We’re familiar with the lengthy list of benefits we reap from practicing yoga regularly, but is there a specific time you should do yoga? Is it better to practice first thing in the morning, or is yoga best for the evening hours? These are valid questions, but as with many things yoga-related, the answer varies for everybody.
While morning yoga practices might be ideal for some folks, nighttime yoga might be the go-to time for others. Some people might even practice multiple times a day, once in the morning and once at night. It’s all about finding the schedule that works best for you.
However, since a vague answer isn’t particularly helpful, let’s look at each option’s merits.
Benefits Of Morning Yoga
Morning yoga is often a go-to pick for early birds, as this is often when early risers have the most energy. However, the benefits of morning yoga aren’t exclusive to early risers.
Sets The Tone For The Day
Morning yoga sessions can help set the tone for your day, giving you a chunk of time devoted to yourself and leaving you free with your thoughts, feelings, and goals. If you have a large family or busy schedule, alone time might be limited, so this small piece of your day can improve your mood and outlook.
Loosen Stiff Muscles
Earlier yoga sessions can help you loosen stiff muscles and joints, preparing them for the upcoming day. If you regularly wake up with sore or stiff muscles, adding a yoga session to your morning routine might not be a bad idea.
If you plan on challenging your body through an invigorating and heart-pumping yoga class, the morning hours might be the best time, as temperatures are usually cooler. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll know how miserable practicing yoga in the heat of the day can be (especially hot yoga).
Sometimes, yoga can make you feel sick or nauseous due to pressure on your abdomen in twists and bends. If you have a full stomach, pressure on your digestive system can make you uncomfortable and nauseous, making your entire yoga session a struggle.
When you practice yoga first thing in the morning, you still have an empty stomach, so this isn’t an issue. Of course, you can always eat before practicing, but ensure you give your body time to digest your food before completing your class to avoid feelings of discomfort.
Benefits Of Evening Yoga
Although many folks choose to practice yoga in the morning, evening yoga practices offer multiple benefits. A few of the most notable advantages of an evening yoga routine include:
Wind Down And De-Stress
Unfortunately, stress follows many of us home from work, keeping us focused on other factors, even when we’re not actively working on them. When it’s time to wind down for bed, these stressors can hinder our ability to relax for the evening. This is where a nighttime yoga routine comes in.
By focusing your mind inward and prioritizing deep, even breathing, you can refocus your mind and let go of external factors out of your control. This can help you relax, allowing your body to wind down and release pent-up stress.
Prepare For Sleep
Practicing yoga right before bed can be an excellent way to prepare your mind and body for sleep. It can help calm the mind and stimulate your body’s relaxation response, which will help ease aches, pain, and tension left over from your day.
Studies show the correlation between better sleep and mind-body therapy, such as yoga, even for those who have insomnia. So, if you struggle to turn off your mind after a long, stressful day, adding a nighttime yoga routine could do a world of good.
Avoid Bad Habits
Yoga can help you break bad habits that seem to flourish in the evening hours. For example, if you binge-watch TV or regularly snack throughout the evening, adding a yoga routine can distract your mind from these habits. If you consistently replace parts of your evening with yoga, you might even shake some of these habits entirely.
Better Morning Mood
When you go to sleep frustrated or stressed, you might not sleep as well. On top of that, these might be the first things that pop into your head when you wake up in the morning. Practicing yoga in the evening before bed can help you end your day on a positive and peaceful note, giving you the chance to set these emotions and matters to the side before bed.
This can translate to better sleep and a better mood when you wake up in the morning, leaving you feeling refreshed and restored.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Do Yoga?
The best time of day to do yoga is whatever time works best for you. Some folks sleep during the day because they work at night, so their yoga schedule looks drastically different from someone who works a typical 9-5 job.
So, while you might be doing a bedtime yoga session to wind down from a particularly trying day, someone else might be starting their day with an invigorating yoga class. It’s all about finding what works best for you.
Does It Matter What Time You Do Yoga?
No, it doesn’t matter what time of day you do a yoga session. Ultimately, you should do whatever works best for you and your schedule. Morning practices have benefits, but so do evening sessions.
While we don’t recommend doing a heart-pumping yoga routine right before trying to sleep, it doesn’t mean you can’t get into a good yoga session after dinner. If you decide to do a fast-paced or intense yoga session in the evening, make sure you give your body ample time to cool down and relax before attempting to sleep.
On the flip side, it might not be best to do a soothing, sleep-inducing routine right after waking up in the morning, especially if you’re still drowsy. We recommend selecting a routine that’ll help wake your body up and prepare for the day, and instead, save those calming routines for a time of the day when accidentally falling asleep during your practice won’t be an issue.
That said, these are simply recommendations. You need to do what works best for you and your body. If a Bikram yoga class a few hours before bed works well for you, then, by all means, go for it! Or, if a soothing yoga flow helps maintain the quiet in your mind for a few hours after waking up, incorporate it into your day.
It’s all about finding what works for your body. Finding the happy medium might take a few days or weeks to pinpoint, but once you find it, you can tailor your schedule and yoga sessions to meet your body’s needs.