If you have been doing yoga for a few weeks or even a few years, you may have discovered that you tend to do your stretches and poses close to the same time every day. Getting into this kind of health and wellness routine is terrific, but it can be limiting in terms of yoga benefits.
Yoga can actually provide you with some amazing physical and psychological advantages when you perform specific movements at specific times such as morning, afternoon and evening.
It isn’t essential that you do your yoga at the exact same moment each day, but if you start to weave yoga throughout each 24-hour time frame, you may just find that you have more energy, are able to de-stress faster and get better sleep.
Photo by Henrik Moltke
Yoga in the Morning
In the morning, it is common to occasionally – if not all the time – feel a little groggy. This is understandable; your body is trying to wake up, and so is your mind. Therefore, it’s critical to explore yoga routines that gently prepare you, holistically, to start your day in the right mood and with muscles, tendons, joints and bones ready for action.
Some frequently suggested yoga poses for the morning include spine and leg stretching poses such as:
Spine Stretch – Do this stretch on a firm surface. Sit cross-legged and make sure your back is nice and tall. Keep your hands lightly on your legs. Slowly lift your left arm until it is completely extended above your head. Then, let it guide your body as you lean toward your right side, stretching your back. Hold for a few seconds at the deepest part of the stretch, then return to the center. Switch arms and repeat.
Child’s Pose – Start in a kneeling position with your back straight. Lean forward and put both hands on the floor in front of you. Slowly curve your back over your thighs as you reach forward with your hands and slide them along the floor or yoga mat. By the end of the post, your chest should be as close to your thighs as possible, and your arms should be outstretched.
Yoga in the Afternoon
There’s a reason so many people run for the snack table or vending machine in the afternoon: It’s tough to stay focused! No wonder some countries encourage a siesta or a few hours for light snoozing during the afternoon. If you don’t have that luxury – and most of us can’t afford to take a two-hour break to nap – you can always turn to the very vocal ujjayi pranayama yoga to make it easier for you to get through that low point in the day.
Breathing is essential in this type of yoga, and it helps keep your mind from wandering. Practice your Conqueror Breath by inhaling through your nose and then exhaling through a wide mouth and repeating the “ah” sound. After a few times, repeat again but both inhale and exhale from the nose. Keep the mouth closed, but perform the same throat and tongue motions so a deep hiss comes out when you exhale. Your breathing should be slow and very focused.
Most people enjoy sitting in a cross-legged position when practicing the Conqueror Breath. If that isn’t possible, you can try to do it at your desk if your co-workers are all out on a mid-afternoon coffee run.
Yoga at Night
Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Chances are that you’ve been going full-force all day, and what you need is some yoga to wind down. Calming yoga will assist you in completely letting go and getting yourself prepared to give your entire being a chance to reset. Most of us simply hop into bed. This doesn’t enable any kind of relaxation process. Just 10 to 15 minutes of the right type of yoga will increase your chances of deeper slumber.
A few calming yoga poses that are gentle on the body include:
Hamstring Stretch – Lie on your back. Gently wrap your hands around one of your thighs and stretch the leg to the ceiling with foot pointed. Repeat with other leg.
Savasana Pose – Lie in bed on your back. You can prop your head up with pillows or not. Let your feet relax. Allow your hands to lie apart from your body. Place your palms in a more upward than downward position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Some people fall asleep doing this pose.
As someone who wants to live naturally and as healthfully as possible, you owe it to yourself to try yoga at different times throughout your daily activities. This will help you unleash the true power of yoga, and show you why believers know that there’s so much more to yoga than a great way to exercise.