I am not a morning person. The snooze button is my best friend. However, last night I was feeling particularly ambitious and in honor of “Workout Wednesday” I decided that I would wake up an hour earlier than I normally do and treat myself to a morning yoga session. I found that it did affect how I felt the rest of the day, which made me wonder how practicing at different times of the day can serve your needs. How do morning routines differ from night time routines, and is lunch break yoga worth it, or just a hassle? After speaking with a few other avid yogis, I discovered a few universal ways that time of day can influence your practice, so if you are looking to get something new out of your routine, try switching it up!
Though it can be difficult to drag yourself out of bed and become active first thing in the morning, you may be surprised at how quickly your body and mind adjust to being awake. For me, the hardest part was just committing to getting out of bed. Once you find the strength to begin, you may wonder why you haven’t been doing this all along. Poses such as cat/cow can help you lengthen and stretch your spine, while poses such as Warrior will help you feel strong and motivated all day long. Begin your day by honoring yourself, and you might find that everything else falls into place. Your metabolism and energy flow are jump started, leading to positive decisions all day long, whether they are about food or conflict resolution. Honoring yourself with yoga first thing in the morning sends the message that YOU are important. Another great benefit is that it frees up the rest of your day. When you get it over and done with early, you won’t feel guilty later if something else arises that would have compromised your practice.
Many yoga studios have decided to start offering 45 min - 1 hour long yoga classes in the middle of the day for yogis looking to have a productive lunch break. One such studio is conveniently located right across the street from our office building, so I decided to give it a shot. I recommend choosing a yoga class other than Bikram or any other form of Hot Yoga, to avoid the need to shower before returning to the office. Lunch time yoga can be the perfect solution to a stressful work day since you are compelled to think of nothing but your own body and your own breathing. You may find that it gives you the clarity you need to solve that difficult problem, or the perseverance to finish that task you’ve been putting off for too long, not to mention the fact that many of us are sedentary for most of the day and yoga can be a great way to awaken your energy and give your muscles the engagement they desire. Find a studio close to your workplace, pack a gym bag, and enjoy your new lunchtime routine!
At the End of the Day
For most of us, the easiest time of day to practice is after work or school when our day is winding down. This can be a great way to reflect and relax since we are able to let go of our worries and troubles and strengthen our bodies for tomorrow’s challenges. For some, attending class in the evening is the highlight that they look forward to all day. For others, yoga in the evening is a way to get in their daily exercise and work towards fitness goals. For me, practicing before bed puts me in a state of peaceful acceptance and helps me to sleep more deeply.
What is your favorite time of the day to practice?