As we start talking about the best time to do Yoga Poses/Asanas – I listed a series of most commonly asked Questions by Yoga practitioners across the world. Here are the questions as well as their most relevant answers to help you understand Yoga Guidelines and Precautions.
Yoga Guru in his book In Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar talks how both morning or evening Yoga have their own advantages.
B.K.Iyengar says:“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.”
There are some of you who are raring to go first thing after waking up, while some of you don’t want to talk or do anything for the first half-hour of waking up. Which Yoga Asanas to be practised and when is dependent upon factors like; your 24-hour life-cycle, relation with the Sun or the Moon, the weather as well as the heat or cold.
The practice of Yoga varies for those who almost hibernate in winters and come alive in summers, and for those who love winters and are hugely active during the cold months. Yoga is about peeping into your innermost core and getting to know yourself better. Therefore, tune into your inner guidance system to decide which Yoga Asanas suit you and at what time of the day or season.
(Note: Look out for another article, where I will discuss what type of Yoga Aasanas are to be done in which season).
Some of you may want to do Yoga in the morning as it energises and rejuvenates you into a fresh start of the day. However, some of you may have a busy schedule early in the morning and long working days. Thus, you may want to practice Yoga in the latter part of the day to soothe your mind and body and lull you into a peaceful nights sleep. Moreover, on different days of the week, you may select different Yoga Poses depending on your lifestyle and schedule.
Remember, being too rigid about the time to do Yoga may negate the very purpose of the practice and the benefits of Yoga. If you get stressed trying to push yourself hard for time – you may lose the very purpose of Yoga. Choose a time suitable to your lifestyle to make it a regular practice. This way, you won’t have to skip sessions.
Do read the latter part of the article to know: Why should you do Yoga in the Morning? and, What are the Benefits of Morning Yoga?
Mostly everyone advises practising Yoga in the morning. Thus I have answered the questions on Yoga in the Evening before I address the questions regarding Yoga in the Morning.
Yes, there is some good news for those of you who think that they cannot practice Yoga due to the high emphasis on Morning Yoga everywhere.
You can certainly practice Yoga in the evening under a few conditions or rules that apply to Yoga practice.
Like any other exercise regimen – Yoga Poses also make your body move in spinal twists, shoulder stands, forward and backwards bends, etc.
Therefore, make sure you have an empty stomach or have eaten 3-4 hours before you practice Yoga in the evening. If your schedule permits, it is even more beneficial to do Yoga while the sun is setting and under the open sky. In case you live in a cold climatic region – don’t worry! You can still do Yoga in the evening. Just make sure the room in which you practice Yoga is peaceful, airy and it’s not too cold.
Tip: Always face West when you practice Yoga in the evening – because the idea is to face the Sun soaking in all its energy.
Read below to know if you can do Yoga before sleeping or bedtime.
The best time to do Yoga is early evening is between 4-7 PM. Yoga energises you and also makes you feel fresh with more oxygen running in your blood and bain. Thus, it’s best to practice Yoga in the evening looking at the following:
- Always practice Yoga on an empty stomach. You may take a few sips in between in order to moisten your throat or lips.
- If you are hyper or distracted which could be the case in the evening – do Pranayama or Yoga Breathing Practice. Never miss to Prepare yourself for Yoga before you plunge into the 12 Basic Yoga Asanas (Explained in Sequence and Steps – Click here to Read More).
- Avoid distractions during Yoga – like phone calls, distracting sounds, chores, stress. Bring your focus on your current state and to the Pose you are practising.
4. Yoga Poses for the evening – There are mixed views on Yoga Poses to practice in the evening. I would say -do all the 12 Basic Yoga Poses if it’s early but limit poses if you do it late in the evening. Especially if you will eat dinner and then sleep after the session is over.
Limit the number of backbends in the evening – as it could interfere with your sleep.
Backbends Yoga Poses like; Cow Pose, Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana), Bow Pose (Bhanurasana), Locust Pose (Salabhasana).
However, if you work in the nights and want to be energised all night long – do all the 12 Basic Yoga Poses.
5. For evening Yoga- always do the Preparatory Steps and also the Breathing Exercises before you start. It soothes your nerves and prepares your body for the bends and stretches. In case you do NOT plan to be awake for more than 2-3 hours after Evening Yoga try easy Poses like forward bends and stretches to ease those stiff muscles. They will help you sleep better. Forward bends like; Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Standing Foward Bend (Padahastasana).
Here are some Advantages of Evening Yoga Practice:
Yes, with movements throughout the day your body is more relaxed and warmer in the evening. It makes it easier and more flexible to do various kind of poses. Moreover, evening your mind is less stressed as it is the end of the day and all your daily chores are over. Thus, a perfect time to indulge in Yoga Stretches.
The food you eat throughout the day gets the much-required boost due to Yoga poses meant for digestion. Thus, helping your metabolism rate. It prevents you from idling time and you start thinking healthy and refrain from eating junk.
Yoga and sleep are deeply connected. Because the twists and forward folds during Yoga Poses loosen the stiffness in your spine, joints and muscles and unwind you. They soothe your nerves and the backward bends expand your lungs increasing their capacity to breathe in oxygen. Yoga has a calming effect on you due to its meditative quality. As a result, it helps you sleep better. It is also known to cure insomnia and depression.
For those who feel slow in the morning and feel more energetic in the evening – Yoga in the evening is the best practice. Yoga utilizes a lot of energy both physical and mental. Thus, you should do it when you feel you have the energy to do the practice.
