When should you do yoga? It’s ultimately up to you, but here are 6 unique benefits of a morning yoga practice…
What is the best time of day to do yoga? Obviously, the choice is up to you and your own preferences and schedule, and no matter when you do it, you will reap the many benefits of a regular yoga practice. However, many yogis have found a morning yoga practice the most beneficial.
Below are 6 reasons why you might want to consider practicing yoga in the morning. However, remember that the most important thing is to just get on your mat and do it! If you can’t motivate yourself to get up early enough to do yoga in the morning, choose a time of day that suits you better – and make it a regular habit. You’ll soon notice the many powerful benefits yoga can provide for your body and mind.
1.) It helps you set an intention for the day
Practicing yoga in the morning is a powerful way to take charge of your day with a clear, thoughtful, and activated intention. Alexandra DeSiato, the coauthor of Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses, believes using an intention in your morning practice is “the difference between leading the day rather than letting it lead you. Not only is moving and breathing in the morning beneficial for your physical body and your anxiety-prone mind, getting to your mat in the morning gives you the opportunity to actively choose the theme of your day. In daily life, so much is out of your control: but the hour or so you spend in the morning being intentional, focused, present, and in the moment allows you to bring that intentionality and presence into the rest of the day—whatever the day throws at you!
…This…gives you a better outlook, a subtle, energetic shield against whatever the day holds. Creating a positive outlook for the day is probably the most important reason to start your day with a yoga practice.”
2.) You’ll feel fit and strong for whatever the day holds
Our days are often filled with stress, worry, and challenges. Approaching your day with the utmost sense of inner strength will give you the maximum amount of grit and determination to succeed. Yoga and meditation teacher Emma Sothern, notes how “morning yoga helps your digestion, keeps you grounded, and conserves your energy. Because deep breathing, detoxifying twists, and calming forward folds activate the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system—our “rest and digest” state. Unlike the cortisol and adrenaline-fuelled, “fight or flight” sympathetic state, the PNS is calming and nourishing. Why switch that part on in the morning, when you need to “get up and go”? Well, so all your organs can function correctly. You slow down your heart rate. You stimulate intestinal activity. More blood travels freely to your vital systems—digestive, reproductive, and immune—to keep you fit and strong for whatever the day holds. Plus, if you feel sluggish in the mornings, with symptoms like brain fog or IBS, a short yoga sequence gets things moving again.”
3.) It clears the mind
If you often wake up in a dull and hazy mental state, a few minutes of yogic breathing can quickly clear out any cobwebs in your mind. Stanley describes how “Yoga gives us the tools to calm and clear the mind to experience more balance and peace in daily life. Yoga teaches us that the breath is a direct reflection of the quality of the mind. If we want to calm the mind, we can begin by shaping the breath through pranayama. When engaging in simple pranayamas like diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing), it is the quality of our breath that matters. When we bring awareness to how we breathe, we can begin to still the Vrittis or waves of thought. Just 5 minutes of deep, slow, continuous, and conscious breathing is my go-to practice to calm a busy mind.”
4.) Boosts your focus and concentration
In addition to waking up the mind and establishing a calm thought stream, yoga with conscious breathwork will also give you a boost of mental focus and concentration. Kelly Clifton Turner, Director of Education for YogaSix, believes that “as you breathe through your yoga flow, you’ll be providing your brain with loads of fresh oxygen. This will help sweep away any last bits of sleepiness and increase your mental clarity for the day ahead.” Creating a strong mental boost at the start of your day will ensure that you can start your work prepared and allow you to work at your maximum efficiency.
5.) Boosts your metabolism
If you struggle to maintain a healthy body weight, you should consider shifting your yoga practice to an earlier hour. Turner believes that “morning yoga will wake up your body and rev up your metabolism for the day. Incorporating a few twists into your morning yoga flow will also help stimulate your digestive system, helping get rid of any bloating from last night’s dinner and setting you up to feel great. You can really kick your metabolism into high gear if you opt for a power yoga or hot yoga class in the AM.”
6. Strengthens your immune system
If your job or commute requires being around other people, you would be well served by a morning yoga practice. Health and wellness expert Sophie Jaffe notes how “stress is a leading cause of sickness especially when it comes to our immune system. When we let stress control our lives we’re more susceptible to health problems. Yoga helps lower stress hormones (which compromise the immune system), calms the nervous system, and starts your day in a more mindful, intentional space. In stretching and moving, we release any stagnant energy stuck within our cells, allowing it to remove harmful toxins from our bodies.”
Read more at YogaBasics.com…