When is the Best Time to Practice Yoga?

The best time for practicing yoga depends on personal preferences and lifestyle needs; some traditions advocate doing asanas early in the morning while others prefer late nights for relaxation purposes.

When is the Best Time to Practice Yoga?

In general, it is recommended to practice yoga in the morning or early at night. A morning yoga session can be quite active and consist of a full practice, while an afternoon session can be more relaxed and restorative. Always finish with Savasana (corpse pose), no matter what time of day or season you practice. Sara Clark, a certified Vinyasa yoga and mindfulness teacher, emphasizes that the best time to do yoga is the time that works best for you.

Since the key to accessing all the benefits of yoga is to practice it consistently over time, you must find the routine that fits your lifestyle and schedule. This may change over time as your life changes. For example, you may have been going to yoga classes at night right after work for years, but when you had kids, it made more sense to go early in the morning before work or during the day while they're at school. It doesn't really matter if you do yoga at different times on different days of the week, as long as you find a routine that's sustainable.

Let yoga fit your schedule instead of trying to fit your schedule around yoga. Some yoga traditions, such as the Ashtanga system of Pattabhi Jois, advocate doing yoga asanas early in the morning, if possible, before the sun rises. Many in-home Ashtanga practitioners follow this routine and most Mysore-style classes are offered at this time. Practicing yoga in the morning can give you a boost of energy and clarity and help set the tone for the rest of the day.

Many people have routines that are more manageable or predictable in the morning, which can make it easier to stick with a regular morning practice. In addition, many people find that they have more energy to work out in the morning compared to the end of a long day. Some people may also prefer to do yoga on an empty stomach to avoid cramps or indigestion. Energy practices are ideal in the morning to keep you alert and energetic.

You can choose fluid vinyasa classes that include rounds of greetings to the sun (surya namaskar) or try invigorating poses for the back, such as the wheel pose (urdhva dhanurasana) or inversions, such as standing on your toes (sirsasana) or holding hands (adho mukha vrksasana). Practicing yoga in the afternoon before dinner can help you free yourself from the stress of a busy morning and also whet your appetite for the next meal. If you prefer to practice between meals, make sure to wait 2 to 3 hours after eating before doing yoga. In addition, your muscles may be warmer at the end of the day compared to what happens first thing in the morning, when you feel stiffer.

If your muscles are looser at the end of the day, you might work a little harder to improve your flexibility compared to when you feel tense. Doing yoga in the afternoon can often mean that you get the best of both worlds. If that's when you have the most energy, it's a good time for a vigorous and challenging practice. But if you need to relax towards the end of your workday, it can also be more restorative.

In his book Light on Yoga, BKS Iyengar advises doing yoga early in the morning or late at night, and points out that each one has its advantages. Practicing in the morning makes you work better at your vocation while practicing at night eliminates fatigue and makes you cool and calm. An evening yoga routine can relieve stress and promote relaxation, allowing you to relax. As such, yoga at night can be part of a relaxing bedtime ritual to help you prepare for sleep.

Try relaxing poses such as standing with your wide legs bent forward (prasarita padottanasana), garland pose (malasana), goddess pose (supta Buddha Konasana), torsion of seated spine (ardha matsyendrasana), or happy baby pose (ananda balasana) to eliminate tension and get a good night's rest. The best time to do yoga is different for everyone; ultimately it will all come down to personal preferences. Finding the right time of day is particularly important if you're trying to set up a home office; mornings or nights are usually most practical for people who work regular working hours. If you do yoga at home, it's helpful to choose a time when you can focus on yourself and your practice when you don't have to take care of other people or tasks.

To determine when is best for you to practice yoga, look at how different poses feel at different times of day; mornings may have more energy but also be tighter while evenings may be more agile but also more tired. Hot yoga classes are offered in mornings, afternoons and evenings; many advocates recommend practicing hot yoga on an empty stomach which could make mornings more comfortable.

Chandra Amelung
Chandra Amelung

Total coffee geek. Proud zombie nerd. Hardcore pop culture nerd. Internet advocate. Total social media maven.

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