…Is, of course, whenever you will actually do it!
But that doesn’t really help you figure out what to do, when, and why, does it?
Factors such as weather, sleep, stress, and energy all play a role in determining the best time and style of yoga to practice.
Since an important part of yoga is getting to know yourself and how you change from moment to moment, it makes sense to let your energy inform you about how to practice according to the season or time of day.
Here are some simple guidelines to follow depending on your needs. Remember to always finish with Savasana, Corpse Pose, lying flat on your back with eyes closed.
Goal: Boost Energy
Time: Early – Late Morning – Lunch Break
Benefits: Invigorate mind and body at the start of the day, relieve stiffness from sleeping or sitting, boost energy naturally, conquer the day with clarity and a sense of grounded focus.
Tips: I recommend a full practice to awaken mind and body by increasing blood flow to the muscles and brain. Try energizing and powerful postures like Sun salutations, backbends, warrior poses, and inversions.
Goal: Relieve Stress
Time: Anytime You Feel Stress
Benefits: Immediately shift away from tense, blocked, or distracted energy to one that is open, calm, and clear.
Tip: Choose an abbreviated practice (2-20 minutes) heavily focused on rhythmic breath work and muscle softening. Use calming and tension relieving postures like forward bends, folds, and twists. Improve concentration with balance postures.
Goal: Relax or Fall Asleep
Time: Early Evening – Right Before Bed
Benefits: Clears the mind of the days’ activities and invokes a restful state of mind and body. Improves depth and quality of sleep.
Tip: Choose an abbreviated practice (10-20 minutes) incorporating slow deep breaths and movements that soften the body into restful postures like forward bends, folds and stretches lying on your back or side. Using a bolster or pillows can help create a sense of safety and letting go so that sleep comes more easily.
Goal: Reduce Pain
Time: Daily – As Needed
Benefits: Relieve chronic or acute pain sensations by retraining the mind and body to function in a healing response. Restore mobility, flexibility, and vitality using a variety of poses.
Tip: Slowly warm up and ease into postures with mindfulness regarding the sensations in your body. Avoid doing any poses that create sharp pain or aggravate your current issue. Use your breath as a guide to find the appropriate depth in each posture and to restore a healthy nervous system response to pain you experience.
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No matter when, where, or why you practice Yoga offers a unique opportunity to reflect on how it shapes you from day to day, meeting your needs and evolving your health and well-being one breath, one pose at a time.