus on eating. Stay relaxed and calm, enjoy the smells and the taste. Don’t eat with people who put your food choices down and, no matter what you eat, do not dismiss your food choice as a bad one! You will receive nourishment from your good feelings and enjoyment. Negative self-talk, negative conversation or arguing while you eat will diminish your ability to absorb nutrition from even the healthiest of meals.
  6. The yoga texts say to chew each mouthful 27 times. You may not be up to that challenge, but it is important to chew your food well because the enzymes in your mouth help break the food down so your body will get the most out of it.
  7. Take time after eating to digest your meal. There is wisdom in the yogic saying, “Nap after lunch and stroll after dinner.” Take half an hour to be quiet so your body can focus on digesting and assimilating the food you have eaten. Relax and enjoy the time it takes you to prepare, eat and digest your food.

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