We all know that yoga is one of the healthiest forms of exercise for your body and mind. However, is it beneficial to do yoga every day? If not, how often is the most optimal amount of yoga you should do? It depends on several factors, and in this article, we will go a little deeper.
How Often Should You Do Yoga?
There’s a lot of information out there on what’s best. Some people say yoga should be practiced daily. Others will say that once or twice a week is enough to gain the benefits of this mind and body practice. Before I started my yoga teacher training, I was told that I should be doing at least 60 to 90 minutes of solo yoga daily to understand and appreciate yoga fully.
While this endurance was helpful for the long days of yoga teacher training, it’s also not very practical to everyday life.
The best answer I could give you regarding the amount of yoga you should do is that there is no one size fits all solution. It all depends on you, your schedule, and your body.
To help you establish how much yoga you should do and what type, here are three questions to ask yourself.
What type of yoga do I want to do? In other words, what benefits are you looking for from your yoga practice?
Are you looking for strength building? An ashtanga or power yoga would be better, but these styles might require longer between sessions for the body to recover. So you may not be able to do them daily.
If you want to focus more on relaxation, you might consider a yin class or even restorative yoga for deep relaxation. These practices can be done more frequently provided you have the time. If you’re looking for something in between, a vinyasa practice might just hit the spot, and you can do them daily depending on the duration and intensity. Vinyasa flows tend to vary more than other forms depending on the practice’s focus and the teacher.
There’s also the option of hot yoga, which has been increasingly popular throughout the last decade. These are usually 60 to 90-minute classes, and there are mixed opinions on whether or not daily hot yoga is a healthy choice. You’ll have to be mindful of the class type, duration, and your water/nutrition intake if you choose to do these classes daily.
The best part about exploring this question is you can do a variety of classes and styles. There’s nothing to say you have to stick to one type of yoga. Ask yourself how you want to feel, what resonates with you, and let it change day-to-day.
Don’t be discouraged if you try one type and don’t love it. Yoga is a lot like a hairstylist, a therapist, or a mechanic: You have to find one you like and one you trust. Somewhere between yoga studios and virtual yoga, you will find a style and a teacher that works for you!
What fits in your schedule?
Take a really good look at your day and week. How much time do you have to dedicate to your yoga practice without causing you stress and overwhelm? In other words, how much yoga practice time do you have, and how often do you have it?
Consistent yoga practice is great because you get to maximize the benefits and really see your transformation. But, if you don’t have time to do yoga daily, then don’t. Work in sessions when you can and don’t worry about it. You have to honour where you are at.
If you do have time, consider what suits you best. Do you have time for a 60-minute practice, or do 20-minute sessions fit better in your life? You can always mix and match. Somedays, a more extended practice might hit the spot, and on other days, dropping in for 20-30 minutes will give you all the benefits you need. Many people find between their home lives and work lives, 20 minutes a day is a significant refresh and still helps them grow in their practice.
Asking yourself what works with your schedule will certainly guide you.
A daily practice, if it fits, is a great thing provided you ask yourself the final and most important question of all:
What does your body allow you to do?
This is the best question to ask yourself, and ironically, the longer we practice yoga, the better we’re able to answer it because we’re more in tune with our bodies.
Let’s start general: how’s your health? Are you recovering from an injury? Are you just beginning to be active again after a period where you weren’t so active? All of these questions will dictate what you’re able to do (vs. what you want or what you think you can do).
Perhaps where you are, you need to start out slower and build up to a longer or more intense physical practice. Maybe you’re already pretty fit, but this is a new type of physical activity. These answers may change day by day, as well. Even if you have an intense practice, you might need a day off or feel like changing it up.
The key is to listen to your body. Start a daily practice and see how you feel and how your body responds. Does your body feel strained and exhausted? If so, then rest and recover. Does your body feel good and excited to show up? Then keep practicing but find your balance. Be sure to mix strength flows with gentle flows.
The most beautiful part of yoga is that it covers a wide range. It’s not like weight lifting, where you lift heavier and heavier weights. There’s a wide variety that allows it to be done daily. Be sure to tune into your body, and you’ll know what’s right for you.
Is it possible to do yoga every day? Absolutely! Should you do yoga every day? That’s a question only you can answer. There are a plethora of options to support what you need in a yoga practice. Find what works for you and for where you are currently at in life. More than anything, be sure to allow yourself and your practice the grace to change. Not every day is going to be perfect. Like you, your practice will grow and change, but your yoga mat will always have your back whether you use it daily or not.
Janice is a Yoga Instructor and Registered Respiratory Therapist with a background in Kinesiology. She is the founder of Flow and Go Yoga – an online platform that provides Yoga for everybody in a way that suits your lifestyle.