Many new yogis have asked us how often they should practise yoga. There is actually no short answer to this query. This is because if you’re interested in becoming stronger, gaining increased flexibility or losing a couple of kilograms, there isn’t a quick yoga fix.
Yoga is not just another workout
This is according to many yogis. There are reams upon reams of ancient texts that explore yoga’s many aspects. The physical elements make up a relatively minute part of the discussion. In addition to this, scientific studies have increasingly shown yoga’s positive role in keeping a person’s mental and physical health in tip top shape.
Yoga is a practice which is all-encompassing
It cultivates a connection between the body and mind. It’s not easy to break Yoga into limited fitness objectives and goals. Rather, there’s some fine print to accompany the prescription of how many times, per week, you should be practising Yoga, should you be interested in doing so.
So how many times a week should you practise yoga?
When people begin their practice of yoga, there’s often a phase – at the beginning – where they’re practising between three and five times per week. This is because they are in love with the newness of yoga as well as the new feeling of lightness in their body. In addition, maybe they are even experiencing some weight loss.
Unfortunately, after a period of time, they may shift into a new routine where they are practising yoga less. So this leads to the question: How often should one practise yoga for it to have a beneficial impact on your mental as well as physical well-being?
It depends on what your goals are, the style of yoga that you’re practising, your diet, other types of exercise that you might be doing and any history of injury:
- What are your goals for your practice of yoga? Goals could be desirable outcomes such as increasing flexibility, enhancing posture, improving strength, decreasing stress, losing weight or any combination of these items.
- Improving flexibility is a direct function of how often you attend Yoga class as well as what you do when you’re off the mat. You could go to yoga every day you’re re sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day, running five times a week as well as weight training, it’s really difficult to remain flexible. This means that to increase flexibility, more Yoga practice is usually better.
- Losing weight is a function of not just how often you practise Yoga but also what you’re eating and how cardiovascular your practice is. (Another option is to supplement your practice with another activity that’s purely cardiovascular, such as running). While all yoga styles emphasise deep breathing and have a relaxing effect on the nervous system, practising meditation and regular restorative yoga classes is a wonderful way to focus on minimising stress.
Should You Perform Yoga Every Day?
Many yoga teachers tell you that you must practise every single day. However, you shouldn’t perform the same set of poses every single day. This is because anything that you do repeatedly, over long periods of time, can lead to a repetitive stress injury (RSI). This is not just the case with running or cycling. You can suffer from an RSI even with yoga.
The most common culprits for RSIs in Yoga are some of the common poses in a typical vinyasa class. We’re not saying that you should avoid these poses altogether but doing dozens of them every day is bad. To strive for balance in your body, it is necessary to perform a variety of movements that target all your major muscle groups.
So the ultimate answer to how many times per week you should be practising yoga depends on your body. Remember that the ultimate goal of this mind-body exercise form is for you to find peace within your mind and to translate this sense of peace to your body. If your body is not comfortable with what it’s doing, your mind won’t be easy. This means that you need to choose a yoga practice that suits both your mind and body.
Want to learn more about Yoga? Check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Yoga Certification Course here.