Guest Blog: Where Yoga Meets Supplements
Protein powders and muscle-building supplements have by now become a tacit standard for most bulk-minded gym aficionados, but their use by yogis remains a bone of contention that gets picked in yoga studios every once in a while. Some instructors advocate clean yoga, claiming that dietary supplements have no place in a true-blue yogic lifestyle, whereas others are a tad more flexible with routine enhancers that come in a powdery and tablet form. Although a general consensus on the use of supplements in yoga is yet to be reached, there are admittedly a few perks to adding a post-class protein shake or smoothie to your yoga practice.
If you decide to pair your yoga routines with a protein supplement, make sure the powder you intend to use regularly is natural, safe, and compatible with your diet. Here is the list of most popular protein powders which can add the oomph to your Ommm with no negative side-effects attached.
- Whey protein is a by-product of cheese production, and it is the most widely available protein powder on the market. Available in isolate and concentrate form, whey protein packs complete amino acids, and it promotes healthy muscle growth, prevents soreness, and facilitates recovery after tough workouts. A shake or smoothie streaked with quality whey powder (I personally use optimum nutrition gold standard whey) should be consumed two hours within the yoga workout (whey protein digests quickly, so it will not hamper your performance on the mat if you gulp it down before class).
- Casein powder is another dairy-sourced protein, and it has pretty much the same effects as whey protein. Unlike whey, however, casein digests at a slower rate so you should ingest it as a post-class or bedtime liquid snack.
- Soy protein has similar muscle-building effects as whey, and it can also boost cognitive function and cardiovascular health. Although soy protein packs complete protein, male yogis should use it sparingly since it contains isoflavones which may throw testosterone levels off balance.
- Pea protein is a vegan- and vegetarian-friendly powder that enhances the repair of muscle damage and promotes muscle and bone tissue buildup. Its main downside is that it lacks cysteine, an important essential amino acid the shortage of which can be compensated through adequate dietary alternatives.
- Brown rice protein is a GMO-, gluten-, and lactose-free powder perfect for yogis with food allergies or sensitive tummies. Unfortunately, this plant-based protein lacks lystine, so if you intend to use it, you should stock up your plate with foods that contain ample quantities of the amino acid.
If you are struggling to meet your protein, vitamin, and/or mineral RDA, natural supplements can help you boost yoga performance and focus, eliminate fatigue and muscle soreness, and prevent joint pains, post-class muscle strain, and inflammation. Although protein powders and dietary supplements alone cannot guarantee glitch-free immune function and steady muscle growth, they can make your quest to yogic Zen a fraction easier on the muscles, balanced nutrition, workout consistency, sufficient rest between yoga classes, and well-timed supplementation.
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter, or in a tea shop. She blogs at Ripped.me.