Yoga practice can be rewarding and intoxicating. It can also be frustrating and tiring – physically and mentally.
To find the right balance, one must understand the intricacies of the practice… and pace yourself!
Which begs the question, how many times a week should you do yoga?
The answer is different for everybody. But there are important considerations in understanding how often to do yoga to see results and meet your goals.
Like other forms of physical activity, you must adjust the load depending on your fitness level and experience. You wouldn’t run a marathon if you’ve never run before, even if you’re an avid swimmer. Even if you are objectively athletic, you must let your body get accustomed to the new activity.
As a beginner, you should start with 1-2 yoga classes per week. Once you learn the basic poses and build up your endurance, you can begin incorporating extra sessions into your weekly routine.
The type of yoga that you practice will certainly have an impact on the frequency of your practice. After existing for centuries, yoga branched out to many styles, varying in pace, complexity, and levels of difficulty.
Let’s say you like to practice Yin Yoga. Provided that you practice wisely, you could easily have a Yin class 4-5 times a week.
However, if you prefer a more dynamic style like Vinyasa Flow or Rocket Yoga, your body may struggle if you practice too often.
Fortunately, you don’t have to limit yourself to a single type of yoga! You could combine the more athletic lessons with recovery sessions to keep your body strong, supple, and well-rested.
It is very important to approach yoga within the context of the current times. Yoga is an ancient discipline that grew and developed into the practice we know today. As a result, certain guidance points should be taken with a grain of salt.
For example, according to traditional sources, you must practice Ashtanga Vinyasa nearly every day (six days a week), with female practitioners granted an extra 3-day break during menstruation. At sunrise, no less!
However, this approach is hardly realistic in the modern context. Not only do we have to navigate responsibilities like jobs, families, and chores, most people’s bodies would not be able to withstand this level of physical effort.
Therefore, if you go with traditional recommendations, you could put yourself at risk of emotional or physical burnout.
Ask yourself a question. With your yoga practice, are you trying to develop it further, or are you trying to maintain the progress you have made so far? There is nothing wrong with being content with your yoga skills! However, the different goals require different approaches.
If you want to grow and develop your practice, attending an odd class here and there is not an effective strategy. The general consensus is that you should practice 3-5 times to keep progressing. Any less, and you are not likely to make any advancement. Any more, and you risk pushing yourself too far and risking an injury.
Even once you have achieved incredible results, yoga takes consistent and continuous practice. Whatever feats of strength and flexibility you’ve reached through yoga, you still have to practice 1-2 times a week to maintain your level of skill.
Another thing you should ask yourself is how committed you want to be. If you’re trying to fit yoga around your existing schedule, you will almost certainly practice fewer times a week. And that’s okay! If you can only make it to a yoga class twice a week, it’s better than none.
The other way to approach it is to make time for yoga. If you make yoga your priority, you’ll be able to practice more frequently and perhaps even find more joy in the process.
A good thing to remember is that there is no set duration for a yoga practice. If your goal is to practice yoga several times a week, you don’t have to set aside an entire hour to have an efficient session. You could sit down for a 10-minute meditation, practice a few Sun Salutations when you wake up, or incorporate a short Yin session before bed.
Your goals and experience are not the only things you need to consider when deciding how many days a week you should do yoga. You have to consider any special circumstances that only apply to you.
For example, if you suffer from a chronic illness, an acute condition, or an injury, you should consult your physician to see how often you are allowed to practice.
The same principle should be followed for pregnancy and postpartum yoga. Whether attending prenatal yoga classes or itching to get back into a yoga studio after giving birth, don’t push yourself past your limits.