Anatomy of why not to eat just before a yoga class?

I know from experience that eating a big meal just before yoga is very uncomfortable, but why is that?

The torso consists of two cavities, the thoracic (chest) and the abdominal (belly). Both cavities are attached at the back tothe spine. The diaphragm forms the roof of the abdominal cavity and the floor of the thoracic cavity.

This means that they rely on each other to give each other space. A little bit like boyfriends in bed, they sometimes feel the need to take a bit more space.

Fortunately, the two cavities have a shared property, they are mobile and can change shape.

It is this shape-changing ability that although allows you to eat before a yoga class… it still is uncomfortable if you eat a lot like I have tested that a few times more then I’d like to say.

Any increase of volume in the abdominal cavity will produce a corresponding decrease in the volume of the thoracic cavity.

For eating, the abdominal cavity will increase because of expanded abdominal organs (stomach, intestines, bladder). Water won't compress so volume can only change in position… Corresponding to a decrease in the volume of the thoracic cavity.

Thoracic cavitys are compressible and expandable, changing in both shape and volume. When the lungs open, its volume increases and the air is pulled in. But this ability to expand doesn’t help much after eating because thoracic cavity has no space to move in to.

You also have the problem that AS SOON AS YOU EAT the blood supply leaves the muscles to the digestive system, draining the muscles of energy. A little bit like when your asked to do the washing up after the meal and you feel hiding in a dark corner and hibernating.

Writen by Samantha Towers

PS. What I like to do if I need something just before a yoga session is have a cup of tea.