Whether you’re a morning person up at the crack of dawn, or a night owl, the good news about yoga is that you can do it anytime you like. You could even do both: an active practice to get you going in the morning and some calming, restorative poses to wind you down at night.
Choosing What's Best
Experiment to find out what time actually works best for your own natural rhythm. Perhaps a morning practice may inspire you to rise earlier or an evening practice can help you sleep better. You may even prefer the afternoon if that’s the time you find you peak during the day. Take five or 10 minutes to practice at your desk at work. The main thing is to make the time and stick to the ritual you choose.
Early Morning Benefits
A morning yoga practice wakes you up, stretches stiff muscles you haven’t used all night, revs up your circulation, and breaks out a healthy sweat before your morning shower and breakfast.
For an energizing regimen, practice Sun Salutations, which include Forward Bend, Downward-facing Dog, Plank, Cobra and lunges. Sun Salutations get your heart pumping, open your lungs and wake up tired muscles. Add other energizing poses, too. Standing poses keep you grounded, back bends are energizing, twists are detoxifying and balancing poses help build your concentration.
Some people find exercising at night may be too stimulating and keeps them awake. In that case, choose more relaxing, cooling poses to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Try forward bends with baby back bends to neutralize your spine, the Reclining Bound Angle pose with cushions and an eye pillow to de-stress, seated twists to detoxify, and Child’s pose to turn inward. Focus on your breathing and exhale for twice as long as you inhale to take you deep into relaxation mode.
Whether you’re practicing in the morning or at night, always end with at least five minutes of Savasana, or corpse pose, so your body and mind can reap both the relaxing and rejuvenating rewards of your yoga. Savasana creates a comfortable, peaceful transition between your practice and your day or your sleep time.