In case you end up doing a very intense Yoga practice in the evening – it may totally disrupt your sleep cycle.
Yoga has a tendency to charge you up – physically, mentally and spiritually. Evening Yoga practice may make your mind overactive rather than calm and peaceful to focus on your breath and Yoga Postures.
A big NO! It is extremely dangerous to do Yoga immediately after dinner. Never even try doing it! Best time to do Yoga is before you eat.
Now you will ask – What happens if you do yoga after dinner?
If you practice Yoga in the night right after dinner – you may feel nausea or vomiting and even feel cramps, because of the bends, inversions and twists during Yoga Poses. Your body sends most of its energy to your stomach after eating – to digest the food. Thus, after dinner Yoga may be restrictive as you may feel lethargic.
Therefore, evening or night Yoga immediately after dinner will not bring you the benefits of the Yoga Poses. Your efforts will go futile!
As a thumb rule – do wait for 2 hours after a light snack is digested and then practice Night Yoga . In case you eat a full meal (dinner) allow at least 3-4 hours after dinner to pass before you do Evening or Night Yoga. The idea is to practice on an empty stomach.
Hope the above answers your question; “Why we should not do yoga after eating?” and “How long after dinner can I do yoga?
As per Ayurveda the best time of the day to practice Yoga is early morning between 4-6 AM. It is the ideal time for you to practice Yoga before the world wakes up. However, as per the Modern World’s point of view – the best time to do Yoga is either first thing in the morning or early evening during Sunset.
Ideally, you should practice it first thing in the morning (preferably at sunrise between 4-6 AM) especially before eating anything. It immediately sets the mood for the day. You benefit not only physically but mentally and spiritually as well. When you connect with your innermost being by doing Yoga in the morning it gives you the tremendous mental strength to face the day ahead. Thus, if you feel sluggish or suffer from sleep inertia – Morning Yoga Routine is the best bet.
Now that you know what is the best time to do Yoga as each of you live a different lifestyle – let us understand; Why should you do yoga every morning?
Morning Yoga Routine clears your mind, makes your mind and body ready to face the day. Plus keeps you calm and focused all day long. The Breathing Poses or Pranayama boost your Immunity and give you extra oxygen running in your blood and expands your lungs. The King of all Yoga Poses Surya Namaskar or Sun salutation a prominent morning Yoga ritual will send fresh energy in every part of your body. Moreover, the back bending poses (Cobra, Fish and Bridge Pose) help you energise. In case you feel stiff in the morning Yoga is the way to kick the stiffness away.
The Yoga Asanas in which you twist your spine or waist is easily done in the morning as your stomach is empty. An empty stomach also comes in handy when you have a lighter body especially when you are balancing your body weight on your arms.
Did you know 90% of people who do Yoga regularly (more than 3-4 times a week) practice in the morning?
Isn’t it reason enough to understand the best time to do Yoga. Read further to understand what I am saying!
Morning routines are always easier to stick with. In the evenings’ unforeseen things may come up at (work or home) or you may be too tired. Thus, making your routine irregular and ineffective. Any health regimen makes you feel empowered and balanced – the reason being the discipline in your routine. Discipline also imparts mental and physical strength to other areas of your life.
Breathing practice like Anuloma Viloma or Kapalabhati during your morning Yoga practice sends fresh energy to your mind, body and soul. The extra dose of oxygen wakes up dormant cells in the brain. It is as good as a cup of morning coffee. Moreover, the energy remains fresh all day long, unlike tea or coffee. As a result, you are able to be more focused and productive all day long.
If you sleep less due to a late night at work the day before you do Yoga in the morning – you will feel less tired after the practice. Yoga is the best energy booster to make you become alive, fresh with no need for any extra caffeine.
Surprised! Are you?
Try it for a month – you will know what I am saying for yourself!
Come back to this article after a month and I can assure you will have the answer to What is the Best Time to Do Yoga.
The more you practice Yoga in the morning the more your body and mind get used to doing it exactly at the same time. You start waking up fresh, alert and much more energetic.
Pranayama or Breathing Exercises before you start the 12 Basic Yoga Poses – increases lung capacity and sends much more oxygen to your brain and body. Thus boosts immunity and strength to fight any cold, flu or virus you may come across in the day!
The Meditative state of Yoga along with its postures has a positive influence on the endocrine system by the use of glands and hormones. Thus, responsible for keeping you balanced. Moreover, Yoga Poses help stimulate the famous Pineal Glands – responsible for excreting the hormone melatonin to regulate your sleep cycle. Regular morning Yoga practice helps regulate your circadian sleep cycles (Sleep-wake cycles) – thus makes you feel less confused by widely changing sleep timings.
No wonder the best time to do Yoga is in the mornings.
Do you have long working hours – standing or sitting on a chair?
You feel stiffness or aches in your body through the day?
Yoga in the morning – is your answer!
When you practice Yoga Poses in the morning – they stretch and lengthen the tightness in your body muscles and joints. Yoga poses are best suited for those long working hours. Moreover, your posture improves considerably and so does the flexibility of your spine. Our muscle memory gets activated to help us walk taller and straighter all day. The Stretches due to Yoga Poses also prevent injury.
What else do you want!
The above four huge Benefits must have answered your query – What is the best time to do Yoga and Why?
If you find it difficult to decide on your own, take advice from your Yoga Trainer. You can leave your query in the comments section below or send an email on [email protected]. I will help you understand the timings suitable for you.