Should I Do Yoga in the Morning or at Night?
Yoga is an excellent way to start or end your day. But is it better to unroll your mat at sunrise or after the sun sets? This is a common question for devoted yogis and beginners alike. There are pros and cons to both morning and evening yoga routines. The ideal time to practice ultimately depends on your schedule, energy levels, and personal preference. This article will examine the benefits of an AM vs PM yoga sequence so you can determine the optimal time for your flow.
- What Are the Benefits of Morning Yoga?
- What Are the Benefits of Evening Yoga?
- How to Determine the Best Time for Yoga
- Sample Morning Yoga Routine
- Sample Evening Yoga Routine
- Yoga Any Time Is Good Time
- A Brief Mention of CBD
- Frequently Asked Questions About Morning vs. Evening Yoga
- Is yoga better on an empty stomach?
- What if I don't have time for yoga in the morning?
- What style of yoga is best for morning energy?
- Should I practice yoga before or after a workout?
- How can I motivate myself for morning yoga?
- What if I fall asleep during savasana?
- Will yoga help me fall back asleep at night if I wake up?
- How soon before bed should I do evening yoga?
- Are there yoga poses I should modify or avoid in the morning or evening?
What Are the Benefits of Morning Yoga?
An early morning yoga practice can be incredibly energizing. Here are some of the top advantages of greeting the day with sun salutations:
1. Increased Energy and Productivity
Need a caffeine-free pick-me-up? Flowing through yoga postures first thing in the morning can be more energizing than that first cup of coffee. Gentle stretching and breathing exercises stimulate the nervous system and get oxygen pumping through your blood. This leads to improved circulation, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead. The energetic benefits of morning yoga make it easier to stay focused and productive until bedtime.
2. Calm and Clear Your Mind
Ever drag yourself out of bed feeling groggy and unfocused? Morning yoga helps clear away that early morning mental fog. The combination of mindful breathing, movement, and meditation has a profoundly calming effect. This allows you to start your day with a clean mental slate, making it easier to organize thoughts and set intentions. The clarity gained from AM yoga can set a positive tone that lasts well beyond your time on the mat.
3. Fewer Distractions
Let's face it, mornings get busy quickly. Emails, phone calls, traffic jams, meetings, and other obligations can quickly derail your focus. Starting the day with yoga allows you to practice without distraction in the quiet morning hours. You can clear your mind, set intentions, and focus inward before the daily rush begins. Early mornings may seem challenging at first. But you may find that the peace and clarity of your yoga session make it worth rising with the sun.
Morning yoga supports consistency in your practice. Let's say you plan an evening yoga flow after work. Odds are, you'll end up skipping it at least occasionally due to fatigue or schedule conflicts. But carving out time first thing in the morning increases the chances you'll actually make it to the mat. Developing a consistent yoga practice yields greater results in flexibility, strength, balance, and overall mindfulness.
5. Better Digestion
Ever notice how certain yoga poses like twists and folds can get things moving after breakfast? Morning yoga on an empty stomach gently stimulates the digestive system. Poses that compress and massage your abdomen encourage the elimination of waste. Starting your day with yoga leads to regularity and a healthy gut.
6. Natural Alarm Clock
Not a morning person? Beginning yogis often struggle with early wake-up calls. But a gentle morning yoga sequence can help regulate your sleep cycle and act as a natural alarm clock. The breathing and movement routines energize you, making it easier to rise with the sunrise. As yoga becomes your morning ritual, you'll find it progressively easier to hop out of bed.
7. Boost Metabolism
Here's a bonus reason to set your alarm earlier. Research shows a morning yoga sequence helps give your metabolism a jumpstart. The boost in circulation, oxygen intake, and activity levels gets your fat-burning furnace going. A faster metabolism helps you burn calories more efficiently throughout the day.
Clearly, the list of morning yoga benefits is lengthy. But an evening sequence has its own advantages too. Keep reading to learn when evening yoga might be a better fit.
What Are the Benefits of Evening Yoga?
