Why Do I Feel Sick After Yoga?

Yoga is a physical and mental practice with numerous health benefits. However, it can make you feel sick if you aren’t taking the proper steps before and during your session.

You may feel sick after yoga if you eat right before your session. Eating foods high in saturated fat or not eating anything can also cause this. You may also feel sick due to dehydration, forgetting to breathe, practicing improper form, or performing inverted positions.

This article will go over several different factors that can make you feel sick after your yoga session.

Eating Right Before You Practice

Eating a meal right before your yoga session may make you feel sick.

During exercise, the body redirects blood from the digestive system to your muscles, so digestion is put on pause. If you ate a meal right before heading over to your yoga class, you might experience a stomach ache or indigestion once your class is over since all of the food you ate still needs to be digested.

It is recommended that you consume something 2-3 hours before your yoga session for the best results.

Consuming Foods High in Saturated Fat

Another food-related reason you may not feel so hot after yoga is because of what you ate before your practice.

Eating foods that are high in saturated fat before your workout can make you feel sick since they take twice as long to digest as other nutrients, such as complex carbohydrates. Even if you eat them a few hours before you go to your yoga class, you can still experience indigestion and nausea.

Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid any fatty foods, such as hamburgers, bacon, and ice cream, before you hit your mat. You should also avoid eating greasy foods before your yoga session, such as fried chicken. Greasy foods make many people feel tired and bloated, so you should avoid these at all costs if you don’t want to feel sick after exercising.

Not Eating Enough

You can also feel sick after yoga if you didn’t eat anything before your workout.

While some people can do yoga on an empty stomach and feel ok, most people need to consume something before their practice to prevent their blood sugar (glucose) levels from dropping too low.

Your body consumes a lot of glucose when you are working out. If you don’t have enough glucose in your blood, you may experience headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, difficulty concentrating, and more.

To avoid this, try to eat lean proteins and complex carbs before yoga. This will give you the energy you need without the indigestion or nausea you can get from eating high-fat foods.

Registered dietitian, Jim White, offers some healthy meal ideas you can try before your next yoga sesh:

  • Whole-grain bread with your nut butter of choice (almond, peanut, cashew, etc.)
  • A banana mixed with low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Turkey roll-up with cheese

Dehydration

If you don’t drink enough fluids, you may experience headaches, dizziness, and even muscle weakness.

Dehydration is especially common during hot yoga. When the room is heated, it causes you to sweat more, which can dehydrate you faster. If you are very dehydrated, your blood pressure can drop, leading to more serious ailments, such as muscle cramps, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion.

You must drink enough water before and after your yoga session to avoid dehydration. Healthline recommends that you drink approximately 5-7 mL (0.17-0.24 oz) of water for every kg (lb) of your body weight a few hours before you exercise.

Drinking Too Much Water

Drinking too much water can also make you feel unwell after your yoga session. While this is relatively rare, it is still something you should be aware of.

If you drink too much water, you may dilute your body’s electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are crucial minerals in your body that serve many functions, such as regulating your muscle contractions, balancing your pH levels, and keeping you hydrated. So, drinking too much water can lower your electrolyte levels and affect these body functions, making you feel ill.

One specific electrolyte that is affected when you drink too much water is sodium. Sodium helps your body’s muscles and nerves function properly. When there isn’t enough sodium in your blood, it can make you feel incredibly nauseous.

To avoid this, drink the recommended amount of water mentioned above at a slow and steady rate. Drinking large quantities of water too fast will likely do your body more harm than good.

Forgetting to Breathe

If you’ve experienced dizziness or disorientation during or after your yoga workout, it may be because you forget to breathe.

Although yoga is centered around the breath, it is still possible to forget to breathe. It is especially common to hold your breath during fast-paced flows or core exercises. If you’re constantly holding your breath, your heart may not be able to produce enough oxygenated blood for your brain. If your brain is lacking oxygen, it’ll make you feel dizzy and disoriented.

To prevent this, make an effort to focus on your breath, even during challenging poses. Practice makes perfect, so the more you focus on breathing, the easier it’ll become.

Improper Technique

If you are new to yoga, you may be doing some of the poses wrong. If you make your body do a pose that doesn’t feel good, you could strain a muscle. If you have tension in some of the muscles near your head, such as the neck or shoulder muscles, it may make you feel sick and cause intense headaches to arise.

To prevent this, never force your body into a pose that doesn’t feel right. If you are doing yoga in a class setting, ask your instructor to help you do the poses correctly. If certain poses aren’t comfortable for your body, ask your instructor for substitute poses you can try or go into a child’s pose. If you are doing yoga at home, practice in front of a mirror or videotape yourself to make sure you have proper form.

If you end up straining your muscles during yoga, you can try to do some gentle stretches to work out the tension. If this doesn’t help, Healthline recommends that you take some ibuprofen to reduce the pain.

Inversion Poses

If you are prone to getting headaches or migraines, doing inverted positions, even with proper technique, may make you feel sick and cause headaches to arise. Healthline recommends that people who get frequent headaches should avoid the following poses:

  • Bridge pose
  • Headstands of any kind
  • Dolphin pose
  • Downward dog
  • Forward fold

If some of these poses result in headaches but not others, you can incorporate them into your practice. Always do what feels right for you!

Conclusion

Yoga is a beneficial practice that is wonderful for your mind and body. However, it can make you feel sick if you are eating right before your workout or eating foods high in saturated fats. It can also make you feel sick if you aren’t eating anything, as this can cause your blood sugar levels to drop. Make sure to get in a healthy meal filled with protein and complex carbs 2-3 hours before your session.

Yoga can also make you feel unwell if you didn’t drink enough water, breathe properly, or practice improper form. Always hydrate before and after your sessions for the best result. Focus on your breath, especially during difficult moves, and ask your instructor for help if a pose doesn’t feel right.

I hope this article helps you feel wonderful in your next yoga session. Namaste.

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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