✅ Fact Checked
🧘 If you only got 30 seconds:
Over the years, I’ve heard as many theories as there are yogis as to why it’s more beneficial to practice yoga before dawn/at lunch/in the afternoon/before bed…
🗣️ “AM yoga practice is better since our balance is better in the morning,”
🗣️ “PM yoga is better since your joints are more warmed up…”
🗣️ “Trying to lose weight? Oh, you should definitely practice yoga in the morning on empty stomach to fire up your metabolism”.
Confused? If I were a beginner navigating the unfamiliar yoga world, I would be too.
Read on to learn:
- the benefits of AM versus PM yoga practice
- which yoga should you do in the morning and which is best for the evening
- when you should NOT do yoga
- the real answer about the best time to practice yoga.
1/9 Should I do yoga in the morning or evening?
According to B.K.S. Iyengar, “the best time to practise is either early in the morning or late in the
Morning yoga practice will sharpen your focus and prepare you for the coming day, or “makes one work better in one’s vocation,” as Iyengar puts it. If you do yoga in the morning, go for challenging and energizing practice. Headstand and Shoulderstand are good examples of stimulative asanas.
Evening yoga, according to Iyengar, reduces fatigue and calms down the nervous system. All sorts of Forward Folds such as Paschimottanasana will soothe your body and mind and prepare you for a restful night.
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2/9 Why is it good to do yoga in the morning?
Many people find morning yoga harder and more challenging. Not only because it’s hard to force yourself to get up if you’re not a morning person but also because our bodies are naturally stiffer and less pliable upon waking up. This sole fact makes asana practice seem like a lot more work.
That said, morning yoga practice is a chance to start your day the right way. Astanga yoga tradition encourages an early AM yoga practice because the mind is clear, the body is fresh after sleep and the air is clean.
Here are some benefits of AM yoga practice:
- gently wakes you up and loosens stiff muscles
- prevents overstretching
- increases energy
- helps set an intention or goal for the day
- allows you to start the day with a moment of self-care
- disciplines your body and mind.
3/9 What time in the morning should I do yoga?
According to Ayurveda, you should wake up before sunrise. It’s believed that waking up early will power your body and mind with energy as well as give you the chance to enjoy peace and serenity. This is also the best time to do morning yoga and practice meditation.
Classic yoga tradition placed Sun as the center of the cosmos. Hence we have Surya Namaskar, a physical practice that has to be performed at sunrise to worship the sun.
That said, modern life is hectic and it’s not always possible to follow the advice of classic texts. The best solution here is to do morning yoga when it best first your schedule, before breakfast, or at least half an hour after eating.
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4/9 Can I do yoga right after waking up?
Yes, you can do yoga on an empty stomach upon waking up. In fact, most yoga traditions encourage an early yoga practice as it helps you set yourself up for the day before the hustle-bustle of life begins.
However, if you feel lightheaded or nauseous when practicing, your blood sugar is likely too low and your body needs some nourishment before practice. Here are some ideas of what you can eat before your morning yoga practice.
5/9 Which yoga is best for morning?
The choice of morning yoga ultimately depends on your personal goals and daily schedule.
You will probably benefit from some gentle movement that will wake you up and move the energy in your body. So if you have a choice between relaxing restorative yoga or gentle Hatha, go for Hatha.
That said, some people like to do calm and relaxing deep stretching classes in the morning, for example, Yin yoga. I personally find that it makes me want to go back to bed.
6/9 Is it good to do yoga at evening?
Yes! An evening yoga practice before bed is the best way to relax your body, soothe the nervous system and prepare for sleep.
Besides, your body in the evening is much more pliable. If your goal is to increase your flexibility, a deep stretch yoga class before bed can definitely help you with that.
Here are some benefits of a bedtime yoga routine:
- improved sleep quality and decreased symptoms of insomnia
- stress relief
- reduced muscle tension
- increased range of motion and flexibility
- weight loss as a result of less stress and better sleep.
7/9 Can I do yoga at 11pm? Which yoga is best in evening?
You can do yoga late at night if that works for you and doesn’t have any negative effects.
Be careful with practicing fast and challenging styles of yoga that build strength and increase your heart rate. Some people find that a physically intensive practice before bed makes it harder for them to fall asleep and decreases the overall sleep quality.
8/9 Can I do yoga morning and evening?
You can certainly do yoga in the morning and in the evening. Make sure to balance out your practice and supplement flexibility training with strength and balance.
I wouldn’t suggest attending two physically-intense yoga classes on the same day to avoid overexertion. Your body needs time to repair itself, so working the same muscles on the same day is not a good idea. Instead, organize your yoga practice so that they complement each other.
You can do a short yoga for flexibility class in the morning and a longer strength-building class in the afternoon. Or take a longer yoga class that focuses on getting your heart rate up in the morning and do a relaxing Yin yoga class in the evening.
I’m a fan of a morning yoga quickie and a long heart-pumping evening flow despite the fact that everybody says that evenings should be more relaxed. 🤷
9/9 When should you not do yoga?
Daily yoga can work wonders for your mind and body. That said, there are some times when you’ll be better off skipping your yoga class or replacing your physical practice with meditation or breathing practice.
Here’s when you shouldn’t do asana yoga:
- when you’ve just had a heavy and greasy meal – exercising with an overstuffed stomach is never a good idea and can lead to cramps, pain, and bloating.
- when your muscles feel very sore after the last yoga class or intense workout – go for a breezy walk instead, this will do your muscles more good than a strenuous yoga class
- when you’re sick and/or have a high fever – your immune system is doing a heck of a job to get you healthy. You don’t want it to waste its precious resources on repairing microtears in your muscles after your asana.
So what is the ideal time to do yoga?
Despite everything that sacral texts and yoga experts are saying, I’m going to tell you one essential truth about yoga.
𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝘁, 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗲.
Besides, why would you even let someone tell you how to arrange your day? You know your schedule best and you know your body best.
I for nothing in the world could force myself to do Sun Salutations first thing in the morning. But saluting the sun in the afternoon is exactly what works for me.
So just let go of the rules about the right time to do yoga and focus on exploration.
Try practicing first thing in the morning and see how it feels in the mind and body. Does it make you feel refreshed and brimming with energy? Or nervous since you’re in a hurry or super sleepy?
Then try practicing in the evening. Note how it’s different from the AM flow. Let yourself be playful. 😉
As long as you fit a bit of yoga into your day and you’re feeling satisfied with your practice, the timing doesn’t really make a difference.