How Long Should Yoga Sessions Be?

When searching for a yoga class, it is common to see a wide variation of yoga class lengths ranging from 10 minutes to 2 hours or more!

Of course, people often choose a yoga class length based on how much time they have to fit it in.

But is there a physical or mental difference between practicing yoga sessions for different lengths of time?

How Long is the Ideal Yoga Session?

You should sit for meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.

Yogic Proverb

Determining the ideal yoga session length ultimately depends on your individual needs, why you are practicing yoga, and the time you have available.

For example, if you are addressing a specific medical condition through therapeutic yoga practices, then the length of your practice may need to be a bit longer to manage all aspects of the body, mind, and soul. Or if you are using yoga practices for a specific issue, then maybe a shorter practice is enough to focus on the needed areas.

The average length of a yoga session for general purposes and overall well-being is often between 45 minutes and 90 minutes long.  We usually fit a time length for a yoga practice based on our daily schedule and what we can squeeze in.

But there is a famous Zen proverb that says, “You should sit for meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”

Yoga challenges us to embody patience, particularly during the times of our lives when we are stressed or busy. This is when our yoga practice can be the most incredible support.

So, the less time you have in a day, then this may be an indication that you need to make your yoga practice even more of a priority!

The traditional teachings of yoga encourage us to bring yoga into every moment. It is also important to remember that yoga practice doesn’t necessarily have to be on a yoga mat.

Yoga practice can look different for everyone. You can even bring yoga into the small moments of your everyday life, like when you are washing the dishes, going for a walk, or taking a shower. Incorporating yoga into all these small moments of your daily life can have a drastic impact on your overall well-being and help you genuinely embody these teachings. 

How Long Should a Beginner Yoga Session Be?

If you are a beginner to yoga, then a shorter practice may be better suited as you begin to ease into a regular routine. Particularly as you are building your daily practice or self-practice routine, practicing for a shorter length of time initially can help regular yoga feel more manageable and easier to incorporate. The true benefits of yoga come when we practice regularly, so even if you practice for 10 minutes, if you can make it a steady daily routine, then you will surely gain many benefits in your life!

However, beginner yoga courses are often longer because it takes more time to explain the poses and learn how to move safely through various yoga practices. If you are a complete beginner, it may be helpful to defer to a teacher to assess your abilities and help determine the ideal yoga session length for your needs.

Is 30 Minutes of Yoga a Day Enough?

A common question for new students to yoga is whether a 20-minute or 30-minute yoga practice is enough to get the benefits of yoga in your life. And here is the short answer: yes!

There is a common misconception in the yoga community that you need to practice for 60 minutes, 90 minutes, or even 2 hours every day to get the benefits of yoga. And this is absolutely not true. The real measure of the benefits of yoga is how you engage in each moment on your yoga mat.

You could spend 2 full hours on your yoga mat, but if your mind is distracted or you are pushing your body beyond its limits, then you will not truly gain the benefits of yoga.

In contrast, if you practice for only 10 minutes but give it your full attention, deepen into inner awareness, and embody this moving meditation practice, then you will exponentially gain the benefits of yoga in your daily life. 

Related: How Many Days a Week Should I Do Yoga?

How Many Minutes of Yoga a Day to Lose Weight

If weight loss is your goal, then it is ideal to practice for at least 30 minutes every day. But the primary way to encourage weight loss through yoga practice is to combine strength-building, and higher-intensity yoga poses with periods of deep relaxation.

For example, you could start your yoga practice with a few rounds of sun salutations, followed by strength-building warrior poses, balancing poses, and plank pose variations. Then follow this higher-intensity sequence with a deeply restorative yoga pose and a calming savasana to address the impacts of stress on weight gain and to balance out your body and mind after a high-intensity practice.

How Much Yoga is Too Much?

The best indicator to determine when you are doing too much yoga is by paying attention to the sensations in your body. If you are pushing beyond your limits, your body will start sending you messages through increased aches and pains.

One of the essential principles in yoga practice is ahimsa or non-violence. It is important to remember that the first place we practice non-violence is towards ourselves. In each yoga practice, try to focus on listening to your body and not pushing past your limits. Of course, it is good to challenge yourself, but always pay attention if any sensations of pain or discomfort arise or if you are starting to feel more extremely fatigued.

The amount of “too much yoga” will vary for each person depending on their experience, endurance, and purpose of practice. But if you are a beginner, it is a good idea to start with a shorter practice of around 20 minutes and then gradually work your way up depending on your capacity.

When Should You Do Yoga?

In traditional yoga teachings, the ideal time to practice yoga is around the time of sunrise and sunset. But this isn’t often possible for many working professionals or those with busy family life. It is important not to get too stuck in these ideal principles and instead try to adapt your yoga practice to fit better into your daily life.

No matter what time of day you practice yoga, the benefits of this practice will undoubtedly come when you make it a regular routine and incorporate it into your daily life.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from Yoga?

The answer to this question really depends on what results from yoga you are looking for. It is common to feel more at ease and at peace after a single yoga session.

But to see more significant changes in your inner state, body, or overall life, that can take months, years, or even lifetimes.

The ultimate goal of yoga practice is awakening or enlightenment, and in traditional yoga teachings, it is often said that this result can take multiple lifetimes to achieve.

But each journey begins with a single step. So, rather than focusing on achieving a particular result, yoga teaches us to simply be present in the moment and accept whatever arises without any attachment to a specific result.

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