Yoga is an incredibly helpful way to keep your body and mind in good health; but are there more benefits of doing yoga in the morning or the evening? Well, both morning and evening yoga has many pros and no cons! We are going to delve into the various benefits of morning yoga, as well as the benefits of evening yoga.
Benefits of Morning Yoga
Here are some of the top benefits of morning yoga.
Start the Day Right
We all know that the way your morning goes can set the mood for your entire day. If you immediately wake up in a panic and rush trying to get ready for work or an appointment, that can make the feel anxious for the whole rest of the day.
When you start your morning doing yoga, whether you meditate, practice poses, or do a breathing exercise, you can severely lower your stress levels for the day. Doing deep breathing or meditation can especially help you reset your mind and body to be relaxed and ready to take on whatever challenges the day may bring.
So, you’re not a morning person? Well, new years is right around the corner, and if you want to focus on your mental and physical health in the new year, morning yoga is a great way to do that. Once you start reshaping your morning habits to get up earlier, you might even come to enjoy your morning routine.
Enjoy the Calm of Early Morning
It can feel peaceful to get up early before the rest of the world “wakes up.” Everything is quieter, which makes it the perfect window for you to take some time to reflect on your intention for the day and maybe even give yourself some positive affirmations. Although it might be hard to get up early at first, it will quickly become routine, and you may even get to where you look forward to it.
Don’t Waste the Day
If you’re anything like me, some days you want to lie in bed all day LONG. While it might not be harmful to do this every once in a while, it can feel like your entire day is done by the time you finally get up, and your motivation may be gone before you even accomplished anything. Don’t let a lack of motivation cause you to waste your day. One benefit of doing yoga in the morning is that you can get your day started and accomplish whatever you need to get done without feeling rushed.
Give Your Mental Health a Boost
Mental health is just as important as physical health, and while yoga is excellent for strengthening your physical body, it also can strengthen your mind. For those who feel bogged down by everyday life or feel anxiety just from waking up in the morning, thoughtful morning meditation may help. Even if you don’t want to do meditation, breathing exercises can help slow your heart rate so you can relax. Exercise is also essential for mental health, so practicing simple yoga poses every morning can be a great way to boost your mood and get you in a better state of mind for the day.
Get some Exercise!
It’s not new information that physical exercise is good for our bodies. Specifically for those who don’t have access to a gym and/or work a desk job, being able to start your day with some yoga poses can be a real game-changer. Starting the morning with some stretches and poses to help you gain strength and agility may offset your sedentary lifestyle.
It is imperative to do this in the morning because generally, by the end of the day, even if you’ve been sitting, you may be exhausted from work and have zero motivation to exercise once you’re home.
Benefits of Evening Yoga
So, you REALLY, REALLY don’t like getting up early in the morning and want an alternative to morning yoga. Well, lucky for you, the benefits of evening yoga are just as good as the benefits of doing yoga in the morning!
Keep Insomnia at Bay
Evening or night yoga may be perfect for you if you have difficulty falling asleep and have insomnia or racing thoughts at night. Especially if you choose to practice yoga before bed, ending your routine with some relaxing poses (like corpse pose) or breathing exercises can help you calm down and prepare your body and mind for sleep! No insomnia here!
Lower Stress Levels
One of the best benefits of yoga at night is it can slow your breaths and lower your blood pressure after a stressful day. Practicing calming poses or breathing exercises can help your body get out of the fight or flight mode that it could be in from the stressors of day-to-day life. Lower stress levels can promote more relaxation at night, or even just in your everyday life.
Get Better Sleep
According to one study of 65 people, practicing yoga helped them achieve better sleep and even improved their overall quality of life. This goes back to lowering stress in the mind and preparing the body for sleep and relaxation. When you sleep better, you feel better when you’re up the next day. It’s incredible what a difference being well-rested can make!
One of the greatest benefits of evening yoga is that it allows you to stretch out after a long day. Also, because your body is more hydrated than it is in the morning, your muscles are much more willing to stretch. You will get a better stretch if you do it later in the day, and you may need to stretch more so than in the morning since you use your body throughout the day. Specifically, if you have an active job, or if you carry tension in your shoulders, or anywhere else specific, being able to focus on releasing that tension is truly helpful at the end of the day.
