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What’s the Best Time of Day to Practice Yoga?

What’s the Best Time of Day to Practice Yoga?


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Ever feel like you’re moving sorta sluggishly on your yoga mat or not feeling as much relief as you’d expect from your practice? You may need to assess whether the time of day you hit the mat resonates with your personality.

Amy Morin, a psychotherapist in Marathon, Florida, often prescribes yoga to clients as a mental strength trainer for those dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, or PTSD. But she notes that the time of day you practice matters when it comes to reaching your intended outcome. “Some people do well to calm themselves down before tackling their day, while other people need to rev themselves up to be their best,” says Morin, also the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and host of the Mentally Stronger podcast.

“Knowing when to apply yoga to your life is about matching it to your personality and your lifestyle,” she says. “A morning class might add stress to someone’s life if they aren’t a morning person, or an afternoon class might not be the right fit for someone who wants to start their day with yoga.”

Of course, there are countless variables regarding when, or even if, you’re able to make time for your practice. So how do you know what’s best for you?

How to Know the Best Time of Day to Practice Yoga

Much of deciding what time of day works for you depends on understanding what emotional state helps you function best. For many of us, that means minimizing stress.

What Personality Traits Do Better with Morning Yoga

First, consider your typical morning routine. “People who like to ease into their day may be best-suited for morning yoga,” explains Morin. “They might want to start off feeling good so they can be in the right mental space to tackle the day’s projects.”

Morin suggests that a morning yoga practice can help you become more intentional about your day. “A morning class may help people get in a calmer state of mind so they can tackle their tasks with a peaceful attitude,” she says.

A study published in Medical Science Monitor found that yoga students who are morning types score significantly higher in certain characteristics, including conscientiousness, friendliness, scrupulousness, and emotional stability. “They’re usually natural morning people who enjoy getting up early and who like to start their days with a sense of peace,” Morin explains.

It depends not only on whether you’re a morning person you are but what style of yoga you practice. “Morning classes tend to be higher energy and offer a great natural alternative to caffeine to jumpstart your engine,” explains Valerie Lucas, senior master trainer at YogaSix in St. Augustine, Florida. Not all early morning studio classes are intense, although many are, so consider an online practice at home if you’re seeking something slower.

She finds that taking a morning class can help you show up better to the rest of the day and to your practice. “Some also find that practicing in the early morning, before fully awake, makes it easier to focus and be present because the mind is less chaotic at that time of day,” she says.

Practicing early also ensures you get your yoga fix, adds Lucas, which can reduce stress for those who tend to worry that the chaos of the day might cause them to miss out later.

RELATED: Morning Yoga Helps with Workday Focus 

What Personality Traits Do Better with Afternoon or Evening Yoga

Afternoon yoga is often helpful for those who tend to experience increased anxiety and stress throughout the day, explains Morin. “These are people who often become a bit overwhelmed by late afternoon because they have a lot to do and feel pulled in several directions at once,” she says. “They’re often too busy in the morning to do yoga but they recognize that afternoon break is actually key to being more productive for the rest of the day.”

She notes that afternoon classes can help you unwind from the stress of the day or take a break from the action before jumping back into late-afternoon and evening activities. “They may find a little afternoon yoga helps them reset and recharge,” says Morin.

Although an afternoon practice doesn’t always have to be about productivity. “If you prefer a cozy yoga practice that feels like a hug to reset your day, an afternoon practice may be better for you,” says Lucas. It can help if you find yourself distracted, irritable, or unable to stop thinking about work.

What Else Your Personality Brings to the Equation

The class environment can also influence whether a morning or afternoon class suits you, says Lucas. If you like high energy and intensity in your practice but prefer to practice with fewer students around you, you may want to try classes in that style at different times of day to learn which are usually less crowded.

But no one is suggesting you drop your favorite class to try a different time. “If something isn’t enjoyable, you’re less likely to make a habit out of it, even if you know it’s good for you,” says Lucas. It simply might be worth exploring some additional options.

“Instead of trying to force it, start simple,” says Lucas. With so many styles of yoga and teachers to choose from at studios and online, it’s likely that you’ll find classes that work for you at a time that supports you, she says. It just might take a little time to find the right match.

As you explore the best time of day to practice yoga, keep in mind, it’s all about minimizing obstacles getting in the way of your self-care routines. That level of self-awareness is part of your practice, too. “The beauty in yoga is that you are always being invited to adjust,” explains Lucas.

RELATED: I Practiced Midnight Yoga for a Month. Here’s What I Learned.

About Our Contributor
Erica Lamberg is a writer based near Philadelphia who covers personal finance, travel, health, and business. She enjoys traveling with her family and spending time with her yellow Labrador retriever. She currently writes for Time.com, Real Simple, and Forbes.



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