If getting up at dawn sounds painful, don't despair. There are plenty of excellent reasons to unfurl your mat after the sun goes down. Here's a look at some of the biggest benefits of evening yoga:
Our muscles are stiffest first thing in the morning after lying still all night. In the evening, your body has been active and in motion for hours. This means your muscles are already warm and pliable. Taking advantage of this natural flexibility makes it easier to move through challenging postures without strain or injury.
2. Deeper Relaxation
At the end of a long day, a restorative yoga sequence is deeply calming. Soothing evening poses paired with conscious breathing induce the "relaxation response." This triggers your parasympathetic nervous system and slows heart rate, respiration, and metabolic activity. The result is a profound sense of relaxation that gently ushers you into sleep.
3. Convenient Timing
Be honest, does your busy schedule sometimes bump your workout down the priority list? Exercising at night can be a convenient solution if you struggle to fit in regular morning sessions. After the workday ends and daily tasks are complete, an evening yoga break offers the perfect opportunity for self-care before bed.
4. Alleviate Stress
Work, relationships, finances, family obligations, world events - no wonder so many of us end the day feeling anxious and overwhelmed! A relaxing evening yoga practice helps relieve accumulated stress from your body and mind. Concluding your day with therapeutic movement and meditation empties your mental clutter so you can sleep peacefully.
5. Improved Sleep Quality
Trouble sleeping? You're not alone. Over 30% of American adults suffer from occasional insomnia. Yoga's ability to calm the nervous system makes it a natural sleep aid. The deep relaxation it provides can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night. You'll awaken feeling well-rested and ready for a new day.
6. Body Awareness
During busy work hours, it's easy to hunch over a desk or ignore chronic tightness in your shoulders and lower back. Evening yoga brings awareness back to your body. Taking inventory spots problem areas in need of some TLC. You can then target tight spots with restorative stretches and yoga therapy.
7. Peaceful Evening Routine
Our last waking moments impact how we fall asleep and rest overnight. Scrolling social media or binging Netflix often leave us feeling stimulated rather than settled. Wrapping up your evening with relaxing yoga helps establish a peaceful transition into sleep. Over time this routine trains your body and mind to unwind at night.
As you can see, both morning and evening yoga offer wonderful benefits. How do you choose between dawn and dusk yoga sessions? We'll cover tips to help you decide when yoga works best with your lifestyle.
How to Determine the Best Time for Yoga
The ideal time for yoga depends on many factors like your sleep habits, work schedule, health needs, and personal preferences. Here are some tips to find your optimal yoga schedule:
Consider your chronotype. Your innate circadian rhythms play a role. If you're naturally a morning person, early yoga will feel energizing. Night owls may prefer evening sessions when their energy peaks.
Note daily fluctuations. Needs change day to day. Balance morning and evening yoga based on what your mind and body require each day.
Prioritize consistency. It's ideal to practice daily, but 2-3 times per week is beneficial. Pick consistent days and times you can actually stick with.
Match intensity to energy. Try energizing sequences like power yoga and Vinyasa flows in the morning. Save calming Yin and restorative practices for evenings.
Work around obligations. Schedule yoga at times when you can fully unplug from work and digital devices to stay present.
Consider eating and digesting. Avoid inversions after large meals. Some prefer yoga on an empty stomach after overnight fasting.
Remember safety. Don't practice hot yoga late at night, which can disrupt sleep. Build heat gradually in morning hot classes.
Listen to your body. Stay tuned in to your energy levels, aches, moods, and motivation each day. Pick AM or PM yoga based on what your body seems to need.
Sample Morning Yoga Routine
If you think morning yoga might be best for you, here is a sample 20 minute routine to start your day with intention:
1. Child's Pose (1-2 minutes) Begin on your knees with toes together and knees hip-width apart. Exhale as you sink your hips back to your heels and extend your arms forward fully. Relax your belly and forehead on the mat. Breathe deeply.
2. Cat/Cow Pose (5-10 rounds) Come to hands and knees with a flat back. Inhale and drop your belly toward the mat, gaze up (cow pose). Exhale and arch your back like an angry cat, gaze down. Keep alternating between the two poses.
3. Downward Facing Dog (1-2 minutes) From all fours, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back to an inverted "V" shape. Ground your hands, straighten your legs, and relax your head between your arms.
