You might have come across the hashtag #yogaeverydamnday, which could seem funny, or inspiring or motivating. But if you’re new to yoga, or you’re very busy, the idea of practising yoga every day can be intimidating. So do we really need to do yoga every day? And how much yoga is enough to feel the benefits?
I’ve experimented a lot with this and I’ve tried everything from going weeks at a time without any yoga, to practising for more than 3 hours per day.
Three key points about how much yoga you need
- It depends on your goals. This means working out what you want from your yoga practice. For example, if you want to learn to handstand, you need to put the time in. It takes consistent practice and training drills to strengthen and open your body, and increase your body awareness and balance. Having a go as part of your weekly yoga class will help, but if you’re doing nothing in between, it’s going to take a long time to progress. On the other hand, if you have a very active lifestyle and you use yoga to reconnect with your body and mind, your needs will be different. Spending just 5 minutes at the end of the day doing a restorative posture like legs up the wall pose followed by meditation will have a huge impact.
- Daily practice is a non-negotiable. I appreciate this is a controversial one, but for me, to function at my best, I need some kind of yoga every single day. If we think of yoga as a tool we use to checking with our bodies and be present, then I would argue it probably is something we all need every day. However, this doesn’t have to be a vigorous hardcore yoga practice. Some days my self practice is just finding 5 minutes to meditate. I can even do this on the plane if I’m travelling. Other days I might do 10 sun salutations, some core strengthening work or some joint mobilisation exercises.
- Fluctuations are normal, and natural. One thing I’ve learned is that my own yoga practice ebbs and flows, depending how I’m feeling and what I’m doing in the rest of my life. I used to panic if I couldn’t fit in an hour to practise every day, but now I try to be more responsive to my situation. During my Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, I practised yoga for 3 hours every day (at least!) and meditated for 1 hour. I felt amazing, but that amount of practice isn’t realistic for me most of the time. That’s ok. The way I think of it is I still carry with me all the benefits of having spent that amount of time practising yoga. So now, even when I just do a mini yoga practice, or a short meditation, I know I’m reconnecting with all the good that I cultivated during that time of intensive practice.
It’s worth saying that the more I’ve practised yoga, the more I realised that yoga is everything. From noticing my impatience while I wait in a supermarket queue to remembering to relax my shoulders when I run, it’s all about mindfulness, and it’s all good yoga practice. But I still prefer to have some dedicated part of each day where I consciously and deliberately set aside the time and space to do yoga.
How much yoga is the minimum?
For me, I’ve found the lowest I can let it go is 5 minutes per day. I feel like I miss out if I don’t spend at least 5 minutes per day connecting with myself. Usually if time is as tight as this, I don’t do yoga postures at all, I just sit and meditate for the 5 minutes, because I find that’s the most effective way to drop into the mindful awareness I am looking for in such a short space of time.
I’d love to know what you think of this and how much yoga you need? What works for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great week lovely yogis and yoginis.