Rest days are a vital part of any fitness routine. These days give your body the time it needs to relax and recover from your workout regime, which is essential for progress and avoiding injuries. But what about yoga? Many folks consider yoga a recovery exercise, so isn’t yoga suitable for rest days?
While you can still do yoga on your rest days, taking rest days from yoga is essential. Of course, the best rest day schedule differs for everyone, so here are a few things you should know.
Should You Take Rest Days With Yoga?
If you’ve never done yoga before, you might think yoga is a rest day workout. However, if you’ve participated in the more intense types of yoga, like Bikram yoga (aka hot yoga), you’ll know that yoga can be as challenging as a cardio workout.
So, while the less intense varieties are rest-day-worthy, it’s still important to take a break from yoga as necessary. Here are a couple of reasons why you might need to use a rest day:
It’s Not Always Easy
When many people think of yoga, they think of sitting cross-legged on a cliff overlooking the beach, hands gently placed on the knees. Or, they might think of rejuvenating sun salutations in a yoga studio. Either way, many folks associate yoga with “easy.”
However, this isn’t always the truth. Although some varieties of yoga are slower-paced and might be easy for some folks, other types of yoga challenge your muscles to improve in strength, flexibility, and endurance.
So, if you regularly participate in heart-pumping yoga classes that leave you feeling sore, tired, and sweaty, rest days are vital. Even if you prioritize recovery yoga classes – rest days are essential.
Many individuals experience muscle soreness after intense yoga sessions, especially if they’re new to yoga. The poses can be challenging, forcing your body to maintain muscle-burning holds. You might find your muscles stiff and sore on the days following these sessions.
On these days, it’s not a bad idea to rest. While you could trade your intense yoga session for a relaxed recovery class, there are some days when resting is the best course of action. Of course, it depends on your body and how you feel, so you can make the call based on your energy levels and soreness.
Give Your Mind A Break
Although meditation and yoga can go hand-in-hand, it doesn’t hurt to give your mind a break from practicing. On rest days, you can give yourself the time to absorb the new poes and information you’ve learned in the past week.
How Many Rest Days Do You Need Per Week In Yoga?
The number of rest days you need per week when practicing yoga depends on you and your fitness level. Some folks might need one or two rest days per week, while others might need three or four rest days each week.
For example, when you start practicing yoga, you might find yourself more tired or sore than usual. In this case, you should ease your body into practice based on how you feel.
So, if you feel particularly sore after a session, taking the next day or two off might not hurt. If you don’t want to take two rest days, you can always choose a low-intensity yoga class with a focus on rest and relaxation instead of a high-intensity option.
Or, maybe if you don’t feel sore or tired the following day, you can continue practicing. Once you become more experienced and build strength and endurance, you can begin practicing more frequently. Work within your limits, slowly building strength and endurance until your body is ready to move forward.
Can You Do Yoga On Your Rest Days?
Many individuals use yoga as a recovery workout on rest days from other types of training, like running, weight training, or high-intensity interval training. While this is entirely fine for some situations, it’s not always the best option in all cases.
For instance, let’s say you’re feeling especially sore after a killer leg workout the previous day. To alleviate the tightness in your muscles, stretching is a good idea. You could use various types of yoga as a stretch, but it’s usually best to steer clear of high-intensity yoga sessions (think Bikram yoga) if you’re feeling sore.
Or, let’s say you’re not experiencing any muscle soreness, tiredness, or any other signs indicating it’s time for a rest day. In this case, you could incorporate a yoga workout on your rest day. You could opt for a more intense option, or you could stick with a recovery-based class – it’s up to you and how you feel.
On days when you’re feeling particularly sore, tired, or otherwise drained, it’s usually better to take a beat and give yourself time to rest. Sometimes, the best option is a relaxing rest day without overexerting yourself through an intense exercise session.
Can You Workout And Do Yoga Everyday?
Since yoga is an excellent way to bolster your strength and flexibility, many individuals use it as an accessory to their regular workout routine. They might add two or three sessions per week to reap the benefits, adding them to rest days and as recovery.
But can you work out and do yoga on the same day, every day of the week? It depends on you and your fitness level. Some individuals can easily handle working out and completing a yoga session on the same day. However, even if you can handle the extra physical activity, giving your body breaks is essential.
Generally, it’s best to incorporate at least one or two rest days each week, as your body needs time to recover. That said, you can do low-intensity yoga on rest days as a stretch and recovery session. If you decide to do this, ensure you pay attention to your body. If you feel you need a rest day, take one!
How Many Days A Week Should You Do Yoga?
Although many folks use yoga solely as a rest day activity to recover, you can do it more than once a week. If you want to reap the benefits of yoga, like improved flexibility, you’ll need to do it more than just once per week.
So, when you’re planning your week, how many days should you do yoga? The answer varies based on factors specific to you. For example, if you have intermediate experience with yoga, your endurance levels might allow you to practice more than once or twice a week, and you might even be able to practice up to five or six times in a single week.
However, if you’re new to yoga, you’ll probably want to start slow. In the beginning, start with one or two short sessions per week, around twenty to thirty minutes per session. As you build strength and endurance, you can increase your practice by adding extra time to each session or practicing more frequently.
Here are a few tips to keep you on the right track:
- Listen to your body: It’s vital to pay attention to your body’s cues, even if you’re a more experienced yogi. Pushing your body too hard makes you more prone to injury, as you might sacrifice your form to push through. So, if your body is tense, tired, or inflexible, ensure you work within your limits.
- Stay hydrated: Remember to stay hydrated! Dehydration can cause unwanted side effects, including nausea, headaches, and exhaustion, making it challenging to complete your sessions. So, ensure you keep up on hydration.
- Fuel up before starting: Without ample nutrition, you’ll probably struggle to complete your yoga routines, even if they’re more relaxing. You might become shaky, lightheaded, or nauseous if you don’t eat enough to fuel your body, so ensure you adjust your intake to accommodate your extra physical activity.
- Remember to rest: Don’t forget to throw in a few rest days! Although you might be tempted to skip your rest days to keep working on a particular move or muscle group, don’t forget to give your body time to recover.