4. Standing Forward Fold (1-2 minutes) From Downward Dog, walk your feet to your hands. Let your head and shoulders relax as you grab opposite elbows. Bend your knees to release tension in your low back.
5. Half Lift to Forward Fold (5-6 rounds) On an inhale, sweep your arms out and up, lifting your chest halfway up with a flat back. Exhale and release back down into your full Forward Fold. Repeat sequence several times.
6. Low Lunge with Twist (5-10 breaths each side) Step your right foot between your hands, dropping your left knee to the mat. Ground your right foot and inhale your arms upward. Exhale and twist right, pressing your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh. Repeat on the second side.
7. Seated Meditation (1-5 minutes) Sit comfortably on the mat with legs crossed. Close your eyes, relax your face, neck, and shoulders. Focus on your breath, releasing any wandering thoughts.
8. Savasana (2-5 minutes) Lie on your back with arms at your sides, palms up, legs comfortably apart. Close your eyes and let your body sink into the mat. Observe the gentle rise and fall of your belly with each breath. Allow yourself to feel calm, balanced, and ready for your day.
Namaste - your morning yoga journey begins! Try this sequence 2-3 times per week after waking up. You'll be amazed how much more grounded, focused, and energetic your mornings feel.
Sample Evening Yoga Routine
To experience the relaxation and sleep benefits of nightly yoga, give this restorative 20 minute sequence a try:
1. Child's Pose (1-2 minutes) Come to your knees, touch your big toes together, and sit your hips back to your heels. Reach your arms long in front of you and relax your forehead to the mat. Breathe deeply.
2. Cat/Cow Pose (5-10 rounds) Come to hands and knees. Arch your back on an inhale, draw your belly in as you exhale. Move fluidly between the two poses.
3. Downward Facing Dog (1-2 minutes) Press into your hands, tuck your toes under, and lift your hips up and back to an inverted "V" shape. Pedal your feet to warm up your legs.
4. Standing Forward Fold (1-2 minutes) Walk your feet to your hands and dangle your upper body over your legs. Knees can bend to release tension. Grab opposite elbows and sway side to side.
5. Low Lunge with Twist (5-10 breaths each side) Step right foot forward, lower left knee down. Ground your right foot and inhale arms up. Exhale and twist right, pressing left elbow to outside of right thigh. Repeat on second side.
6. Bound Angle Pose (1-2 minutes) Sit with soles of feet together, knees out wide. Sit tall and lean slightly forward. Use your elbows to press your knees down toward the mat.
7. Seated Forward Fold (1-2 minutes) Extend your legs straight out in front of you. As you exhale, hinge at your hips and reach your arms forward and down alongside your legs. Let your head and neck relax.
8. Reclining Bound Angle (2-5 minutes) Lie on your back, place the soles of your feet together, and let your knees open out to the side. Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your chest and belly.
9. Savasana (5 minutes) End in Savasana. Lie flat on your back with arms at your sides, palms facing up, legs relaxed. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let tension melt away as you prepare for sleep.
Make this 20 minute sequence part of your bedtime wind-down 2-4 nights per week. Over time, you'll notice improved sleep quality and feel ready to tackle each new day with ease.
Yoga Any Time Is Good Time
As you can see, both morning and evening yoga sessions have unique benefits depending on your goals and needs. You may choose one over the other or alternate between them. Some days your energy and obligations may allow a short midday sequence when you need a break. The most important thing is to simply establish a consistent yoga routine.
Yoga's ability to strengthen and tone the body while quieting the mind makes it an invaluable practice no matter when you unroll your mat. While the optimum time to flow depends on your personal lifestyle, you really can't go wrong with yoga at any time of day. The key is sticking with the practice consistently to experience the full range of physical, mental and emotional benefits this ancient tradition offers.
Namaste! May your days flow with peace and vitality from the inside out.
A Brief Mention of CBD
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a compound derived from the hemp plant that has gained immense popularity over the past few years. Many yoga practitioners have begun incorporating CBD oil, capsules, or topicals into their self-care routines due to CBD’s natural relaxing effects.
