Among yogis, questions like “How many days a week should I do yoga?” and “How often should I do yoga to see results?” are more common than you think. No doctor can dole out a prescription for a set number of yoga classes to achieve your particular goals. The realistic answer to these questions is that a quick yoga fix doesn’t exist.
Yoga is not just another regular workout and while many scientific studies show that yoga plays a positive role in maintaining physical and mental health, it is not an easy task to break it into limited fitness objectives.
To understand exactly how often you should do yoga, you need to get into the depth of the specific goals you are looking to achieve.
How Often Should I Practice Yoga For:
To lose weight, you need to practice yoga as often as you can. It’s best to opt for active, intense poses and postures at least 3 to 5 times a week for an hour.
On the days you decide to take a break from your intense practice, balance your routine with a gentler and more relaxing class. Restorative, Yin, and Hatha Yoga are great options.
If you are a beginner and often ask yourself, “How often can I do yoga?” the simple answer to this question is that rather than overexerting yourself by engaging in strenuous exercises, it’s best to start at a slow pace and gradually build your practice up. This will allow you to build up your flexibility and strength and avoid any injuries. If a full class of an hour is too much for you, you can self-practice for approximately 20 minutes. Every week, take one full day off to rest.
For added benefits, you can combine your yoga routine with healthy eating habits, and other physical activities such as cycling, walking, and swimming.
As part of your routine, one thing to remember is that if you weigh yourself directly after each class, you may see the measurements going down as you can lose water weight during your class, especially if it’s a hot yoga class. Therefore, it is best practice to weigh yourself before each class and at the same time every day.
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How many times a week should you do yoga to achieve that flexibility you desire? We all know that you crave for a concrete answer to this question but the truth is that it doesn’t exist. For some, it might take three weeks of casual yoga practice to see a significant increase their flexibility, while for others it can take years of regimented practice just to be able to perform a basic pose effortlessly.
Here are two simple tips to make your journey to flexibility a tad bit easier:
Focus on achieving small wins frequently rather than aiming for unrealistic goals. For instance, if doing a forward fold is a difficult task for you, try to reach your ankles first. When your body is finally ready to reach your toes, then eventually try reaching the ground. Break your ultimate goals into smaller stepping stones to keep yourself motivated. Celebrating small wins will help you avoid frustration in the long run.
Various factors such as gender, genetics, hydration, physical fitness, and the weather play an important role in determining your flexibility. Some days you are better nourished and hydrated and thus your muscles open deeper than usual and on other days, you might not have had enough sleep or had a stressful day which might result in your hamstrings not budging. Every day works differently and it’s best to take each day as it comes. Remember, flexibility is a journey, not a destination.
For anxiety sufferers, practicing yoga even as little as 10 minutes a day is known to be beneficial. Practicing 2 to 3 times a week for an hour can also help decrease your anxiety symptoms dramatically. If some stressful situation or a specific event such as a job interview makes you anxious, try practicing yoga around 2 to 3 hours before the event. If you are still experiencing anxiety right before the occasion, take a break of about 10 minutes to breathe and meditate.
Advantages of Yoga in General
Physical Benefits of Yoga
Practicing yoga regularly can help in:
- Lessening chronic pain such as headaches, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing insomnia
- Increasing arousal during sex
- Increasing muscle strength and tone
- Improving energy, respiration, and vitality
- Increasing flexibility
- Reducing weight
- Maintaining a balanced metabolism
- Improving athletic performance
- Improving cardiovascular and circulatory health
Mental Benefits of Yoga
Aside from a lot of physical benefits, yoga also helps an individual in stress management which, in turn, extensively affects the mind and body in a positive manner. Stress reveals itself in several ways, such as through sleeping disorders, neck and back pain, inability to concentrate, and drug abuse. Yoga practice is an effective way to develop coping skills and reach a constructive outlook on life.
The incorporation of breathing exercises and meditation in yoga can immensely improve an individual’s well-being. Regular practice increases body awareness, relaxes the mind, sharpens concentration, creates mental clarity, and relieves chronic stress patterns.
How Much Yoga is Too Much?
Lastly, is there a thing as too much yoga and how much yoga is too much?
It should come as no surprise to you that like every other major lifestyle changes, moderation is the key when it comes to yoga. Every individual has a different tolerance level and we usually tend to blur the line between discomfort and pain due to our desire to push to the next level. While deep breathing is a great way to resolve discomfort, in case you experience any kind of pain during your practice, you need to stop immediately.
Remember, too much of anything is bad. Always give yourself adequate time to relax and rest in between practices. As you get more flexible and stronger, you will naturally know the right time to add more to your yoga routine. Until then, enjoy the process of growth.