It can be tempting to practice yoga whenever you can squeeze it in, but choosing the best time for a regular practice is key to maximize the benefits of your practice. When it comes to finding the perfect practice time, it doesn’t have to be a strict routine or an exact time of day. Depending on your personal preferences, schedule, type of yoga, lifestyle and health needs, the best time will vary for everyone. What matters is that you find a time that works for your individual needs, creates consistency, and fits into your daily schedule.
When is the best time to do yoga?
To determine the ideal time to practice yoga, it is important to consider the types of yoga you practice and the lifestyle commitments you have at different times of the day. Considering your daily schedule and energy levels, it may be beneficial to choose a time when you are feeling most energized and can give your practice your full awareness and commitment. Paying attention to your body’s natural rhythms and energy cycles can also be beneficial in selecting the best time for your yoga practice.
One thing to consider is when you have an abundance of extra energy. For some, this may be in the morning before work, while for others, it may be in the evening when their day has come to a close. It’s also important to consider which time of day provides the most opportunities to practice uninterrupted. For example, if you have young children, a morning routine may provide the least amount of distraction and allow you to take the time to clear your mind and deepen your practice.
Yogis usually practice in the morning, noontime, or evening, as these times have specific benefits. Practicing in the morning can help to set your intentions for an energized, productive day, while an evening practice can help you to slow down and relax after a busy day. Each time has several different benefits and downsides to consider.
Practicing yoga before sunrise
The traditional view is the best time to do yoga is 96 minutes before sunrise, during a time period called the brahma muhurta. Yogis consider this time of day to be the most auspicious for spiritual elevation, inner peace, and mental clarity. Sunrise is a time of new beginnings and is believed to bring with it a greater connection to the divine. Waking up earlier than normal to practice can be challenging at first, but the rewards are worth it.
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Practicing asanas and pranayama at brahma muhurta can lead to increased energy levels and improved spiritual well-being. The body and mind are still in a state of rest, with no external distractions, which allow the practitioner to connect more deeply with their inner self. The pre-dawn atmosphere provides a sense of calm and peace that is ideal for self-reflection and introspection.
There are several downsides to practicing yoga before sunrise. It can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to get out of bed so early in the morning. It can be too cold and dark for a comfortable practice. Also, you might be too sleepy to hold poses for a long period of time.
Benefits of practicing yoga in the morning
If you are an early riser, you may find that adding yoga to your morning routine to be the best fit for you. Practicing yoga in the morning can jumpstart your day and boost your metabolism and digestion to make you feel more energized and productive. It sets a relaxed and stress-free tone for the rest of your day. A morning yoga practice helps to create a foundation of physical and mental strength, as well as providing a sense of well-being. It allows you to approach your day with the utmost sense of inner strength will give you the maximum amount of grit and determination to succeed.
If you are practicing a more vigorous form of yoga, such as ashtanga or vinyasa, it may be best to practice in the morning, as you will have more energy and focus. Backbends and sun salutations are particularly good for awakening the body and getting the heart rate up. Twists, inversions and prone poses are easier and more comfortable to practice when your stomach is empty when you first wake up. Pranayama (yogic breathing) is best practiced first thing in the morning, when the mind is clear and the body is rested.
Benefits of yoga in the afternoon
Stress from work, lack of energy, and mental fatigue can all combine to make the afternoon a difficult period to get through. Practicing a set of Yoga asanas in the afternoon can provide a great pick-me-up to get through the rest of the day. Afternoon classes are less crowded, which provides more one-on-one time with the yoga teacher, better focus on alignment, and can make it easier to focus on your practice without distractions.
Afternoon yoga is a great way to break up the day, get your circulation going, and reduce stress. It can also be a great opportunity to get in touch with your breath and let go of negative thinking, worry, or anxiety. afternoon yoga is a great way to stay focused and relaxed throughout the day and to return to work with more clarity and productivity.
If you have very little time in your schedule, you can also make use of your lunch break. Just taking a few minutes to practice some simple yoga poses at your desk, outdoors, or in a conference room is an efficient way to reduce some stress and boost your energy.
Benefits of practicing yoga in the evening
At the end of the day, many people find that they have a sense of restlessness or unease that can make winding down for the night difficult. An evening yoga routine can help you de-stress after a long day and prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. An evening practice also helps relax tense muscles and re-align your spine after a day of sitting in a chair or standing at a desk. Evening yoga can be a great way to kick-start your evening routine as well as to allow for a calmer, more focused approach to the next day.
Evening yoga may be more suitable for night owls who don’t like to wake up too early in the morning or who have difficulty getting out of bed. If you are engaging in a more gentle form of yoga, such as yin or restorative, it may be best to practice in the evening when your body is more relaxed and open. The best types of poses to practice at this time are those that help you relax into the practice and find a balance between effort and ease. Choose asanas that help you relax and let go of the day’s stresses, such as forward folds, gentle twists, and restorative poses like supported bridge pose or legs up the wall.
Yoga for your dosha time
Your Ayurvedic dosha can also determine when it is best for you to get on your mat. Different dosha types are associated with different practices at different times of day, and some may be more suited to practice yoga at certain times than others.
The best time for a Kapha-dominant individual to practice yoga is early in the morning. Harness the energy of Kapha dosha in the early morning and evening hours between 6 and 10, allowing you to start your day with vitality or end the day with calm, balance and relaxation. Kapha is associated with the elements of earth and water, and is characterized by qualities of stability and groundedness. Kapha is best balanced through practices that create heat and energy, such as vigorous exercise, dynamic yoga postures and engaging in outdoor activities.
The best time for a Pitta-dominant individual to practice yoga is the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky. Embrace the energy of Pitta dosha during the midday hours between 10 and 2 to gain a holistic perspective on your life. Pitta is associated with the element of fire, and is characterized by qualities of determination, ambition, enthusiasm, and accomplishment. Pitta is best balanced through cooling activities, such as gentle yoga, meditation, and restorative practices.
The optimal time for a Vata-dominant individual to practice yoga is early evening when the energy of the day is waning. Embrace the energy of Vata dosha during the late afternoon and early evening hours between 2 and 6 to feel the energy of creativity, flexibility, and inspiration—to truly see the potential of your life. Vata is associated with the elements of air and space (ether) and is best balanced through physical and spiritual practices that keep the body grounded, warm, and moist.
Tips for beginners
For those just starting out, it can be difficult to commit to any time of day for a regular practice. Make sure that you find a slot in your day that allows you to practice yoga without being interrupted or feeling too tired or rushed. You should experiment with different times to see which one works best for you. Find a friend or a group to practice with to help you stay motivated. Other tips to commit to your yoga practice include setting realistic goals and making a plan for how to reach them. Make a goal to practice a certain number of times per week and gather all the tools, equipment, and resources to make it happen. Creating a routine and structure for your practice time is a great way to stay consistent and get the most out of your practice.
What works best for you?
Each time has its own advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration when making your decision. Each time of day has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to consider your lifestyle, goals, and physical condition when making a decision. In the morning, you have the opportunity to connect with yourself before the start of a chaotic day. However, it may be difficult to wake up early enough for a 6:00am class. Practicing yoga in the evening can provide more energy as well as allowing for more challenging poses, however, it may disrupt your sleep cycle if you do a very intense practice. It is important to weigh both the pros and cons of practicing yoga in the morning or evening and decide which one works best for you. Ultimately, the best time of day to do yoga is up to you and your lifestyle.