Is morning the best time of day to practice yoga?
Now let’s get into the (vegan) meat and potatoes of this post. For many of us, mornings are ideal. For the rest of us, they are far from it! Consider your answers to the following questions to decipher if mornings are the best time of day to practice yoga for you:
- Are your mornings already rushed, or do you have 30 minutes to spare to hop on the mat?
- Are you an early morning person? Can you realistically consistently wake up 30 minutes earlier than you already do?
- Are you looking to improve (or create) your morning routine?
- What are your energy levels like in the morning? Do you have low blood pressure?
- Are you interested in honoring the traditional view that mornings are the best time of day to practice yoga?
If you have stressful mornings already, there is no point in adding a full yoga practice into the mix. Yoga is there to help, not hinder, so don’t force yourself just because you think you have to.
If you’re already struggling to wake up when you do, then trying to wake up even earlier is going to become a struggle. It’s not impossible, but personally, I’d rather you were well-rested than force yourself out of bed in the morning for the sake of it.
Adding in a short yoga practice can help to solidify a healthy and revitalizing morning routine. If that is something you’ve been wanting to do, consider adding in a regular morning practice (you can build upon this slowly) that you pair with other morning routine activities.
If you suffer from low blood pressure, a morning yoga practice may feel more draining than energizing. Consult with your trusted medical professional first before considering yoga as part of your morning.
Honoring yoga traditions is one way to ensure we avoid culturally appropriating this beautiful practice. If that is important to you, then integrating yoga into your mornings is a great way to do that.
Is the afternoon the best time of day to practice yoga?
Afternoons are often overlooked as an appropriate time of day to practice yoga. It would be great for you if:
- mornings just aren’t feasible for you, but you still want a revitalizing, refreshing energy boost
- you have a lot to deal with at work during the day and you need something to give you a reset
- you sit a lot at work, and you want to add in something that helps to wake the body up and maintain your flexibility levels
- You prefer a physical practice when your muscles are already warmed up a bit.
Afternoons can be a great alternative for many of us. If lunchtime is your go-to for yoga, make sure to practice first before you enjoy lunch.
Are evenings the best time of day to practice yoga?
I’m 100% biased when I say “Yeah, I think so”! For me, it’s the ideal time.
- I prefer to practice with warmer muscles because I know I have a tendency to listen to my ego and push past my limits. This is not a good habit to develop with cold muscles. So, until I learn to tame my ego, evenings suit me fine.
- Simply put, I have more time in the evenings. That space between preparing and eating dinner is my happy hour. The chores are done, and a yummy dinner is waiting for me followed by something dystopian on Netflix with the cats.
- I am a light sleeper, so I like to use my practice as a way to signal to the nervous system that it’s time to calm down and prepare for rest. Evening practices are a great way to do this.
- It is a great way for me to let go of the day and settle into a relaxing evening
An evening practice doesn’t have to be long. Ten minutes might be all you have in which case a few sun salutations followed by some calming breathwork and meditation would be the perfect way to close down your day.
Be aware that, as bedtime is approaching, you want to avoid any dynamic type of yoga and focus more on slowing down. Yin, Hatha, or Restorative would be great.
If you really want to practice something dynamic, then be sure to spend a good amount of time in savasana so your parasympathetic nervous system has time to activate.
Could bedtime be the best time of day to practice yoga?
Bedtime yoga might well be for you if you’re:
- interested in pursuing restorative practices more than dynamic ones
- not that fussed about powering through an energetic practice
- a reluctant night owl, so are hankering after a good night’s sleep more than anything else
- interested in learning about different breathing exercises that stimulate the rest-and-digest response.
- It’s the only time you have to yourself.
Bedtime yoga is a beautiful thing. Is it the most dynamic? No. Will you still gain a plethora of benefits? Absolutely! If you struggle to sleep well, then the restorative aspect of bedtime yoga is for you.
Better sleep improves your overall physical well-being. Restorative yoga is optimal for this time of day, and if you can include some breathwork and meditation too then your parasympathetic nervous system will love you for it.