What's the Best Time of Day to Do Yoga?

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In the simplest terms, the best time to do yoga is the time that works best for you. Since the key to accessing all of yoga's many benefits is consistent practice over time (and hopefully long into the future), you need to find the routine that fits your lifestyle and works with your schedule. This may change over time as your life changes.

For instance, you may have gone to yoga classes in the evening right after work for years. But then when you had kids, it made more sense to go early in the morning before work or during the day while they are 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 is sustainable. Let yoga fit into your schedule instead of trying to work your schedule around yoga.

Benefits of Yoga in the Morning

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 Ashtanga home practitioners stick to 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 your 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 for exercise 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.

Energetic practices are ideal in the morning to keep you alert and energized. You might opt for vinyasa flow classes that incorporate rounds of sun salutations (surya namaskar) or try invigorating backbends like wheel pose (urdhva dhanurasana) or inversions such as headstand (sirsasana) or handstand (adho mukha vrksasana).

Benefits of Yoga in the Afternoon

Practicing yoga in the afternoon before dinner can help you destress from a busy morning and also work up an appetite for your next meal. If you prefer to practice between mealtimes, be sure to wait about 2–3 hours after eating before you do yoga.

In addition, your muscles may be more warmed up later in the day compared to first thing in the morning, when you may feel stiffer. If your muscles are looser later in the day, it may be possible to work a little more on improving your flexibility compared to when you feel tight.

Doing yoga in the afternoon can often mean you get the best of both worlds. If this is when you have more energy, it’s a good time for a challenging, vigorous practice. But if you need to wind down toward the end of your workday, it can also be more restorative.

Benefits of Yoga in the Evening

In his book "Light on Yoga," B.K.S. Iyengar advises doing yoga early in the morning or late in the evening, noting that there are advantages to each. "Practice in the morning makes one work better at one's vocation. In the evening it removes the fatigue of the day's strain and makes one fresh and calm," he said.

An evening yoga routine can relieve stress and promote relaxation, allowing you to you unwind. As such, yoga in the evening can be part of a calming bedtime ritual to help you prepare for sleep.

Try relaxing poses like standing wide-legged forward fold (prasarita padottanasana), garland pose (malasana), goddess pose (supta buddha konasana), seated spinal twist (ardha matsyendrasana), or happy baby pose (ananda balasana) to melt away tension and get a good night's rest.

The Best Time for Yoga for You

The best time to do yoga is different for everyone. What’s most important is finding the time that works for you and your body. If you're doing yoga at home, it’s helpful to choose a time when you can focus on yourself and your practice—when you don’t have other people or tasks to be responsible for.

Most yoga studios offer classes throughout the day, such as a 6:00 a.m. class to catch the early risers, a quick lunch-hour flow, and a 6:00 p.m. class that caters to the after-work crowd. Many online yoga classes are also available on-demand which means you can incorporate them into your schedule whenever works for you.

To determine the best time for yoga for you, see how different poses feel at different times of the day. You may find that in the mornings you have more energy but you're also tighter. In the evenings, you may feel more limber but you're also more tired. Ultimately, it will come down to your personal preference.

Finding the right time of day is particularly important if you are trying to establish a home practice. Morning or evening is often the most practical for people who work regular business hours. A morning routine can help you ease into your day and start it on the right foot. An evening practice can help you destress and mellow out.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to do hot yoga?

Though hot yoga classes are offered in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings, many proponents recommend practicing hot yoga on an empty stomach. This could make the mornings most convenient, particularly since you'll likely want to shower afterward before you head to work. Alternatively, if you have a flexible schedule, afternoons or evenings might suit you better depending on what time of day you prefer to practice.

When is the best time to do yoga and for how long?

While the time of day you practice yoga will depend on your preference, how long you practice will depend on factors such as your schedule, level of physical activity, and any exercise goals you might have. Although most yoga classes are 60 minutes, there are also 45-, 75–, and 90-minute classes available, as well as shorter options if you're short on time. Research shows that just 20 minutes of yoga a day is still enough to reap the benefits of the practice.

You can also benefit by taking just a few minutes each day to do a simple yoga routine that includes poses like downward dog (adho mukha svanasana), standing forward bend (uttanasana), and cat-cow (chakravakasana) stretches.

Is it OK to do yoga before bed?

It's recommended to do relaxing and restorative yoga poses before bed. Active classes like vinyasa could rev up your energy levels and make it difficult for you to fall asleep. While this may not be the case for everyone, it's a good idea to think of an evening yoga practice as an opportunity to wind down versus wind up.

A Word From Verywell

Whatever time of day you decide to practice yoga, try to make it something you can stick with. It's all too easy to push it off in favor of other things that seem more pressing. Most people are creatures of habit, so if you really want your schedule to stick, you'll need to commit to sticking with it.

Don't worry too much about anyone else's idea of the "best" time for yoga. Find the times of day that work best for you—even if it's a mix of mornings, afternoons, and evenings throughout the week.

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