How Long Should a Beginner Do Yoga?


Yoga is an amazing way to improve your physical and mental health. But if you're new to yoga, you may be wondering - how long should I do yoga as a beginner?

How Long Should a Beginner Do Yoga?

Finding the Right Yoga Routine Length for Beginners

When first starting a yoga practice, aim for sessions that are 20-30 minutes long. This gives you enough time to move through basic poses and start building strength and flexibility, without overdoing it.

Here's why a shorter yoga time is ideal:

  • Prevents injury risk. Holding poses takes muscle strength, which beginners are still building. Shorter holds reduce strain.
  • Allows learning poses. With fewer poses held longer, you can focus on proper alignment in each one.
  • Avoids fatigue. As you build stamina, resisting fatigue gets easier. Start with less time to prevent burnout.
  • Lets you set a habit. Starting with 20-30 minutes makes yoga feel more approachable as a regular practice.

Once you've established a habit with shorter sessions, you can gradually increase your practice time. But when just starting out, be patient with yourself and let your body adjust.

How to Make the Most of Your Beginner Yoga Sessions

To maximize the benefits from your beginner yoga routine, follow these tips:

Focus on Breathwork

In yoga, the breath helps you move deeper into poses while staying relaxed. As a beginner, consciously connect your breath to your movements. For example, inhale as you extend your spine, exhale as you fold forward.

Hold Poses Briefly

When holding poses, start with shorter 5-10 second holds. This allows proper alignment without overworking your body. With time, gradually increase how long you hold each pose.

Choose Gentler Poses

Basic seated, standing, kneeling, and reclining poses are great for yoga beginners. Avoid advanced balancing poses or intense backbends and inversions in your first sessions.

Follow a Beginner Flow

Look for 20-30 minute beginner yoga video flows or classes at your experience level. Having a set sequence prevents overthinking poses.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels during and after yoga. Soreness is normal, but sharp pain means you should modify or avoid a pose.

Sample 20-Minute Beginner Yoga Routine

Here's an example sequence for your first few yoga sessions as a beginner:

  1. Child's Pose: Start in an all-fours position. Sit back onto your heels, lowering your chest between your knees. Hold for 5 breaths.
  2. Cat/Cow: Come to all fours. As you inhale, arch your back and lift your head up. As you exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin toward your chest. Repeat 5 times, moving with your breath.
  3. Downward Facing Dog: From all fours, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back to invert your body into an upside down "V" shape. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
  4. Standing Forward Bend: From Downward Facing Dog, step your feet up to your hands. With legs straight, fold forward over your legs. Hold for 8-10 breaths.
  5. Half Forward Bend: Place your hands on your shins and look forward, keeping a flat back. Hold for 5 breaths.
  6. Standing Mountain Pose: Rise back up to standing. Ground down through your feet and reach your arms overhead. Hold for 5 breaths.
  7. Warrior II: From Mountain Pose, step one foot back and open your hips and arms out to the sides, bending your front knee to 90 degrees. Hold for 5 breaths each side.
  8. Crescent Lunge: Bring your back knee down to the floor and raise your torso up, keeping your front knee bent. Hold for 5 breaths each side.
  9. Seated Twist: Sit on the floor and extend your legs straight out. Twist your upper body to one side, using your hand behind you for leverage. Hold twist for 5 breaths each side.
  10. Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat. Press your feet down to lift your hips up. Hold for 5 breaths.
  11. Final Relaxation: Lie on your back. Close your eyes and relax your full body for 5 minutes.

Aim to practice this routine or similar 2-3 days per week. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Over time, build up to 30+ minute beginner routines. But when starting out, be patient and allow your body to adjust as you establish your yoga habit.

How Long Before Increasing Your Practice Duration

As you become comfortable with 20-30 minutes, you can gradually build up your endurance. Here are general guidelines for when to increase your session length as a beginner:

  • Practice 20-30 minutes 3x a week for 2 weeks. Get used to the basic poses and sequence first.
  • Increase to 30-40 minutes 3x a week for 2 weeks. Slowly add time to build muscle endurance.
  • Build up to 45-60 minutes 3x a week. More time allows deeper stretching and meditation.
  • Progress beyond 60 minutes as desired. Listen to your body and don't overdo it too quickly.

The key is taking it slow by starting short and giving your body time to adapt before increasing demands. Avoid doubling your practice time all at once. Consistency is more important than duration when beginning.

Also take 1-2 rest days per week for recovery. Yoga stresses the muscles and joints in new ways, so rest is essential to avoid painful or tiring practices.

Signs You May Be Pushing Too Hard as a Beginner

Make sure you’re not overworking your body when starting yoga. Here are some signs you may be doing too much too soon:

  • Muscle cramps during or after practice
  • Stiffness or soreness lasting more than 48 hours
  • Wrist, knee, or back pain from poses
  • Fatigue lasting after yoga session
  • Difficulty concentrating during yoga
  • Dizziness after backbends or inversions
  • Headache after practicing

If you experience any of these symptoms frequently, scale back the intensity and duration of your sessions. It’s better to build up slowly than get injured. Give your body adequate rest before gradually increasing demands.

Ways to Modify Poses as a Beginner

Don’t force yourself into advanced poses too quickly. Here are some easy modifications to make poses gentler on your body:

  • Bend knees in standing poses to relieve hamstrings
  • Avoid compressing low back by lifting chest forward
  • Use props like blocks and straps to support alignment
  • Hold stretches briefly then come out completely before repeating
  • Use a wall for balance or support in balancing poses
  • Go halfway into a pose instead of full depth
  • Rest in child’s pose anytime you need a break

Learning mods allows you to practice safely as you build flexibility and strength over time. Don’t rush the process.

