Everyone is busy nowadays. We all lead hectic lives sometimes, and it’s very easy to put our wellness practices at the bottom of our to-do lists. I have been guilty of this myself throughout the years, and I still struggle with keeping a consistent schedule when it comes to my practice. There are a lot of instances when you think you will be able to stick to the schedule you set for yourself, but sometimes things come up and then you find yourself falling behind for the 300th time. So, how often should you practice yoga?
Why Do You Practice?
One of the questions you should ask yourself that will help you figure out how often you should practice yoga is, “Why?”
Why do you practice? Is it for stress relief? Is it more for the spiritual benefits of the practice? Do you need yoga to help with physical ailments you deal with? Knowing the reason why you have decided to incorporate yoga into your wellness regimen will give you a better idea of how often you should be on your mat.
When Are You Able To Practice?
Another important question to ask yourself is, “When are you typically available to do yoga?” People with busy schedules tend to have very irregular hours of availability. Some people are open very early in the morning before work, other people are night owls, and others always have openings at odd hours throughout the day, sometimes in the middle of the workday, say, around 1 or 2 PM.
Having an odd availability does not mean that finding time to practice will be harder for you. It simply means that you may have to get creative with how you get your practice in.
Different Ways To Take A Yoga Class
Did you know that there are many ways to take a yoga class besides going to a conventional yoga studio? Depending on your individual needs, there are many options available.
These options include:
- Online Classes with a live private instructor
- In-home private instruction
- Self-paced online courses
- Yoga Books
- Yoga Apps
I have a few students who practice with me online via a classroom portal, and they get great results this way. All you need is your laptop or a portable device, your yoga mat, and some space to practice in. You can practice in your room, your living room, your home office or wherever is most comfortable for you. When they travel, they are usually able to keep their class time since we meet online. It makes it very easy not to stray from their regimen no matter where they are in the world.
Online classes are the same as in-person classes, except for the fact that the teacher is on a screen. You can still get the same benefits, and the best part is that you can schedule your lesson at a time that’s more convenient for you rather than having to go by a studio schedule that may not offer classes when you want to practice. You also get one on one time, so you can really learn how to practice each pose safely and accurately.
Another alternative is to hire a private instructor to come to your home for lessons. This method is also very effective, and it is similar to online lessons. The difference is that you’ll have a person physically present to help align your body during each yoga pose so you can gain the maximum benefits. These types of lessons can also be scheduled around your availability. The teacher can also come to your place of work if you happen to have space to practice during lunch in your office or anywhere else. I have personally had students that hired me to come to their place of business for classes, and we practiced in one of their available conference rooms.
Online courses have become very popular for people whose schedules are too unpredictable to schedule private lessons or attend classes at a studio. Online courses are self-paced, and you can do it at any time of the day or night. New course material typically unlocks once you complete a lesson, and you can usually find support through an online community of students who have also purchased the same course. The course is yours to keep forever once you have purchased it, and you can always repeat the lessons at any time, giving you ample time to master the yoga poses.
Lastly, another method of practicing is to do it on your own using books, apps or even social media and search engines such as Pinterest. This method allows you to practice at any time of the day, you don’t have to wait on an instructor to show up or log on, and you can have a session for however long you want to, as many times as you want to per day. The only downfall with this method is that if you are a beginner, you won’t have guidance when it comes to reaching proper alignment for each pose, and you won’t have the obligation to “show up.” This method is not recommended for people who already struggle with keeping up with a health regimen on their own.
So, How Often Should You Practice Yoga?
After assessing your individual situation, you’ll probably figure out how often you have availability in your schedule to squeeze a class in. However, packing your schedule with classes during most of your free time can actually cause more stress than anything. Pick a frequency that will keep you motivated to continue your practice consistently, but don’t leave too much time in between classes, or you’ll start prioritizing your practice less and less, landing you back where you started.
For beginners, it is recommended to start with a minimum of once per week with an instructor. You can incorporate a daily practice in your morning routine by practicing a few of the poses that you learn during class before you start your day. Simple poses like happy baby pose or legs to the wall can help to get the blood circulation going. Other poses like cat/cow or even a standing camel pose or backbend can be extremely beneficial.
For busy professionals who are always on the go, practicing at least twice a week using any of the methods mentioned above, including going to a yoga studio, will help keep a nice balance between work life and your health regimen.
For those who have more of an odd work schedule, practicing in between your appointments or conference calls or during your lunch break on a near-daily basis (about three times a week) will help to avoid work-related fatigue. Chair yoga is really beneficial here. You can take quick yoga breaks while you’re working at your desk.
Find What Works For You
The key to knowing how often you should practice yoga is to find a schedule that won’t turn your practice into a chore. Start slow and build up your practice. It is perfectly fine to begin at once a week, as long as you push yourself to consistently show up for yourself once a week for yoga. Find time in between to either lookup more yoga poses you would like to try or just practice what you’ve learned in class.
I hope this article was helpful, but if you have any other questions, let me know in the comments below.
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Until next time, yogis!