When is your favourite time to practice yoga? Do you spring out of bed in the mornings and roll straight onto your mat? Do you assume your dogward dog position in the midday sun? Or are you a yoga night owl, practicing just before hoping into bed?
Is there a perfect time to practice yoga?
If you were in Mysore, India you would no doubt roll out of bed at 4am and make your way to the Shala. As the KPJAYI gets more and more popular yogis have to get up earlier and earlier in order to beat the queues!
Us western yogis have more choice in the time of day we practice. Most people prefer to get it out of the way early in the morning where as others feels tight, stiff and completely unmotivated first thing. So, when is the best time of day to practice?
In truth there is no ‘perfect’ time to practice. Traditionally yogis practiced at sunrise because this was their morning prayer (hence ‘Sun Salutation). Yoga teachers tend to practice in the morning because they have to teach classes all day so have no other time for a personal practice. Fitness yogis may change their time of practice, maybe attending their favourite classes at different times of the day. Stressed out yogis (yes, they exist!) may choose to practice at the end of the day so they feel less stressed before heading to bed, making sleeping easier.
If you are new to yoga you probably won’t want to roll out of bed onto your mat. Your body is naturally less flexible in the mornings because your muscle dehydrate overnight making for restricted movement in the morning.
Top Tip: if you want to try a good morning yoga practice drink 1 pint of water 30 minutes before rolling out your mat, then roll a golf ball into the arch of your foot (there is a science behind this, one that I will bored you with at a later date). Trust me, you will find your morning practice easier.
There will be days when you don’t want to practice, somedays it will be your body telling you not to, other days it will be your mind. There is a fine line between laziness and rest. Your yoga practice will help you listen to and understand your body at a deeper level. You’ll soon know when you need rest and when you need yoga.
The best piece of advice I can give, be gentle with your body, be gentle with your mind.
Or as David Swenson wisely said, ‘Don’t let yoga ruin your life’.