How Often Should You Do Yoga?
The question how often you should do yoga is one which you will get 100 different answers from 100 different yoga teachers and health experts. There are many reasons for this, and we will go through them, plus try to actually answer the question in the best way we can.
One of the most obvious reasons you will get different answers is that each expert or so-called guru you might ask, has their own personal beliefs about yoga, its benefits, and therefore how often you should do yoga.
Their thoughts on this may simply be a result of what they have experienced over the years in relation to yoga and will be what they have found has worked best for them. While that is fine and may work for them, the obvious problem with basing their answer on their own experience is that not everyone is them.
Each individual has their own unique physical and mental traits, which are very unlikely to match any expert’s. We each have varying amounts of energy, suppleness, and motivation, plus we are all different ages. Therefore, saying ‘what works for me’ is not that helpful for everyone.
Using a Guided Program
One way to have the question answered about how often you should do yoga is to follow a program that literally tells you. Now we are not saying you have to follow it religiously, because you may have constraints on your time. However, if you can follow a yoga program’s guidelines as closely as possible, the benefits to you will be maximized.
One of the yoga programs which guides you through a step-by-step sequence is Yoga Burn Challenge. This has been created by Zoe Bray-Cotton, and it takes a progressive approach to yoga. Rather than overwhelming you in the beginning, it builds from simple exercises up to more advanced ones at a pace that brings optimum results.
The great thing about this type of program which you follow at home is that there is never any pressure on you to complete any specific phase by a certain time. It’s great if you can, but unlike yoga classes where the instructor, and your yoga classmates may be pushing ahead too quickly, with this program you go as fast or as slow as you wish, without the pressure.
Yoga Isn’t a Prescription
Another problem there is in terms of stating how often someone should do yoga, is that there are so many different ways in which yoga can be done. If we look at jogging for example, there is really only one way in which it can be done, and that is one foot in front of the other at a steady pace. For this reason, it is easy to advise someone to jog for a specific length of time based on their physical condition.
Yoga, on the other hand, has up to 14 different types, and in many cases, these are done in very specific conditions in terms of room temperature and humidity levels. Add into the mix the multitude of yoga poses which each require varying degrees of effort, then it is isn’t hard to see how simply saying ‘Do yoga for 30 minutes every day’ isn’t valid.
For some yoga poses, the recommended time that you use it to work out is 30 minutes. For others the length of time which is advised is 10 minutes. Naturally, there are some which fall in between those two times, and some where no time limit is set at all.
There are many yoga poses and workouts where the length of time is not stated. With these, the instructions given are measured either in terms of the number of repetitions you do of each pose, or the number of breaths you take while performing it.
Regular Practice Beats the Clock
One piece of advice you might hear in relation to any physical activity, is that ‘practice makes perfect.’ We prefer to say ‘practice makes better’ because if you think you’ve become perfect at something, there would seem to be less incentive to improve.
With this principle in mind, some of the best advice in relation to how often you should do yoga is to try to practice it several times a week for a period of time. It comes down to what you can commit to each occasion. When we say period of time, it is fair to say that if each session is a mere 5 minutes, then your progress is going to be limited.
For that reason we suggest that you aim for 20-30 minutes per session as a good place to start, and if possible, try to have two to three sessions per week. These times and sessions number will most likely apply to those who work, have families and other commitments, but still give them an opportunity to practice their yoga.
If you are lucky enough to have more time, perhaps because you work from home or are retired, then feel free to increase the number of sessions.
Progression Rather Than Perspiration
To follow any kind of yoga program, there is nothing really to be gained by going flat out from the beginning and doing it to the point of exhaustion. The benefits of yoga do not come any quicker because you treat it like a gym workout where the amount of sweat you produce signifies how well the session went.
Remember, there isn’t a rule book akin to soccer where the length of each game is set at 90 minutes, With yoga, you merely have guidelines which you adapt to suit your circumstances. The key to doing yoga correctly for maximum benefit is to start at the level you are comfortable with in terms of the number of sessions and times while progressing when you are able to.
This is how Yoga Burn Challenge is designed. You start at the ‘Foundation Flow’ level where you begin with toning muscles and then progress until you reach the ‘Mastery Flow.’ With ‘Mastery Flow’ the intensity is higher, and the movements combine everything you have been learning in the previous phases.