Establishing a Sustainable Yoga Routine

Creating a long-term yoga habit requires finding a practice you genuinely enjoy. Don’t force yourself into rigorous or overly intense sessions as a beginner.

Instead, focus on:

  • Moving your body mindfully
  • Linking breath with movement
  • Feeling positive after practice

This makes yoga sustainable. Find sequences that leave you energized yet relaxed, not exhausted.

With the right approach, yoga becomes a ritual to look forward to. Be patient as you establish a consistent practice. Avoid burnout by listening to your body.

Over time, your endurance and abilities will grow. But especially as a beginner, focus on the joy of moving your body - not session length or complexity.

The longevity of your practice matters far more than how much you can do now. Savor the journey as you deepen your yoga habit. With consistency, the strength and flexibility will come.

Can CBD Help With Recovery After Yoga?

Incorporating yoga into your routine is a great step towards better health. But as a beginner, your muscles may feel especially sore as your body adjusts. While aches are normal, full recovery is essential to prevent injury and continue progressing.

This is where CBD oil may help. CBD, or cannabidiol, has gained popularity for its many purported wellness benefits. One potential use getting recent attention? Enhancing post-workout recovery.

For these reasons, CBD oil may complement beginning yoga practitioners’ routines. However, more studies are still needed on CBD for exercise recovery. Talk to your doctor before trying CBD. But if cleared, consider incorporating CBD capsules or tinctures into your self-care after yoga as a natural aid.

Listen to Your Body as You Build Your Practice

Yoga is meant to improve how you feel, not wear you out. Don’t measure your practice by how long you can push yourself. Instead, focus on preforming each pose mindfully. Avoid direct pain, but expect some muscle soreness as you progress.

Be especially gentle with your body as a beginner. Prioritize recovery and rest days. And increase your yoga time gradually as your abilities grow. Above all, enjoy the calming ritual of moving your body. With consistency, yoga becomes its own reward over time.

How often should a complete beginner do yoga?

For best results, aim to practice yoga 2-3 times per week when starting out. This allows your body time to recover and adjust between sessions. Avoid doing yoga every day as a beginner.

How long do the effects of yoga last for a beginner?

The mental benefits of a yoga session can last for several hours afterwards as you feel more relaxed, present, and positive. Physical effects like improved flexibility can accumulate over days and weeks with consistent practice. Soreness typically peaks 1-2 days after yoga and fades after 72 hours.

What muscles are worked in basic beginner yoga?

Beginner yoga sequences target major muscle groups like the core, back, hips, legs, shoulders, and arms. Poses like down dog, warriors, and lunges build strength. Forward folds, twists, and hamstring stretches increase flexibility.

Is yoga enough exercise for a beginner?

It depends on the style and duration. Gentle or restorative yoga alone is not enough to meet weekly exercise guidelines. However, vigorous vinyasa and power yoga can qualify if done for 30-60 mins consistently. Combine yoga with other workouts for a balanced routine.

What yoga poses should be avoided as a beginner?

Avoid advanced balancing poses, intense backbends, headstands, and other complex inversions at first. Save handstands, binds, and deeper hip openers until you build more strength, flexibility, and balance over time.

Can I do yoga after a workout as a beginner?

It's fine to do yoga after lifting weights or cardio for an active recovery. But avoid power yoga or heated yoga after strenuous workouts when first starting. Prioritize gentle, restorative styles instead to naturally lower your heart rate and stretch sore muscles.

How do I choose the right yoga class level as a beginner?

Look for yoga classes marked beginner, introductory, level 1, gentle, or basics. Avoid intermediate, power, flow, or classes with complex poses in the description until you have several months of experience.

What do I need to bring to my first beginner yoga class?

Bring a yoga mat, water bottle, towel, and wear comfortable athletic clothing that allows movement. Arrive early to introduce yourself to the instructor and claim a spot near the front to easily watch poses.

Can I do yoga at home daily as a beginner?

It's fine to do yoga at home when first starting out. Choose 20-30 minute online videos for your level from trusted instructors. Have props like blocks on hand. But also take classes to learn proper techniques.

How do I avoid injury doing yoga as a beginner?

Listen to your body and don't force flexibility. Use props to support alignment. Avoid pain by modifying poses. Slowly build strength and range of motion. Take breaks as needed. Increase difficulty gradually over time.


Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but determining the right session duration can be tricky for beginners. When first starting a yoga practice, aim for 20-30 minute sessions 2-3 times per week. This allows enough time to learn proper alignment in foundational poses without overexerting yourself or risking injury. Build up endurance slowly by adding 5-10 minutes each week as your body adapts. Listen for cues like muscle cramps and lingering soreness, which signal you may be pushing too far too quickly. Be patient and focus on quality over quantity by moving mindfully. Over time, build up to 45-60 minute practices as your flexibility and strength improves. But especially as a beginner, consistency matters more than session length. Make yoga sustainable by choosing sequences that leave you feeling energized and relaxed. Avoid advanced poses requiring immense flexibility or balance. Instead, use modifications like bending knees in poses to make them more accessible. Proper recovery is also key, so take 1-2 rest days each week. When starting out, prioritize doing yoga correctly and establishing it as a habit. With regular practice, your abilities will expand. But don't force progress through overly ambitious sessions. Honor your body and its journey.

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