Of course, check with your doctor before trying any new supplements like CBD. But many yogis report positive effects from CBD to enhance their yoga sessions and support general wellness. Using CBD judiciously by microdosing and optimizing your delivery method can provide maximum results. Slowly incorporating high quality, third-party tested CBD from Cibdol into your yoga practice and lifestyle may yield benefits over time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Morning vs. Evening Yoga
Is yoga better on an empty stomach?
Many yogis prefer to practice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach before eating breakfast. This allows you to move through twisting poses and inversions more comfortably without waiting for food to digest. However, listen to your body's needs - if you feel lightheaded or weak without a small snack first, have something light like fruit or yogurt.
What if I don't have time for yoga in the morning?
Don't worry, you can absolutely still reap the benefits from an evening yoga practice. Even a short 10-15 minute evening sequence can relax your body and mind before bed. If mornings are too hectic, focus on establishing a consistent evening routine at whatever duration works for your schedule.
What style of yoga is best for morning energy?
Invigorating styles like Power Yoga and Vinyasa Flow are ideal first thing in the morning. Their emphasis on movement and breath will energize you. Slower Yin and Restorative Yoga are better suited for evening. But listen to your body - if you need gentle movement in the AM, slow it down.
Should I practice yoga before or after a workout?
It depends on your goals! Pre-workout yoga can help prepare your body for exercise by increasing blood flow and flexibility. Post-workout yoga aids recovery by gently stretching tight muscles. Try both options to see what feels best. On non-workout days, feel free to do yoga anytime that fits your schedule.
How can I motivate myself for morning yoga?
It takes time to form a new habit. Try setting your yoga clothes/mat out the night before for a visual cue. Have a cup of tea or meditate before rolling out your mat. Start with just 5-10 minutes to make it feel doable. Do a practice you enjoy - don't force yourself into intense sequences if you hate them. Morning yoga will start to feel easier and more natural over time.
What if I fall asleep during savasana?
Don't worry about dozing off, especially during an evening session when you're already relaxed. Savasana is intended to calm your nervous system, which can lead to sleep. If you tend to fall asleep, try setting a timer or alarm to ensure you don't oversleep.
Will yoga help me fall back asleep at night if I wake up?
Yes, doing some simple yoga postures or meditation can definitely help if you awaken in the night and struggle to fall back to sleep. Try Child's Pose, Legs Up the Wall, gentle twists, or Supported Forward Fold to relax. Just avoid overstimulating inversions or sequences. Let your breath guide you back to sleep.
How soon before bed should I do evening yoga?
It's best to finish your evening yoga at least 1-2 hours before your intended bedtime. The deep relaxation can make you feel sleepy, so you want to avoid doing yoga right before bed if possible. However, even a short 10 minute sequence done just before lying down can help you unwind. Experiment to find your optimal timing.
Are there yoga poses I should modify or avoid in the morning or evening?
Listen to your body, but in general twists may feel better in the morning when your spine is not as flexible. Backbends can be done any time, but take care not to overarch if you are stiff. Avoid forceful pranayama/breathwork at night since it can be too stimulating. Don't do hot yoga late at night when overheating may disrupt sleep.
Hopefully these tips help you determine the best time of day to incorporate yoga's amazing benefits into your daily routine! Let me know if you have any other questions.
This article examines the pros and cons of a morning yoga practice versus an evening yoga routine. Benefits of morning yoga include increased energy, productivity, mental clarity, and consistency. Morning yoga boosts metabolism, aids digestion, provides a natural alarm clock, and reduces distractions. The benefits of evening yoga include greater flexibility when muscles are warm, ability to relieve accumulated daily stress, and enhanced relaxation leading to better sleep. Evening yoga takes advantage of convenient after-work timing and allows tuning into the body after busy work hours. The ideal yoga time depends on chronotype, daily fluctuations in needs, consistency, matching intensity to energy levels, working around obligations, and listening to your body. Those who are morning people may prefer morning yoga when their energy peaks, while night owls may favor evening routines when their energy flows best. Sample 20 minute sequences are provided for both morning and evening yoga flows. Key points are that any time is a good time for yoga, consistency matters most, and you should listen to your body's needs to determine optimal personal timing.