I’ve heard that it’s best to practice yoga in the morning, is this true? My mornings are so rushed I can’t imagine adding anything else to them, but I want to make sure that I’m getting the most from the time I do spend on my mat.
One traditional way to practice yoga is during the Amrit Vela or time of ambrosia, just before dawn. It is thought to be a powerful time for spiritual practice. And there is something special about waking up early to do your rituals, whether you consider them to be spiritual practice or self-care. In addition, when you practice yoga in the morning, then it is done and over with for the day, and you are less likely to get distracted or tired and skip yoga altogether.
Doing your yoga practice at the same time every day is a great way to notice subtle differences day to day. For most people, this also speaks in support of an early morning yoga practice. Our morning rituals and habits tend to be more regular than any other time of day. Plus practicing yoga in the morning allows you to start your day on the right foot and reap the benefits all day long.
Another factor to take into consideration is that you will feel stiffer in the morning than later in the day. If you are already flexible, than a morning practice will feel richer and more beneficial. If you are dealing with chronically stiff muscles and joints, than a later day yoga practice will allow more ease and more enjoyment. This is helpful because the more you enjoy your yoga practice, the more likely you are to practice yoga frequently. In India, the climate is so hot during the day, that early morning is also a good time to exercise. This might apply to you if you live in a hot climate or even seasonally when the weather is warmer. But during the winter, you might want to move your yoga practice to later in the day (and into a warm room!).
In conclusion, the best time to practice is the time that you are most likely to do it! Yoga practice at any time of day is better than no practice. So know yourself, your schedule, and your environment and carve out some time for yourself whenever you are able to follow through.
If your morning schedule is tight, try just a few poses in the morning and then a longer practice later in the day. That way if you don’t get to your second yoga practice, you still did something! And when we take little baby steps of caring for ourselves, we build our self-worth and discipline. So by allowing your practice to be smaller, you will be more likely to follow through and plant the seeds for a deeper commitment to your personal growth and discipline.