For many of us, especially those of us who sit at a desk all day, a consistent goal is to add more movement to our lives.
And when people go looking for a new exercise program, many turn to yoga for its vast list of benefits, such as weight loss, increased energy and stress relief.
But this new exercise routine comes with some questions, like how often you should do yoga, where you should do it, and how you can avoid injury.
To answer these questions and more, we turned to the experts.
How many times a week should I do yoga?
The answer to how often you should practice yoga depends on many different factors, including how much time you have, your ability to commit financially, your personal goals, your fitness level, and your experience with yoga.
So while there’s no magic, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, Lizzie Brooks, an E-RYT yoga teacher in Austin, Texas, offers some helpful insight into how often you should be doing yoga.
“Some yoga is always better than no yoga. So if you can only do one class a week, obviously that’s better than none,” she says.
However, since your body has a habit of reverting to old tension patterns, you may want to try doing yoga more than one day a week.
“If you can do at least three classes during your yoga week, your body and brain will remember the poses better,” adds Brooks.
How Much Yoga Should Beginners Do?
Those just starting yoga can follow the same guidelines listed above with some additional suggestions.
According to Yoga52 instructor Odette Hughes, yoga beginners should listen to their bodies to know what’s right for them.
“Starting with one class a week is a good general guideline so you can familiarize yourself with new ways of posture and movement,” says Hughes. “When you feel you need more of a challenge, start increasing the duration of your exercise or take a harder class.”
But be careful about overloading right out of the gate.
“I see people go hard and fast for months only to burn out,” says Brooks. This is where “listening to your body” really comes into play.
If you feel like your body needs time to rest between yoga classes, give it a rest. If you feel discomfort or pain in a pose or movement, change it or get out of it.
“Pain is your body’s signal that something isn’t working for it,” says Hughes. “Even if another person doesn’t feel the same thing in the same pose, you have to listen to your own body. As long as you do that and don’t push yourself too hard, yoga will be therapeutic and not too taxing on your body.”
Can I get injured by doing too much yoga?
As with most things in life, balance is key. Both too much and too little movement can be detrimental to health, and the same is true of yoga.
“When we don’t move enough our muscles become sore and unbalanced,” says Hughes. “Our cultural habit of sitting for hours every day really takes a toll on our bodies, and often we feel pain.”
Adding some yoga to your routine is a great way to help you move more throughout your week.
Conversely, it is also possible to do too much yoga.
“You can injure yourself with any type of exercise,” says Brooks. “I see students pushing too hard on posture and I remind them to pull back.”
Instead of thinking that more is always better, listen to your body and slow down if you feel like you’re doing too much.
Can I do yoga at home?
While a home practice gives you a lot of flexibility with your schedule, there are also many benefits to having a teacher guide you through your yoga practice.
“I’m a huge fan of a home practice, but I think going to a public class first can give a student a little more guidance and insight into healthy movement,” says Brooks.
However, yoga studios can be expensive and inconvenient.
Fortunately, if you find the right yoga materials at home, you can have the benefit of an instructor wherever you are.
Take Yoga52 for example, which can be streamed from any device connected to the internet.
“This program gives you all the benefits of yoga with an instructor thanks to very specific and thorough instructions,” says Marie Gruzicic-Delage, a Yoga 52 instructor.
It gives you the best of both worlds: starting yoga with an instructor And Doing it from the comfort of your home on your own schedule.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much yoga is right for you. The most important thing is to listen to your body and add more movement as it’s ready.
Start somewhere, and find out how much yoga is right for you.