Time to get on your mat?
When cultivating a yoga practice at home, one of the most consistent questions is,
“What is a good time for yoga?”
I think this question is so often asked aloud, because it is something that needs to be considered (and reconsidered) pretty regularly. And even when you find a schedule that works, there are always ways to adapt your yoga style to suit your lifestyle as it shifts and changes, or as it stays very much the same.
Through the lessons in the current 5week email series, I hope to share routines that are simple enough to remember and good enough to make a difference. As long as you have confidence to get on your mat and try, you will find that yoga fits into life at many different times of day.
Discovering time that suits you
I want to share some benefits of yoga at different times of day, and offer some suggestions on how to incorporate daily yoga into your schedule. For example, there are some routines that might be perfect for you in the afternoon that you would not want to even think about first thing in the morning. Or perhaps your morning is filled to the brim with responsibilities… or maybe you just don’t do mornings. If that is the case, rest assured there are other times to consider that could be your perfect opportunity for yoga.
Basically, I want to stress that yoga does not have to be at any specific time. So if an idealized vision of sunrise yoga sounds good but does not work for you, I believe that you can create a schedule that works well and that feels good — to you.
Considerations and Interpretations
As you are planning your days, there is a primary consideration which is an empty stomach. Now, what qualifies as empty? It is typically suggested not to eat for two hours prior to practice. This is a general guideline, of course.
I always check-in with my belly; if it is busy digesting food, I look ahead to when it might relax and settle again. Maybe it’s 2 hours after eating, maybe it’s 30min. It depends on what (and how much) I ate!
Another thing to consider is, how do you interpret these categories, morning, afternoon, and evening. Maybe you are a night owl, and your definition of evening is actually around sunrise. Or maybe you are fired up in the morning, and everything is pretty much wrapped up by 10am. Maybe you don’t feel your morning is complete until 1pm.
I preface with this, because it’s important to conceptualize your day as it is — yours.
Yoga in the morning
I designate yoga in the morning into two time frames. There are sunrise sessions and there are mid-morning sessions.
Some people swear by sunrise yoga, claiming that this time of their day energizes their body and focuses their mind like no other time of day. Other people move very slowly in the morning, maybe with aches and pains of swollen joints, and it takes several hours for their body to warm up to movement. So you can see how the same practice is medicine for one person and near trauma for another.
My preferred time for yoga is in the morning before eating, but after basic necessities which can include hair, face, phone, coffee, and maybe even a couple of hours working on the computer.
Yoga in the afternoon
If you like after-school or after-work activities; if in the afternoons you go for a workout, jog, or a ride, then mid-day to late-afternoon yoga might be a perfect addition for you.
Yoga is especially beneficial in the afternoon because it eases the compression that develops in the joints throughout the day. This can provide long lasting stress relief.
Postures that involve hip opening stretches, standing balance, and inversion usually hit the spot for yoga in the afternoon.
Yoga in the evening
There is something nearly elegant about yoga in the evening. While I rarely incorporate yoga into my evenings, I like the idea of it. And from time to time I do make it to my mat at night.
I like to turn the lights low and take a long time in postures that involve lying in recline and gentle inversion.
I hope this helps you make yoga at home easier and more accessible to achieve.
I would love to hear– what time of day are you fond of for yoga?
If you’d like, scroll down and leave a comment.