How Many Times a Week Should I Do Yoga?
January 29, 2020
There are so many different types of Yoga, so depending on which style of yoga you regularly practice may dictate how often you should, or can, complete your yoga practice.
As a bare minimum, completing some form of stretching or mobility and flexibility should be completed once per week. However, this type of exercise could be completed every day and in some cases of certain injuries, this is mandatory for recovery.
For more gentle styles of yoga, as explained in greater detail below that incorporate breathwork and meditation, these can be completed up to 5-6 times per week. For more physically demanding styles of yoga like hot or Bikram yoga, these might be more appropriately practiced 1-2 x per week.
The practice of yoga helps to develop strength and flexibility while calming your nervous system and the mind. The postures, or poses, involved in a yoga class affect our muscles, joints and skin, glands, internal organs, bones, respiratory system and of course our brain.
To identify how many times per week yoga will work best for you, let’s identify some of the different styles of yoga and how they can impact on you:
- Vinyasa: a slow-flow style yoga that strings postures together seamlessly, using breath and a variety of different postures every class
- Yin: a slow-paced style yoga that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine postures that are held for long periods of time
- Hatha: similar to Vinyasa but the main difference is the pace at which you move through the poses. The goal of practice is focussed on aligning and calming your mind, body & spirit
- Bikram: a sequence of 26 poses requiring balance, strength and flexibility and is performed in a heated room at 41°. Bikram yoga can be highly physically demanding due to heat and requires adequate hydration in preparation for the class. It can also be fatiguing due to increased blood pressure and heart rate during the 90 minute class.
- Purna: the key principle of Purna yoga is to move all joints in all directions. It can be a wonderful style of yoga for whole body mobility and flexibility and is the style of yoga practiced at Instinct Health
- Meditation & Breathwork is great as a daily ritual and can have fantastic benefits on your mindset for the day and huge benefits on sleep, mood, immune function and digestion
As well as different types of yoga, there are also different a range of difficulties within some of these styles of yoga. Your instructor will be able to modify or challenge your postures depending on your own level of experience, including considering any injuries or impairments.
With all types of physical activity and exercise, if you have not been active recently, it would be worth discussing which types of exercise are most appropriate for you with your physiotherapist.
So how many times should you do yoga?
Research suggests that moderate intensity exercise should be completed on most days of the week, for 30+ minutes at a time. This exercise can include Pilates or yoga, in combination with walking or running to improve the health of your heart and lungs. In the absence of any medical or physical reasons, you could complete these exercises as much as you like, and as much are you are physically able.
For strength or resistance improvements that can be achieved in Clinical Pilates, 2 or more sessions per week is ideal. For mobility, flexibility and stretching purposes, these exercises can and should be completed every day. Like all exercise, if you begin to experience adverse effects you should discuss this with your instructor or physiotherapist (in the case of Clinical Pilates).
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