Is Morning or Evening Yoga Better?
So, is yoga better in the morning or evening? Neither!
Morning and evening yoga are both full of healthy benefits, but you may wonder if it’s better to do yoga in the morning or at night. Ultimately, both have their unique benefits. You may even want to try doing morning yoga for one month and evening yoga for another, and make notes on your likes and dislikes about your experience. Some do yoga in the morning, and the evening, so they can get the best of both worlds!
Ultimately, it would be best if you made a choice based on your lifestyle and preferences. If you struggle with insomnia or racing thoughts at night, then you should seriously consider trying some relaxing poses or breathing exercises in the evening. If you feel the need to seize the day and start your morning with some positive affirmations and poses, then do it! Find the balance that supports you the most.
It is also more than feasible to have a morning and night routine! You could do some energizing, centering poses in the morning and do some calming stress-releasing stretches in the evening.
To help you on your journey, here are some of the best yoga poses for the morning and the evening.
The Best Morning Yoga Poses
Here are two of our favorite morning yoga poses.
1. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)
The sun salutation is a series of poses that can serve as a warm-up or maybe a perfect start to your day. Traditionally, this is an early morning routine, done when (you guessed it) the sun is rising. However, it could work for you whenever you wake up in the morning!
These are incredibly beneficial, energizing poses, which is why they are so perfect for the start of the day. Here is a detailed explanation of how to do every single pose for sun salutations so you can own your morning routine and set the mood for the day.
2. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is a classic pose, potentially the most well-known yoga pose in the world! It’s an incredibly simple pose compared to some others in this list.
Start in a tabletop position, with your hands placed under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Spread your fingers as widely as you can, and press your toes into the ground.
Before you get into downward dog, you may want to warm up by doing some cat and cow stretches. Cat pose occurs when you bend your upper back outward, pushing your spine upwards, and allowing your shoulder blades to separate and stretch the upper back muscles. Then you may go down into cow pose, where you do the reverse of cat; arching your spine and pushing your chest down towards the ground.
Now, on to downward dog! The final step is simple; push your hips up, with your feet and hands grounding you. As you breathe, you will settle into a rhythm of settling into the pose with each breath.
The Best Evening Yoga Poses
And here are two of our favorite evening yoga poses!
1. Deep Squat (Malasana)
This is a perfect hip-opening stretch for the end of the day. If you’re anything like me, my active job causes tightness in my lower back as well as my hips. This stretch is one of the poses that makes yoga in the evening so beneficial. It relaxes your hips and allows your body to calm down and prepare to wind down for the evening.
To begin, place your feet flat on the floor, a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Then, lower yourself down to a squat position. If you can’t keep your feet flat on the ground, allow your heels to come off the floor and use your hands to support yourself. Try and keep your weight centered over your hips and feet for the best stretch. Hold it for 30 seconds to a minute.
2. Corpse Pose
One of the most beneficial yoga poses to do at night is the corpse pose. It is perfect for finishing off your yoga routine or to do when you go to bed. Corpse pose is the best one to promote relaxation and allow you to reflect on your day and let go of all of the stress you may be carrying. It is also an incredibly simple pose, lucky for you!
All you have to do is lie down on your back. You can do this on your yoga mat, or in bed as you prepare to sleep. Keep all of your limbs slightly spaced out. This means spreading your legs slightly from each other and keeping your arms slightly away from your torso. Allow your palms to face up, but keep your fingers relaxed.
Slowly relax your entire body. For some, this is quite difficult, especially if you carry a lot of tension in your body. Therefore, it can help to systematically relax your body, limb by limb, muscle by muscle. Start with your toes, then go to calves, and so on until your entire body is fully relaxed. Don’t forget your neck and face! Typically, yogis hold this finishing pose for anywhere from 5-10 minutes for maximum relaxation. Try to stay mindful throughout this exercise while your body melts and becomes heavier, and just let your body fully relax.
There you have it! These are my favorite poses for morning and evening yoga. The benefits of doing yoga in the evening and the morning are worth trying out for yourself. Although there is a serious tie between morning and evening yoga, one may work more so than the other for your specific lifestyle. The only way to know is to try them both out!