New yogis often wonder, “When is the best time to practice yoga?” What time is best to practice yoga? Is it better in the morning or afternoon before going to bed? The answer depends on you, your needs, and your goals. You will receive the benefits of yoga no matter when you step onto your mat. For many reasons, it would help if you practiced yoga first thing in the morning. One or more of the ten benefits listed above may inspire you to start a morning Yoga routine. You’ll notice a decisive change in your body, mind, and heart once you start a daily yoga routine.
Make a daily intention
Yoga in the morning can be a powerful tool to help you take control of your day. It allows you to set a clear and thoughtful intention. Alexandra DeSiato is the coauthor of Teach Yoga Beyond the Pose and believes that using a choice during your morning practice will help you “lead the day instead of letting it run you.” Getting to your mat early in the day allows you to choose your theme. You have little control over daily life. But the time you spend being present and focused in the morning will enable you to carry that presence and intentionality into the rest of the day.
DeSiato says having the space and time to create an intention in the morning is essential. “And bringing in an intention or theme for your home practice can be just as valuable as hearing one in a classroom setting. Creating that intention before a morning meditation at home could be even more valuable for several reasons. Setting an intention allows you to control your mood and make choices about what you want to do despite the external stimuli you may encounter throughout the day. You create a barrier between yourself and what happens next when you are the first to speak to yourself. What do you think about all the advice your yoga instructors give on how to get rooted? Here’s how to do it. Set your intention each morning. You will need to give yourself space and time. Find a phrase, an intention, a theme, or a flavor and meditate, chant, or think about it. It gives you an improved outlook and a subtle energetic shield to face whatever the day may bring. “The most important reason for starting your day with yoga is to create a positive outlook.”
Jumpstart Your Day
The way you start your day, as you get up and prepare for it, can significantly influence how your mind and emotions will be for the rest of the day. Tracee Stanley, a Yoga Nidra expert, is convinced that how you begin your day determines how it will unfold. Starting your day with gratitude and intention is a wonderful way to build a foundation for presence. Understanding your energy rhythm is key. Consider what time of the day is best for you to exercise, be creative, or do your bookkeeping. Schedule your day according to these rhythms. “Start your day by choosing an activity that maximizes your energy in the morning.”
Feel strong and fit for the day ahead
Stress, worries, and challenges are part of our daily lives. You can achieve more by approaching your day with a sense of inner strength. Emma Sothern explains that morning yoga is good for digestion, helps you stay grounded, and conserves energy. Deep breathing, detoxifying turns, and calming backward folds activate the parasympathetic nervous system, our “rest and digest” mode. Unlike the adrenaline and cortisol-fueled “fight or flee” sympathetic state, the PNS is calm and nourishing. Why turn it on when you have to “get up” in the morning? So that all of your organs function properly. You reduce your heart rate. You increase intestinal activity. You will feel more energetic and fit for the day as your vital systems (digestive, reproductive, and immune systems) receive more blood. If you are feeling sluggish and have symptoms such as brain fog or IBS in the morning, a quick yoga sequence will get things moving.
Recognize your needs
Jenna Hillier, a fitness instructor and life coach, stresses the importance of looking inwards to plan and prepare for the day. Undoubtedly, as parents, partners, employees, employers, caregivers, activists, and/or friends, we are pulled in many directions daily. To start the day or be as productive and efficient as possible, it is easy to wake up and think of who or what you must focus on first. Yoga in the morning allows us to focus on our needs before rushing off to meet everyone else’s. We can see what we need when we are connected to ourselves in those quiet moments. It is important to plan a day that supports your mental health. We can connect to ourselves better when we begin our day with breath and movement. As the saying goes, “We can only give what we first have for ourselves.”
Clear your mind
You can clear your mind quickly if you wake up in a dull, foggy mental state. A few minutes of yogic breaths will help. Stanley says, “Yoga provides us with the tools to clear and calm the mind so we can experience more peace and balance in our daily lives.” Yoga shows us that our breath accurately reflects how we feel. To calm the mind, we should begin with pranayama. It is important to focus on the quality of your breath when performing simple exercises such as diaphragmatic (belly) breathing. We can still our thoughts by bringing consciousness to the way we breathe. “My go-to meditation to calm my busy mind is 5 minutes of slow, deep, continuous, and conscious breathing.”