Yoga has many benefits. Consistent yoga exercises help reduce stress, improve memory, and ease chronic pain since the ancient practice combines physical movements with mindfulness, allowing you to create the balance required for a healthier life.
After a yoga class, you feel calm and energized simultaneously, making it an excellent practice to manage stress. But should you do yoga every day?
Let’s take a look at what the experts in the field of this ancient Indian philosophy have to say:
1. Yoga Frequency: How Often Should You Practice?
Baxter Bell, MD, an experienced yoga instructor from San Francisco, recently told Everyday Health: “After practicing yoga, most people notice feeling clearer and calmer in the mind. You may notice that you have a little more energy available.”
However, experts warn that you can overdo yoga, depending on the type of yoga and the frequency.
Yoga types range from the physically demanding yoga nidra to the very mild yoga practice, sometimes called “yogic sleep.” Dr. Bell says that people in good health can fit yoga into their daily routine if it’s moderate and they change styles.
Therefore, remember that balance is key. Most yoga styles have a physical component; if it’s too advanced or very intent, it can cause injuries. But, if you do too little, you won’t enjoy the benefits. Yoga is quite safe if you stick to levels matching your abilities and experience. It’s critical to never push yourself too far by ignoring any pain or discomfort you feel during stretches, nor try to deepen stretches further than you feel comfortable with.
Remember that overuse injuries come from repetitive movements, which yoga can lead to if practiced daily. To prevent aggravating the pain, stop the stretching in the aggravated area.
Another problem with practicing too much yoga is that you may not get enough recommended cardiovascular exercise to increase your fitness, stamina, and strength. You need at least two weekly sessions of high-intensity exercise weekly to strengthen your heart and muscles.
You can practice more vigorous yoga to incorporate cardiovascular exercise into your yoga routine. These include Vinyasa, Hatha, and Bikram, and when practiced in a heated room, you can also do hot yoga. However, it would help if you alternated your yoga styles to ensure balance. For example, hot yoga has risks like high blood pressure and electrolyte imbalances. You need medical clearance to attend and should never have more than two sessions a week.
2. Yoga Routine: How Many Times a Week?
If you want to see steady progress in yoga, teachers recommend three to five practices weekly. Studies have shown that you should practice yoga at least five times weekly for the best results. That frequency ensures you see improved overall health and sense of well-being with better sleep and lower fatigue levels.
However, the study also found that regular practice can mean different things to different groups. You can expect the same benefits if you are a beginner and do two weekly sessions as an advanced person practicing daily yoga.
Therefore, should you do yoga every day? Not necessarily, but don’t expect the same benefits from one weekly session as you would from practicing it three times a week.
And if you want to practice yoga every day? You can, as long as you vary the styles and exercises to prevent strain on your muscles and joints. It’s also important to gradually build up to practicing yoga daily, giving your body time to adapt to the exercises and strengthen your muscles. Gradual progress is the best way to protect yourself from injuries.
Start with a commitment to two or three weekly practices for a couple of months. You can consider adding more yoga practice to your routine according to how it’s working for you, your schedule, and how your body feels and looks.
3. Yoga Duration: How Long Should Each Session Be?
Most yoga students start their practice very enthusiastically as they see the benefits of the practice to their body and mind. So, how long should each session be? The answer depends on several factors, such as the yoga style, your physical limitations, if you have any muscle injuries and your general lifestyle.
Ideally, one hour of yoga practice three times a week is good, but if you can only spare 20 minutes daily, it’s better than doing a more extended practice now and then.
What’s great about practicing yoga is that there is no right or wrong. Anything between 15 to 60 minutes daily is fine. If you already have a busy schedule, you could fit yoga into your day by doing a short routine in the morning to start your day and then another routine in the afternoon.
Long practices have the advantage of allowing you more time to fit in all the poses or to spend more time practicing doing your poses well. You also have the time for more prolonged relaxation as you finish your practice., helping you balance your physical exertion with your mental well-being. It’s essential to watch your breathing and alignment throughout yoga sessions, whether short or long.
4. Yoga Overload: Can You Do Too Much?
Just like any form of exercise, there’s a physical aspect to yoga, meaning you can do too much. How can you know if you have yoga overload or when you are overdoing it?
The International Journal of Yoga Therapy published a survey of yoga therapists that showed the most common cause of injuries in yoga comes from excess effort. These common injuries are usually to the knee, lower back, neck, wrist, and shoulder. Sprains and strains are also prevalent injuries in yoga, especially to the abdomen, back, chest, and shoulders.
Some signs you can watch for to ensure you aren’t doing too much yoga include:
- In rare cases, some people who spend too much time meditating may find that it interferes with their social life, responsibilities, and getting enough sleep, according to Dr. Bell.
- You feel pain and fatigue from overdoing your sessions, something that can lead to overuse injuries.
- The classes you take are too advanced or intense for your fitness level, placing you at risk for injuries.
Novices to yoga and those with a lower fitness level should start with entry-level yoga with a less strenuous pace. Classes like core power yoga or power vinyasa are more advanced and usually have a faster pace. You should also not do too much of one style of yoga to avoid overuse injuries.
Therefore, balance is essential when it comes to yoga. Follow these expert tips to avoid yoga overload:
Try a short practice – According to Skillyoga, short practices reduce the chance of injuries or fatigue and are especially beneficial to beginners. The great thing about short yoga practice is that it won’t take a toll on you if you want to do it daily.
Don’t ignore your body – Your body gives clear signals while striking poses. Don’t ignore signs of straining your muscles or not finding the proper alignment. Instead, leave the pose for a while and retry it. If the class has moved on, go into the new pose and leave the burdensome pose to retry another time.
Mix the intensity of the classes – Judi Bar, a yoga program manager at the Cleveland Clinic, suggests exploring several forms of yoga so that you aren’t only doing power or hot yoga. She suggests asking about what types of yoga classes entail because sometimes the names are very elaborate. It would help, she says if you aim to balance your sessions by doing yin or restorative yoga some days.
Take days off – It’s also important to take a day to yourself to rest between strength-building yoga classes.
Explore the philosophies of yoga – Yoga is not only about pushing yourself physically. Explore other areas of its philosophies to create a balance in your body and mind.
Seek better guidance – You need some expert advice when you begin yoga to ensure you practice it safely. Therefore, seek a small group or a private therapist to guide you initially. They will help you choose the most suitable types of yoga for each level of your development, ensure you safely increase the intensity, help you find varied yoga styles for balance, and don’t do too much.
Should you do yoga every day? It’s okay to set a goal to maintain a daily yoga practice. However, remember that you should vary your yoga styles but always within your experience and fitness level limits. It’s okay if you miss a day sometimes if you feel tired or too busy. You will still see the benefits. Finally, choose a qualified instructor to ensure you increase the intensity safely and maintain the right alignment.
Therefore, yoga promotes mindfulness and relaxation, leading to a healthier you. Practice it as often as you like, but only if you can stay in tune with your body, ensuring you aren’t pushing it too far. If you want to practice daily, keep your sessions up to 30 minutes at the most, and if you feel strained, sore, or exhausted, take a break for a couple of days.