When is the best time to do yoga exercises? This question is often asked by yoga practitioners of all levels, and the answer is different for each person. A single person can change their preference over time, depending on their work/school schedule, their energy levels at certain points of the day, and several other factors. If this is the case, you need to make slight changes in your practice.
The change depends primarily on the main benefit you want to get out of it.
Some yoga positions are energizing, others are calming. Take a look at this quick guide to knowing the effects of yoga on your body throughout the day.
What happens when you do yoga exercises…
In the Morning
Despite a whole chunk of the world population cursing having to get up in the wee hours, morning time isn’t all bad. The problem with mornings for most people is that due to tendency to sleep late and sleep in, we wake up later than we need to – in panic. Suddenly there’s no time to compose our groggy selves! The morning is often blamed for this hassle, but who is really at fault?
…Let’s not answer that.
Break this chain of chaos by setting aside some time in the morning (at least 10 minutes!) to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Yoga exercises can be a natural stimulant by choosing poses that will warm up and energize your body within minutes. This will also calm your mind and mentally prepare you for the challenges of the day. Poses that are good after waking up include the Cat-Cow Pose, Upward-Facing Dog Pose, Downward-Facing Dog Pose, High Crescent Lunge, and High Crescent Twist.
Yoga in the morning will also encourage you to sleep on time in the evening. Once you’ve got a routine down your body will get used to being awake at an earlier time. No more early morning blues.
Before or after a Meal
Do not do yoga right after a meal. It is best to do yoga on an empty stomach, but not when you’re starving. It is generally advisable to have your meal 2 to 3 hours before doing yoga rather than right before. If it’s just a light meal such as a fruit, waiting for just an hour is fine.
As for eating after yoga, give your body some time to calm down. Eat at least 30 minutes after practice.
In the Evening
By the end of the day, the body is tired but the mind is buzzing!
It can be hard to unwind after a busy day, but several studies have found that yoga exercises have positive effects on one’s sleeping habits. A study conducted by researchers in Harvard Medical School showed that participants who were asked to stick to a yoga program had improved sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, sleep onset latency, and wake time after sleep onset.
To release stress and tension from your body, relaxing yoga poses to do before bedtime include Easy Forward Bend, Child’s Pose, Supine Spinal Twist, Reclining Butterfly, and Legs-up-the-wall Pose.
Day or night, the important thing is you are consistent with your workout. A research conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center and the national institutes of Health verifies that the frequency of your yoga practice, not how long you’ve been practicing, is a bigger factor in determining how much you benefit from yoga. Yoga instructor Rodney Yee recommends 45 – 90 minutes per session, and adds that even 30 minutes of yoga a day yields greater benefits than having a longer session only once a week.
When’s the best time to do yoga for you?
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