Yoga can be spiritual as well as a physical practice and therefore is beneficial at any time of the day. However, we will have times that are better for our own practice depending upon schedule, body and personality type. A morning person may need the stimulating effects of certain asanas to start the day, while someone who is slow to wake may be warmed up and ready to practice by sunset.
Sun Salutations: Early morning before sunrise is considered a spiritually charged time of the day in the Vedic tradition and is therefore ideal for yoga. If morning practice is preferable, then sun salutations should be included in the session. These asanas get the body warmed up and stretch and tone the core.
Yoga At Night: Yoga before bed can be relaxing and contribute to a restful sleep. However, remember to avoid asanas that are overstimulating and counterproductive for rest, such as forward and backward bends. Instead focus on breathing in positions such as Child’s pose, which stretches the back muscles, aids digestion and ensures a sound sleep.
Things To Remember About Yoga
Here are a few tips to keep in mind before making yoga a part of your lifestyle:
- When it comes to adopting a yoga practice, the phrase, “to each his own” resonates the most. There is no period of the day that would suit everyone equally however, it’s best to follow the rule of “no distraction”.
- Choose to practice at a time when you are least likely to be interrupted, whether it be early morning or late at night. Do not practice if already feeling sleepy or fatigued; the most benefits are yielded when fully conscious of each movement.
- Like any exercise, wait at least two hours after eating before practicing yoga to avoid indigestion and gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Consistency is the key in yoga practice, even more than the time you choose to practice it. The more regularly you practice, the more you will notice the changes produced within your body and your life. Over time you will be able to move more deeply into poses that are difficult when first beginning. This takes disciplined practice to discover. If possible, make new discoveries about your practice and yourself by joining a class, as yoga is ultimately about spiritual connection with others.
The Right Time To Do Yoga
If you enjoy yoga as part of your fitness regimen, you might wonder if there is an optimal time of day for yoga asana practice. Choosing a time of day depends on many different factors. It also determines the postures you would need to practice or avoid during that time! Generally yoga can be classifed into morning yoga and evening yoga based on the time of practice.
An ideal morning yoga class will ease you into gentle movements shortly after you crawl out of bed. That’s why you’ll generally find yourself practicing a few extra sets of cobra before your first chaturanga, nice, long forward folds, and some extra stretches at the beginning of class.
Sun Salutations are great for waking up the body, and after lots of movement and balancing, the instructor will most likely guide you into some gentle inversions and heart openers. If your hips and spine are feeling open at this point – dive into the heart openers, like camel, bridge and wheel. These postures will leave you feeling awake and rejuvenated – maybe even more than your morning cup of coffee!
Also, indulge in an extra-long headstand or shoulder stand to send fresh oxygen into your head. This will also allow you to leave class ready to face your day.
The perfect evening yoga class should soothe and relax you after a long day. An after-work yoga class is a slightly different story – you’ll be ready to move around, open your heart, and potentially move upside down. If you’re practicing later in the evening however (within a few hours of going to bed), you’ll want to resist moving into big heart openers and energizing inversions.
Most likely, your instructor will guide you into soothing surrender postures like half pigeon and seated forward fold. Twists are also incredibly relaxing in the evening as well. Your instructor might cue deep heart openers, so just be sure to gauge how you feel and what you need.
Start paying attention to which postures affect your energy levels at which time of day, and this will empower you to practice exactly what your body needs. Remember – you are your best guide!