B.K.S. Iyengar, the doyen of yoga calls ‘Brahma Muhuratam‘ the best time for yoga. But, how many of us can get up at 3.40 A.M. and start our yoga practice?
Not many, and certainly not me. What then should I, you, she and they do- Forget about yoga or look for another time more suitable for it?
Lots of people are confused about whether they can do yoga in the morning, evening, afternoon or before bed? After talking to experts, this is what I found:
- Yoga practice is VERY good in the morning. You are fresh and you have just emptied your bowels and you can very well do an active, yoga session, including ‘Surya Namaskar‘ or sun salutation as these exercises create heat and energize you.
Backbends which are invigorating can also be included in your session in the morning. It’s also a good time to do asanas involving twisting to detoxify your body and the standing asanas which help strengthen you.
Mornings are when your muscles and joints are the stiffest. Yoga stretches and adds flexibility to them, thus helping you to be on your toes throughout the day without any difficulty.
Practicing yoga early in the morning is also an excellent way to refresh yourself and prepare for the challenges of the day.
- Afternoons are not a good time to do yoga because you have a full stomach. Yoga should always be done on an empty stomach, with the intestines empty. If you don’t, you can damage them. Still, you can do a series of seated forward bends like head-to-knee forward bend to calm your mind. ‘Konasana’ and the seated-forward-bend are other asanas recommended during this time of the day. If you have back pain or neck pain, afternoon yoga sessions can also include the cobra pose and mild twists. ‘Mild’ is the word for yoga in the afternoon.
- Early to late evening is a good time to do asanas. Before you start, make sure to wait for four-six hours after eating. The advantages of doing yoga at this time of the day are that you are more flexible now than just after getting up. This means that doing complex poses that require a lot of twisting and pulling are safer as there are lesser chances of injury. Your yoga practice can also be fast, especially if it isn’t hot. A faster pace of doing asanas burns more calories.
- Pranayama too, like asanas, can be practiced in the morning or evening, but never attempt them within two to four hours after a meal. They help you control your BP, keep tension and stress away and energize you. For office workers, Pranayama immediately after coming back from work is really recommended, especially ‘anulom vilom’ or alternate nostril breathing. While the yoga poses activate and make your body flexible, yogic breathing stimulates, clears, and energizes your mind and keeps it fresh.
- Make sure that you do not practice challenging asanas that wire you up just before bedtime. It’s the time to do gentle, deep breathing and maybe asanas that will aid in digestion, but that’s about it!
- ‘Brahma Muhurtam‘ is the perfect time to practice for enhancing your spiritual quotient. Brahma Muhurta is the time anywhere between 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., or whatever is the time of sunrise.
There is a whole science that talks about when to practice yoga, but, hope I have been able to give you an idea about the time of the day suited to a particular type of asana.
Keep these tips in mind but always follow your yoga teacher and she will guide you with the best asana plan designed according to the needs of your body and mind.